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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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    Albany Day: Team 10’s Journey

    A fleet of 24 coach buses greeted students who rolled into South P lot at 5:30 a.m. this past Tuesday awaiting their journey to Albany.

    The glow from the inside tracking lights in each bus pierced through the tinted glass making the parking lot look more like a landing strip beckoning the 997 students to prepare for departure.

    After the four hour trip to Albany, faculty and staff positioned themselves throughout the lobby to cheer students on by applauding and handing out Stony Brook buttons the size of softballs. Wolfie Wolferson, the school mascot, punched the air and directed students into the enormous conference room.

    The massive conference room was transformed into a sea of red.

    To increase Stony Brook pride, a goal of President Kenny’s Five Year Plan, 21 members of the Stony Brook Marching Band bolted into the room wearing khaki pants and red-and-white long sleeve polo shirts.

    The band energized the crowd by playing songs such as the “Hey Song” and “Let’s Go Band” while helpers waved signs printed with “S” “B” and “U.”

    The “red hot” mass then disbanded into more manageable numbers.

    Team 10, headed by Michael L. McClain, Associate Director for Community Affairs headed out to meet with Senator Eric Schneiderman. The team consisted of five Stony Brook undergraduate students who were not part of an organization but just wanted to see what the day was all about.

    After waiting in security lines for up to 20 minutes, the teams infiltrated the legislature.

    “I always wanted to come,” said Lisa, a double major in sociology and political science. “I thought it would be interesting and to take a tour of the capital.”

    McClain escorted his team of students to Senator Eric Schneiderman’s office, where they met with his legislative assistant Patricia Bocchetti.

    “So what’s going on at Stony Brook?” asked Bocchetti.

    The team explained the positives and negatives of campus life. Including the possible acquiring of Touro Law School, lack of funding for the Tuition Assistance Program, the new center for wireless internet technology and the faults in the school’s text-messaging system.

    Then the team headed off to meet with Assemblyman Anthony S. Seminerio, Chair of the Majority Program Committee.

    Seminerio’s mauve office walls were covered with awards, such as “Legislature of the Year in 1983” and at least 80 charters of the bills he introduced. “[All bills] start with an idea,” said Seminerio.

    When asked about the Bottle Bill included in Governor Elliot Spitzer’s first budget, Seminerio waved his hand in disgust and said, “Whatever he proposes, we dispose.”

    Although he may not agree with Spitzer on every issue, Seminerio is a proponent for the “Bigger Better Bottle Bill,” which would add non-carbonated beverages to the list of cans and bottles which receive a five cent deposit.

    The Assemblyman reflected on collecting bottles as a child from construction sites after workers left to obtain the deposit.

    “He was something of a trip,” said McClain after the meeting.

    Although the Congressmen were ready to answer, some students remained mute.

    “[They were] too shy,” said McClain of his group. He often found himself filling in the gaps. “Students need to be prepared. But it’s difficult because they are not involved with it every day of their lives.”

    Stony Brook Day at Albany is important. “We are hoping to keep Stony Brook’s name at the top of the legislature’s mind,” said McClain.

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