January 2013 Monthly Update

January 2013 Monthly Update for Campus

New Residence Hall
As our architect, McKinney & MacDonald (formerly Sacco & McKinney, before the retirement of the Mr. Sacco), and construction manager Northland Associates, work to define specifically the site and design of the new residence hall, we have worked to determine the viability and affordability of geothermal energy for the new building.  In January, we drilled a test well on the east end of the Quad.  We will know the results soon.
Our students have participated enthusiastically in this process.  So far, during individual and focus group conversations, we have found the students to be educated, aware, involved, trusting, and community-oriented.  Just before the break, we asked all students to complete an on-line survey that invited their ideas and concerns about the physical, academic, technical, social, and psychological spaces they value. We shared the results of the survey with the architects at a first meeting in the new year. 

Admissions
The Office of Admissions reports that applications for Fall of 2013 are running 14% ahead of last year.  The deadline for Regular Decision applications is February 1.  Recalling that last year was a record year for Early Decisions, at 213 such applications, we are at 208 at a year-to-date comparison; this is the second-highest total for this date.

Advancement
As of December 31, the St. Lawrence Fund is at $2.04 million in cash and $3.46 million in cash and pledges, putting us slightly ahead of our results last year at this time.  This year we initiated an “I Give Because…” campaign, in which alumni, parents and friends are invited to share their reasons for giving to St. Lawrence.   In other fundraising news, overall total cash giving to the University now stands at $4.4 million, and we now have more than $4 million in commitments towards our $12 million goal for the new residence hall. 

In addition to our annual holiday and pre-game hockey gatherings, we have placed special attention on connecting alumni, parents, and school counselors with each other and with St. Lawrence, at events featuring Dean of Admissions Jeff Rickey.  We plan Career Networking Events over spring break in New York City, DC, Burlington, and Boston as well as pre-concert affinity receptions coinciding with the spring break travel of the Laurentian Singers.
Blackbaud Net Community launched on October 29, 2012.  Since then, over 1,500 alumni have registered for the new My St. Lawrence community.  

Communications
The website redesign project is heading into the homestretch. University Communications and IT are working together to complete work on the content management system, migrate and update content, and train content managers in preparation for a launch of the new site next month. More information will follow soon on the timing and new features.

Alumni Council
The Alumni Council meets on campus February 7-10, and will include in its schedule the annual career “mocktail” event that trains students in effective and gracious networking at social gatherings.  The Council has a busy schedule of seminars with faculty and staff, committee meetings, and time with students.  Council sponsored an Admissions workshop for alumni in Westchester County January 13 and a reception for the New York City Semester students on January 14.

Winter Break Activities
The four weeks between semesters gave our students time for productive study and career preparation.  A few examples:  two economics professors and three students are spending part of the semester break in Nepal, studying the effect of remittances on literacy in that country.  The group has created a blog to document the project, Saints in Nepal.   Another 16 students received grants to conduct independent international research in such locations as Paraguay, Australia, Thailand, Jamaica, Spain, and England. We have piloted a Shadow-a-Saint mini-internship program, which extends the shadow experience from one day to 5-7 days.   Some 74 alumni volunteered to participate in this pilot and 49 students were matched with the opportunities (compared to 31 students in 2012). 

Parental Leave Program
The Human Resources staff, working with Faculty Council and legal counsel, has updated our parental leave programs for salaried employees (faculty, administrators and non-union hourly staff).  The new program recognizes the role of both parents in the introduction of a child into a family.  The programs differ slightly as the job expectations differ between faculty and administrators or staff, so your review of our Benefits materials on the Web will provide full information.

Transition to TIAA-CREF as Sole Retirement Provider
Last September, we shared that the University will consolidate service providers and investment menus and transition to a single vendor, TIAA-CREF, for the 403(b) retirement plan program.   This consolidation will take effect March 22, 2013.  We will mail a detailed transition guide during the first week of February to answer specific questions and to share dates for seminars and advising sessions. 

Libraries and Information Technology
We continue to expand access to scholarly electronic resources for the SLU community including recent additions of more online journal and databases.  Recent additions include:

  • Taylor and Francis Social Science & Humanities (SSH) Library provides online access to 954 online journals from Routledge and Psychology Press
  • SPORTDiscus™, the world's most comprehensive source of full text for sports & sports medicine journals, provides full text to articles from more than 530 journals
  • Elsevier science journal upgrade from the UTL Collection to the Freedom Collection that increases access to full text articles in non-subscribed Elsevier journals from 900 to 1,800 titles.

    These additions, and others, bring the total number of e-journal titles whose content is available to students, faculty and staff to over 43,500.

Electronic books continue to grow in popularity as more people have devices capable of viewing them.  The Libraries of St. Lawrence University provide access to over 18,000 eBook titles through leasing, subscription, or purchase.  Information on these resources and more can be found at http://www.stlawu.edu/library/.

Flu Preparedness
While we hope that the flu vaccine clinics we held in the fall will have helped our students, faculty, and staff avoid illness, we are ready for students’ return with our flu preparedness plan in action.  We can’t stress enough: wash your hands frequently, do not share utensils, cough into your sleeve, and if you develop symptoms, seek advice from your health care provider.