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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Stony Brook Goes Cosmopolitan

    Students have all heard of the new Manhattan campus. Be it through SOLAR, freshman orientation, or the main campus website, students have learned about the possibility of taking classes at SB Manhattan. Certainly, the thought of taking classes in New York City lurks in the backs of students’ minds.

    The SB Manhattan campus is located on the second floor of the building at 110 E. 28th St.

    To enter SB Manhattan, one must either swipe your access card or have one of the administrators let you in. Student’s cards start working an hour and a half before their class starts. The entire campus consists of a long hallway with classrooms, bathroom, and a study room for the students. This study room has three computers and a couple of desks. Its function is not to be a place to study for long periods of time, but more as a waiting room before class starts. Professors also have a work place with shared desks used to prepare before class.

    Although SB is currently expanding the Manhattan campus, it is unrealistic to ever think of it as a full-blown functioning institution. “The focus is still on the main campus,” explained Scott Sullivan director of Stony Brook Manhattan. Sullivan said there probably would not be a time when students can complete their undergraduate course work entirely at the Manhattan campus. It is an extension of the main Stony Brook campus and is not meant to be a full functioning institution.

    Sullivan’s office is located along the long hallway with other offices shared by visiting administrators and professors. The entire area consists of two conference rooms and a large open room in the middle. This room is used for scheduled events that go on at least once a week. SB Manhattan is not a “campus” in the general sense, as it does not have a library, dining, or dorms for students.

    Although the campus is small, many students and professors have had spoken about great experiences they have had there.

    One student, who wished to remain anonymous, was happy with her experience taking a writing class over the summer. She spoke positively about her classes as well as the facilities.

    About her professor, this anonymous student said, “She was absolutely awesome! Totally laid back, approachable, had engaging activities, and made the atmosphere very comfortable. I also loved how she also took advantage of what Manhattan had to offer and had us do some writing exercises in Madison Square Park nearby when it was a beautiful day outside.”

    Although this anonymous student lives in Nassau County, she was still able to commute to the campus and plans to return next summer to take another DEC course. Overall, when asked about her experience she exclaimed, “I loved it. I got a break from the suburban area I was so used to and got to learn so much more about my own city, the subways, and of course, about writing!”

    Professor Helen Lemay teaches two undergraduate classes, one of which is History 394, a three-credit undergraduate topics course on AIDS and the Social History of Medicine. The other course she teaches is EST 104, a one-credit course open to high school and Stony Brook students as well as clients and counselors from the AIDS Service center in Manhattan.

    Lemay’s program could not exist without the Manhattan campus. And because of her connection with the AIDS Service Center, Lemay is able to give her students a unique experience they wouldn’t receive at the main campus. She began teaching at SB Manhattan at the time of its creation in 2001.

    “The facilities are fabulous,” Lemay explained. Sullivan commented that sharing desks with other professors has never been a problem and she always gets support from Sullivan. Although Lemay is planning to retire at the end of this Fall 2007 semester, but still hopes she can get funding to continue her program.

    According to Sullivan, SB Manhattan was first created in 2001 with three main goals in mind. President Shirley Strum Kenny, wanted to expose the existing student body to the Manhattan experience while also raising the profile of Stony Brook by exposing the city to Stony Brook students. By creating a campus in Manhattan, Stony Brook could also keep in touch with alumni more easily. Many alumni cannot attend meetings and events on the main campus and having a location in Manhattan has increased their involvement.

    More involvement also means increased funds given by alumni. With the success of the campus, Stony Brook is expanding the existing Manhattan facilities. The current campus, as mentioned above, is located at 110 E. 28th St., and the new facilities will be in the building next door at 387 Park south. The renovation has already begun and it is planned to be open and operating by Spring 2008. The new facilities will include more offices and 6 new large classrooms.

    “The expansion is due to increased enrollment in the winter and summer sessions,” said Sullivan.

    Most undergraduate classes are held during the winter and summer sessions. At these times, many undergraduate students enroll to make up courses or fulfill DEC requirements. English 101 and MAT 125 are popular classes, as well as other basic requirements. 80% of the students at the campus during the summer and winter are undergraduates. Last summer there were 890 undergraduate enrollments compared to only 35 enrollments this fall. A high percentage of students at Stony Brook live in one of the five boroughs in New York City and have easy access to the Manhattan campus when they move back home during the winter and summer recess.

    Currently, most classes held during the fall and spring semesters are for graduate programs that offer such degrees as an Masters in Social Welfare, Transitional Doctorate in Physical Therapy (T-DPT) and a Masters of Arts in philosophy.

    The undergraduate classes given during the semester are few.

    Still, Sullivan stated, “Professors and departments need to have real compelling reasons why their class should be taught at the Manhattan campus rather than at the main Stony Brook campus.”

    He said, “We have a Theatre Arts class that is focused around attending various shows throughout Manhattan,” said Sullivan and if that class had been held at the main SB campus, students would not have had the same enriched experience.

    In addition, as Sullivan said, graduate students are able to have flexible schedules by taking classes mostly on the weekends and in the evenings. Undergraduates can take courses during the summer and winter without having to worry about their credits transferring and are already familiar with the Stony Brook system. The brand new facilities also attract students and professors alike.

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