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Stony Brook hosts campus conversation on optimizing campus resources

The outside of the administration building after the campus shut down last spring. The university budget task force is discussing ways to use campus space for new revenue. RABIA GURSOY/THE STATESMAN

Stony Brook University discussed recommendations for new revenue by using campus space and improving business partnerships during a budget task force campus conversation on Wednesday, Jan. 27.

The conversation, hosted by Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Rose Martinelli, featured discussions with the co-chairs of the Optimizing Campus Resources Task Force, one of five task forces in the university’s Strategic Budget Initiative launched in October to make budget recommendations to executive leadership. The task force is co-chaired by Assistant Vice President for Advancement Strategy A.J. Nagaraj and Faculty Student Association Executive Director Van Sullivan. 

“[The Strategic Budget Initiative] is not about cost cutting, or downsizing, or reducing faculty,” Martinelli said, as a prologue to the Jan. 27 discussion. “It’s really about a collaborative opportunity designed to find [ways] to improve our financial position.” 

Sullivan explained that the task force is looking into different means of generating revenue through the use of campus space and partnerships. 

“There’s a lot of space on campus, and we want to find ways to generate revenue from that,” Sullivan said. “People exposure allows branding opportunities that can build community and drive revenue.” 

Some of the main opportunities the two co-chairs pointed out include the utilization of the Staller Center for the Arts and other campus facilities for strategic business partnerships, particularly in hosting events and activities. They are also looking to simplify the process of space rental and reservations in order to proactively market available spaces to interested businesses. 

Student and community feedback, according to Nagaraj, is an essential part of their strategy, as they have been soliciting engagement and discussion through the organization of focus groups with student leaders, interviewing faculty members and the establishment of a working group dedicated to facilitating partnerships. 

“We are very aware that the academic character of our institution is what’s most critically important, and that needs to be protected,” Nagaraj said while mentioning the prevalent concerns brought to his attention by interviewed faculty. “So as we go about assessing the viability of opportunities in this sponsorship space, we want to make sure…we’re not doing anything at all to compromise the mission and academic core of our institution.” 

The fourth phase of the strategic budget initiative is currently scheduled to begin in March, with the final phase ending in April. Slides from Wednesday’s presentation are available here.

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