A photo of the Dean of Students at Binghamton University. Message from the
Dean of Students

Dear Parents/Families,

Welcoming our students back for a new semester is always an exciting time, and this semester is no different. We hope you and your students have enjoyed your time together over the break, and that they are relaxed and ready to get back into campus life.

It's going to be a busy semester for everyone – we'll be following up on two issues in particular that were a focus in state and national news this past fall. One is how campuses across the country should be handling sexual misconduct prevention and response. At Binghamton, we have been continuously improving our policies and programs over the past several years and have done so again, making significant revisions in the past year to improve our support system for students in these cases, and continue to move forward. We have trained all staff in the Division of Student Affairs on our protocols and resources, and also worked with SUNY and updated our Sexual Violence/Victim Bill of Rights to align with all SUNY campuses. For more information on steps we have taken, you can read about it in President Harvey Stenger's Quarterly report, and there will be more to come in future Parent Connect newsletters on our actions. 

The second major issue that the campus continues to discuss at length is fostering inclusiveness and equitable treatment of all students. Binghamton, like other campuses and cities across the country, experienced protests following decisions not to prosecute anyone in the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Senior administrators met with students and we continue to have conversations with members of the campus community. As we look ahead to Black History Month events in February, we encourage everyone to attend the events and will continue working to foster Binghamton an an inclusive, welcoming campus for everyone.

We wish everyone a safe trip back to campus, and as always, if you have any questions or concerns, we're here to help. You can always reach us at dos@binghamton.edu.

April Thompson
Dean of Students

Residential Life - Welcome Back!

We're excited to see our 7,400 residents return soon. It's a new semester — and a new start!

Buildings reopen Thursday, Jan. 22, but we're already busy preparing with professional and RA staff training. When your son or daughter moves back in for the spring semester, community leaders will be ready to jump in on both the fun and challenging aspects of living on campus including:

  • building community on the floor,
  • planning fun and educational programs,
  • ensuring students are abiding by rules to help create a safe living environment, and
  • serving as a resource for students to help deal with challenges including homesickness, roommate conflicts and transition issues.

Did you know that, as a resident, your student has access to more than 600 RA events in a given semester? Our 200+ RAs put on three events apiece — one relating to personal improvement, i.e. health and money management; one relating to academics, i.e. DARS and resume help; and the third relating to understanding the world globally and expanding personal horizons. All of these events are posted for students around the residence halls as well as on B-Engaged

Keep informed of important Residential Life dates, resources, programs and news on our website or Facebook page

Prevent the flu!

With flu activity high in certain areas and expected to continue in other areas not heavily hit yet, it is important for students to consider vaccination. It is important to discuss this with your student and be encouraging about getting vaccinated before returning to campus. The most recent FluView report for the 2014-2015 flu season shows that the flu season in the United States has begun and about half the country is experiencing high levels of flu activity. Reports of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths are elevated. Activity is expected to continue for several weeks, especially in parts of the country that have not yet seen significant activity.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. There are documented benefits from flu vaccination, including reductions in illnesses, related doctors' visits and missed work or school. Vaccination also prevents flu-related hospitalizations and deaths. While most of the viruses spreading this season are different from what is in the vaccine, vaccination can still provide protection and might reduce severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death.

Students of Concern Committee

The Dean of Students Office wants family members to be aware of the Students of Concern Committee (SOC). The SOC is here for parents, families, friends, faculty, students and staff to bring concerns about students to the attention of the committee. This committee is available to help students who are experiencing personality or behavioral changes, or health-related issues that may affect their well-being.

Some reasons why you may wish to refer to the SOC is that you are or know a student who is:

  • behaving in a way that concerns you/not being their usual selves
    • Example: A student who attends class regularly and usually hands in assignments on time stops showing up for class and ceases to hand in assignments
  • experiencing a family emergency or death of a family member
  • experiencing difficulty beyond his/her ability to cope with a trauma or accident

The committee will help coordinate the University's response to students who demonstrate violence, threats to self or others and to students who are disruptive. The SOC develops plans of action to support and assist in helping students and the University community to be safer. The goals of the SOC are to identify early indications of students' concerns and find solutions to reduce the impact on a student and/or the community.

If you are concerned about a student or if you have any questions regarding the committee, contact the Dean of Students Office at 607-777-2804 or e-mail at dos@binghamton.edu. You can also contact the Case Manager, Beth Riley, at briley@binghamton.edu if you are unsure about referring a student to the committee.

Talking about sexual violence

Starting a conversation: While it can be awkward, beginning a conversation with your student about sexual violence is important for many reasons. Informing youth about sexual assault can not only prevent it, but in the unfortunate circumstance that your student has experienced sexual violence, starting a conversation may help your student feel more comfortable talking to you about what happened.

There are many reasons your student may not disclose this abuse to you: feelings of embarrassment, shame or a fear of being hurt further. Victims may also believe it is their fault. If your student does not want to talk with you directly, find someone they do feel comfortable talking with about the violence and provide information about national hotlines and resources.

If your student does disclose sexual violence to you, it is important to give them a chance to talk about it. Assure them that you are here to listen – and listen to the whole story. Remind them that you are there to help, and not to judge. You want to be a support system to your student at all times. For more information, visit the following websites:

Financial Aid and Student Records

Time to file the 2015-16 FAFSA

Students can now file their 2015-16 FAFSA online. Binghamton University's recommended filing date is April 1 for continuing students. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is encouraged (once you have filed your 2014 federal tax return) to pull accurate tax data directly from your federal tax return into the FAFSA application. It's accurate and easy!

Important note to NYS residents:

Link to the NYS Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) application from the FAFSA
New York state (NYS) residents attending NYS schools will be presented with the option to link directly to the TAP application once the FAFSA is completed and a confirmation page is displayed. If missed, HESC will send an e-mail or postcard encouraging students to complete the NYS TAP application online via the HESC website.

Spring 2015 registration re-opens Friday, Jan. 23 (based on time ticket) until the add/drop deadline at 11:59 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6.

Reminder: A Hold on a student's account will prevent registration. If a student has a Hold, it is viewable in BU BRAIN. An outstanding account balance is an example of a Hold that will prevent registration.

Spring 2015 requirement for all students: Confirmation of Enrollment

  • At the start of each semester, all undergraduate and graduate students are required to confirm enrollment via BU BRAIN. For spring 2015, confirmation must be completed by the fifth day of classes, Friday, Jan. 30, or courses will be dropped regardless of whether the bill is paid in full.
  • Financial aid recipients must confirm enrollment to have funds not only credited but also applied to their student account balance and to generate a refund (if applicable).
  • Confirming enrollment acknowledges that the student has been presented with and reviewed financial aid, billing and refund policies as required by federal and state agencies, SUNY and Binghamton University.

Proof of Enrollment available online

Proof of Enrollment is available through the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) via BU BRAIN Self Service. Go to the Student tab and select Student Tools, Proof of Enrollment.

Graduating Seniors-Application for Degree (AFD)

Is your student graduating after the winter session or in May 2015 after the spring semester? Students must notify us of their intent to graduate by completing the online Application for Degree (AFD) in order to receive their degree.

  • Winter 2015 application for Degree (AFD) is available on BU BRAIN through Friday, Jan. 23.
  • Spring 2015 Application for Degree (AFD) is available on BU BRAIN beginning Monday, Jan. 26 through Friday, March 27.

Cancellation of courses/University Withdrawal for the spring 2015 semester

Prior to the start of the spring 2015 semester, students who are registered but do not plan to attend can submit an e-mail request to Student Records to have their classes canceled. The e-mail request must come from the student's official Binghamton University e-mail address, and must include the student's full name and B-number (Binghamton University identification number).

Once the spring semester begins, students looking to withdraw completely from the University should submit the University Withdrawal Form to Financial Aid and Student Records, Admissions Center, Room 112. The semester Withdrawal Form is required for students who wish to drop all courses and have their academic record to indicate "good standing."

For more semester dates/deadlines, go online.

Students encouraged to attend spring Job and Internship Fair Feb. 11

The Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development will host the University's Spring Job and Internship Fair from 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11, in the Events Center. Representatives from for-profit, government and non-profit organizations are eager to speak with students from all majors regarding full-time employment and internship opportunities. Students from all class years and majors are encouraged to attend; seniors to job search, juniors and sophomores to explore internship opportunities, and freshmen to better understand what's in store for them in the years to come. In advance of the fair, encourage your student to review the Fleishman Center website for tips on how to prepare for the fair, the list of registered employers, to research employers of interest, and to participate in career and professional development preparation programs and workshops leading up to the fair.

Students planning to attend the fair should also be reminded to bring professional dress with them when they return to campus so they will be prepared to meet with prospective employers.

Campus Recreation

To welcome students back and kick their semester off on a healthy foot, we're making group fitness classes and FitSpace available to everyone free of charge Friday, Jan. 23 through Tuesday, Jan. 27. For students not currently Rec Center members, encourage them to come down and try out the facilities and programs. Over break we added the new SYNRGY360 — a full-service training center equipped with a heavy bag, battle ropes, medicine balls, TRX suspension trainers and more. Then if your student likes what they find — and who wouldn't with state-of-the-art equipment and more than 100 weekly group classes to pick from!? — there is still time to take advantage of our $5 off membership incentive that continues through Jan. 27.

But that's not the only way for your student to be active and involved in Campus Rec.

Spring intramurals sport registrations will begin the first day of classes, including for the ever-popular 5-on-5 basketball league, as well as team bowling, racquetball and billiards. If your student isn't currently an intramural sports participant, it's a good time to suggest looking into joining. Intramurals are not only a nice break from class demands, but look great on an involvement transcript and, above all else, are perfect for the student looking for something a little competitive and a lot of fun.

Also opening for registration will be our specialty wellness classes — aqua bootcamp, Pink Gloves Boxing, Insanity® and the SYNRGY experience on our new equipment. These classes are offered for a fee, but fitness members receive a 20 percent discount.

For those parents with an outdoor adventure seeker, we recommend that your student stop by the Outdoor Pursuits office and check out our equipment rental center, reopening Friday, Jan. 23. With hiking and winter gear that includes skis, boots, poles, snowshoes and backpacks, we can set students up with everything they need to head out and enjoy the beautiful areas and parks surrounding our campus.

Fraternity and sorority life

To facilitate a smooth transition to Binghamton University, first-semester freshman are not permitted to join a fraternity or sorority. Students must have 12 credits completed and have a minimum 2.5 grade point average before being eligible to join. Therefore, the spring semester is a very busy recruiting period for most of our 50 organizations. The list of Binghamton University recognized fraternities and sororities can be found here: Recognized organizations

We would also like you to be aware of organizations potentially operating in Binghamton without Binghamton University recognition. Most of these groups were shut down in the past for significant violations and they have chosen to continue operating "underground" without University oversight, and in most cases the problematic behavior that caused these organizations to be shut down has not stopped. If your student mentions joining one of these groups, have a conversation about it before the return to campus for the spring semester. The list of unrecognized organizations is available here: Unrecognized organizations

Finally, for those parents whose students are considering joining one of our organizations this spring, know that Binghamton University has a strict no hazing policy. While hazing in our community is a rare occurrence, it does still happen from time to time. If you believe your student is being hazed, don't hesitate to contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life where you can file a confidential report.

Our fraternity and sorority community offers outstanding opportunities for scholarship, service and leadership and we hope that your student is considering becoming part of our community or currently enjoying the experience. You can find out more about our community, including grade reports and governing documents, by visiting our website. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us at greek@binghamton.edu.

20 things you might not know about Bartle Library

For many Binghamton students, Bartle Library is a home away from home. Here are some fun facts about the library that may not be commonly known

Don't forget to pre-order textbooks!

As soon as students are registered for classes, they are able to pre-order the required textbooks they will need. Ordering at the Binghamton University Bookstore guarantees students the correct books. Just input their course information into our website along with a valid payment type.

Their books will be pre-packaged and ready to pick up at the beginning of the semester, or they can be shipped. Information about cost-saving options such as used books, rentals and digital textbooks is also available on our website. Like us on Facebook for store information and special discounts on merchandise!

Learn how Binghamton University Dining Services provides more than just an average dining experience!

Visit the Binghamton University Dining Services website, your student's portal to all things dining services, including information about menus, events, promotions, and health and wellness. You can also check out 'BUCampusFood' on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and YouTube for the latest news.

Our menus boast a myriad of healthy options with a fantastic variety of dietary accommodations that include, but are not limited to, kosher, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, allergy free and more. A new option added last semester is a great convenience for students – the ability to order online. Check out our new online ordering app. Parents and students can also access their accounts online.

In spring 2014, Binghamton University established a Student Culinary Council (SCC) which works to better connect students with dining services. Your students have the opportunity to join this engaging student committee. Check it out!  

Live support after hours – we're here for you! 

Parents: Can't call during business hours? Want a live response instead of waiting for an e-mail? We understand parents and family members have busy lives, which is why we've created the live-chat system just for you. Learn more online!

Binghamton Bearcat Family Association-Facebook just for parents!

Are you a parent who is social media savvy and wants daily updates just for you? Then "The Binghamton Bearcat Family Association" Facebook page is what you're looking for. This page has timely University updates, information about how to get involved as a parent, advice from faculty and staff with children in college, prize giveaways and more so "like" it today!

Check out Binghamton University on Facebook, too

Want to know more about what's going on at Binghamton University beyond the parent Facebook page? Check the Binghamton University main page out on Facebook.

Visiting Binghamton?

If you're planning a trip to Binghamton, visit the Visiting Binghamton section on our website or the Greater Binghamton Convention and Visitors Bureau for information on what to see, where to stay and where to eat while you're here.

Update parent information

Keep your contact information updated in our parent database. If your address, phone or e-mail has changed, send a note to kellis@binghamton.edu to let us know. And if you're looking for more from us, check out some of our pages targeted directly to parents and guardians:

Calendar of events

  • University's Academic Calendar
  • Jan. 5-23: Winter Session
  • Jan. 22: Residence halls open at 9 a.m.
  • Jan. 23: Pre-semester registration for spring 2015
  • Jan. 26: Classes begin
  • Feb. 6: Course add/drop/delete deadline

How to unsubscribe

If you no longer have a need to receive this newsletter, you can unsubscribe by sending a message to kellis@binghamton.edu.

Last Updated: 1/15/15