On September 10, 2020, student leaders from across New York State participated in a virtual Town Hall meeting hosted by Cornell University’s Student Government Relations. Participants from Stony Brook University, Syracuse, Niagara and the University of Rochester formed a virtual panel to discuss ways that college students could plan to support their campus and greater college town communities in managing the pandemic this semester. In addition, community members were also invited to listen in and ask questions about their concerns.
Two Stony Brook University student leaders were invited to be panelists through the SBU Government and Community Relations Office — Enrica Lee, a senior with a double major in psychology and biology and president of SBU’s Music and Medicine club, and Jennifer Krustanovich, a senior majoring in business and health sciences who also serves as a sexual health peer educator with the Center for Prevention and Outreach (CPO).
“The panel went really well! It was very interesting to hear various points of view about how colleges are handling COVID-19,” said Krustanovich. She shared with the panel CPO’s new five-part Protect yOUR Health Series that includes COVID-19 prevention in addition to segments on nutrition, general health and preventing sexually transmitted diseases. Students who complete the five-part series before March 1, 2021, receive the Health Hero certificate.
Panel discussions centered around students’ handling of COVID-19 restrictions. They shared details on their commitment to the safety protocols for social distancing and wearing masks. Expectations for compliance throughout the rest of the semester were high across the board, and student leaders expressed confidence that the message has hit home with their student body. They agreed that most students are conscientious and concerned about their health and the surrounding community and that social pressure to comply is exceptionally high.
“The programs implemented seemed similar across schools, and students’ responses made me optimistic about our generation in how we’re dealing with the crisis,” said Lee. “I’m looking forward to seeing the progress when we meet again virtually in October.”
Both Lee and Krustanovich, as well as the other student leaders, are confident that sharing thoughts and fostering collaboration is a critical element of learning and growing together over the next several months. The meeting ended with a plea for community members to reach out to their local college with any cares or concerns. The students are happy to hear from the community and want to encourage open dialogue.
Questions or comments can be directed to the Government and Community Relations Office at 631.632.9117.