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Archive for March 12th, 2013

  • RecycleMania Plants! on March 12th, 2013

    I’m really excited to be a part of RecycleMania 2013! RecycleMania is a two-month competition among the different residential quads to see who can recycle the most product. This year, there is also a photo contest where students can submit a photo that pertains to the theme: “Live Sustainably. Choose to Recycle.”

    The RecycleMania competition focuses on recycling all of the following products:

    • Bottles & Cans, Including Plastic Types #1-7
    • Paper & Shredded Paper
    • Cardboard
    • Electronics / E-Waste (Electronics, Computers, Laptops, Used Cell Phones, etc.)
    • Food Service Organics

    I’m doing my part to help out through programming in the residence halls. Two weeks ago, we transformed plastic water bottles into plant holders by cutting the top off, filling the bottom with dirt and placing the bottom inside the top. I’m proud to say my basil is going strong and in a few weeks, I’ll have enough to bring home for Easter lasagna!

    The best part is, once the basil grows enough to be transplanted, the plastic bottles can be washed and recycled! With the help of hall council, my fellow RAs and I will be planning fun programs about ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Recycling and sustainability are important part of Stony Brook’s culture. We are learning how to reduce our carbon footprint as a campus. Last year we came in first place among NY colleges in the recyclemania initiative. This program highlights just one of the many ways that Stony Brook students shine and can make a difference in preserving the planet for future generations.

  • Why Stony Brook? on March 12th, 2013

    As a live-long Nutmegger, and a non-science major,  people always ask me how I ended up at Stony Brook. Its true, there are great Connecticut state schools and awesome people but, I needed a change. I grew up in the same house in the same town and went to elementary, middle and high school with the same people my entire life. When I told my guidance counselor I only wanted to apply to out of state schools, she suggested Stony Brook.

    On the Wednesday before the Friday deposits were due, I skipped school and hopped on the Ferry to Long Island. I took my friend Rachael with me and together we navigated the bus route from Port Jeff to Stony Brook. The bus dropped us off just across from the Wang Center and we looked around for a few minutes before heading to the Administration building for our tour. We saw the Student Activities Center (SAC), academic buildings and some residential halls. I kept looking over at Rachael and whispering “what if I ACTUALLY went here?” Up until that moment I hadn’t really been away from home, except for a debate club field trip to Boston and I was rapidly falling in love with the idea of coming to Stony Brook.

    The tour continued, past the library. I was impressed with the facts the tour guide offered, like the fact that Stony Brook was the birthplace of  the MRI but, where I really feel in love was Staller Steps. There were tons of students playing frisbee, taking pictures and hanging out on the steps. In the grassy strip just outside the library and the SAC, students were sitting under trees reading and playing music. The entire place seemed so alive. Professors were holding class outside of a building I now know was the Psychology building. After the tour was over Rachael and I decided to walk around and talk to current students. At first we just walked around, listening to what current students had to say then we asked a few questions. The only complaint people seemed to have was that the science classes were difficult. Other than that, the students were happy. The other thing I noticed was that everyone had a plan, it was clear their future was bright. That impressed it me.

    I went home that night and crunched the numbers with my parents. With my scholarship, Stony Brook would only cost about $1,500 more a semester than a CT state school but it offered so many more opportunities. There is literally a club or organization for every interesest–from Dumbledore’s Army to Community Service Club. The quality of professors here is unparalleled in terms of their research and field experience.

    I’m incredibly happy with my decision to come to Stony Brook. I’ve found life-long friends, learned countless life lessons and feel totally prepared for the next chapter of my life.

  • Running Down a Dream: Why I Chose Stony Brook Univeristy on March 12th, 2013

    Hey Stony Brook~

    I hope you all have been well during this busy spring semester!

    The weeks are flying by—can you believe, midterms are upon us already?

    But think; soon you will be relieved of your hard work…sunny days, warm temperatures, and the highly anticipated “spring break” is just around the corner!

    For me, this spring will be my SIXTH semester at “The Brook,” and I can hardly believe it! Just three years ago, one would find me at Cold Spring Harbor High School, hard at work preparing my AP Art portfolio: cutting, pasting, and painting my way through the final push of the school year.  However, my mind was largely at ease. Unlike many of my peers, I already knew where I was going to school…

    Since my freshman year in high school, they had been piling up.  “They” being: the letters.

    Over my four years of high school, starting with the one from Babson College, a stack of forty-plus hand-written pleas from the running teams at a wide variety of private and public universities accumulated in my bedroom; Syracuse, Cornell, SUNY ESF, Georgetown, UNC Greensboro…the list goes on.  I had spent the end of my Junior year through the start of my Senior year in high school flying to and from the various colleges attempting to court me to join their Women’s Cross Country and Track teams.  You see, I am a natural runner—and once I got a taste of the college running life, I knew that was where I needed to be.

    I traveled more within the span of those 6 or seven months than I had previously in my entire 17 years of existence.  At Syracuse, it was the never-ending supply of new sneakers and myriad choices of uniform that pulled me in.  What can I say, I’m a sucker for “schwag.” At Wofford in South Carolina, it was the incredible trails, scenic and winding that attracted me (I’m a Cross-Country girl, at heart).  At Cornell—well, I could say at the end of my four years, “I went to Cornell.”

    Unlike my high school friends, who had sent in ten or more “Common Apps”—complete with the necessary essays and letters of recommendation—I had only submitted five: Wofford, Syracuse, and Cornell—and, as my “safeties,” Stony Brook Southampton and, here, regular old Stony Brook U.

    After ripping open my acceptance letters, I was filled with a sense of excitement.

    I had my pick of any school I wanted…

    Particularly to my delight, Wofford had offered me a partial athletic and academic scholarship!  From my visit, I had seen that the school had an awesome new Environmental Studies facility, located in an old converted textile mill perched on the banks of a slow moving river.  I figured this was my way to realize both academic and athletic success.  It was an awesome feeling.

    I picked up the phone to call my “new coach” to tell him the news; I was ready to be a Wofford “Terrier,” D-1 status.

    But then, I stopped.

    I looked down, and I saw my Alaskan Malamute, contently snoozing on the floor.

    I looked to the left, and I saw my work bag, Wildlife Rehab Manual poking out of the top.

    I looked to the right and I saw an almost-finished art piece, a pencil drawing I was working on for my brother, Evan.

    I looked in the mirror, and I saw in my heart that I was not ready to leave.

    I was not ready to sign away my college career—knowing myself, I put the phone down.

    Instead, I decided to choose Stony Brook Southampton for its incredible Marine Vertebrate Biology program—I could live at home, where I was comfortable, and commute to school.  Giving up competitive running, I would have time to work, spend time doing my art, and truly become engrossed in my studies.

    Ironically, SB Southampton shut down in the fall of 2010, so I made the choice to attend the original Stony Brook University instead. Three years later, I truly realize that this was the best choice I could have ever made.

    Here at Stony Brook, I realized my true passion: writing about the environment.

    The professors, courses, and amazing friendships I have forged here at Stony Brook have made the sacrifice to give up competitive running “worth it” for me.  Do I miss it—the sense of team, the thrill of the race?  Sure.

    But I also love waking up every morning and being able to walk my dog on the North Shore beaches of Long Island, to visiting my local friends and family, to being able to have a landed a great job, to buy my own car (actually, this is number three!).  Not being on a team has afforded me time to do such things.  Despite giving up my athletic scholarships, I found, upon admittance, that I had actually earned scholarships to Stony Brook, making it, in actuality, the most affordable choice!

    Going away would have been fun, and sure, I could have still ran competitively here at Stony Brook—we have an AMAZING team! But instead, I choose to run in my local running team (Nortport Running Club).

    Sometimes, I wonder what my life would have been like if I had gone to one of those schools that had sent me those letters…what races would I have won, what friends would I have made?  I had for so long, been convinced that I was supposed to go away to school to run…

    Though the thoughts sometimes bother me, upon further examination, I always recognize that such is not my destiny.

    Stony Brook is where I belong.

    peace. love. run.

    ericarunsamerica.

    Here at Stony Brook, I have been able to bring my dog to school, the famous "Foosa!"