ISSS-BU News 03 September 2013 ISSS-BU News


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Editor’s Note: Classesare not currently in session. Classes will resume Monday, September 9.

Please note there is another holiday the second week in September. Classes will recess after 1:00pm on Friday, September 13 and will resume on Monday, September 16.

CONTENTS:
1. National Holidays for September
2. Information about Applying for a Social Security Number
3. Prevent Identity Theft: Keep Your Social Security Card Safe
4. Languages Across the Curriculum (LxC) Job Opportunities
5. Pursuit of Academic Success Group Meeting
6. First International Coffee Hour of the School Year is Thursday, September 12
7. Be Sure You Are Registered for a Full-Time Course Load!
8. Be Sure You Have Permission in Advance to Take Less Than a Full-Time Course Load, If Applicable to You
9. Want to Know When Classes are Cancelled or if There is a University Emergency? Sign up For Rave Wireless! Also, Do You Know How To Reach Binghamton University Police?
10. Planning To Visit Canada?
11. International Students and Arrests
12. Last-Semester Students: File Application for Degree
13. Your Safety: What To Do When You Hear a Fire Alarm

1. National Holidays for September

The following countries are celebrating national holidays during the month of September:

Libya 1-Sep
Slovakia 1-Sep
Uzbekistan 1-Sep
Vietnam 2-Sep
Qatar 3-Sep
San Marino 3-Sep
Swaziland 6-Sep
Brazil 7-Sep
Andorra 8-Sep
North Korea 9-Sep
Tajikistan 9-Sep
Cape Verde 12-Sep
Costa Rica 15-Sep
El Salvador 15-Sep
Guatemala 15-Sep
Honduras 15-Sep
Nicaragua 15-Sep
Mexico 16-Sep
Papua New Guinea 16-Sep
Chile 18-Sep
St. Kitts and Nevis 19-Sep
Armenia 21-Sep
Belize 21-Sep
Malta 21-Sep
Mali 22-Sep
Saudi Arabia 23-Sep
Guinea-Bissau 24-Sep
Botswana 30-Sep

2. Information about Applying for a Social Security Number

Are you a new student in F-1 or J-1 status who plans to apply for a Social Security Number? If so, please note the following:

I. You need to first have a paid job-offer, as well as a letter endorsed by your employer and a representative from the ISSS Office. Once your employment letter is endorsed by an ISSS official, you will receive a packet containing information on how to obtain the social security number

II. You need to bring your immigration documents, including a print-out of your electronic I-94

Note: You need to have been in the US for a minimum of 14 days in your current immigration status on the date you apply for your SSN. Additionally, your SEVIS record needs to be “Active.” (A representative from the ISSS will check the status of your SEVIS record to ensure that it is active when they endorse your employment letter, as noted in Step 1.)

Please be advised that an international student can begin working on campus without the social security number. You will simply need the number in order to get paid.

3. Prevent Identity Theft: Keep Your Social Security Card Safe
Many new international students who are currently employed have received their Social Security Card. Please be sure to follow these important steps:

Go to the Student Records Office: Bring your Social Security Card to the Student Records Office (Student Wing Room 119) and fill out a “Change of Social Security Number” form. Be sure to have your passport with you.

Go to Your Payroll Office: If you are employed on campus, you are required by US law to report your new Social Security Number to the appropriate payroll office. Graduate and Teaching Assistants (GAs and TAs) should go to the Payroll Office, located in the Administration Building Room 240 (Tel: 607-777-6284). Research Assistants (RAs) should go to Room 1214, located in the Innovative Technology Center on Murray Hill Road. (Tel: 607-777-4264). To keep their employment Sodexho employees must report their SSN to the Sodexho HR office. Your Social Security Number is required for income tax reporting purposes.

Go to Your Bank: If you have opened a bank account, whether locally or elsewhere in the United States, report your new Social Security Number to your bank. This is required by law.

Keep your Social Security Card in a safe place. Do not carry it in your wallet or purse. If stolen, an unscrupulous individual might use your Social Security Number to open up credit card accounts in your name and make purchases that could be charged to you. This is called “identity theft.”

 To learn more about your Social Security Card, visit the following web site: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10064.html

4. Languages Across the Curriculum (LxC) Job Opportunities

The Languages Across the Curriculum (LxC) program is now accepting applications for the position of Language Resource Specialist (LRS) for Fall 2013 who speak Spanish, Korean, Russian, French, Hebrew, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Italian, and a host of other languages. LRSs lead discussions of these assignments in the study groups and evaluate students' performance. Throughout the semester, LRSs compile a Blackboard-based teaching portfolio consisting of all the materials used in the study group. LRSs are expected to meet weekly for mandatory LxC staff training.

LRSs work 5-10 hours per week. Weekly study group meetings led by each LRS begin in the 5th week of classes, scheduled at the convenience of the LRS and her/his students.

Specific information about job requirements can be found on their website at: http://www2.binghamton.edu/oip/lxc/LRS_appl_form.pdf

All applications should be submitted to the Languages Across the Curriculum office as hardcopy or via email (lxc@binghamton.edu).

Some interviews will take place during the next few weeks. For more details you can call the LxC office at 607-777-2499, or send an email to:lxc@binghamton.edu

5. Pursuit of Academic Success Group Meeting

Pursuit of Academic Success is to assist international students in maximizing their academic achievement. Participants of this group will discuss barriers to academic success and learn how they can better address them. This group is open to ALL international students!

The first meeting of the Fall 2013 semester will be Wednesday, September 11, 2013.

Facilitator: Sangmoon Kim, Ph.D
Wednesday: 2:30- 4:00pm
Location: ISSS Conference Room, Hinman Commons Building, Room 120-B (come to the ISSS Main Office, for directions)

6. First International Coffee Hour of the School Year is Thursday, September 12

Meet new and returning students! Good company! Free refreshments! Celebrate the beginning of the Fall semester by coming to this month's International Coffee Hour on Thursday, September 12 from 3:30pm-5:00pm in University Union, Old Union Hall. This month's sponsor is United University Professions (UUP).

The Coffee Hour strives to be a space where the entire Binghamton University community, including international students, U.S. students, faculty/staff, and community members are welcome. The coffee hours are informal and provide an opportunity to meet and learn more about each other in a relaxed atmosphere. They are held on the first Friday of every month during the academic year. Each coffee hour has free hot and cold beverages, cookies, vegan bars and breads, sponsored by a different department on campus.

7. Be Sure You Are Registered for a Full-Time Course Load!

ISSS would like to take this opportunity to remind students in F-1 and J-1 status that you are required to be registered for a full-time course load each semester. What constitutes a full-time course load varies according to academic level.

Academic Level

Minimum
Full Time Course Load:

Exchange Students

12 credits per semester

Undergraduates

12 credits per semester

Graduate Master's: completion of less than 24 credits in your program (Class G1)

12 credits per semester

Graduate Master's: Completion of 24 credits or over in your program (Class G2)

9 credits per semester

Graduate Master’s students who are course completed and need only project or thesis to complete program

1 credit or more per semester, plus additional credits added by The Graduate School for full-time certification at 9 credits

Graduate PhD students: Masters done and have begun doctorate (Class G3)

9 credits per semester

Graduate PhD students: Course completed or advanced to candidacy and engaged in pre-dissertation or dissertation research (Class G4)

1 credit or more per semester, plus additional credits added by The Graduate School for full-time certification at 9 credits

Special Note for Graduate Students: Graduate students (both master's and PhD) who are course-completed and register for thesis, project, pre-dissertation, dissertation or other course rubrics that are eligible to be certified as full time even though the number of credits will be below the normal full-time course load do not need special permission from the ISSS for a reduced course load. Instead, such students must consult with their academic department and the department needs to add sufficient non-billable credits to their schedule.

A graduate student who can be considered as “full-time” with fewer than 9 credits (such as a student taking thesis or dissertation credit) should still show as 9 credits in BU Brain because additional credits of GRAD 700 (if not funded) or GRAD 701 (if funded) will be added by your academic department to bring the student to 9 credits.

There are some very limited exceptions to the full-time course requirement. See the next article, below.

8. Be Sure You Have Permission in Advance to Take Less Than a Full-Time Course Load, If Applicable to You

There are very few exceptions to the full time course load rule for students in F-1 status. Those exceptions include academic difficulty, medical condition, and completion of study, and there are strict criteria for each. In every instance, you must obtain PRIOR authorization from the ISSS. Only once you receive this authorization from the ISSS can you then drop the course. A F-1 student who drops below a full course of study without the prior approval of the Office of International Student and Scholar Services will be considered out of status, and must be reported in SEVIS as having dropped below a full-time course load without authorization.

There is a special form for each of the three exceptions, available in the ISSS and as a downloadable document on the ISSS website: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/essential-forms/index.html

Each form must be completed by the student (and in the case of reduction in course load due to academic difficulty or due to completion of study, completed by the student’s academic advisor) and approved by the ISSS before the course may be dropped.

Questions or concerns regarding this requirement? Come to the ISSS or send an e-mail message to isss@binghamton.edu

9. Want to Know When Classes are Cancelled or if There is a University Emergency? Sign up For Rave Wireless! Also, Do You Know How To Reach Binghamton University Police?

Binghamton University uses Rave Wireless as its provider for emergency text and e-mail messages when a situation arises that warrants immediate communication to the campus community. We urge all students, faculty and staff to register and manage their account information at https://www.getrave.com/login/binghamton. You may sign in using your current Binghamton University e-mail address and be prompted to complete the registration process. Additional information may be found at http://www2.binghamton.edu/banner/rave.html. There is no additional expense to you to participate except for any per-text message fee your cellular phone provider may charge.

And, while we have your attention…do you know how to reach Binghamton University Police on your mobile phone if you are on-campus and have an emergency? Don’t call 911 when on campus, as that call will go to the County Emergency Dispatch Station. If you are on campus, which includes the Downtown Campus, Vestal Campus (main campus) or ITC and need University Police in an emergency, the number to call from your mobile phone is 607-777-2393. Save this number in your mobile phone address book!

10. Planning To Visit Canada?

The Fall can be a popular time for students to take a trip to Canada. Please visit the following link for information on Canadian Entry Visa Requirements:
http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/travel/canada.html

Canada does not require visitors from all countries to obtain entry visas (called temporary resident visas), but there is a lengthy list of countries whose citizens will first need to obtain visas before they can enter Canada.

You can view that list here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp. In New York State, Canadian entry visas are issued at the Canadian consulate in New York City.

Students in F or J status who need to apply for entry visas are required by Canadian Immigration to obtain a letter of certification signed by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services. In addition, the travel signature on page 3 of the I-20 (page 1 of the DS-2019) must be less than one year old. Students will need to visit the ISSS to have the signatures on their forms updated. Letters of certification may be requested from the ISSS by visiting or by filling out an on line form at: http://saffairs.binghamton.edu/isss/webforms/LOC/

It currently takes at least thirty days to obtain a Canadian entry visa. So, come to the ISSS well in advance of your trip.

11. International Students and Arrests

Although it is not a pleasant subject, there are a few situations where an international student might be arrested in the United States and charged with a crime. Common misdemeanor or felony arrests can include theft, drunk driving, shoplifting (stealing goods from a store without paying for them) and drug possession (with or without intent to sell).

The ISSS has published an article on its website that discusses the consequences such arrests can create with a student’s U.S. immigration status, even if the charges themselves are dismissed or reduced. The article may be viewed at: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/publications/instuarrest.html

12. Last-Semester Students: File Application for Degree

Is this your last semester? Let Binghamton University know that you’re ready to graduate! You must file an Application for Degree (AFD - Undergraduates) or a Graduate Application for Degree (GAFD – Graduate students) in order to graduate and receive your diploma (after successfully completing all of your requirements, of course). The AFD/GAFD is a required form that notifies the University of a student's intent to fulfill his/her degree requirements at the end of the current semester. Go to the BU BRAIN and find the Fall 2013 Application for Degree on the "Student" tab. The form is also available at
http://www2.binghamton.edu/commencement/fall/students/graduation-checklist.html

13. Your Safety: What To Do When You Hear a Fire Alarm

Binghamton University’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety has prepared a helpful brochure that describes what to do when a fire alarm sounds, or if there is some other emergency.
http://www2.binghamton.edu/ehs/fire-prevention/firedocument/evacuation%20procedures1.pdf

We hope you find it helpful.

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Last Updated: 8/28/14