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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    A Walk Through Albany Day

    Stony Brook students paraded their ‘red hot’ patriotism in Albany’s Legislative office building by wearing red SBU buttons and backpacks for Albany Day. The Convention hall was filled of SBU students cheering on the institution with conga lines, a band and singing the school anthem. As many as 866 students, from all different fields, collectively came together in hopes of persuading the State Assembly for funding requests.

    A few specific talking points were maintaining or increasing TAP and other financial aid, smaller class sizes, hiring more full time faculty, improving classroom and residence hall facilities, greater support for the LI State Veterans Home, and increasing the spaces in nursing and other programs.

    In the nursing program, many of SBU’s nursing students argued for funding and more faculty in the program. Yuliya Kulbanskaya, 22, a nursing student stated, ‘I am here today to request more nursing staff, there was recently 300 applications submitted to the nursing program and only 24 were accepted, something needs to be done about the nursing shortage.’ Kulbanskaya hopes the State Legislature will hopefully give nursing ‘a slightly bigger piece of pie’ for its program.

    Jennifer Kolar, 35, another nursing student claimed, ‘The waiting list is ridiculous.’ Although, Kolar was concerned with a different issue than Kulbanskaya about the nursing program. ‘Campus housing is only allowed on campus for four years, but it takes three years to just get the core requirements done. So in the fifth year, students will have to seek housing off campus,’ she said. However, the core requirements should only take two years to complete, not three, but according to Kolar the classes are usually filled and many nursing students have to wait. In order to alleviate the problem, she suggests more faculty for the nursing program. Kolar expressed concern over the aging nursing faulty. She said, ’47 is the average age of a nurse and soon they will be retiring, why disregard the 276 qualified students that don’t get accepted, because they just might be our future faculty.’

    According to Dwight McKenzie, 27, a nursing student, ‘We have seniors now who have no idea where they will live next year.’

    The nursing area is just one area of concern for students on Albany Day. Every year hundreds of SBU students, faculty, and staff descend upon Albany. Students are determined to be heard by their Assemblymen/women on whatever issues concern the school.

    At 5:30 AM, students entered the South P lot where 16 buses were parked and ready to leave for Albany. Students grabbed a quick bag of morning snacks and a coffee or tea and headed for the buses, which departed at 6 AM. The buses did not arrive in Albany until 10 AM. As students entered the Legislative office building, they were directed to the Convention Center past the security check point. There, students hooked up with their assigned groups and went off for their legislative appointments.

    In the midst of students, Leo Kamenetskiy, 19, a Business Economics student, waved a sign that read, ‘Group 42.’ The group, headed by Professor Maynard and Christina Mazzo, organized students who wagered issues on the health science program, more financial aid for students, more full-time faculty, and more funding for the Veterans home.

    As the students crowded in State Legislature offices, they waged issues of concern. Teofilia Acheampong, 21, a Health Science major, voiced concern over the Radiation Technology program that was recently shut down. She said, ‘Those students who were in that program were just forced out, imagine if they were about to graduate?’ Acheampong hopes SBU can get more funding so a lot of programs like this won’t shut down. Tara Dieterle, 24, a Psychology student, lobbied for more full-time professors in the math department.

    Even faculty had issues to address to the Assembly. Sandy Johnson, an information technology computer specialist at SBU said, ‘To have visiting professors come and use our outdated computers, like the arts and sciences equipment, is old and needs to be improved.’ Johnson stated SBU needs ‘more funding in that area.’ Professor Maynard stressed the importance of more full-time faculty. Maynard said to Assemblyman Michael Spano, ‘Being able to find more full-time faculty means a better educational value.’

    As the group jumped from State Legislature offices of Nancy Calhoun, Michael Spano, Richard Brodsky and Susan John, the students were able to talk one on one with the people that have a large effect on SBU campus.

    Albany Day was a success in the eyes of Senator John Flanagan, who spoke about SBU at the end of the lobbying. He said, ‘I love the fact that you are here and am so proud to say I represent SBU and all the people affiliated with it. You being here is very important, and us listening to you is even more important.’

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