[video] Deadlock and Disillusionment Delivers at Friends of CSI 40th Anniversary Literary Brunch

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdGMShaSAJU[/youtube]More than 100 members of the College of Staten Island (CSI) and local communities attended The Friends of CSI 40th Anniversary Literary Brunch featuring CSI Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Gary Reichard, who offered his observations on politics in a presentation titled “Paralysis and Polarization.”

The signature event is the organization’s annual fundraiser, and drew members of the Friends from the past 40 years, including past Presidents Norma D’Arrigo and Christine Cea, and current acting President Carol Berardi.

View the CSI Today Photo Gallery>

Dr. Reichard utilized his recently published book, Deadlock and Disillusionment: American Politics since 1968, as a springboard for the discussion. The book is part of Wiley Blackwell’s American History Series, in which Reichard has already published a volume on the Truman and Eisenhower presidencies.

Beginning with a brief outline of the afternoon agenda, Dr. Reichard noted that he would not be commenting on the specifics of current campaigns, but rather discussing political history in general to lay the groundwork for panelists to discuss more current events.

“Our downhill slide to where we find ourselves in 2016 has been marked by accumulating dysfunctions over the whole period, the whole course of the administrations of the past five presidents,” he stated, as he introduced the what he believes are the five most important mileposts: Nixon: The Southern Strategy in Watergate; Reagan: Culture Wars and Iran Contra; Clinton: Government Shutdowns and Perpetual Scandals; Bush: Election by Supreme Court and WMDs; and Obama: The Party of “No” and the Revival of Race Issues.

“The current campaign between our two unprecedentedly unpopular major party candidates has introduced new issues into the mix, but essentially we are living through the same battle between red America and blue America that these recent elections battles have reflected,” noted Dr. Reichard as he discussed the challenges in the U.S. political system today.

The presentation was followed by an audience discussion moderated by Professor Rich Flanagan, which included Tom Wrobleski from the Staten Island Advance, and Francis Barry, columnist on politics and U.S. domestic policy for Bloomberg View.

“In a lecture informed by a mastery of contemporary American politics, Dr. Reichard provided a superb account of the failure of Washington politics to deliver policies informed by a sense of compromise and the common good,” noted Flanagan.  “The academics and journalists on the panel tangled over the role of social media as a driver of contemporary campaigns. The audience asked great questions. If only the current campaign season could match the quality and thoughtfulness of the luncheon brunch.”

More information on Deadlock and Disillusionment: American Politics since 1968 is available on the Wiley Website.

The Friends of CSI began in 1976 as a group of community members who support the College’s Mission and who promote and execute programs to involve the community in the educational and cultural activities of CSI. Most significantly, their efforts have assisted generations of students with scholarship support, making their dreams of a college degree accessible and affordable.

[video] CSI Students to Launch Satellite

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOow2ae61xE&t=5s[/youtube]The Astrophysical Observatory at the College of Staten Island (CSI) has been a project magnet where undergraduates have explored various research inquires. Recent endeavors include monitoring solar flares as they hit the Earth, communication with geostationary satellites and polar weather satellites, and hunting and tracking dangerous asteroids, to name a few.

The current satellite project is led by CSI alumnus Karl Francis with student members of the Society of Woman Engineers and other STEM majors participating in the undertaking.

“As a professor who believes research participation for undergraduates is very important for their college experience, I have, over the years, helped launched numerous such projects,” commented Irving Robbins, Associate Professor of Engineering Science and Physics at CSI.

The project consists of a few phases. First is the construction of the satellite (students have used 3D printers to model aspects of it). Next, they installed electronics to monitor the satellite motion and rotational aspects. As the satellite, which will be in a decaying orbit, moves to its ultimate demise within a few months, notional data will be stored on board. The students are using the CSI Observatory’s nine-foot radio dish to track the satellite when it passes over Staten Island and collect the notional data of the satellite’s decay. The students are hoping that the data gained will help in the study of a serious problem of space debris, and they plan to send the data to NASA, as well as military officials and other agencies working on this issue.

Initial monies to buy the materials came from a PSC CUNY Grant and CSI Observatory funds. These funds will be used to pay for the launch from an island south of Fiji next year.

“Projects like this and the many others developed by CSI faculty not only are great motivators, but also help STEM-subject students get a first-rate education at our College,” Robbins said.




[videos, gallery] CSI pathway remembers Willowbrook’s sad past, eyes future

Geraldo Rivera, Michael Cusick, and William J. Fritz joined together for the groundbreaking and launch of the Williowbrook Mile walking and remembrance trail.

STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE – Almost 30 years after the Willowbrook State School for the developmentally disabled closed its doors and released its patients from deplorable conditions, a new pathway at the site of the former facility will unite the sad past with an optimistic future.

Now on the 383 acres that made up the state school is the College of Staten Island, Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council and the Elizabeth Connelly Resource Center, all of which have collaborated to create the Willowbrook Mile, a path a little more than a mile long that winds through the campus. Ten stations along the pathway have signs with information about the Willowbrook site. They will later include interactive kiosks, some with audio/visual components.

Learn more about The Willowbrook Mile Collaboration [PDF] and the view the Willowbrook Mile Photo Gallery>

Diane Buglioli, Michael Kress, Bernard Carabello, Geraldo Rivera, Michael Cusick, and William J. Fritz cut the ribbon in between Stations 1 and 2 of the Willowbrook Mile.

A groundbreaking took place at the site on Wednesday morning, with TV journalist Geraldo Rivera among the guests to speak about the horrible conditions of the institution that closed in 1987.

While the Advance had written stories in the 1970s about the conditions for children and adults, it wasn’t until Rivera’s expose’ with Eyewitness News that folks off the Island took notice.

View the Willowbrook Mile website>

Rivera met Bernard Carabello, then a young man, while he was living at Willowbrook and remained in touch with him all these years. Both attended the groundbreaking.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TahJZ6GpgAk[/youtube]Carabello left the institution at age 21 and now at 66, he is wheelchair-bound and lives an independent life.

“The amazing thing is how normal his life is,” Rivera said, after being in a place for so long that devalued human life and saw it as something to hide away.

Seeing the crowded, unclean conditions in which people lived at Willowbrook “still weighs on my psyche, on my heart,” he said.

“They were warehousing people with disabilities here,” Rivera explained. “They were getting them out of sight … it was concentration camp-like.”

While life “was being squandered” behind the walls of the buildings, now the deinstitutionalization of disabled people allows them to live in their communities with appropriate care.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3w7L9kScuLg[/youtube]The path represents celebrating everything that has changed, yet remembering what happened, Rivera said.

Former Willowbrook employee Diane Buglioli was among the several speakers at Wednesday’s groundbreaking.

She is deputy executive director of A Very Special Place, a not-for-profit that provides services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and recalled her first day of work at Willowbrook in 1969.

She was given a heavy steel key that she keeps to this day — she held it up, banged it against the microphone, dropped it on the podium to demonstrate its weight and density.

It was to be used to unlock door after door — heavy, steel doors at the institution.

On her first day, going through all the locked doors, she grew concerned that she might be in jeopardy from whatever lay behind the doors.

“What have I gotten myself into, maybe this was not such a good idea,” she remembers thinking.

Opening up the last door, “I found behind it 40 toddlers,” she said. “Some smiling, some asking me my name, others were silent, just looking at me. Some walked toward me, some were lying in wooden carts and some were sitting on the floor. But they all shared one undeniable truth: they were all little children. To this day, I can still feel the twinge in my stomach thinking to myself, ‘Why are these kids locked behind these doors?'”

“Having seen such injustice, one must ensure it is not repeated,” she said. “No one should be isolated, deprived of care and the tools to thrive and live a productive life simply because they require some assistance to do so.”

At the time, state Sen. John Marchi, Assemblywoman Elizabeth Connelly and Assemblyman Eric Vitaliano championed the closing of the facility, something that Assemblyman Michael Cusick noted on Wednesday.

He secured $125,000 for the project and said, “I wish I could be a third of the legislator those three were.”

Speaking of Connelly, a fierce advocate for the disabled, Cusick said to the stakeholders, “I know that she’s very proud right now of all of you for this project that we are going to start today … she wanted to make sure that the future generations knew exactly what happened here and what is happening presently and in the future. It’s her legacy, I believe, that lives on with a project like this.”

Written by Rachel Shapiro for the Staten Island Advance and published September 14, 2016 on www.silive.com. It is reprinted here with permission.  

[video] CSI #18 Best-Bang-for-the-Buck College in the Northeast

CSI ranked 18th out of 386 schools in the Northeast category, from a national sample of 1,406 institutions; and 66th for Adult Learners.

Washington Monthly has just announced its 2016 “America’s Best-Bang-for-the-Buck Colleges,” and the College of Staten Island (CSI) is ranked 18th out of 386 schools in the Northeast category, from a national sample of 1,406 institutions. CSI ranked 66th for Adult Learners.

Washington Monthly’s rankings are geared toward helping non-wealthy students choose the best college, one where they can attain highly marketable degrees with affordable tuition.

“Alumni salary potential, low student loan debt, and a deep commitment to enrolling and graduating first-generation students are all hallmarks of CSI, and a primary criteria for these rankings,” commented William J. Fritz, PhD, President of the College. “The Mission of The City University of New York and the College of Staten Island is to provide access to high-quality and affordable education, which is particularly critical during these challenging economic times. There are no institutions in the country that provide broader access than CUNY and I am proud that this ranking also clearly demonstrates that our quality is second to none.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0Gej_jaONU[/youtube] Dr. Fritz added that last year, 75% of CSI students graduated free from federal student loan debt and 57% of full-time students attended tuition free. During the last five years, nearly 6,000 students had paid internships, with more than $5 million awarded as scholarships, grants, and other merit- or need-based student support.

Faculty members remain at the heart of the CSI student experience, and are a major contributing factor to student success. As of last year, 86% of full-time faculty have a terminal degree, many from highly prestigious colleges across the country, and many have been named Guggenheim and Fulbright fellows. CSI faculty members also receive grant-based research dollars from prestigious federal organizations such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, and have been recognized by President Obama with the highest honor for early career research excellence. This research and support provides CSI students with real-world, hands-on research opportunities, and many students have co-authored academic papers with their faculty mentors and often present their research worldwide.

In 2015, CSI ranked 326 on the list, which represents a monumental leap to being ranked 18 in 2016.  The College’s deepening commitment to its motto “Opportunity and Challenge,” embraces the social mobility philosophy through programs such as the Percy Ellis Sutton SEEK program designed for students who have the potential to succeed in college, but benefit from enhanced academic support and financial assistance, and CUNY Service Corps. According to the Washington Monthly College Webpage regarding their revised methodology this year, “The social mobility portion of the rankings changed significantly this year in response to newly available data on student outcomes from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, with four of the eight factors contributing to the social mobility score coming from the Scorecard data. A college’s graduation rate (from the IPEDS) counted for 20 percent of the social mobility score.” This is the first year that Washington Monthly had access to deeper data regarding students’ economic outcomes due to the College Scorecard, and the fourth year of publishing college rankings.

The College Scorecard shows, for the first time, how much students earn ten years after enrolling at a given college and whether they’re paying down at least some of their loan principal. The Scorecard also reveals the percent of first-generation students each college enrolls, a key measure of its commitment to opportunity.

Community service was a key measurement as well, with Washington Monthly equally weighting military service, alumni Peace Corps enrollment, national and community service, federal work-study grant money spent on community service projects, and the percentage of students performing community service.

View the complete list of Best-Bang-for-the-Buck colleges on the Washington Monthly Website.

Washington Monthly has published their complete methodology online.


[videos] CSI Student Artwork Brightens Local School Hallways

In another example of the College of Staten Island (CSI)’s seamless collaboration with the Staten Island community, an art internship project between CSI and PS 3, The Margaret Gioiosa School, has culminated in a mural installation at the Prince’s Bay school. CSI student James Merlis was welcomed by PS 3 Principal Elmer Myers this week for the unveiling of his artwork, which will adorn the grammar school’s second grade hallway.

“This was a very successful partnership in that it allowed a CSI student to give back to the community with his talents and passion. We would not have been able to identify a student with the requisite skills on our own,” commented Myers, adding that the mural project “has inspired our students to read more.”

Merlis, who is slated to graduate in January 2017 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Art in the recently established BFA in Art Degree program, will also work at PS 3 over the summer months to create a mural for the fourth grade hallway. The current murals include artistic interpretations of classic literary characters such as Mr. Toad, the Grinch, and Flat Stanley as well as an eight-foot-tall blue heron, the school’s mascot.

CSI Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Gary Reichard addressed his audience of “our youngest Staten Islanders” at the ceremony in the school’s library where he also thanked the artist and the principal.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTNXDcZ5Vbs[/youtube]“I’m very proud of James, and I applaud Principal Myers for having the vision to know this project would be a great thing,” said Reichard, adding that collaboration between CSI and all Staten Island schools is something that will continue to blossom.

“CSI has students from all over the world, and it is also rooted in the Staten Island community. There is nothing better we can do than to reach out and touch and be a part of the schools in our community,” he commented.

The partnership between the Performing and Creative Arts department and CSI was coordinated by Professor Marianne Weil.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmOFrgNS2EY[/youtube]“Through the PS 3 mural project, James worked tirelessly towards his studio art objectives as student-artist and specifically as a mural painter. Field experience and internships are our students’ first significant means to strengthen their career path and provide a gateway to a profession. These experiences help cement our student goals,” noted Weil. “This is a wonderful testament to the value of field work and internship experience while an undergraduate in the BFA in Art program at CSI.”

Director of the Office of Enrollment Services Mario D’Alessandro, whose two children both attend PS 3, was particularly impressed with the project. “I encourage other schools, organizations, and companies to consider ways they can collaborate in a mutually beneficial manner with CSI, whether through independent study courses or internships, to help educate and prepare the next generation of CSI graduates,” D’Alessandro urged.

Myers explained the process of the project, which included input from PS 3 teachers. “Our second grade teachers worked with Merlis to identify literary works that would both be appropriate and inspirational to the students. Merlis then selected books, added his artistic vision, and transformed the bleak hallway into a colorful literary world,” explained Myers.

No one was as excited by the unique and magical artwork than the PS 3 students themselves. One student, Serge, wrote that, “When I look at the pictures, it just makes me happy…The paintings on the wall always make me dream that I am in it with the nice, kind characters.”

Shachi reflects that, “When I see the murals, I feel like I am in the murals… When I see the Grinch, I feel like I want to turn his frown upside down.”

Noah added, “…the art is beautiful because it makes me feel like I’m inside of the books.”

“When I walk down the hallway, I feel like the pictures are jumping out at me,” exclaimed KJ.

Damian loves that, “… the school murals are amazing… I think this amazing artist did a fantastic job.”

The humble artist simply commended Myers, CSI, and his long-time mentor, Weil for their support and looked to the future of contributing his creativity to the community. “It’s been a wild ride, and I’m thankful for this opportunity to utilize my skills and artistry to portray literacy for the students. I’m also thankful that I can continue this project at PS 3.”


[video] Christina Tufano named CUNYAC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year

The CUNY Athletic Conference awarded its 2016 Scholar Athletes of the Year last night at the 30th Annual Michael Steuerman Scholar-Athlete Dinner held at Queens College, which featured as its headliner Christina Tufano as the conference’s Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.  Hunter College wrestling star Dennis Melendez won on the men’s side of the senior college division, while CSI’s Sabrina Bragerton-Nasert (women’s tennis) and Greg Manassa (baseball) took home Honorable Mention honors.

The College of Staten Island’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Tufano has been a stalwart for the Dolphins’ four-time defending CUNYAC Champion Softball team, never missing a start in her career at third base.  A former CUNYAC Player of the Year and an All-Star every season, Tufano’s excellence on the diamond runs side-by-side with her proficiency in the classroom. A Psychology major, she boasts a 3.841 GPA as a Dean’s List scholar while serving as a Physical Therapy Aide with the Rehabilitation Physical Therapy Association of Staten Island.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7olUoshbLEc[/youtube]Christina crushed the record books in softball, breaking CSI career records this year in hits, RBIs, and doubles, and came within a single digit of tying more career records in at-bats and triples.  This season alone, she led the softball team in hitting, RBI, hits, triples, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. “The coaches always encourage hard work ethic on and off the field. I put a lot of pressure on myself, and our coaches always support us and make the game fun. They know how to get the best out of us,” Tufano said. Her inspiration not only comes from her coaches and teammates but Tufano owes a lot of her success to her family. “My parents and my brother are always there for me and support every decision I make. They come to every game, my dad came out to Texas earlier in the season. He’s my #1 fan.”

When reflecting back on her time spent at CSI and in the CUNYAC, Tufano says, “It was the best decision of my life; I can balance everything. I can work, play and excel in the classroom. I love what I do.” All told, Christina’s ability to not just manage, but excel in the academic and athletic arenas have left her as an inspiration for the entire student-athlete body and with the completion of her career, she will leave an enormous void on a team and program that has been synonymous with CUNYAC excellence for some time.

Tufano’s story was featured in a video segment at the dinner shown below.  She was presented by her Head Coach, Dr. Stella Porto, and was joined by CSI President Dr. William J. Fritz and Chief of Staff Kenichi Iwama at the dinner.  Tufano is only the third female recipient of this major award as CSI, Joining Gabriele Nagy in 1999 and Ilona Stoyko in 2014.

[video] Cusick: Assembly proposal seeks tuition freeze for CUNY, SUNY

Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Mid-Island) in the College of Staten Island Library's Volpe Rotunda announces the Assembly budget proposal that calls for a two-year tuition freeze for CUNY and SUNY colleges. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Crawford)

STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE — A proposed state budget resolution will include a two-year tuition freeze for all City University and State University of New York colleges, according to Assemblyman Michael Cusick.

Cusick (D-Mid-Island) met with College of Staten Island President Dr. William Fritz and students on CSI’s Willowbrook campus Friday to discuss the budget resolution.

The tuition freeze is included as part of a proposed $1.7 billion allocation for higher education in New York State, Cusick said.

It will be part of budget negotiations with the state Senate and Governor Andrew Cuomo.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_W65FgUBik4[/youtube]”This proposal represents our unwavering commitment to provide a high-quality education at a reasonable cost for every student in our state,” Cusick said.

The $1.7 billion represents a 20 percent increase in funding for the CUNY-SUNY system, including $32 million for educational opportunity programs for middle- and low-income students, and $15.8 million for science and technology programs to encourage students to pursue careers in those fields, he said.

“I applaud the dedication to public higher education demonstrated by all our elected officials on Staten Island and in the Assembly during this challenging budget cycle,” Fritz said.

He thanked Cusick for his “support and advocacy for a robust budget for the College of Staten Island and the City University of New York to benefit our students, faculty, and staff.”

The CSI campus is part of Cusick’s district.

Cusick said the Assembly also proposes to increase the maximum Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) award to $5,265 per student, an increase of $100 from the previous year.

“TAP has meant so much to countless students and their families as they prepare for their higher education” Cusick said.

“Not only maintaining, but increasing the award amount is critical to making sure our students have every chance to attend and succeed at New York City and State institutions.”

This story was written by Diane C. Lore for the Staten Island Advance and www.silive.com March 11, 2016 and is reprinted here with permission.

[video] Ava Chin featured on Food@CUNY

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOfaBqT331Q[/youtube]Associate Professor of English Ava Chin, the former New York Times Urban Forager columnist and author of Eating Wildly, is featured on CUNY’s Study with the Best episode Food@CUNY.

Dr. Chin’s recent book, Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love, and the Perfect Meal (Simon & Schuster, 2014), is a food memoir about being raised in Flushing, NY by a single mother and loving Chinese grandparents. Eating Wildly reveals how foraging and the DIY-food movement helped the author to reconcile her past and taught her important lessons in self-reliance.

Dr. Chin’s segment begins at 6:10. View on youtube.com>