Common Read Author Coming To Campus

Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat is coming to Onondaga Community College. Her novel Breath, Eyes, Memory is this year’s common read on campus. The book was published when she was 25 years old and was featured on Oprah’s Book Club.

Danticat will host a discussion with students Monday, September 9 at 11:15 a.m. in Storer Auditorium. The event is open to the entire campus community and the public. Immediately afterwards Danticat will sign copies of Breath, Eyes, Memory in the lobby outside Storer Auditorium.

Danticat has published numerous books include Claire of the Sea Light, a New York Times notable book; Brother, I’m Dying, a National Book Critics Circle Award winner and National Book Award finalist; Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award finalist; The Farming of Bones, an American Book Award winner; and The Dew Breaker, a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist and winner of the inaugural Story Prize. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, she has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and elsewhere.

OCC’s Career Services Office will host a Part-Time Job Fair for all students Thursday, August 29 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Gordon Student Center Great Room. Students will have the opportunity to apply for part-time positions both on and off campus. Students should dress professionally and bring a resume if they have one.

The Career Sevices Office provides students with a variety of employment related services year round including resume and cover letter review, job searching and interview preparation, career exploration, job shadowing and internship opportunities. Students interested in attending the Part-Time Job Fair can access a list of participating employers through Purple Briefcase, OCC’s online career portal and job board. Employment opportunities are regularly posted on Purple Briefcase throughout the year as well.

The Career Services Offices is located in Coulter Hall, room C110. If you enter Coulter through the main entrance, the Career Center is on your immediate right. You can contact the Career Services office by email at or by phone at (315) 498-2585.

All the Fun Things to Do During the First Week of Classes for Fall 2019

Tomorrow is the first full day of classes at OCC! We’re so excited to welcome you to campus. Here are all the fun things to do during the first week of classes at OCC!

Monday, August 26th

Party on the Quad
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Mawhinney Quad
Kick-off the semester right with this annual tradition on the Quad! With games and free swag what else could you want?

Tuesday, August 27th

Welcome Back Breakfast
7:30 – 9:30 a.m. at the Mawhinney Quad
Have free breakfast to start off the semester right!

Welcome Back Evening Students
5 – 7 p.m. at the Mawhinney & Whitney Lobbies
Have a treat and learn about the services available for evening students!

Wednesday, August 28th

Fiesta with the Faculty
12 – 2 p.m. at the SRC Arena
Following the college Convocation from 11:15 a.m. – 12 p.m., stay and enjoy a free lunch and meet your professors!

Thursday, August 29th

Part-time Job Fair
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Gordon Great Room
Need some extra cash for the semester? Join Career Services to learn about part-time work opportunities on and off campus and fill out applications.

Lazer Auditions
11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the Gordon Great Room
Want to be a part of campus photoshoots? Want to be an OCC Social Media Brand Ambassador, Social Media Reporter or play our mascot Blaze? Stop
by to audition!

Paint Night
7 – 9 p.m. at the Gordon Bistro
Come and enjoy the first Paint Night of the year with your friends! Ge there early, space fills up fast!

Friday, August 30th

Drive-in Movie: TBD
9 p.m. between Gordon and Allyn Hall Gym
Enjoy a movie under the stars with your friends!

Saturday, August 31st

Trip to the Zoo
12 – 4 p.m. at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Spend some time with the animals of Syracuse at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo! Vans will be departing from the SRC Arena at 12 p.m. & 2 p.m.

Sunday, September 1st

Miniature Golf & Ice Cream
6 – 10 p.m. at the Fairmount Glen & Carol’s Polar Parlor
Join our friends for a round of mini-golf and an ice cream! Vans will be departing from the SRC Arena at 6/7/8 p.m. and will drop off for miniature golf first and then for ice cream.

Monday, September 2nd (Labor Day)

Women’s Soccer Game
1 p.m. at Lazer Stadium
Come out and watch the Lazers compete against Adirondack Community College!

Men’s Soccer Game
3:30 p.m. at Lazer Stadium
Come out and watch the Lazers compete against Adirondack Community College!

Seph’s Survival Guide to College Living – A Blueprint or Two

So you’ve decided to apply for a room in the Residence Halls, or maybe it’s your second year, and you’re sticking around for the long haul. Congratulations! But one question that might be on your mind is, Seph, I know what room I have and what building I’m in, but what do these rooms look like? How much space do I have?

Well, anonymous reader, it just so happens that I’ve lived in two different Residence Halls during my time here: Shapiro Hall and Residence Hall B. The way I figure it, I can tell you exactly what to expect if you end up going to either one of these buildings. How many rooms, where are the bathrooms, who to talk to when that guy down the halls gets a bit too loud with his weekend party…

Shapiro Hall

Formerly known as H3 (some of the bus drivers and older staff will refer to it this way, so don’t get confused), the hall is a big, white stone building right next to Mulroy Hall on the outskirts of campus. Well, it’s separated from Mulroy Hall by a small patch of woods, but there’s a path around back that’ll take you right there, no sweat.

The front door is conveniently located right in front of the building, on the driving circle where the Lazer Line shuttle drops off students. Though there are doors on the sides facing the two parking lots, if you open them, the fire alarm goes off, and you’ll end up having a conversation with the RHA. Inside is the security office, where they’ll ask for your OCC ID card, and then let you into the Hall proper.

The first thing you’ll see is a big, metal elevator. Though it creaks and groans like a grouchy old man, it’ll get you to where you’re going, or you can use one of the two stairwells on either side of the building. Shapiro has four floors, though confusingly, the main entrance is located on the second floor. You can thank Onondaga Hill for the headache it causes every time you accidently press 1 in the elevator.

The second, third, and fourth floors all have pretty much the same layout. There’s a common area on all three floors with a water fountain, a soda machine, two big TVs, a sink, and a few comfy couches spread around. You’ll often find at least one student in there, watching TV or taking a nap. There are two big bathrooms on either side of the building, one for guys and one for girls, with two single-occupancy bathrooms in between. There’s also a kitchenette, but it’s really just a sink, an oven, and a microwave.

The second floor is where the RA office is located, in case you get locked out of your room (don’t worry, everyone does it their first semester). There’s also a small gym on the first floor, right next to the laundromat, just in case you don’t feel like making your way to the YMCA.

Residence Hall B

Located right between A and C, Residence Hall B is primarily for returning students. You guys get the cushy treatment, as B is the apartment-style housing. This means that you share what amounts to a decently-sized apartment with a few other people. Nice!

There’s ample parking space for those three Residence Halls, and the Lazer Line shuttle shows up regularly as well. Once you go in the front doors, the security booth will let you into the hall further. To your right is the laundry room, which boasts six washers and dryers each. To your left is the RA counter, where there is usually someone who can help you out.

Across from the RA counter is the elevator and the stairs. They’ll get you where you need to go, and since there are only 3 floors, you never have to walk that far to get where you need to go. On each floor, the hallway is straight, so you can see straight through to each side, where a secondary stairwell is located. Each room has a main door, which leads to the kitchen area. The kitchen has a small den room, and a hallway that leads to the bedrooms and bathrooms.

The kitchen is spacious, with a full-sized fridge, oven, and sink, lots of counter and cabinet space, and even a washing machine, though you’ll need to get your own soap. The den has a couch, two chairs, a coffee table, and a stand that can fit a huge TV for Game Night. There are two bathrooms in the hall, and two closets for storing anything you can’t fit in your room.

Speaking of rooms, there are three singles and one triple-occupancy. I live in a triple, which has three beds, three wardrobes, and three desks. The walls and doors are pretty thick, so the most you’ll get is muffled music from a noisy neighbor, and you can’t even hear the other students, unless they knock on the door. Don’t forget to attend the ceremonial burning of the room, where the college building a fake room in the parking lot and burns it down as a warning of what might happen should you start a fire!

While I can’t say much about A and C, I hope this helps you get an idea of what they layout of your Hall will be like. Life in the Halls can be pretty hectic, but it’s a lot of fun at the same time, and I hope that you’ll have a wonderful time while you study too!

SUNY Search Engine Comes To Campus

Coulter Library Chair Fantasia Thorne-Ortiz (left) and Media Specialist Dennis Thoryk (right) test a new cloud-based, SUNY system-wide search engine available to students.

The process of finding exactly what you’re looking for at Coulter Library has gotten easier for students. In July Onondaga Community College went online with a SUNY system-wide, cloud-based search engine. It provides simple, one-stop searching for books and e-books, videos, articles, digital media, and more. “This provides consistency among SUNY schools,” said Dennis Thoryk, Media Specialist at Coulter Library. “Students who walk into SUNY Oswego or SUNY Albany will be using the same system.” Thoryk oversaw the internal transition process which took about a year to complete and replaced a system which was approximately 20 years old.

Another benefit to the new system is its ability to reach beyond SUNY libraries. Thanks to an inter-library loan feature, if a student is looking for something which Coulter library doesn’t have the new search engine will also check area libraries which are not part of the SUNY system. Students using the new search system will always be receiving the latest information about what is available. “This is up to date because it’s cloud based. It’s completely different from what we used to have. It’s more secure and more up-to-date,” said Thoryk.

You can access the new search engine here.


Seph’s Survival Guide to College Living – Packing for Success

My name is Seph, and I’m a Computer Science geek living on-campus in Residence Hall B. This is my third semester at Onondaga Community College, and compared to how I was when I first enrolled here, I’ve figured out the dos and don’ts of living on campus. Let’s our series with the topic of packing!

While there is a packing list on the website, with suggested materials to bring to the residence halls on your first day, I prefer to use my own list. Having been in most of the halls over the semesters, I have a short list of the essentials that every student should own:

There’s no such thing as over-packing for college.

  • Personal food utensils. I’m talking plate and bowl here, fine china (or go cheap and get a set from the dollar store). While you can get away with plastic forks and spoons from the cafeteria, nothing beats having a sturdy plate for that leftover pizza in the fridge, or a bowl of cereal at midnight. Something easy to wash and dry, that can be shoved into a cupboard until needed. And if you’re a tea-drinker like me, a good mug is indispensable.
  • Pot. No, not the drug. A good, sturdy pot for boiling water is a great asset to a college student. Let me tell you, when midnight rolls around and the cafeteria is closed, but you have a mountain of homework to do and your stomach is grumbling, a bowl of ramen is a godsend. And remember, boiled water is perfect for a spot of tea!
  • Blankets and Pillows. Though you’ll get a mattress with the bed, that’s about it. And I doubt that a single, flimsy pillow will give your neck the proper support that it needs for a decent night’s rest. Be sure to throw in a few blankets. Better to have a nest of blankets than be shivering through the night during the Spring semester.
  • Clothing. No duh, Sherlock. What I’m talking about goes beyond the sweat pants and Uggs. If you didn’t know, this is New York. Expect constant snowfall during the winter and blazing sunshine at all other times. Pack to dress accordingly.

Residence Halls A, B, & C

  • Trashcan. Make sure to get trash bags as well. Nothing ruins the whole ‘college feel’ so much as a mountain of empty soda bottles and candy wrappers sitting on the kitchen counter. A wastebin for the bathroom also goes a long way towards keeping used Q-Tips off of the floors.
  • Toilet Brush. I have no words for this one. The bathrooms in my dorm have their own plungers for the occasional clog, but no brush for cleaning. Toilet cleaner is a must as well. And don’t forget the TP!

Shapiro Hall

  • Carpet/Mat. The floors in Shapiro are linoleum, and can get quite cold. A nice, large mat or small carpet works wonders on the cold winter nights. A set of slippers also helps for when you need to head to the bathroom.

Bug spray. It’s a sad fact, but Fall is Stink Bug season, and those little suckers manage to get into every locked room. Some Raid on hand helps to kill them off.

Bonding While Learning

Professor Kristen Costello leads students through her summer Microeconomics class in Whitney Commons.

Students get to know one another pretty quickly while taking summer classes at Onondaga Community College. Take for example Professor Kristen Costello’s Microeconomics (ECO 204) class. During the five-week session, class was held every Monday through Thursday from 8:10 to 10:10 a.m. Students worked hard while forming new friendships which sometimes extended outside the classroom. On one occasion students went from class to Panchito’s in Syracuse’s Valley section where fish tacos were the food of choice. “Everyone was invited,” said student Kristen DeFeo (Cazenovia HS). “We’re like a little family in this class.”

Summer classes on the OCC campus fulfill student’s needs for a variety of reasons. “I needed one more class to make my credit minimum for my scholarship. I had already had Professor Costello for Marketing and liked her,” said James Shea (Noble HS in North Berwick, Maine).

One student took the class because her schedule only allows her to go to school part-time. Another was trying to erase a bad grade from the first time he took a similar course at another college. Most were simply trying to get ahead and lighten their loads during the fall and spring semesters.

With a more concentrated schedule during the summer, coursework moves fast. “Classes are very intense. Because they’re smaller you get more personal attention which helps. You retain more,” said Jamison Adist (Liverpool HS).

If you are considering summer classes in future years but are concerned they will get in the way, Forrest Thompson (Living Word Academy) says that’s not the case. “I was able to take summer classes, do all of the schoolwork within the time of the class and still enjoy my summer. You aren’t going to miss out on anything taking summer classes. It’s just prioritizing your time, getting ahead of your schedule and going for it.”

Students Moving In

What to Bring & What not to Bring in the Residence Halls (Updated for 2019)

Students Moving In

Move-in Day is less than a month away. If you haven’t gotten some of the things you need for your college dorm, the next couple of weeks would be a good time to get that together. For a full list broken down by dorm, visit our What to Bring vs. What not to bring page. Each building has a little bit different rules so it’s important to check out the full list!

Here are a few major things you should bring:

  • Laptop computer
  • Surge protector
  • Bedding for XL twin bed
  • Dishes & silverware
  • Shower caddy & shoes
  • Laundry detergent & bag/basket
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Towels
  • Bathroom supplies (Toilet paper, 

And here’s what you shouldn’t bring:

  • Animals of any kind (unless an APPROVED Emotional Support Animal or Service Animal through the Office of Accessibility Resources)
  • Alcohol or other drugs and any AOD paraphernalia (including hookas)
  • Hoverboards
  • Dartboards with metal tips
  • Drums or DJ equipment
  • Extension cords or multi-plug outlets
  • Neon signs and any kind of string lights
  • Personal modems
  • Federal, state, college, local or other signs
  • Halogen lamps, lava lamps, torchiere lamps, octopus lamps, or other high-intensity lamps
  • Firearms, weapons or other dangerous instruments (paintball guns, BB guns, paintball guns, airsoft guns, knives, archery equipment, etc.)
  • Curtains, drapes, or tapestries (unless flame resistant with proof on tag)
  • Appliances with exposed coils (George Foreman Grills, Panini Grills, hotplates, etc.)
  • Candles, fireworks, explosives, charcoal/gas grills, oil lamps, incense, any combustible device, electric blankets, etc.
  • Indoor use of any athletic equipment (pull up bars, workout bench, etc.)
  • Air Conditioners and Space Heaters
  • Live-cut Christmas trees and any flammable decorations

Home Court Advantage

Fourteen of the 24 members of the crew which produced The Basketball Tournament telecasts for the ESPN family of networks were OCC alumni and/or faculty members. Most of them are pictured (above) at center court in the SRC Arena before the start of the tournament.

Onondaga Community College didn’t have a team competing in The Basketball Tournament, but thanks to a team of OCC Alumni and Faculty, all of the games were broadcast on the ESPN family of networks. When the $2 million dollar winner-take-all competition was held in OCC’s SRC Arena on the last weekend of July, 14 of the 24 television production crew members were affiliated with the College. “It was great national exposure for the campus and our Electronic Media Communications (EMC) program,” said class of 1983 and faculty member Tony Vadala. “We had graduates from 1971 to 2019 working together during the tournament.”

Dan Roach, ’79 operated a camera during the The Basketball Tournament.

The on-court headliner in the tournament was “Boeheim’s Army,” a team comprised mostly of former Syracuse University basketball players. Several team members play professionally abroad and enjoyed the opportunity to return to Central New York and reunite with former teammates. “It’s unique to have the basketball players coming back to their city where they went to college and a group of people returning to their alma mater to televise that very event,” said Mark Ballard, an OCC faculty member who works as a director on broadcasts across the region.

One of the crew members who returned home was Dan Roach (Liverpool HS), a 1979 graduate of OCC who operated a camera throughout the tournament. Roach still lives in Central New York but travels most often when he works for the Golf Channel and ESPN. “We all appreciate that we came from OCC and had the same learning experience. OCC was always about being hands-on which is how we learned the business so well. It wasn’t theory based, it was hands-on.”

Tommy Valentine, ’19 worked as a statistician during The Basketball Tournament.

Tommy Valentine was the youngest crew member to excel in OCC’s hands-on EMC program. The Chittenango High School graduate earned his OCC degree in May of this year. He was also named the top student in the EMC major. Valentine developed his skills quickly at OCC. “The first time you walked into the TV studio it was daunting. You had all of these lights and buttons and everything going on. They brought us right in, got us familiar with everything and our comfort with the equipment grew exponentially as we went on in the first semester. Before long it was, ‘okay I know how to do everything because we’ve gotten this practice right out of the gate.’ They let us make mistakes and learn what we needed to learn.”

Throughout Valentine’s two years on campus he took every opportunity to work on sports broadcasts. He was a behind-the-scenes regular at Syracuse University Football and Basketball games. He also worked at the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame inductions in Cooperstown the weekend before the TBT Tournament. He always found himself on live broadcasts with OCC faculty members which added to their credibility in the classroom. “To be able to listen to my professors in class and watch them execute it, to practice what they’re teaching, I knew if I followed their advice I could get to where they are. I knew what they were teaching was legitimate.”

Next month Valentine will transfer to St. Bonaventure University and major in Broadcast Journalism. He’s looking forward to new opportunities there, and to crossing paths with former Lazers while working at future sporting events. “OCC alumni are the best in the business. Every production I’ve worked on has included OCC alumni. The fact I get to be part of that prestigious culture means a lot to me. Professor Tony Vadala always says, ‘coast to coast, border to border, the OCC alumni are all over the country.’ To be part of that family means a lot to me.”

In the days leading up to the TBT Tournament, Valentine was a guest on a special iPhone edition of our podcast, “Higher Ed News You Can Use from Onondaga Community College.” You can listen to the podcast here.

Starting College In The Summer

Ali Thabet graduated from Westhill High School in June. He started his first year of college early, spending his summer on the OCC campus taking a Pre-Calculus class. He is pictured in the Mechanical Technology lab which is located in the Whitney Applied Technology Center on the OCC campus.

Ali Thabet has a head start on his freshman year of college. Shortly after receiving his high school diploma at Westhill, Thabet took advantage of Onondaga Community College’s robust list of summer offerings and began taking a Pre-Calculus class on the OCC campus. “I wanted to jump into my major this fall. I wanted to get started as soon as I can and graduate in two years.”

When the fall semester begins Thabet plans to enroll in an engineering related major. He’ll return having successfully completed coursework and with a familiarity with campus. “It will be an advantage to know where things are and already have a difficult class behind me. I got used to the campus very quickly.”

Thabet’s father, Nagib, persuaded him to come to OCC based on his own positive experience. Nagib earned his associate degree here in Mathematics & Sceince in 2002, transferred to Le Moyne College and today works as a Physician’s Assistant. “He said OCC would be a good start for me. He paid less but still got a great education. It’s exactly what I plan on doing.”

Ali Thabet’s goal is to earn his degree in two years and continue his education at Syracuse University.