Wednesday, September 17, 2008

College bookstore contract up for bid, due by June

"I was a little bit surprised. It is business, and we understand that."

Joe Rivers, assistant manager of the College Bookstore, was shocked just as the rest of St. John Fisher College was two weeks ago when the announcement came out that Bon App├ętit will not be returning for another academic year.

The bookstore is now undergoing the bidding process.

Manager Dan Edes and Rivers presented their bid to the Bookstore Committee on April 10. Their two competitors are Follett Higher Education Group and Validis Resources. Follett, a company from Illinois, currently serves colleges such as LeMoyne College and St. Bonaventure University. Validis Resources, based in Nebraska, provides its services to Gannon University and Wellesley College.

In their presentation, Edes and Rivers showed their dedication to Fisher, showing "what we do to support Fisher and what we want to do to expand on that," Rivers said.

The expansion would include doing more to support the sports teams and linking the bookstore with Fisher's ID cards.

"It would be an optional thing where you could put money on the card and debit off that," Rivers said.

The Bookstore Committee, comprised of six Fisher faculty and one student, hopes to announce their decision by June. According to Tom O'Neil, vice president of Finance and Business, the committee is looking for a company that will provide excellent customer service and serve the campus community by providing a dynamic and exciting retail environment in the bookstore.

The company must also provide textbooks and course materials in the required quantity and in a timely, cost-efficient manner. They must also keep prices of textbooks and general merchandise minimized and maximize the availability of used textbooks by providing an effective textbook buy-back program.

Prior to their final decision, the committee hopes to visit sites currently run by Follett and Validis.

Barnes and Noble has worked with St. John Fisher since the early '80s, while Edes has been here since 2000 and Rivers since 2003. The bookstore also currently has about 17 student employees.

As published in the Cardinal Courier, St. John Fisher College, April 22, 2008.

President's forum highlights change

Tuition to raise 5.95 percent and Wellness Center fee to be added

This spring's semi-annual President's Forum addressed many of the topics that are currently making news, both across campus and in the community.

President Donald Bain led the forum, giving a review of everything that the College is currently doing to expand. In response to the plans for the law school that were announced last week, Bain said, "every oak starts with an acorn," and that there has been interest in getting a law school in Rochester for over 30 years.

"The downtown location will help the relationship between Rochester and the College, and it will encourage more people to go to law school," Bain said. "The logistics of people driving to Buffalo or Syracuse deterred people away from law school."

Bain also mentioned the nursing program in his commentary on Fisher expansion. He hopes to bring a doctorate program in nursing to Fisher, because "programs like this keep us viable and competitive."

Big announcements were made by Gerry Rooney, vice president of Enrollment; Ronald Ambrosetti, provost and Dean of the College and Tom O'Neil, vice president of Finance and Business.

Rooney spoke on enrollment at Fisher. According to Rooney, this semester, the College had more full-time undergraduate and doctoral-level students enrolled than any spring semester has. This is a continuing trend. It is expected that the total enrollment for the Fall 2008 semester will be the highest ever at Fisher, with 530 to 550 incoming freshmen and 250 students who are transfers or re-admitted.

Within his presentation, Ambrosetti introduced Mike McCarthy, director of Safety and Security at Fisher. McCarthy was pleased to announce that, "we have purchased a registry to an online notification system to be put into effect very soon." With this, students will be able to sign up, free of charge, to receive alerts via text message, voicemail and e-mail about emergencies on campus. McCarthy said that a campus-wide e-mail will be sent out shortly and that the service will be available to use come the fall semester.

O'Neil covered Fisher's 2009 budget assumptions, including topics like tuition, room and board and future on-campus projects.

Tuition will be raised 5.95 percent for the coming year, but O'Neil feels "we are in the middle of the pack as far as tuition increases go." Room and board is also expected to go up in the coming year. Also, a $55 fee will be added to undergraduate students' bills each semester for Wellness Center fees. This will begin next semester, as the Wellness Center has recorded increases in use and has added chiropractic services to its repertoire. However, while the cost of attendance will increase, benefits will be seen around campus. O'Neil announced that new laundry facilities are in the works, as well as a renovation for Lavery Library, in which it will get a new heating system and the entire front will be made-over, with new steps and archways.

O'Neil also commented on Fisher's recent contract with Lackmann dining services.

"I have to assure everybody that I think we made a wise decision," he said.

In follow up, O'Neil made mention of the bookstore bid, which is currently underway. He stated that Barnes and Noble, as well as two other companies have made presentations and that the Fisher community will know the future of the bookstore by June.

In conclusion, Bain commented on how everything Fisher is doing is all for one thing - the student.

"We are all dedicated to the mission of the College," Bain said. "Institutionally and personally, we're all working for the same thing, the student."

As published in the Cardinal Courier, St. John Fisher College, April 22, 2008.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Environmental rally to raise support for College and NYS to go green

The Global Issues class and Peace and Social Justice Department will hold an environmental rally on April 10.

"It's about making people aware. So many in the classroom said, 'I didn't know this was happening'," Linda MacCammon, head of the Peace and Social Justice Studies and Religious Studies professor, said.

MacCammon teaches the Global Issues class offered this semester. After discussing topics such as overpopulation, climate change, the energy crisis and the wasteful habits of human beings, she and the class decided to organize a rally to open the Fisher community's eyes.

"It worries me that students don't know what's going on," MacCammon said. Her goal is to get Fisher to wake up, which is also the theme of the rally.

The day will include many events planned by the students and MacCammon. A rally will be held in LeChase Commons during free period, which will end in the planting of a tree. Prior to the rally, students will be able to sign petitions to the College and New York State, demanding environmentally friendly changes and suggesting ways to get green.

The day will end with the showing of two films: Hacking Democracy and A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash. Each documentary addresses issues America currently faces. Hacking Democracy tackles the issues concerning voting and elections in the U.S., while A Crude Awakening puts the energy crisis into perspective, showing how big of a deal the addiction to oil is and the toll it's taking on the world.

However, don't expect this to be a one-time thing.

"I don't think it's ever a good idea to have an event once and for all and have the problem corrected," MacCammon said.

MacCammon believes that in order to see the changes she and her students want made, the attempt to make Fisher and America greener will be a continuing process.

To ensure progressive change at Fisher, MacCammon has joined the College's Recycling Committee, by invite of co-chair Lynn Wernert. Kaitlin Daly, Founders resident director, is also trying to start up a Recycling Club for students. Those who are interested in participating in the Recycling Committee should go to the website and those who want to be a part of the Recycling Club should express their interests by sending an email to

Students interested in attending the rally should gather in LeChase Court in front of the Wegmans School of Nursing at 12:30 p.m. on April 10. Petition tables will be set up in the Basil lobby and the Student Life Center from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

"Mother Nature is telling us to clean up our room, and we have to start doing it," MacCammon said.

As published in the Cardinal Courier, St. John Fisher College

Students get in shape with new fitness classes

Students may have noticed various e-mails concerning the new fitness classes St. John Fisher College is now offering in yoga, Pilates and kickboxing - but what inspired this to happen?

"I am on the Student Affairs Committee. We were at a dinner meeting, and the students expressed their desire for fitness classes to be included in their student experience," Todd Harrison, Sport Management professor and organizer of these activities said.

Students have wanted fitness classes to be offered at Fisher for a while. Some were surprised that they were not.

"I was shocked when I found out Fisher didn't provide this kind of service, but I am very excited that it is now offered," freshman Brittany Fitsik said. "I will definitely be taking advantage of it."

Fitsik isn't the only one who is grateful for this opportunity. According to Harrison, the student response has been very positive overall. Kickboxing has seen the most initial interest, with participation in other classes increasing.

Harrison is "pleased with the response. It shows that the student body has interest in these sorts of activities."

Due to positive response, Harrison has an encouraging outlook on the program.

"I've heard buzz on campus - very encouraging," he said. "This is definitely not a one-semester initiative."

Kickboxing classes are every Monday and Thursday night from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Yoga is held every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. and Friday evenings from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Pilates classes take place beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday evenings, lasting until 7:30 p.m., as well as Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The cost of attendance is $1 for students and $3 for faculty/staff if signed up prior to the class and $2 for students and $5 for faculty at the door. Students and faculty can sign up for classes between 4 p.m. and midnight in the Campus Center.

Classes are held in the basement of the FishBowl and are sponsored by the Sport Management Department, World Gym in Pittsford and the Brockport Dance Department.

As published in the Cardinal Courier, St. John Fisher College

Staying safe while on spring break

Students have probably all seen, or at least heard, about the antics that happen over spring break. Thanks to MTV, we are all guided to think that spring break is a rite of passage - something students strive to do before they graduate from college.

However fun spring break can be, safety can become a problem for students enjoying the sun and surf.

"Wherever you go, know where you are; know your surroundings," was Director of Safety and Security Michael McCarthy's biggest tip. He knows just as well as the rest of us what goes on during spring break and worries about the safety of each individual person who partakes in the annual festivities.

But what exactly are the dangers of the legendary spring break?

According to McCarthy, the biggest threat is alcohol. "Having a good time [with] alcohol can lead to many bad situations" - namely motor vehicle accidents, need for medical attention, sexual assault and property damage. It is also important to have an "extra level of healthy suspicion or paranoia" in unusual surroundings. You cannot assume every situation you encounter is safe or that everyone you meet can be trusted.

As far as the consequences that can be felt for actions taken over spring break, they are "devastating, as you can imagine," McCarthy said.

To stay safe, the best course of action is to always be with people you know.

"A buddy that you know you can trust and help you" is the most important asset to bring along with you on spring break outings, according to McCarthy.

Another important tip is to keep your cell phone on you and full of battery life. Furthermore, once you get to your spring break destination, put important contact numbers (i.e. the local police) into your phone.

Keep McCarthy's words of wisdom in mind when traveling and enjoying break: "If it doesn't feel right, if it doesn't look right, if the hairs on the back of your neck are standing up, you're telling yourself it is wrong."

As published in the Cardinal Courier, St. John Fisher College