Parent Newsletter: January 2018

From the Beautiful Valley: News for SUNY Geneseo Families

Campus at winter

Campus Photographer Keith Walters '11 sent his drone skyward to capture the campus and valley after an early winter snowfall this past December.

A Message from the Dean of Students

In this new year, we send you heartfelt thanks for supporting SUNY Geneseo as we continue to offer a one-of-a-kind intellectual experience—one that prepares students for a future of exciting possibilities. And in this chilly season, we’re wasting no time in warming up to many great activities. For instance, on Jan. 15 is our annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Leadership and Service event. Student volunteers will pair up with senior citizens to participate in workshops, discussions about King and civil rights, and community service projects.

Students will have the opportunity to stop by several campus fairs on Feb 7. If jobs and careers are on your student’s mind, the Career Development Department’s part-time and summer job fair will take place on that date, as will the study abroad fair for wannabe globetrotters, and opportunities to find out about local volunteer positions. As we look forward to a great semester, please read the entire parent newsletter for more on what’s happening on campus, including upcoming events and deadlines.


Lenny Sancilio
Dean of Students and Director of the Center for Community
(585) 245-5706

News and Accolades

  • We’ve done it again! Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s list has included Geneseo in the Top 300 Best College Values for 2018, ranking 120th on the comprehensive list of public and private colleges.
  • SUNY Geneseo’s student life administrators are some of the best in the business! Read about administrators in the College’s Center for Community who are serving in leadership roles of three major national student affairs professional association governing boards.

New Student Info

New Student Move-in Information: Students who are new to Geneseo can move into their residence hall 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 11. Check-in is at their assigned residence hall.

Geneseo IDs: ID cards are issued in Blake A, room 180, until 4:15 p.m. Resident assistants will be available for questions and to give directions around campus.

Mailboxes: Mailboxes are in MacVittie College Union. Students will receive a box number after they register for classes. Mailbox numbers and combinations can be verified through their KnightWeb account.

Letters and Packages: Friends and family can send letters and packages to the following address:

Student’s Name
Box XXX**
10 MacVittie Circle
Geneseo, NY 14454

**Until a mailbox is assigned, write "New Student — Box Unassigned"

MLK Day of Leadership and Service

MLK Day 2017

Neha Marolia '18 works with Dottie Manes of Avon, N.Y., on a project during the 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Leadership and Service. 

SUNY Geneseo’s eighth annual "Day of Leadership and Service" on Jan. 15 will celebrate the work and teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. on the 32nd anniversary of the federal holiday commemorating the life of the civil rights leader.

The College’s intergenerational and interfaith event bring together SUNY Geneseo students and area senior citizen volunteers for a day of learning and working together on community outreach efforts.

The program runs from 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the MacVittie Union Ballroom and is free and open to Livingston County senior citizens age 60 and over and Geneseo students. Registration is required, but a few slots are still available and students can register by visiting the GOLD website or by calling (585) 245-5857. Senior citizens can register by calling the Livingston County Office for the Aging, (585) 243-7520.

For more on SUNY Geneseo’s MLK Day of Service, read this news article.

Drop/Add Week

Some students mistakenly believe that the first week of classes is “syllabus week.” Faculty expects students to complete readings and assignments from the start of the semester. Students who add a class at the end of the first week are responsible for making up any missed work from the beginning of the week without delay. For this reason, we discourage class “shopping”—the class work moves forward whether or not students are in attendance.

The first week of classes, Jan. 16-19, is Geneseo’s official “drop and add” week, which means that students can change their schedules for the spring 2018 semester. After Jan. 19, students who want to withdraw from a course may do so through Knightweb; a “W” appears on the transcript but does not affect the student’s GPA. The deadline for course withdrawals is April 2.

The registrar’s spring 2018 academic calendar is a good resource for tracking advising and registration dates. It will also remind students when residence halls close and reopen around the March 12-16 spring break.

Students may take up to four courses for “pass/fail” grading during their time at Geneseo — but no more than one in a single semester. Pass/fail courses cannot be counted toward the major or General Education. Students often take an elective course “pass/fail” to try a class in which they have interest but limited experience.

Finally, although we are just beginning the semester, it’s not too soon to look at the end of the semester calendar. The final examination calendar ties into students’ schedules. The final exam week runs from May 3-9. Faculty will not rearrange final exams to accommodate students’ travel plans.

Academic Support


Academic support at Geneseo is provided in a variety of ways. Most support areas are listed on the Center for Academic Excellence website, including information on learning centers, tutoring, and Supplemental Instruction (SI). Students in most General Education science courses have access to supplemental Instruction by an experienced and trained peer tutor who holds weekly review sessions. This year, Geneseo joined the SUNY “Star-NY” tutoring consortium, which provides evening-hour online tutoring in a variety of subjects.

Please encourage your student to visit professors during office hours and to let the professor know when they are struggling. The most common reason for struggling in a class is absenteeism — sometimes students fall behind and are reluctant to attend class, compounding their troubles.

Our advising system is faculty-based, and students do not have to wait until the registration period to stop in and ask an advisor a question.

Students can contact the Office of Academic Advising and Planning in Erwin 106 for assistance and more information.

Volunteer and Study Abroad Fair

The Office of Student Volunteerism and Community Engagement, and the Study Abroad Office co-host a Volunteer and Study Abroad Fair, 12-4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7 in the College Union Ballroom.

The Office of Student Volunteerism and Community Engagement have invited a broad selection of partner organizations. Students can meet with representatives to explore volunteering opportunities.

The Study Abroad Office will exhibit the range of available programs and attendees can chat with faculty members who lead programs abroad. Attendees will also be able to engage with students who have already taken advantage of Geneseo’s study abroad experiences. They can also talk with exchange students from universities abroad.

For students interested in volunteering or studying abroad, attending the fair is an excellent first step. And SUNY Geneseo certainly has a strong and well-respected tradition of offering rich experiences in both of those areas. The College is consistently recognized on the national stage for student participation in community service on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and in study abroad experiences through the Institute of International Education Open Doors Report.

Questions about student volunteerism and community engagement? Contact Garth Freeman, coordinator of student leadership, volunteerism and service at or

Questions about study abroad programs? Contact

Joining a Fraternity or Sorority

January begins the recruitment or “rush” period for Geneseo’s 26 social fraternities and sororities. To participate in recruitment, students must be in their second semester at Geneseo with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0. First semester transfer students must have a 3.25 cumulative GPA from their prior institution to be eligible. Individual organizations may require a higher minimum GPA to be eligible to join.

A complete list of recognized fraternities and sororities, as well as policies for and expectations of fraternal organizations, can be found on the greek website.

Important dates:

  • Jan. 27: Recruitment begins
  • Feb. 10: Bid Day, pledging begins
  • March 31: All new member activities (pledging) must be completed

Questions related to fraternity and sorority life? Contact Wendi Kinney, associate dean of students, Fraternal Life and Off-Campus Services, at or (585) 245-5968.

GOLD Program

GOLD mentors

Fall 2017 GOLD mentors.

The Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development (GOLD) program’s spring offerings kicks off on Jan. 15 with a series of social justice programs and activities in support of the College’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Leadership and Service.

Other January highlights include:

  • Jan. 16: Time Management
  • Jan. 17: Team-building
  • Jan. 24: Running Effective Meetings
  • Jan. 26: Strategies for Facilitating Effective and Engaging Dialogues

GOLD will offer over 200 workshops almost every weekday afternoon this semester. There are no prerequisites and students may register and attend any workshop at any level of the program whenever it fits their schedule. By participating in the GOLD certificate program, students can acquire a broad range skills and knowledge that can help them build an attractive portfolio and be more competitive in both the job market and in their pursuit of graduate schools.There are currently 11 different leadership certificates and students can start the program at any time—from as early as in their first semester to their senior year.

For more information, visit the program website. Contact Tom Matthews, associate director of leadership and service, at

Spring Service Opportunities

There are a few slots left for Livingston CARES spring service projects. Opportunities include:

Projects will include the remediation of flood-damaged homes and community service initiatives. Academic service learning credit is an option for the service trips. Some financial assistance to participate in the service trips is available.

Questions? Visit the program website, email Tom Matthews, associate director of leadership and service, or call (585) 245-5857.

Student Organization Expo

The Department of Student Life will host its spring Student Organization Expo from 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan 31 in the College Union. The expo, which is also held in the fall, offers “one-stop shopping” for students looking to learn more about Geneseo's welcoming and diverse student-run organizations. Average attendance surpasses 1,500 people and over 170 student groups promote their organizations and recruit members. If your student is looking to get involved in a club or group that matches their interests or talents, encourage them to stop by on Jan. 31. The event will feature live performances by student organizations, give-a-ways and lots of fun. For the student organization directory, visit the student organization website.

Siblings Weekend

Geneseo’s Student Association and the Campus Activities Board are partnering once again to hold Siblings Weekend. This year’s event is scheduled for Feb. 16-18.

Each year, hundreds of siblings visit campus to enjoy a wide variety of activities with the Geneseo student(s) from their family. It is a great experience to see where their older sibling is living and learning, and of course, having fun! This year’s theme is Star Wars and includes a selection of fun activities, including “Jedi Knight,” offered through Geneseo’s LateKnight program, which will feature craft-making, music and plenty of “Jedi mind-games.” For more, check out the Siblings Weekend website.

Questions? Contact Tiffany Brodner, associate director for College Union and Activities, at or (585) 245-5851.

Living-Learning Communities

Saratoga Townhouse

Saratoga Terrace Suite, one of the Upperclassmen Experience Halls.

The Department of Student Life and Campus Auxiliary Services will launch two new living-learning communities (LLC) this year: Leadership, Management, and Entrepreneurship (LME) House and Food Culture House.

What is an LLC?

Designed to house those with similar interests, LLCs foster personal and career development and cultivates opportunities for student learning that complement the academic curriculum. Through engagement with faculty and subject matter experts, students create stronger relationships with and become more engaged in the academic process. Students can take classes and study together as a cohort—in some cases, even taking classes in their “community.” LLCs provide a range of opportunities and activities for students to more easily apply their learning outside of the traditional setting. And best of all, research shows that students who participate in an LLC have higher academic success rates, college graduation rates, and higher levels of satisfaction with their college experience.

Leadership, Management, and Entrepreneurship (LME) House

Many hiring managers cite leadership, management and entrepreneurial skills as the most valuable success factors for their employees. LME House will help students develop these critical skills in concert with their academic studies. Offering a range of learning experiences, activities and programs, LME House will embody and emphasize the development of strong leadership, management and entrepreneurship skills by helping students “connect the dots” and build critical life and business skills. For instance, LME House students will have opportunities to engage with leaders in the community and get first-hand experience with Geneseo’s GOLD Program. They will also visit area entrepreneurship facilities and business incubators and get “inside” looks at management development and coaching firms.

Food Culture House

The popularity of celebrity chefs, cooking shows, availability of an extremely diverse range of globally sourced ingredients is driving interest in food. Students now have a greater interest in food culture, as evidenced by the rapid changes in campus meal plan options that address an evolving range of customer desires, including vegan, plant based, low-carb, paleo, lactose-free, belief-based, medically recommended, etc.

Food Culture House will be dedicated to the study of food and food cultures throughout the world. Students will be encouraged to explore the incredible diversity of cultivation, production, preparation, consumption and sustainability issues of the world, and how religion, geography and conflict have shaped modern culinary traditions. Food Culture House students can expect to get behind-the-scenes tours and cooking experiences at the soon-to-be renovated Red Jacket and Letchworth dining complex, field trips to local food businesses and restaurants, and will have discussions with members of the Geneseo culinary team, Anthropology faculty and the Director of Sustainability to think more deeply about the role food plays in our daily lives.

The two new LLC options will be offered for the fall 2018 semester. Students are encouraged to consider signing up for these new LLCs when they register for housing. These LLCs are open to students of all years and we will hold a certain number of spaces for incoming, first-year students, since they register for housing at a later date.

Find out more about SUNY Geneseo’s LLCs.

Questions? Contact Dr. Meg Reitz, assistant director of student life for educational initiatives, at or (585) 245-6363

Safety and Security

Community outreach and crime prevention are cornerstones in the operating philosophy of the SUNY Geneseo University Police Department (UPD). The department seeks to build relationships and engage the community in various non-traditional activities intended to increase safety and reduce criminal activity on and around campus.

Police officers and staff of UPD are involved in the orientation of prospective students, new students, transfer students, parents of students as well as new faculty and staff through outreach efforts. Officers and staff also provide presentations on a wide range of topics, including personal safety and crime prevention to a variety of groups including those associated with student and campus life.

UPD offers a range of programs and events to the campus community, including discussions on topics such as identity theft, dating and relationship violence. Other activities include interactive events like the popular “Coffee with A Cop” or demonstrations using substance abuse simulators, such as the “Beer Goggles.”

Questions or to find out how your student can access these and other training and education programs? Contact UPD at (585) 245-5651.

Plan Your Visit

Be sure to checkout the Village of Geneseo’s calendar of events for a list of holiday activities, programs, and festivals. Visit our website for area accommodation and dining options and other resources.

Important Dates

  • Jan. 11-13: New Student Orientation
  • Jan. 13: Residence halls reopen at 10 a.m.
  • Jan. 15: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Day of Leadership and Service (no classes)
  • Jan. 16: Classes begin
  • Jan. 31: Student Organization Expo
  • Feb. 7: Volunteer and Study Abroad Fair
  • Feb. 7: Part-Time and Summer Job Fair
  • Feb. 15: On-campus graduate program info session
  • Feb. 16–18: Siblings Weekend
  • Feb: 28: Women’s Leadership Conference
  • March 6: Etiquette Dinner
  • March 21: Professional Job and Internship Fair

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