Dean of the CSI School of Health Sciences Marcus Tye commented on the dedication of CSI Nursing alumni during these difficult times, “I offer my heartfelt gratitude and admiration for CSI’s many thousands of Nursing alumni who are on the front lines, providing compassionate and essential clinical care at great personal risk in these most difficult of times. For each of these selfless contributions we recognize from our brave nursing, health sciences, human services, social work, and other alumni, we know there are thousands more whose sacrifices we may never hear but whose efforts have saved lives.”
The English Language Institute (ELI) at the College of Staten Island is offering free English classes via Facebook Live videos and Zoom meetings. These free short sessions are offered to any student around the world who may want to learn or practice English. There are even sessions explained in Spanish and English at the same time to help Spanish speakers understand the class.
Many English language centers around the world are closed and not many students will have the chance to return to face-to-face English classes or have the means to attend online instruction. According to the British Council, two billion English learners were expected for 2020, more than a quarter of the world’s population. Many students who wanted to come to the United States to learn English have canceled their plans amid the COVID-19 health crisis.
ELI switched its 2020 Spring semester to online instruction. The students who were already learning English on campus are now on Zoom classes with ELI teachers. The great benefit is that they continue to have synchronous instruction and the same courses. Every day, ELI teachers are live with students covering topics such as reading, writing, conversation, and a TOEFL preparation course. Students are from Brazil, Colombia, Chile, China, Germany, Guatemala, Israel, Ivory Coast, Japan, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, South Korea, and Ukraine.
ELI also wanted to help students who were about to arrive in New York this summer and those who had their English classes canceled in their home countries. ELI organized short classes on its Facebook page and with Zoom meetings, and the first class immediately had nearly 1,000 views. ELI teachers will cover different topics every week and for different English levels (beginner, intermediate, and advanced).
ELI Director, Gonzalo Villena, was surprised with the first class audience. “We had students watching from Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Poland, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and even different cities in the U.S.”, according to the ELI Director. “Our goal is to help everyone who wants to practice some English, help those who had their English classes canceled in their countries, or whoever wants to have a good time during quarantine at home,” he added.
Since the first class was really successful with Spanish speakers, ELI extended an additional class explained in Spanish and English simultaneously. “The classes are explained 100 per cent in English on Tuesdays and half Spanish, half English on Wednesdays,” Villena mentioned. The goal is to reach as many students as possible and provide help using online instruction.
Classes are broadcast live on the ELI Facebook page and Zoom every week at 3:00pm, New York time, but students in different time zones can watch the class any time since they are recorded and they have free access on the Facebook page. ELI is also uploading the class on its YouTube channel so anyone can enjoy the topic they want to see. The first class is already available in this YouTube link. If you want to subscribe to the YouTube channel and receive notifications of new classes, you can always go to its channel.
ELI invites everyone to watch the next class. If you want to join from Facebook or Zoom, you just need to see the events posted on ELI Facebook, ELI Instagram, ELI Twitter, ELI LinkedIn, or on the CSI or CUNY Websites. For those who want to join with Zoom from a computer or laptop, they just need to click on the Zoom link and watch the class directly; those who join with Zoom from their cell phones need to download the app and add the meeting code number (number posted on Facebook and other social media posts).
Jonathan Saquicili ’15, an alumnus of the Lucille and Jay
Chazanoff School of Business, and currently Project Manager at Merkle, an
NYC-based marketing agency, has decided to use his expertise to lend
desperately needed assistance to small businesses in the food and beverage
industry through Volunteer Marketing Clinics.
According to Saquicili, he “started the Volunteer Marketing
Clinic as a way to give back to the community. The agency I work for is helping
its clients prepare for once this pandemic clears and I want to do the same for
the small businesses that may not be able to afford the [marketing services of]
the WPPs or Dentsus of the world. I understand that businesses need money to
keep afloat, but I believe that a good marketing strategy can help them get
back on their feet as well.
“The clinic,” Saquicili continued, “is made up of close
friends I’ve made while working in advertising. These folks have worked on
beauty, automotive, financial, travel, and entertainment clients. We offer
audits, best practices, and strategies gained from our experience with our
clients. Right now, we are able to consult on organic and paid social media,
email marketing, content marketing, audience strategy, and advanced analytics.”
So far, Saquicili reported, the clinics are going well. “As
we work to ramp up our client roster, we are seeing some positive results. One
of our clients received an organic social strategy that has now had them rank
in the top results for their niche. We’re even seeing engagement increase by
more than 200%.”
Looking to the future of this effort, Saquicili said that “Through my @meetmeinmytummy [Instagram food] page, I am hoping that I can provide a limited number of businesses with a complimentary photo shoot to highlight their staff and menu items. I believe this will allow me to connect with local businesses and help me tell their story. The bonus here is that I am multilingual and can publish content in different languages.”
Kevin Ferger, who graduated with honors last year from the Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business, has started a GoFundMe page to raise money for his company to 3D print facemasks during the COVID-19 crisis.
Ferger is the head of Marketing at Staten Island-based
Solvelight Robotics, and also the founder of Maxim Blu LLC where he serves as a
consultant to help high-growth firms maintain their growth strategy and
overcome the obstacles associated with rapid expansion.
Ferger explained that the social entrepreneurship effort at
Solvelight started when “My good friend, and also the head of Finance, at Solvelight
Robotics, Ruvin Fidman, came up with the idea. He has a great knowledge of 3D
printing and very quickly realized that we could convert our 3D printer
inventory to equipment and start printing masks. A lot of us at Solvelight
Robotics have many friends and family in the healthcare industry and so we
really all felt a certain need to do what we can to help out. We pitched the
idea to Richmond University Medical Center and they were on board to have their
infection prevention department test our masks. They passed inspection and we
This is where Ferger came with GoFundMe. “We really just
figured that if we wanted to help out this badly that there must be other
people we could work with to make an even bigger difference. The idea was that
we wanted to make it easy for anyone to help out during this crisis. So
GoFundMe was perfect because people can help a lot by simply donating and we
could do our part by providing expertise and labor.”
So far, fundraising has been going well with a total of
almost $2K raised. Ferger stated that “We’ve been at it for a week or so and
have printed over 400 face shields. We have plans to print 1-2K face shields in
total but if the demand is still there after that, we will of course continue.
We really hope that we don’t need to though and would like for this pandemic to
Now that Solvelight is producing the masks, Ferger said that
“We make regular shipments to Richmond University Medical Center, a variety of
smaller local healthcare practices on Staten Island that requested to not be
named, Marbletown Fire Department, and the Wayne County Jail/Sheriff’s office.
We’ll be releasing a full list on our GoFundMe page once we get permission to
use the names of everyone we’ve donated to.”
Those who are interested in supporting Ferger’s efforts to keep people on the frontlines of the pandemic safe can visit his GoFundMe page.
During this Coronavirus
(COVID-19) Crisis, the Staten Island Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
at the College of Staten Island is dedicated to the NYS Mission of providing
customized solutions through advisement, education, research, and advocacy for
entrepreneurs, innovators, and the small and medium enterprise community. Their
team of certified advisors is experienced in Disaster Relief Counseling and
they are available remotely to provide small business owners with the guidance
they need in these trying times of uncertainty.
On a “normal” day, the SBDC
provides counseling and advisement on writing a business plan, conducting
market research, developing marketing strategies, managing financial
statements, obtaining procurement opportunities, and most importantly right
now, creating disaster and cyber security plans.
With active grant and loan
programs being offered through the Small Business Administration and NYC for
COVID-19 financial support, many small business owners are requesting guidance to
navigate through the various forms and documentation required for these
applications. The SI SBDC Team has handled more than 600 inquiries so far from
the small business community, requesting assistance on how to keep their
businesses alive and how to support their staff.
Borough business owners are
happy for the SBDC’s assistance.
Dave Fazio, owner of Deville
Auto on Staten Island and a client of the SBDC who was counseled by senior
certified business advisor Ed Piszko, commented, “Ed has guided and channeled
me through the maze of paper work involved in the application process for the
various COVID-19 assistance programs. It is great to have one go-to person who
is available to assist, as opposed to having to reach out to several people.
With the SBDC’s assistance, I have been accepted and approved for a PPP
[Paycheck Protection Program] loan from a local bank. I have a valuable
relationship with the SBDC and look to maintain it.”
Josh Schneps, a longtime SBDC
client, who is the CEO and Co-publisher of Schneps Media, described the value
of his relationship with George Telmany, a senior certified business advisor at
the SBDC with extensive disaster experience. “I am enormously grateful for your
support and the support of the SBDC during this terrible time. You have been
there for me to answer questions critical to our decision making and guided me
with the application process which enabled me to get funding promptly. During
difficult times is when you are needed most and I can’t thank you enough for all
you have done and continue to do.”
The SI SBDC Team is also
actively working with local resource partners and political representatives to
keep the community connected with vital resources. By producing Webinars with
the latest available information, including one with more than 200 attendees in
partnership with the SBA, hosted by Congressman Max Rose, the SBDC remains on
the forefront of this situation on behalf of small business owners throughout
the 11th Congressional District. Webinar offerings will continue to expand over
the next few weeks.
Considering the extent of the
SBDC’s assistance during this difficult time, SBDC Director Dean Balsamini said
that he “is proud of the hard work my team has been doing on behalf of small
businesses during this crisis, as they have smoothly transitioned to a work at
Funded in part through a
Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, all services
provided by the SBDC are at no cost to the small business owner.
Two alumnae from the College of Staten Island and the Center for Global Engagement, one near San Jose, CA and the other on Staten Island, connected to achieve something very special during these difficult times—providing area medical facilities with much-needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.
when Qimei Luo ’11, Head of Marketing and PR at Lino Network in Cupertino, CA,
took it upon herself to fundraise among her friends and connections on social
media to secure the equipment from Asia, which includes N95 masks, so that it
could be redirected to medical facilities in the U.S. that desperately needed
Winnie Brophy of CSI’s Center for Global Engagement learned of Luo’s initiative via social media and connected Luo with Phuong Nguyen ’04, ’08, a nurse at Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH) North Division-Northwell Health. Nguyen then contacted her supervisors who okayed receipt of 3,000 PPE. If there is continued need at SIUH, Luo will continue to work with Nguyen to forward additional supplies.
thanks to Luo’s efforts, South Beach Psychiatric Center gained 900 masks and
the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in Manhattan received 1,000 masks. Luo
also secured masks for Montefiore Medical Center ICU in the Bronx and the Lehigh
Valley Health Network in PA.
One of the
professionals to directly benefit from these efforts is Robert Miller ‘11, a
social worker aide at South Beach Psychiatric who is also a Center for Global
Engagement alumnus. He commented that “It’s been a tremendous help to have the
support of CSI alumni. Qimei has been running around getting thousands of masks
donated across the country! I’m so thankful for her and all of her donors
coming together at a time like now to make sure hospital workers have the
protection they need to do their jobs. Its inspiring to see so many examples of
compassion right now!
on the efforts of Luo and Nguyen, Brophy said, “I am very proud of our CSI
alumni, Phuong and Qimei helping each other over 3,000 miles away. I am proud
of their initiatives of helping each other, especially since I knew them since
they were freshmen. It always makes you feel good when you know you’re helping.
It is wonderful to find how ordinary people are working together to do
extraordinary things. It doesn’t matter how big or how small!”
Luo has raised more than $40,000 toward this effort and has supplied PPE not only to medical institutions in NYC, but also in Los Angeles and MA. She continues to raise funds to keep this effort going.
SI LIVE -Monsignor Farrell combo guard Justin Zieris received a fair share of interest for his services as he looked for a place to continue his basketball career at the next level. Read more at SI Live.
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, staff from CSI’s
Office of Dining Services continued to serve the College’s students and
essential personal who remained on campus for as long as possible. As strict
social-distancing rules, announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo, necessitated the
closure of the College’s Dolphin Cove residence halls on March 27, there was a
surplus of used food. Robert Kee of the Office of Student Life, who also
manages the College’s food pantry, sought out SI Project Hospitality and
coordinated an effort to donate the surplus to the local charitable
On Wednesday April 1, 2020 the Reverend Terry Troia
and an assistant from SI Project Hospitality arrived at the College’s loading
area where they were greeted by Kee and Jodi Merendino of Dining Services. SI
Project Hospitality received more than 50 cases of fresh produce and dairy
items from the College, which will be used to ease the growing food insecurity among
community members in need.
CSI President William J.
Fritz noted that “this is but one example of the College’s commitment to Borough
Stewardship, one of six Strategic Priorities of CSI’s Strategic Plan, Opportunity
to Ascend, in addition to possibly serving as a site that will provide
medical support to the Island in the midst of this crisis. Through this
pandemic and beyond, the College will continue to work tirelessly to not only
provide our students with an affordable, high-quality education, but we
continue to strive to bolster the economic, social, and cultural needs of all
Merendino reports that “We will continue to remain
in contact with SI Project Hospitality and will organize additional donations
as they become available.”
According to its Website, “It is the mission of Project Hospitality, Inc. to reach out to community members who are hungry, homeless or otherwise in need in order to work with them to achieve their self-sufficiency — thereby enhancing the quality of life for our community. Project Hospitality seeks to realize its mission both by advocating for those in need and by establishing a comprehensive continuum of care that begins with the provision of food, clothing and shelter and extends to other services which include health care, mental health, alcohol and substance abuse treatment, HIV care, education, vocational training, legal assistance, and transitional and permanent housing.