Alumni Executive Council Virtual Business Meeting
March 24, 2020
President Cortney Terrillion called the meeting to order at 8:03 pm ET.
Following roll call by Secretary Chelsea Lloyd, a quorum was documented.
Present: Bates, Bickford, Blank, Burbage, Cochran, Colucci, Danielson, Egbert, Faulkner, Frank, Friedlander, Giles, Glass, Gotham, Gross, Hallock, Hann, Higgins, Ireland, Kallet, Kelly, Kuno, Lancaster, Levi, Lloyd, McSweeney, Michaelson, North, Patrick, Peterson, Rana, Richman, Russell, D. Ryan, Taylor, Terrillion, Twombly, Wieland, Wilson, Zonitch
Not Present: Abernethy, Hakewill, Jenkins, Lawler, McManus, Russell, M. Ryan, Santini, Smith, Stern, Wells, Willis, Wheeler
Approval of the 06 Dec 2019 Business meeting minutes with change on thank you note clarification were moved by Jay Twombly and seconded by Sarah Wieland.
President’s Report - Cortney Terrillion
Cortney updated council on the changes to campus as a result of Covid-19, most notably for the group was Reunion 2020 being postponed. She noted that Reunion is our largest gathering of alumni and we need to think about voting in the new members which usually occurs Reunion weekend. Lastly, Cortney has been asked to represent council on the Experience St. Lawrence Task Force with the Board of Trustees – redefining the experience for students on campus. The task force will look at not only the academic/campus experience, but also SLU student workforce preparedness.
Campus Report - Kim Hissong
University response to Covid-19 and a report from President Fox was sent to the campus community today. Students will not return to campus as originally intended for April 13th. The campus is moving to virtual learning. Commencement in May 2020 is postponed. There is a committee looking at Commencement specifically. They are working through the situation and the potential for a virtual commencement in May with on-campus date later in the year. The University is not ready to make the decision today due to the rapidly changing situation. They will be taking steps to do pro-rated refunds/credits for room & board, but this will be done on a case-by-case basis. The reimbursements will not be known until the end of the semester. Students cannot return to campus to get their personal belongings with the current travel ban in NYS. Some students are still on campus, including some international students who couldn’t return home. In total, there are just over 100 students on campus. All students who are on campus are safely distancing from each other and participating in on-line learning along with the rest of the student body. Advancement has paused on all solicitation mail, emails, etc. The 1856-Minute challenge (typically end of April) has been cancelled. Instead, there is focus on a newly-announced Emergency Student Assistance Fund, which is supporting students effected by COVID-19 (i.e. travel, technology, meals, etc.). The goal is $50,000. All on and off-campus events through June 1 have been cancelled. This includes Reunion 2020. An on-campus committee is discussing options for rescheduling. Our annual AEC retreat at Canaras is after the June 1 date and therefore will be evaluated in the coming weeks.
Jay Twombly – asked for each individual student to share their needs. He voiced that $50,000 does not sound like enough. He also asked if there is concern about infringing on the current campaign. Kim shared that the emergency fund is not for room and board – it is for other non-anticipated costs like emergency travel, lodging, and assistance with technology for online learning. Scott Giles mentioned he is working with many low income students and confirmed the difficulty in meeting their needs – he praised the University for its efforts thus far.
Members voiced interest in council donating to the emergency fund with a meaningful amount i.e. $2,020 or $1,856. F&R will look at the activities that are budgeted for, but will be cancelled. 100% participation in the fund from council members individually is highly encouraged. There was also strong interest in doing something for the seniors - action for Cortney.
Student Delegate Report - Liam Burbage/Nicholle Gotham/Sohel Rana/Trey Wheeler
Liam Burbage asked for positivity from the Laurentian community. Many of the communications to the students have been very logistics focused. He suggested that the Alumni Council email students, seniors especially.
Nicholle Gotham, as a senior, shared the odd goodbye to campus that had to take place within a couple of days’ notice. She has heard from others that are voicing their frustration and reason not to give back to St. Lawrence after this. Students are also concerned with where the money for their senior week will go. She is strongly encouraging the university to look at holding commencement later in the year. There will be a concern regarding students’ ability to get back to campus – if commencement is held at a later time. Nicholle personally didn’t have a place to stay and according to her, the university denied her a spot to stay on campus during this time. She also shared a stark difference in communication from professors. She is in favor of council supporting the seniors. She would have loved more support from St. Lawrence during this time.
Sohel Rana voiced students wanting to come back and say goodbye to peers. He also shared that remote learning is new to many students.
Mary Peterson added that school is home for students, food, internet – and it is all gone at once.
Treasurer’s/F&R Committee Report - Paul Danielson
We still remain on budget. The Endowment Fund solicitations are on hold. Paul will look at the budget and see what we can do for the students with any funds that will now not be used (i.e. L4L Week).\
Committee Report and Working Group Updates
Admissions - Scott Giles and Sarah Wieland
Thank you for making calls and emailing accepted students. Please share any feedback on those who heard back from students. Open houses/visit days on campus have been cancelled. Admissions asked council to write another 300 students. Council agreed. Feedback/yield from the first round of letters written will not be available until June. Elizabeth Colucci suggested using Thank View.
Advancement & Engagement - Rob Glass and Laura Patrick
Laura Patrick - Discussion for the sub-committee has been about the current campus situation. There is still focus on supporting international students. Engagement team is ready, willing and able to support in any way.
Rob Glass – John Pezdek is transitioning from St. Lawrence. The committee has been working with Beth Dixon on the Laurentians Give Committee – all members of the Advancement sub-committee are part of the committee. Currently, reaching out to ask for time, resources and money – is on hold. It is a good time to reach out to teammates, roommates, FYP mates – your Laurentian community.
Faculty Engagement Working Group - Anne McManus
Mary Peterson shared that there are alumni identified to assist faculty with online curriculum.
The committee was looking into having a professor discuss climate change at our next Canaras gathering and now we may be interested in hearing from someone on Public Health.
Membership & Honors - Amy Faulkner
Welcome Paige Friedlander and Ed Higgins to M&H – replacing vacancies by Rick Beyer and Dan Lee. Two seniors will be awarded the Doug Brown award. We will welcome 10 new members in June and Shannon Hughes will be returning from a leave of absence.
Student Services – Elizabeth Colucci
The committee is working closely with Career Services on how they can engage students in a virtual way. More to come on how we can support students.
Communications – Alyssa Cochran
Alyssa Cochran provided two quick project updates, (1) working on content for the next publication of the SLU Magazine, (2) continuing to work on AEC pages of the SLU website.
Faculty Engagement – Mary Peterson
Anne McManus has reached out to faculty re: support for on-line instruction. The working group is also planning a speaker to join us at Canaras. Possible topics are climate change or public health.
Molly Hann made changes to the bylaws. There were comments on Advancement and Engagement still referenced as one committee. Frank and Twombly questioned how we appoint members. In Section 2 – we shall have 45 – but also no fewer than 30 and no more than 45 - this only covers the number of elected, there can be 3 members appointed by the president and 2 student delegates, only 45 of 50 are elected and others are appointed. Sally McSweeney asked about Article 3 - Section 5 on emeriti members returning for meetings. As Ed noted, Molly was not tasked with reviewing out entire bylaws document but only a section. The conversation moved to other areas, so a vote was not taken. Please send any questions, edits or changes to Kim and Molly via email.
The meeting adjourned at 9:29 pm EST by President Cortney Terrillion with movement from Randy Wilson and a second from Laura Patrick.
Notes submitted by Chelsea Lloyd, Secretary.