Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fun Things For Students To Do in NYC 
During The Winter Break 

1.   Rockefeller Center Tree

2.   Central Park Ice Skating

3.   Rockettes Performance at  
      Radio City Music Hall

4.   Nutcraker Ballet at  
      Lincoln Center
5.   Origami Holiday Tree at 
      Museum of Natural History

6.   Jewish Museum

7.   Museum of Arts & Design

8.   Holiday Shops in Bryant Park

9.   Holiday Shops in Union   
      Square Park

10. Holiday Market in Columbus Circle 
      at Central Park

Shed Some Light on It

The Hofstra Community has shown great fortitude over the past few weeks.  We have seen some tragic events occur with Hurricane Sandy, a snowstorm shortly thereafter, and the devastating situation that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary.  But Hofstra has remained lit in the dark times. 
Kate and Willy help to brighten up the room at Hofstra Celebrates The Holidays 2012!

The Office of Student Leadership and Activities teamed up with Kate and Willy, Greek Life, SGA, HAMA, and The Game Room to lighten up the Main Dining Room with a depiction of how Kate and Willy Celebrate The Holidays.  We saw some great window paintings that exemplified the spirit of all the holidays celebrated worldwide and on Hofstra's campus this time of year.  We even reached out to the local community (along with The Discovery Club) to provide food and activities to the children of The Boys and Girls Club and Saratoga Inn.  As the administrator who oversees the Game Room, I was happy to see the Game Room employees get involved in decorating their first window in Hofstra's history.  The theme for the crew depicted Kate and Willy helping Pikachu spark the Kwanzaa candles to provide light. 

Hofstra Hall right after President Rabinowitz kicked off the celebration.
We were just getting the ball rolling with the preparations of Hofstra Celebrates The Holidays. Thank you to the Dance Team, Cheer Team, Pep Band, The HofBeats, President Rabinowitz, and the entire Hofstra Community for lighting up Hofstra Hall to show that we come together in celebration of all holidays.

Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, NY

Charles Jenkins (Hofstra Alumnus) was lighting up the floor at Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, New York.  I was fortunate enough to lead a trip of nearly 30 first-year students on an Explore Next Door trip to the Nets/Golden State Warriors Game.  Even though the home team lost, everyone was in awe of the brightly lit and lively arena and was happy to cheer on Charles as he scored two consecutive jump shots.

Some of the cards wishing well to Newtown
Lastly, Hofstra students took a small break from studying for finals to recognize the tragedy that took place in Sandy Hook Elementary.  Off the heels of a gathering on Monday outside the Student Center Atrium, Hofstra, students took one more opportunity to make cards for the families and student affected.  We will mail these to Newtown to show that Hofstra supports and continues to be a light to those experience difficult times.

Our graduate assistant, Courtney Cyr, making hearts for the Sandy Hook Elementary  School. 

On behalf of OSLA and the Division of Student Affairs, "Thank You" to the Hofstra students for a great fall semester.  Have a happy and healthy holiday and new year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Candlelight Vigil for Newtown Tragedy

This past Friday, December 14, began with most of us going about our day as usual.  We went to class, went to work and internships, studied for finals, and connected with our friends and colleagues.  However, that same morning, about 80 miles away at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, 26 people, including 20 children under the age of 8, were senselessly gunned down, their lives taken from them far too soon.

Last night, about 200 members of the Hofstra community came together at a candlelight vigil outside of the Student Center to show their solidarity for the victims of Sandy Hook and their families, and to support one another as they worked through their grief, shock, and anger in response to this tragedy.  Despite the damp and chilly evening, attendees were warmed by the prayer led by Catholic Campus Minister, Bridget McCormack, and the words sung by Hofstra’s Sigma’cappella  group, who closed with words of encouragement for the community: “Lean on me, when you’re not strong.  I’ll be your friend; I’ll help you carry on.” 

As we continue to move through the holiday season, I would encourage you all to count your blessings and let your friends and loved ones know how much you care about them, because life and relationships are precious things.

Students who may need some extra support in dealing with this tragedy are encouraged to make an appointment with Student Counseling Services by calling (516) 463-6791.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hofstra in NYC

Want to earn three or four credits during January? Now there's a new way with Hofstra in NYC, a new program offering some amazing courses in Manhattan!  

Interested in learning how Latino Culture has shaped the city, or about the Art Scene in NYC? Do you have an interest in jazz or theater?  All courses meet entirely in Manhattan from Jan 2 - 23, 2013!  

Learn more here .  Questions?  Email

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Flavors of Our Neighborhood

My name is Cristina Merone and I am a second year student studying Journalism. On Friday December 7, 2012, I attended the Flavors of our Neighborhood program with the Office of Multicultural and International Student Programs and Off Campus Living and Commuting Students. Flavors of our Neighborhood allows students to take a trip to an ethnic restaurant to eat cultural foods and learn about different cultures. We visited Brasserie Creole, a delicious Haitian restaurant located in Cambria Heights, New York. During the day Brasserie Creole operates as a restaurant and at night features traditional Haitian music. Our group enjoyed a delicious meal consisting of blue fish, creole chicken, dirty rice, legumes, white rice with special bean sauce and platanos. They also served a special Haitian soda called creole cola that tasted like bubble gum mixed with fruit! The meal was both delicious and enjoyable.

We were glad to have Sherley Cherevfant, Hofstra alumni and Controller and Events Manager of Erase Racism accompany us on the trip. She shared interesting information about her organization which raises money to build schools in Haiti and sends toys to children during the holiday season. Listening to Sherley speak and learning about what she does was very uplifting and inspiring to our group. It is important for us to give back in any way we can. Overall, I believe I can speak for the group and say this trip to the Haitian restaurant was a knowledgeable and tasty success.

Our next Flavors of our Neighborhood trip will take place next semester on February 22, 2012 and will feature Jamaican cuisine. Come out and explore the community while enjoying delicious Jamaican food. Visit the Office of Multicultural and International Student Programs and Off Campus Living and Commuting Students for more details.

Guest Blogger, Cristina Merone, Second Year Student, Journalism

Nearing the End

As we near the end of the semester the amount of activity in the office is increasing and the amount of stress for students may be increasing too, just like poor little kitty above. Not only are you thinking about the final projects, exams and papers that are looming but, you may be saying your goodbyes to colleagues at your internships or for some of you, even thinking about graduating on December 20. For those of you feeling a little stressed out don't forget that our office is coordinating STRESSBUSTERS!

Look for information at our website about all the upcoming events including free massages, food breaks, late night breakfast, Zumba classes and other great stress relievers. So, make sure to stop by all these great events and RELAX during this somewhat hectic time of year.  Posters are around the Student Center with this information and more information about managing your stress at Hofstra can be found HERE. Also, if you like old fashion stress relief don't forget about the awesome Student Center Game Room. You can stop by there during finals each day between 11am and 11pm. Please be as stress free as possible during this time and go out on a positive note from Fall Semester. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Students Help the Homeless during Midnight Run

On any given night in the United States—one of the richest countries in the world—over 600,000 people experience homelessness, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

As a college student with career goals and a bright vision of my future, I could never imagine spending a night on the street. But after hearing the tragic stories firsthand from homeless people about how their lives came to be, it no longer seems impossible.

For the second consecutive semester, I was part of the Midnight Run committee here at Hofstra and a little over a week ago, we took a bus into New York City to spend the night helping the homeless. The Midnight Run is an organization that provides support for the homeless, whether it is done by distributing food, clothing, and toiletries to the homeless on the streets, fundraising and collecting donations, or just lending an ear to listen.

This semester’s committee was comprised of about fifteen students, all of us dedicated to helping those in need—this time, the homeless. For several weeks leading up to the Run, we dedicated our time to advertising and promoting the cause, spreading the word, and gathering various donations from the Hofstra community.

We collected a large amount of clothing this semester, which was fantastic. I was in charge of handing out men’s clothing on the night of the Run and it was wonderfully overwhelming to have so much for the men to choose from. I would open up the box of XL sweaters, and their eyes would light up at the sight of variety. It’s hard to explain how rewarding but even more humbling it is to interact with these people who spend most of their days feeling judged and ignored.

Our contact/guide at the Midnight Run is Malcolm, who used to be homeless and now is on the board for the Run. He compared the homeless to children during Christmas.

“When you’re a kid and you get a Christmas present, you feel confident,” he said. ”You walk around like you’re the coolest kid in town because you have that new toy or this new game. It’s the same way for homeless people. When they find clothing that they like, they feel proud to own it and walk around wearing it. It’s a self-confidence boost for them.”

Malcolm also explained to us this concept about how people end up homeless: Things happen, and things happen quickly.”

That really is all there is to it. One second you’re on top of the world, and the next you might not know where to spend the night. Last semester, I met Hubert, a Fairfield University graduate and former trader for IBM who is now homeless and too embarrassed to return home to his family in Connecticut.

“I used to live the American Dream,” Hubert said to me. “But I got cocky. And sometimes when you’re living at the top, you forget about all the people at the bottom. So when you’re up there, don’t forget to look down.”

The fact is that lot of homeless people are trying to make a better life for themselves. They ask me for dress shirts and dress pants so that they can go to job interviews and look professional. Being homeless can be, but is not always a choice and putting a life back together is not something that can be done easily or overnight. If I had to say one thing I’ve learned about people who are homeless after my personal interactions with them, it’s that they want to change their lives for the better.

At one of the stops, I said hello to a man that I remembered from last semester, and I realize that he was offended when I said I remembered him. “Yeah I’m still out here,” he said with so much sadness and regret that I felt it no matter how much I tried to ignore it. I didn’t even know what to say when he asked me how I was doing, and I felt bad for saying that I was doing well.

The Midnight Run has shown me what significant difference it would make if everyone could open their minds to the lives of other people, both more and less fortunate. It can lead to a greater understanding of ourselves, which can then lead to a greater understanding of those around us.

Guest Student Writer:
Christine O’Dea, Midnight Run Student Committee, Class of 2014

Monday, December 10, 2012

We're Making It Easier for You....

As the fall semester winds down, the Office of Student Leadership and Activities wants to makes sure that study days and finals go smoothly. We hope all students take advantage of our ongoing tradition of Stressbusters. There will be food, massages and study lounges available to make the next ten days bearable. Stop by the student center atrium at our Grab-n-Go and replenish your energy as you head to finals or to go study in your special corner of Axinn Library. Relax and let your stress melt away at our free massages. Stay in the library and enjoy food at Chill-Axinn (we bring food to the new Collaborative Learning Center in the second floor of the library). A list of dates and time of specific Stressbusters events is located online.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Impact of 2 hours

The past few weeks have been a flurry of statements beginning with "Did you hear?" It seems as if everyone has a story to share regarding the behemoth of a storm the north-east endured. For many of us who live on campus, it was comparatively easy to cope. But for many other areas, the damage was extensive, and repercussions of this storm will be felt for quite some time. 

Aside from helping my own family in Seaford, NY, I hadn't reached out to help others until the morning of November 7th. After hearing about the nor'easter that was set to hit on that Wednesday, I couldn't help but think how tough it would be for those who had still not regained power or heat. Not to mention the further delay that another storm would cause. As if by divine providence, Rabbi Lieberman, the spiritual mentor of Hofstra Chabad, posted on Facebook about such a volunteer opportunity. 

The next morning, the Rabbi, another student named Sarah Jalal, and I all went to the Chabad of Five Towns. We were dispatched to the home of an elderly couple. The look on their faces upon our arrival was all the validation the three of us needed. We proceeded to get to work on a basement and garage that had been flooded nearly 2 feet and covered most of their valuables and clothing. 
As Sarah Jalal said, "We spent maybe two or more hours laboring, but the most important work we did was provide comfort for this elderly couple. We talked with them and listened to them vent about their troubles, providing emotional support. It felt really fulfilling to help out this couple. They were so appreciative."  

I couldn't agree more. It felt great to give back, something I admittedly hadn't done in quite some time. There is still a lot of work to be done, even weeks after the storm. So I implore everyone to ask around, and really try and seek out someone to aid. A mere 2 hours of your time can go a very long way.

Hofstra Students, Greg Sokol and Sarah Jalal of Hofstra Chabad, aid local residents.

Guest Blogger: Greg Sokol, Hofstra Class of 2013, Business Administration major

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Even the little ones get to paint the Holiday Windows

Three children by the completed window

Brendan Caputo helping a child get ready to put their mark on the windows.
Who doesn't love to see the little buggies filled with children that travel across campus or, the small children holding hands across the unispan and playing on the south side of campus.
This week Student Leadership and Activities had the opportunity to work with the children of the Child Care Institute (CCI) on the Hofstra Celebrates the Holidays window painting. Having the daycare children involved in one of our activities is always fun for me as my son is in the pre-school class at CCI.
This is the second year that we have collaborated with the CCI to bring the children to the main dining room and give them the opportunity to paint the windows or to play games or complete projects with the student organizations who had painted the windows. The kids had a great time this year and the college students had fun too! The college students even had the opportunity to sing songs with the CCI children!
Some of the students who assisted with the CCI collaboration
The windows will be up through the end of the semester so make sure to stop by and look at all the excellent paintings as well as the hand prints by the CCI. The windows are a great reminder to have a little fun and destress as final exam time approaches. I hope you have a great holiday season!
My son and I as the event was ending

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Look Back on Hofstra's Hurricane Response

The impact of Superstorm Sandy was undeniably devastating: many were displaced and the feelings of lost power far transcended not having electricity. And even now, weeks after the storm, public transportation and infrastructure are still undergoing maintenance. Yet, in the immediate aftermath, as beaches eroded and homes were lost, many within the Hofstra community stepped forward to help those in need, and though Thanksgiving has already come and gone, there are so many students and staff members who deserve recognition and thanks for their contribution to the relief efforts.

Hofstra staff members, Kerri Tortorella and Colin Sullivan,
organize hurricane relief donations in Long Beach.

Assistant Director of Residential Programs, Jennifer Spade, for example, helped organize the services provided to students, faculty and staff affected by the storm. At the peak of the relief effort, by working together with the Dean of Students and Director of Off-Campus Living and Commuting Student Services, Anita Ellis, Jennifer and Residential Programs were able to house about 80 members students, faculty and staff who lost their homes in vacant rooms in on-campus residence halls. Anita, herself, was steadfast in her effort to make sure that students in off-campus residences were okay following the storm. She drove throughout the area, checking to see if they needed supplies, if they were in contact with their landlords and if they knew about Sandy's List, an online directory that allowed students both on and off campus to offer temporary housing to students who were without heat and power in the wake of the storm. Two days following the storm, an email was sent to students informing them of this offer and by November 1, storm victims were already moving into temporary housing. At its peak, the service provided aid to over 70 students. Hofstra students also housed friends and classmates through other, more informal efforts, to ensure their fellow students had a warm place to stay while the surrounding area recovered.

There are also those, students and staff alike, who went to the areas most affected to make sure donation materials got where they were needed most. People like Kerri Tortorella, Director of Communications for Student Affairs, who helped organize the main donation drop-site in Freeport, and the students who traveled to Long Beach for clean-up and collections proved what a wonderful community we have.

Hofstra students and staff gather to prepare supplies headed
to Freeport in aid of those in the City of Long Beach affected
by Hurricane Sandy.

This semester has certainly been unique to say the least, and in such difficult times we are constantly reminded how giving each of our Hofstra family members is. We could not have made such a strong recovery if it were not for the efforts of everyone involved, but there is still a lot to be done. Visit our university website to see what you can do to help those in need this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Roller Hockey Club: Home Weekend A Success On & Off the Hockey Rink

The Hofstra University Roller Hockey Club continued their successful fall semester on and off the inline hockey rink this past weekend at their home facility, Skate Safe America, in Old Bethpage, NY.  

While the club’s Division I team, a current #2 national ranking in the NCRHA (National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association), finished their semester of games with an impressive 10-1 record, the club’s B Division team dropped two out of three games in front of their enormous supporting home crowd.
Despite wins and losses though, the Hofstra University Roller Hockey Club continued its role of leading by example and reaching new goals that take place off the hockey rink.  As the club only has one or two weekends to play in front of their home crowd each year, it is always their intentions to put forth an effort that will make the experience most enjoyable and memorable for everyone involved. 

Such efforts included a Toy Drive, where all teams, players, coaches, family and friends were asked to donate and contribute to Hofstra University’s “Just 1” campaign, which concludes on Friday, December 7.  While the toy bin was overflowing throughout the weekend, so was the amount of spectators entering the facility to watch the weekend’s featured double-header games on Saturday night where the Pride hosted local rival, Stonybrook University. 

Following Hofstra’s B Division team’s 3-0 victory, the club had planned a special ceremony in honor of former Hofstra Roller Hockey player, Keith Cerrato, who was tragically hit by a car and killed six years ago.  With Keith’s club-retired number 9 embroidered on their jerseys, the Hofstra Roller Hockey players and staff, along with Stonybrook University’s, and a packed house of spectators, welcomed Mr. and Mrs. Cerrato for a moment of silence and a ceremonial puck-drop to begin the Division I matchup.  The emotional setting was one to remember and was then followed by an 11-1 Hofstra victory.

 Again, regardless of wins and losses, it is experiences like this past weekend that are most memorable and rewarding.  As an athlete, club member or staff member, it is an honor to be a part of such an event as this.  From the victories on the scoreboard and the generous donations for the Toy Drive, to the ceremonial honor for Keith Cerrato and the crowds of family and friends in attendance, the Hofstra Roller Hockey home weekend was an absolute success.