ISSS-BU NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, 02 MARCH 2016


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Contents

  1. Next International Coffee Hour: Friday, March 4
  2. The Clock is Ticking on the Optional Practical Training Application
  3. Graduating Students: How to prepare your Optional Practical Training (OPT) Application
  4. Together: International Student Support Group
  5. International Student Grant-in-Aid Applications Now Being Accepted
  6. Opportunity to Volunteer During Spring Break
  7. Leadership Volunteers Needed - Fall 2016 International Student Orientation
  8. ESL Tutors for International Undergraduate and Graduate Students
  9. When it Comes to Alcohol: Don't Count On Luck

1. Next International Coffee Hour: Friday, March 4

Good company! Complementary refreshments! Relax by coming to this month's International Coffee Hour from 3:30-5 p.m. Friday, March 4, in the UDC-220 (University Downtown Center). This month's sponsor is the College of Community and Public Affairs.  March Coffee Hour participants will have the opportunity to learn more about the sponsor, while mingling with both international and domestic students.

International 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 usually held from 3:30-5 p.m. on the first Friday of every month during the academic year. All are welcome!

If you have any questions about International Coffee Hour, contact Linda Torricelli, ISSS programming coordinator.

2. The Clock is Ticking on the Optional Practical Training Application

F-1 students who will be graduating in May 2016, and plan to apply for post-completion optional practical training (OPT), are reminded to submit their application paperwork to the ISSS office so a new OPT I-20 can be created. It can take 7-10 business days for the ISSS office to process a new OPT I-20. After an I-20 is created, an OPT application must then be submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS must receive an OPT application no later than sixty days after the degree conferral date, which is May 22, 2016. The Student Checklist: Applying for Optional Practical Training will provide you with more information regarding the OPT application requirements.

F-1 students who have not yet begun the practical training application process, are urged to do so soon in order to obtain your employment authorization card in a timely manner. Currently, it is taking the USCIS Service Centers approximately 90 days to process OPT employment authorization applications. Employment cannot begin unless you have the card "in hand."

Please click here for additional information on OPT. If you have further questions, please contact intlwork@binghamton.edu or come to walk-in advising hours to meet with an International Student Advisor (Monday and Tuesday: 10:00am-11:45am, Wednesday and Thursday from 1:30pm - 3:30pm).

3. Graduating Students: How to prepare your Optional Practical Training (OPT) Application

The workshop, How to Prepare Your Optional Practical Training (OPT) Application, is recommended for international students who are graduating in May 2016. As a May 2016 graduate, you can apply for OPT authorization beginning February 22, 2016.  Participants will learn how to:

  • Prepare and complete all documents needed to apply to USCIS for OPT authorization
  • Understand the two-step application process
  • Learn how to pick an appropriate OPT start date

To better prepare for this workshop, review this OPT checklist prior to participation. The conference room door will shut at the start of this presentation.  As a courtesy to other participants, please arrive on time.   Event dates, times and locations can be found below.

Workshop:

How to Prepare Your Optional Practical Training (OPT) Application

Date

Time

Location

Monday, March 7, 2016

9:15am to 10am

All workshops will be held in LSG552 (Library South, Ground Floor, Room 552)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

12:45pm to 1:30pm

Monday, March 21, 2016

9:15am to 10:00am

 

Please note that space is limited. To attend this event, register on B-Engaged.  You can register by clicking the blue button on the right side of the B-Engaged Event webpage that says: RSVP TO EVENT.  If you have any questions about this workshop or registration, please contact Linda Torricelli, ISSS programming coordinator.

4. Together: International Student Support Group

Discussion facilitator: Dr. Sangmoon Kim, staff psychologist at University Counseling Center

When: Tuesdays, 3:30-5:00p.m.

Where: ISSS Conference room, LSG 552 (Ground floor of Bartle Library building)

Hello international students at Binghamton University! You are warmly invited to the Together: International Student Support Group. You will meet fellow international students. Together aims to promote international students’ social interaction and sense of belonging as well as academic success. You can practice and enhance your English skills. We will meet every Tuesday; our next meeting is Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Weekly attendance is not required but recommended.  If you have any question about the Together, please email Dr. Sangmoon Kim.

5. International Student Grant-in-Aid Applications Now Being Accepted

Each semester a small number of financial awards (up to $500) are available to international students who have experienced a severe and unexpected financial need. To be eligible, students must be in F-1 or J-1 status, registered in a full-time program of study, have been in attendance at Binghamton University for at least one continuous year, and must be able to substantially document the events that have taken place which resulted in their unanticipated financial hardship (For example: Extreme unexpected loss in income, unexpected increase in expenditures beyond that which all students are facing, or both, due to circumstances beyond the student’s control).

Applicants are strongly advised to carefully document their financial situation when submitting the application form, being sure to include all supporting documents with their Grant in Aid application upon submission.  Incomplete applications will not be eligible for review.

Students with outstanding balances in their student account at the University should note that, based on Binghamton University policy, any monetary award will first be applied toward the balance on their student bill. Applications are available now online and must be submitted no later than 4:30pm on Friday, March 18, 2016.  Please click here to access the application.  Please note that paper applications will not be accepted.

6. Opportunity to Volunteer During Spring Break

The Center for Civic Engagement and ISSS are organizing an Alternative Spring Break for international students!  Participants will have the opportunity to volunteer at different community organizations on Tuesday, March 29 and/or on Wednesday, March 30.  Students can choose to volunteer at the YWCA, the Kopernik Observatory & Science Center, the Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park or at the Binghamton University Nature Preserve. Volunteering activities will run from 10:00am to 3:15pm on both days. Students may register to participate in one or two days of community service.   Please click here to register!

Please note that transportation between campus and the volunteer locations will be provided for all volunteers. Complimentary lunch will be served both days.  Information on each volunteer site can be here.  If you have any additional questions, please contact the Center for Civic Engagement, at cce@binghamton.edu.

7. Leadership Volunteers Needed - Fall 2016 International Student Orientation

Are you interested in helping new international students during Orientation and adding Leadership and Cross-Culture Training experience to your resume? Then, sign up to be a Leadership Volunteer!  Leadership Volunteers are a select group of Binghamton University students, who join ISSS staff to welcome new international students during Fall International Student Orientation. Leadership Volunteer recruitment is now underway.

Leadership Volunteers engage in a 3-day training program to help prepare them for their role during Orientation. The training program is organized by the 5 goals of the Orientation program: help new students feel comfortable in a new environment (networking) , meet students’ needs, share important information, learn about U.S. & foreign culture, and build trust and make new friends.

During Orientation, Leadership Volunteers greet new international students at check-in, welcome them during the introductory meeting, participate in group events, provide reassurance and essential information, and most importantly contribute to a warm and sincere presence during the new international student's first few days on campus. Many new students tell the ISSS how important the Leadership Volunteers were to their initial experience at Binghamton University. Many Leadership Volunteers tell the ISSS how valuable the training was to their own professional and personal development.

Leadership Volunteer Training will take place Tuesday, August 9 to Thursday, August 11, 2016. International Student Graduate Orientation is Friday, August 12.  International Student Undergraduate Orientation is Monday, August 15 and Tuesday, August 16, 2016.

If you are interested in becoming a Leadership Volunteer, please click here to complete the application formPlease note that your application must be submitted by April 17, 2016.

Questions? Contact Linda Torricelli, ISSS Programming Coordinator, at ltorrice@binghamton.edu or participate in the Leadership Volunteer General Interest Meeting on March 11.

8. ESL Tutors for International Undergraduate and Graduate Students

The ESL Program, in coordination with University Tutoring Services, has ESL tutors to assist international students with English language skills.  All tutors are former assistants in ESL classes and take an additional tutoring course to study specific issues such as pronunciation, grammar, and listening and writing skills. 

Undergraduate students sign up for appointments through tutortrac.

Graduate students have walk-in hours at the CIW Library:

Monday: 10am - 1pm

Tuesday: 2pm - 3pm

Wednesday: 10am - 1pm

Thursday: 12pm - 2pm

Friday: 12pm - 3pm

Additional information may be found here.  If you have any questions, please contact Corrine Spencer.

9. When it Comes to Alcohol: Don't Count On Luck

If you decide to participate in Parade Day 2016, please remember the following:

  • You must be 21 years old to consume alcohol
  • It is prohibited to drink alcohol in public
  • Drinking and driving is illegal
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol can lead to legal and immigration troubles
  • You are not invincible

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Last Updated: 3/2/16