Oneonta students have been taking this year by storm. Whether it is athletics, philanthropy, or academic competitions, our students continue to excel and grow. Our Class of 2019 preserved our tradition of volunteering and giving back to our community before classes even began this year! One of the projects our incoming class initiated included teaming up with the Hearts of Hope Foundation and writing personal messages of encouragement to children’s hospitals, veterans groups, cancer survivors, and communities touched by tragedy.

Following their lead, our Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity conducted its second annual Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registration. Last year, the drive was deemed the first ever in Upstate New York’s history, and due to its success, the event was continued this year. With over 150 student volunteers, our students were able to register over five-hundred participants in hopes of finding bone marrow matches for those suffering from life-threatening illnesses. We were even able to raise $500 for the Gift of Life foundation.

Along with innovating in service drives, our students leaders have also initiated some much needed advocacy efforts within SUNY System as a whole. Three years ago, our Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) launched the SUNY Pride conference, the first to unite SUNY Schools in support of creating a more inclusive environment for our students. This year, SUNY Oneonta students hosted our third annual SUNY Pride conference with hundreds of students from various SUNY institutions in attendance. The conversations ranged from safe zone training to discovering one’s sexual orientation.

Our student government followed suit in student advocacy through creation of a Director of Inclusion. After hearing various complaints regarding racial discrimination and general intolerance on and off campus, we decided that the Student Association needed to take a stance. We created an elected position which serves on the President’s Council on Diversity and works directly with our Chief Diversity Officer to ensure a secure climate of tolerance on our campus. The Oneonta Student Association has also launched initiatives including, but not limited to: OPT Bus Tracker App, 5k Plan Bike Share Program, and the execution of an Internal Review Committee. All of our initiatives have been well received by the Oneonta community and we hope to continue to serve them to the best of our abilities.

When it comes to giving back to the community, Oneonta Students are at the forefront of every opportunity but we also like to get competitive once in awhile. Recently, Oneonta’s College Fed Challenge team advanced to the semifinal round of the competition. The team has been successful in the past and continues to raise the bar every competition. Also, both our men’s and women’s soccer teams captured SUNYAC titles this Fall. Due to their overwhelming success, both teams received automatic berth into the 2015 NCAA tournament.  The year has only begun and there is so much our students have already achieved! We are looking forward to the upcoming school year, and what it has in store for our campus community.