Coworkers, friends, students and potential future Seawolves turned out in droves to enjoy cold ice cream bars with each other on a hot summer day at Stronger Together’s kickoff event July 7 outside the Stony Brook Union.
Some were just returning to campus from remote work. Others were taking a break from the office to interact with colleagues, in-person, following months of primarily online encounters. Still others were touring and exploring the campus and Stony Brook Union for the first time.
All were part of a celebration of our planned transition to a more vibrant environment this summer and fall.
“The real intent of this event – and all of our Stronger Together efforts – is to ease the transition from remote to mainly in-person interactions,” said Terry Flannery, interim vice president for Marketing and Communication.
“After all of the challenges we’ve been through, you might feel a little anxious if you haven’t been on campus in more than a year,” Flannery explained. “It might seem a little awkward, reconnecting with colleagues you haven’t seen in person for so long. We want to help you reconnect, gradually, with the rhythm of regular activity on campus, and rediscover how it feels to be part of a vibrant university community. I can’t think of a better way than through informal gatherings with summer treats.”
Marketing and Communication sponsored the event, with support from the Faculty Student Association (FSA), which coordinated the ice cream social component, and Student Affairs, which led tours of the newly enhanced Stony Brook Union.
With more than 750 ice cream bar giveaways and even more attendees, the ice cream social exceeded expectations of organizers like FSA Business Development Manager Amanda Alicea.
“As an employee, I appreciate the fact that our University leaders understand the importance of these events, and are actively supporting and building a welcoming environment by carving out opportunities like these,” said Alicea. “And as part of FSA, these types of events help us fulfill our mission of making people’s days better, with a sweet treat as a bonus.”
Howard Gunston, Student Affairs’ director of Student Centers, appreciated the opportunity to “show off our new Stony Brook Union for several reasons, but here’s my favorite: The Union was designed to evolve with our campus.” Gunston explained, for example, that a maze of power conduits beneath the carpeting on the main lobby lounge can be reconfigured and expanded to meet the needs of future generations of Seawolves for decades to come.
Student Affairs led tours every 20 minutes, giving dozens of faculty, staff, incoming Seawolves and their families the chance to explore this special building, the functions and services that now make their home here, its history, and future possibilities and aspirations. “The tours – Past and Present: A Tour of the Stony Brook Union – proved so popular we’re going to offer them again for our ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 25 at 1 pm,” said Gunston.
Check out our Stronger Together Calendar of Events for more fun-filled activities to come, including another ice cream social Wednesday, August 4 outside the Student Activities Center (SAC) from 12 – 2 pm, and an athletics facility open house featuring tours and more on Thursday, August 12 at noon.
— Ellen Cooke
What Participants Had to Say:
“On top of the delicious ice cream, it was such a perfect treat to see so many smiling faces outside of a Zoom mosaic! I left feeling genuinely energized about the fall and excited for all the similar moments students will have when they return safely.” — Ahmed Belazi, Director of Strategic Analytics and Technologies, Student Affairs
“One hard part of working from home was not being able to interact in person with colleagues across different areas, and not being able to nurture these relationships that are so impactful in coordinating our work with students. Being able to connect again in this shared experience felt like we were building those relationships again, and moving toward something even more meaningful.” — Shelley Germana, Associate Provost for Academic Success
“There is nothing like a frozen treat to help us all cool down. I’m super thankful to SBU for the existence of ice cream gatherings in our community. In its own way, the ice cream bar, and the chance to enjoy it with your coworkers and friends, says to me everything is going to be okay for SBU into the future!” — Nicholas Koridis, Administration Building Manager
“It was so great to be out and about on such a beautiful sunny day with faculty, staff and students from all over Stony Brook! I got to see colleagues face-to-face that I haven’t seen in person in over a year! Having that personal interaction felt so positive and hopeful for the future. There was also a huge sense of pride throughout the crowd that this University did such an amazing job of working through all of the obstacles that COVID presented. The fact that we were at a point where we could all be together, sharing an experience in person, was symbolic of the resilience of this University through the pandemic.” — Melissa Hogarty, Business Director, Administration & Finance
“Warm Day + Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream + Reconnecting with Colleagues and Friends I haven’t seen in person for some time = a Great Event! When is the next one?” — Curtis Charles, Assistant Director, DoIT