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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 Attendance Plummets

    The long tradition of Stony Brook Day in Albany is one that is looked forward to by faculty and students as a great opportunity to show legislators why Stony Brook is “Red Hot.” Though last year the event reached a peak of over 1000 participants, this year because of budget cuts, that number has been whittled down to slightly over 100.

    “The most obvious change that you’re going to see is that we’re going to have one tenth of the level of participants that we’ve had in the years past,” said Jeff Barnett, assistant dean of students. “A drastic, dramatic and visible difference, there’s no way that people who attended Albany Day are not going to notice that it is somehow significantly different from Stony Brook Day in Albany in the past.”

    The 13-year-old tradition, which started with 16 participants, is one that has evolved and blossomed under the presidency of Shirley Strum Kenny. Demonstrating both the versatility of the students and faculty of Stony Brook, the day raises consciousness of the greatness of Stony Brook and how it could improve with more funding from the state.

    “I think this is vitally important for Stony Brook to go up on Albany Day, because our budget has been cut so drastically,” said Sana Hashmi, student leader for Stony Brook in Albany Day. “Last year we took nearly 1000 students. We’re known for a sea of red when we go to Albany, and this year its just going to be 50 students and 50 faculty members, but we’re still here because it’s important to us.”

    Over the years students would make the four-hour journey to Albany, walk in and be greeted by Stony Brook staff decked out in their red paraphernalia and tables full of information that display everything that Stony Brook has to offer. This year each group, which no longer consists of 15 people, but rather 2 or 3 people, will be given information in advance and instead of the usual freelance speaking done by the participants of they day, there will be a message to project.

    “We’re using the same message that SUNY is using, but we’re putting Stony Brook’s numbers in it,” said Janice Rohlf, assistant vice president of governmental relations. “It would be their message but it’s to show the impact of the budget cuts on Stony Brook.”

    With the trip being an annual event on campus, some students have noticed that there hasn’t been as much publicity for the event as usual, and they are not happy about being excluded from the event.

    “I was really looking forward to being a part of Stony Brook in Albany Day,” said Chris Corsillo, a sophomore and sociology major. “I really feel that our state legislators and representatives have to understand the effect they have on our future here at Stony Brook. The fact that I can’t go, due to budget cuts, is a testament to my point.”

    The students that are attending the trip have been chosen from a group of nominees that are comprised of campus leaders. The hope is that this group of students will be able to represent the diversity of Stony Brook University. Individual students aren’t the only ones left out of the foray, groups such as the LISHV, Long Island State Veterans Home, nursing students, the marching band and Southampton students are also unable to represent in large groups.

    “It’s a visible example of how we’ve done things in the past 13 years and how they’ve changed,” said Barnett. “People are used to us going up there on the first Tuesday in March, with teams of 15 people filing in, squeezing in, to tell them about their day?but they’re not going to see 15 people this year. They’re going to see two, maybe three in some cases. What I hope that they take away from that is, ‘Wow, look at the visible difference that’s in front of me; the budget crisis has had on the SUNY system and specifically Stony Brook University.”

    With a lot to hope for, the tradition of Stony Brook Day in Albany has taken on new meaning.

    “It’s great that we’re continuing the tradition of doing this, even though we’ve been constrained as far as the number of people we can take, but we felt strongly that we should do it,” said Rohlf. “I don’t know if the tradition will continue after President Kenny retires, but we certainly want people to know that Stony Brook University is still a force to be reckoned with.”

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