The State University of New York (SUNY) system awarded Stony Brook’s Division of Student Affairs three Outstanding Student Affairs Program awards last week and two honorable mentions. These are given to programs that have demonstrated a positive impact on students and their development and serve to better student life with unique and practical solutions to common issues. There are ten categories for which programs can be nominated.
“I am thrilled that so many colleagues in the Division of Student Affairs were recognized at the SUNY level for their initiative, hard work, and creativity,” said Dr. Richard Gatteau, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. “Their awards reflect the student-centered efforts of our entire team.”
The first program recognized was the Student Employee Learning Outcomes (SELO), a model used to gauge professional development of student employees. SELO is a program that emphasizes the importance of individual attention, prioritizing connections, and mentoring between staff and students. Students compare their progress against five learning outcomes, and staff give students constructive feedback to ensure growth. The initiative was first implemented in 2010 and has since been adapted to the Department of Facilities Operations in the Student Activities Center into an iterative assessment cycle that culminates with a compilation of data to inform strategic planning for the following year. This past academic year was the first time SELO self-assessments were administered to the entire staff of 60-70 part-time graduate and undergraduate students with outstanding results.
The second program recognized by this award was the Office of Commuter Student Services and Off-Campus Living’s Far Beyond Campus: Off-Campus Living Initiatives. This program includes a portfolio of different measures and resources that take place during the course of the academic year, such as educating students about off-campus living, including their rights and responsibilities as a tenant; offering opportunities for students to positively contribute to their community; and collaborating with off-campus partners, students and community members in program planning and implementation.
The last of the SUNY awards was for Around The World For Yeardley, a walk-a-thon against relationship violence. The name comes from Yeardley Love, a student-athlete at the University of Virginia who died after a domestic violence incident weeks before she graduated. In 2017, the SUNY Athletic Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee set their walk-a-thon goal at 10 million yards, only to surpass it. This year, the goal was to walk enough yards to go around the world, or 50 million yards. With the collaboration of Center for Prevention and Outreach (CPO) the Athletics Department, and the Yeardley family’s One Love Foundation, students could register for the walk-a-thon and both manually and automatically log their efforts. This year, Stony Brook walked 15 million yards — nearly a quarter of SUNY’s total yards walked — allowing the SUNY system to surpass its goal of 50 million.
Due to the high quality of the programs presented for these awards, this is the first year that honorable mentions were introduced. Stony Brook was also present in this category with the Career Center’s Career Communities, which connects students, employers, faculty, and staff with common career interests, and Residential Tutoring Centers, a serviced offered by the Division of Campus Residences and the Academic Success & Tutoring Center to provide free tutoring to students for some of the most challenging and demanding courses.