November 6, 2015


Volume 10, Issue 11–November 6, 2015



November in the North Country

It’s hard to believe that November is here and that the temperature is supposed to hit 70 today once again.  In response to lots of comments I have received, yes, I am responsible for bringing this up from Georgia.  And yes, you’re welcome.

More seriously, the warm temperatures are supposedly the result of a strong El Nino current in the Pacific, which will result in more rain for California (good!) and warmer temperatures and less snow for us (even better!).  We’ll see if it actually works out that way—it seems that every long term weather prediction turns out to be very wrong.  Except when it’s not.


Semper Paratus

Our own Brian Harte shared a copy of “The Eastwind”, the official publication of the 9th District Eastern Region of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, with me.  The Eastwind is a rather interesting publication, and I mean to more than just those in the Coast Guard.  This particular issue also had an article on winter on an ice cutter, a short piece on Jack Dempsey (one of the most famous boxers of all time) and his role in the Coast Guard during World War II.

The most interesting article, however, was written by Brian himself, about a new flotilla detachment of the Coast Guard Auxiliary being formed at SUNY Canton, as part of the Auxiliary University Program.  Students get a chance to gain education in nautical, aviation, operational training, and homeland security areas.  We’re the 20th AUP established nationally, and possibly the first in New York.  Known as the Spearhead Detachment, the unit provides an opportunity to gain leadership skills while performing safety patrols, teaching boating safety, and conduction vessel safety checks for the public.  Students who participate in this program (which is free!) can also participate in internships and apply for officer candidate school opportunities.  The unit has 22 student members, and Brian is the Unit Officer.

What’s more, Auxiliary Flotilla 092-01-01 (the one Brian is in, which is based in Massena NY) just earned the Coast Guard’s Meritorious Team Commendation, for its “exceptionally meritorious service from August 2014 through March 2015” in establishing the flotilla detachment at SUNY Canton.  The commendation ended by noting: “The detachment effectively bolstered Flotilla 092-01-01’s roster by 147 percent and reflects great credit upon U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Coast Guard.”  Congratulations to Brian, and our 22 student members!  By the way, semper paratus is Latin for “always ready”.


Game Jam!

On October 23rd and 24th, SUNY Canton’s English Department participated as a base camp in the Global Game Jam.  The jam lasted over 15 hours (all evening Friday and all day Saturday) and was held in the Library. Participating students built mobile games in a GPS-based mobile media game platform called ARIS (Augmented Reality Interactive Storytelling).

Game Jam (build in ARIS)

They also, as you might expect, ate lots of pizza and bagels, and interacted (on a video platform called Blue Jean) with base camps all over the world that were building games at the same time.  SUNY Canton’s Game Jam was organized by Laini Kavaloski, a new faculty member in our English/Humanities Department, and Kelly Woosely from IT.


South African Exchange

Last week, SUNY Canton hosted Dean Maurice Ndege, the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology at Vaal University of Technology. Vaal UT has 16,000 students, studying in the areas of applied and computer science, engineering and technology, humanities, and management sciences, and is located in Vanderbijlpark, about 50 miles south of Johannesburg, and home to the major iron and steel industry in South Africa.  Vaal UT is part of the South African Technology Network (SATN), which also includes Cape Peninsula UT in Cape Town, Central UT in Bloemfontein, Durban UT in Durban, Tshwane UT in Pretoria, Mangosuthu UT in Durban, and the Polytechnic of Namibia in Windhoek, Namibia.


L-R:  J.D. DeLong, Molly Mott, Maurice Ndege, Mike Newtown, Doug Scheidt, me, and Ken Erickson

Dean Ndege was here to explore some possibilities about Vaal UT partnering with SUNY Canton, including conducting joint research, faculty exchange, and student exchange.  Our goal is to explore exchanging 5-10 students per year in engineering and technology, opening up a fascinating study abroad option for our students.  The meetings went very well, and we will be investigating next steps.


Terminal Degree Lunch

Something new we’ve started is to have an annual lunch for people on campus who are pursuing advanced degrees.  This was a tradition inaugurated by President Rossbacher on my previous campus, so I decided to bring it up north, and we had the first on on October 27th.  There were more than 20 people there, each of which told what degree they were pursuing and why, and how far they had gotten.  I also asked what the College could do to make their path a little smoother.  The most common answer was to allow for some release time, especially toward the end of the degree.  We’ll see what we can do to help.


Around the World

A little later on the 27th, I was one of the judges (with Doug Scheidt, Molly Mott, and Maurice Ndege) for the All Around the World event, where students decorated various spaces on campus to resemble other countries.  Some were more elaborate than others, with students dressed in costumes from those countries, and most even served appropriate food.  Countries represented included Senegal, Jamaica, Greece, Romania, China, Japan, and one other that I’m afraid I’ve forgotten.  It was lots of fun to go around from one to another, and it was tough to pick the winner.  The really hard part was to eat dinner after nibbling at all of the exhibits.



Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s challenge dealt songs with colors in their names. The fastest winner was Debbie Flack.  Other winners include Terri Clemmo, DianeMarie Collins, Alan Gabrielli (from SPSU), Greg Kie, and Rebecca Blackmon.   All win prizes that can be picked up from my office.  Here are the correct answers:

  1. Beatles song about an underwater vehicle. Yellow Submarine.
  2. Song about Elvis’ footwear. Blue Suede Shoes.
  3. Prince song about precipitation. Purple Rain.
  4. Fats Domino found his thrill there. Blueberry Hill.
  5. Van Morrison remembers when he used to sing sha-la-la with her. Brown-eyed Girl.



This Week’s Trivia Challenge

This week’s challenge is about words that begin with the letter “c”.  The first five winners win a CD, DVD, or whatever else I come up with from the vast Szafran repository of duplicates or good stuff I want to get rid of.  As usual, the first with the most takes the prize.  No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. It keeps vampires away.
  2. In the song, it “came back, the very next day.”
  3. Eniac was the first electronic, general purpose one.
  4. Mythical creature with only one eye.
  5. Car that was unsafe at any speed, according to Ralph Nader.


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