Parent Connect monthly newsletter

March 2017

Brian Rose

  Dear Parents/Families,

  This parent-directed newsletter is a project that dates back                 approximately eight years. I was a relatively new vice president for   student affairs at the time of its first publication. After spending a     year learning Binghamton University, I came to believe that we         would benefit our students by strengthening our engagement with   their parents. The newsletter we now call Parent Connect was the first visible part of that effort. We also developed the current Parent and Family Weekend Program. Most significantly, we re-established a full Dean of Students Office that serves not only as a one-stop source of support for students whose concerns don’t neatly fit into the role of any single University office, but also as the primary administrative liaison to parents. 

The decision to engage parents more directly is not without its critics. There is a long-espoused philosophy around the developmental needs of students to learn to advocate for themselves. That philosophy still has legitimacy in many contexts. For example, the faculty-student classroom relationship is not a useful context for parent engagement. 

I still found there to be a strong rationale to more visibly and intentionally connect with Binghamton parents. Important measures of our success are the rates at which we retain and graduate our students.  Binghamton far exceeds national averages in both measures, but we aspire to improve even further. I believe that sharing information about University programs and services with parents is an important strategy to improve retention and graduation rates. I’ve joked at parent orientation sessions over the years about the extraordinary differences between my days as a college student (where I perhaps spoke to my parents twice per semester) and the students of today who remain continuously engaged with their parents via text, phone and social media. Today, parents remain an important source of support and guidance for their students long after college move-in. Foolish it would be then, not to partner with you to support our students’ success.

There will never be an easy rubric to determine when parental engagement adds value and when it slows student development. We will continue to work through those uncertainties. The aim of this newsletter then, is to put significant and actionable information in your hands about University educational resources. Our hope is that it will facilitate productive conversations between you and your student over how to get the most from time spent as a Binghamton student. I hope it serves that purpose well and that we will meet at a future Commencement.


Brian Rose
Vice President for Student Affairs


New parent, family and events coordinator named

Linda Salomons has recently been hired as the new parent, family and events coordinator at Binghamton University. As part of her responsibilities, she will oversee parent and family programming such as Family Weekend, regional parent events, the Bearcats Families Facebook page  and the Parent and Family website.  

“I’m thrilled to be working with the parents of our amazing Binghamton students!” Salomons said. “I encourage you to share positive stories about Binghamton, give ideas and input, and to feel free to email me with any questions.” 

Salomons originally hails from Philadelphia, but has lived in the Greater Binghamton community for over 25 years. She lives in Vestal with her husband and three sons, one a sophomore in college and twin boys about to graduate from high school and enter college in the fall.

Mumps update

The Binghamton University community is being monitored for cases of the Mumps. Eight students are being followed for the possibility of having had mumps. None are considered potentially contagious at this time. No cases have been confirmed either at Binghamton University or in our county. Initial rapid viral tests have all been negative, but the Broome County Health Department defers making any final judgement until viral culture reports are completed. Viral cultures are held for more than four weeks before they are considered negative.  

More information about mumps is available from the New York State Department of Health

Parents/guardians who have questions about mumps at Binghamton University may contact DSHSC at 607-777-2221.

The Dean of Students Office

The Office of the Dean of Students, led by Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students April Thompson, comprises nine student service departments to create a “one-stop” shop for Binghamton students. The office provides opportunities and experiences that support student learning and personal development, as well as helps students with issues affecting their academic and personal lives at Binghamton University. Professional staff in these departments advocate on behalf of students, and provide services designed to enhance academic and personal success.

While two of the departments – Residential Life and Student Conduct – are located in the Tuscarora Building in College-in-the-Woods, the remaining seven are housed on the second floor of University Union West. The main phone number for the Dean of Students Office is 607-777-2804.

Frequently asked questions about the Dean of Students Office and its departments can be found online.

Undergraduate Research Center 

The Undergraduate Research Center (URC) encourages undergraduate research, creative activity and scholarly investigation. The center helps undergraduates explore opportunities to participate in, fund and share their research through presentations and publications.

URC goals:

• Provide information to students on getting started with research
• Provide information about funded research opportunities
• Encourage undergraduate students to share their research
• Administer awards to students participating in research, scholarly and creative activities

The Binghamton University Undergraduate Research Center encourages, supports and acknowledges student research. Every summer the URC administers the Summer Scholars and Artists Program. This prestigious award provides a $3,000 stipend to support undergraduate students to conduct primary research or creative work under the guidance of a faculty mentor. The fellowship supports students’ original research or creative projects. Proposals from students in all academic disciplines are welcome. During the academic year, the URC provides awards designed to cover expenses for students’ independent research or creative work and to support the costs of presenting their results at professional meetings and conferences.

The URC also co-sponsors Research Days each spring. The URC coordinates student poster sessions where undergraduates are invited to share their research and creative work in a communal setting. The center also publishes Alpenglow: Undergraduate Journal of Research and Creative Activity.   This online undergraduate research journal showcases and acknowledges the broad spectrum and quality of undergraduate research, scholarly investigation and creative work at Binghamton University.

Undergraduate research

When you think of an undergraduate student researcher, what comes to mind? An archaeology major excavating a stone tool made thousands of years ago? A theatre major performing in an adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in the style of the Beijing Opera? A future biomedical engineer conducting research on the development of nanosensors for disease diagnosis and treatment?

All of the above are examples of research. They are explorations and investigations, each creative in their own way, which involve undergraduate students exploring the academic and artistic challenges of their fields.

At Binghamton, we define undergraduate research as a mentor-supported inquiry, creative activity or scholarly investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline. Original can be defined as a meaningful contribution by the student; it should be entirely or partially novel; it may reveal more questions than answers.

Students who pursue research or creative activity in their major benefit in many ways. They learn to link theory to practice and gain hands-on, practical not experienced in the classroom. This active participation in their field helps them to define career goas and become better graduate school or job candidates.

Healthy Campus Initiative: B-Healthy: Choose well. Be well.

Through collaborative efforts across Binghamton University's divisions, the Healthy Campus Initiative strives to cultivate a culture that is supportive of individuals and groups in pursuit of their optimal potential. 

Binghamton University’s Healthy Campus Initiative: B-Healthy: Choose well, Be Well, originated with President Harvey Stenger’s strategic planning Creative Activities and Research Road Map Team and the concept of making “Binghamton University the healthiest campus.” A cross-divisional committee was convened through the Division of Student Affairs in 2012, with the aim of integrating student health and wellness into Binghamton University’s educational mission by developing policies and programs to enhance the academic environment.

The goal of the Healthy Campus Initiative is to create an environment and identity that encourages and supports healthy living. Improving the health and well-being of our community and its members improves students’ capacity to learn; reduces some of the high-impact impediments to academic performance; improves student retention by improving coping strategies and psychological health; and sets the stage for lifelong healthy living.

In addition to the programs offered by Campus Recreational Services, facilities including the Recreation Center at the East Gym and FitSpace, and initiatives such as Wellness Meals at all meals in our dining halls; Mindful Meals; and Simple Servings; students, faculty and staff – as well as visitors – see mileage markers around campus; signs above elevator buttons suggesting to take the stairs; and hydration station signs above water fountains. These signs are part of our commitment to the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), a nationwide initiative devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation’s youth by solving the children’s obesity crisis.

One of 20 inaugural colleges and universities to be selected for the PHA program, Binghamton University has committed to work toward, and publicly report its progress on, 23 goals over a three-year period that address food and nutrition, physical activity/movement and programming. We’re in the third year of the program and are on track to meet our 23 goals. For more information on our PHA involvement, go online.

We’ve achieved other successes as well, including being named one of the top 25 healthiest college campuses for two years running by Binghamton University has also  recently been awarded the American Heart Association’s Fit-Friendly Gold Recognition that will be presented during the University’s annual Health Fair Wednesday, March 22.

For more information on Binghamton University’s Healthy Campus Initiative, visit our website.  

New Student Programs

New Student Programs assists new students and families with the transition to Binghamton University. Programs we coordinate include New Student Orientation, New Student Picnic and Convocation, First Year Experience, the Emerging Leaders Program and the Public Speaking Lab.

New Student Programs supports the process of acclimating all entering students and their families to life at Binghamton through student centered, comprehensive programs that serve as the cornerstone on which academic success and positive social transitions are built. Orientation programs introduce all new students to the University's diverse educational opportunities and resources; provide structured opportunities for interaction with peers, continuing students, faculty and staff; and create in students a sense of their place in Binghamton's history as contributing members of the community. Orientation establishes the relationship between families and the University and offers support in transitioning to life with a student in college.

Orientation dates for fall 2017 enrollment

Summer 2017 New Student Orientation dates are now available! Although we just welcomed in our newly admitted students in January, we’re already thinking about the summer! New Student Orientation registration will open the first week of May. Orientation sessions will take place as follows:

Transfer Orientation

  • Tuesday, June 13 (Harpur College)
  • Thursday, June 15 (professional schools)
  • Monday, June 19 (Harpur College)
  • Tuesday, June 20 (professional schools)
  • Thursday, June 22 (Harpur College)

Freshman Orientation

  • Monday/Tuesday, June 26/27 (professional schools)
  • Thursday/Friday, June 29/30 (Harpur College)
  • Thursday/Friday, July 6/7 (professional schools)
  • Monday/Tuesday, July 10/11 (Harpur College)
  • Thursday/Friday, July 13/14 (Harpur College)
  • Monday/Tuesday, July 17/18 (Harpur College)
  • Thursday/Friday, July 20/21 (Harpur College)
  • Monday/Tuesday, July 24/25 (Harpur College)
  • Thursday/Friday, July 27/28 (Harpur College 2018 spring-admitted freshmen)

Contact Peter Nardone, associate director of New Student Programs, for more information. 

Financial Aid and Student Records

Did you file the 2017-18 FAFSA yet?

Students can complete the 2017-18 FAFSA online. Our recommended filing date for continuing students is April 1. Parents and students will use 2015 tax return information to apply. Be sure to add Binghamton’s school code – 002836. 

Eligible students who have their 2017-18 FAFSA information sent to Binghamton University can expect financial aid award offer e-notifications beginning mid-April.

Note: For students who received a Renewable Scholarship from Binghamton University in 2016-17, a 2017-18 FAFSA must be filed no later than April 1 or renewing of the scholarship could be jeopardized. If the student is unsure if his/her scholarship is renewable or not, click on the scholarship named in the award offer on the Financial Aid tab in BU BRAIN to see the details pertaining to the specific scholarship.

Completed your FAFSA? How about TAP for 2017-18?

New York state (NYS) residents attending NYS schools have the option to link directly to the TAP application from the FAFSA submission confirmation page. Once the FAFSA is complete, be sure to fill out the TAP application. TAP is a state grant given to full-time matriculated NYS residents who qualify financially and maintain an academic requirement. They must fill out a TAP application online. Be sure to add Binghamton’s school code – 0880.

Parent PLUS Loan – another option for funding your student

The Parent PLUS loan is taken out by the parent of an undergraduate student to aid in paying for the student’s education. Learn more and apply for this loan online.

Proxy Access available for financial aid information

"Proxy access" is the ability students have to grant others access to view their financial aid information in BU BRAIN. Currently, this is available for financial aid information. Go online for more information on proxy access and how to set up an account.

Summer registration!

Summer registration became available March 6 through BU BRAIN – and the online schedule of summer classes can be view through BU BRAIN as well. Students must clear all holds before they can register.          

Fall pre-registration

  • The online schedule of fall classes and student time tickets will be available to view on March 23 through BU BRAIN. Students must clear all holds before they can register.
  • Graduate student registration will begin at 9 a.m. Friday, March 31.
  • Undergraduate students can begin registration at 9 a.m. Monday, April 3. Time tickets will be based on credit hours earned. 

Does your student need Proof of Enrollment?

Your insurance company, a scholarship program, loan company or other third party may require you to show Proof of Enrollment (also called Enrollment Verification). Several updates are made during the semester. Changes you make to your schedule (adding a course, dropping a course, etc.) will be reflected in these updates.

Your student can obtain Proof of Enrollment online by logging into BU BRAIN Self Service via the Portal at For more information, go online

4:30 p.m. Friday, March 24 is the deadline for:

  • Grade option change deadline - Last day for students to change grading option. Students may select a grading option when registering for a course.
  • The grading options are letter grade or pass/fail. Students can complete the change online through BU BRAIN.

More information can be found online.

  • Course withdrawal deadline - last day for students to withdraw from a course. Available online through BU BRAIN – Students will receive a “W” on their official transcripts for any course they withdraw from.
  • Deadline for students to submit the spring 2017 Application for Degree
    • Is your student a graduating senior? Students must notify us of their intent to graduate by completing the online spring 2017 Application for Degree available in BU BRAIN in order to receive their degree.
    • Find out all you need to know about Spring 2017 Commencement Weekend online.

Learn more about the Parents Leadership Council!

If you’re interested in supporting student success, creating engagement opportunities for families and philanthropy, we hope you’ll consider joining the Parents Leadership Council at Binghamton! This council is designed to serve as the link between Binghamton University and parents of our undergraduate students. Learn more about our current members or e-mail Morgan Appel Kenyon to find out how you can get involved! 

Get more involved now

Active and involved parents make a difference at Binghamton by offering charitable support. Parent giving to the Binghamton Fund continues to have a significant impact on the student experience, providing internships, research and networking opportunities, and other life-changing educational experiences for students like yours.

Your gift matters. Go online or contact the Binghamton Fund at 607-777-6209.

Parents-Facebook just for you!

Like the Bearcats Family Association Facebook page today so you can receive daily news and information from Binghamton University, as well as win fun prizes just for parents!

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 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
  • March 22: Health Fair
  • March 24: Course withdraw with a "W"/change of grade option deadline
  • March 24: Last day for seniors to submit an application for degree for spring 2017
  • April 8: Residence halls close at 11 a.m.
  • April 10-April 17: No classes (spring break, Easter, Passover)
  • April 17: Residence halls open at 2 p.m.
  • April 18: Classes resume

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Last Updated: 3/8/17