Parent Connect monthly newsletter

January 2017

April Thompson

Dear Parents/Families,

We’re ready to welcome your students back to campus! And we’re looking forward to it as well!

I always prefer the excitement and activity of a new semester and hope your students feel the same.

We’re starting the spring semester a week earlier than in prior years, enabling us to give students a long weekend in March as well as their regular spring break in April. Why? Because we’ve learned that students need a break fairly early in a semester to be at their best – and to be honest – so do the faculty and staff!

As I think about the semester ahead, my hope is that our students will be challenged academically and feel comfortable in their social lives on our very diverse campus. We have resources available to ease any concerns students might have, including the Dean of Students Office, Case Management Services, the University Counseling Center and the Multicultural Resource Center, among others. If your student has a concern, have him/her reach out to my office and together we’ll figure find a resolution.

There will be a lot happening this semester, as you’ll read about in this newsletter. I have three reminders in particular: 1) encourage your student to participate in our MLK Week of Welcome Celebration, 2) urge your student to return to campus with professional clothing for the Spring Job and Internship Fair on Feb. 2, and 3) check out the list of unrecognized fraternities and sororities on our website if your student intends to join a Greek organization this spring. It’s the first semester freshman students are eligible for induction, so talk to students about Greek life options now if it’s on their radar.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact me at


April Thompson
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

Diversity at Binghamton

Happy New Year from the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DDEI)! DDEI is the youngest division at Binghamton University, created by President Harvey Stenger in 2013. The division houses the Multicultural Resource Center, the LGBTQ Center and the Udiversity Educational Institute. We are committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for faculty, staff and students through a variety of programs, training and workshops designed to assist in navigating difficult and contentious situations around issues of diversity or to educate others about the importance of difference.

January is a busy month for us, as we host our inaugural MLK Week of Welcome Celebration from Jan. 14 through Jan. 22. See below a listing of upcoming programs sponsored by the Multicultural Resource Center during the month of January. Events include a day of service, discussions, a reenactment of the Selma March on our campus, and, for those who are able to register on time, participation in the Million Woman March on Washington, D.C. on Jan. 21.  

Urge your student to check out our complete schedule and participate in as many events as possible!

For more information about the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and future events, or to report a hate or bias incident on campus, contact us online.  

Students encouraged to attend Spring Job and Internship Fair Thursday, Feb. 2

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. Thursday, Feb. 2, in the Events Center. Representatives from corporate, 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, and to review the list of registered employers, conduct research on employers of interest, and participate in career and professional development preparation programs and workshops. Students planning to attend the fair should also be reminded to bring professional dress back to campus with them after the break before they meet with prospective employers.

Fraternity and Sorority life

Fraternity and Sorority Life

Binghamton Fraternity and Sorority Life concluded the 2015-2016 school year with 1,915 members in 52 organizations. Collectively those 1,915 members raised over $100,000 for various charities and finished the semester with a 3.28 grade point average compared to the Binghamton average of 3.23. Additionally, we are very proud of the fact that 95.8 percent of freshmen who joined fraternities and sororities in spring 2016 returned to the university in the fall.

As we do not allow first-semester freshmen to join our fraternity and sorority community, the spring is our largest recruiting period. Most of our groups will be recruiting new members during the first three weeks of the spring semester. As your student is hopefully examining fraternity or sorority possibilities, we would like you to be aware of organizations potentially operating in Binghamton without University recognition. Most of these groups were closed in the past for significant conduct violations and they have chosen to continue operating "underground" without University oversight – in many cases continuing the behaviors that originally led to their closing. We bring this to your attention in case your student mentions joining one of these groups. The list is available on our parent website

For those parents whose students are considering joining one of our organizations this spring, know that Binghamton University has a strict no-hazing policy. However, 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, 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. We hope that your student is considering becoming part of our community or is currently enjoying his/her experience. If you have additional questions or are seeking additional information, visit our website.

Student learning in the Libraries

Binghamton University Libraries welcomes students and community members at four locations: two on the main campus, Glenn G. Bartle Library and the Science Library; another at the University Downtown Center in the city of Binghamton, and an annex in Conklin, N.Y., where less frequently-accessed resources are housed. All locations are supported by a team of dedicated faculty and professional staff, under the leadership of Dean of University Libraries Curtis Kendrick

In addition to a robust menu of services, resources and study spaces – all designed to ensure the best learning experience, the Libraries maintains a strong focus on student research assistance. This support starts with Welcome Weekend tours and continues throughout the academic year through informal drop-in sessions, scheduled instruction or one-on-one meetings with our faculty/staff who are accessible in a number of ways

The Libraries' Special Collections offers students the ability to experience history in a  meaningful way, such as through the recent celebration of a 14th-century manuscript donation, which provided students and visitors the unique opportunity to see and touch parchment. A variety of faculty-led talks, events and exhibits add another layer of learning throughout the year, such as the interactive Chinese Cultural Experience Center and Medieval Exhibit.

A complete description of services, events and exhibits can be viewed on the Libraries home page. There is also a News and Events blog, and a strong social media presence on Facebook and Twitter.

Comments and suggestions about Libraries’ services and resources are encouraged via email through the dean’s office.

Center for Civic Engagement

The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) offers students diverse opportunities to grow and develop as active, engaged citizens in their community. From volunteer opportunities and internships at local nonprofits, community organizations and government agencies to high impact service-learning experiences in the classroom, the CCE is dedicated to helping your student grow personally and professionally during their time at Binghamton University. Here are a few CCE programs and events that may interest your student for the spring 2017 semester:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Panel

The CCE is collaborating with the Intercultural Welcome Week Committee and Udiversity Educational Institute to present "Passion to Action: Continuing the Dream Beyond Inauguration 2017" as part of a week-long series of events designed to foster inclusive community building and transformative learning opportunities that enhance Binghamton University's social and cultural environment. The panel will take place from 2-4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, in Old Union Hall.

  • Calling all representatives: We've Got Issues

Following a contentious election season, the number of students on campus who are actively engaged in the political process has increased. We’ve Got Issues is a new initiative that will expand CCE's political engagement work beyond voter registration and voter turn-out. The goal is to teach students best practices for contacting their representatives to voice their concerns and offer a regular space where they can put these skills to use.

  • Passion to Action and Community Issues Forums

CCE will continue to offer Passion to Action events and community issues forums for students interested in creating change around issues they are passionate about. Students can look forward to hands-on workshops guiding them through the process of creating change through long-term service projects, as well as forums that will inform them about specific policies that impact them and/or their community. 

  • Community Schools

Binghamton University students can participate in a variety of tutoring and mentoring programs in five local school districts through the CCE’s Community Schools and Youth Programs initiative, a partnership with the Broome County Promise Zone. Volunteer opportunities range from in-class and after-school tutoring at all grade levels, to lunchroom engagement, parent/family engagement and event-based volunteerism. Students who lack personal transportation can check out our interactive GIS transportation map, which is a tool to help students navigate the local public transportation options to reach community-based opportunities. The Division of Student Affairs also funds some transportation options for specific Community Schools volunteer opportunities.

  • Bridging the Digital Divide

Students interested in technology may find interest in our Bridging the Digital Divide Project, through which student volunteers teach basic computer literacy classes to various populations in the greater Binghamton community who lack access to information technology, such as the homeless, formerly incarcerated, youth from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds and the elderly. Student volunteers also refurbish computers which are donated to community partners and used to set up public computer labs in the community. 

Transportation made simple

Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS) offers convenient transportation options around campus and the campus community. Technology like GPS bus locators and car-sharing programs like Zipcar make attending a class at the downtown center, running errands or visiting a doctor easy.  

Off Campus College Transport (OCCT) has installed GPS tracking devices in each of its buses. These tracking devices are linked to an application that displays where the buses are at all times and how far they are from any given stop location. Students can download the free ETA SPOT application to their smartphones or reference the Live Bus View tab under the University’s bMobi application.

Zipcar, the world’s leading car-sharing service, allows members to reserve self-service, on-demand cars for an hourly rate or by the day, 24/7. All 18-and-older Binghamton University students can become a member today for a $15 registration fee by joining online.

Once they are a registered member, they can reserve a car online or on their phones for as little as an hour or as long as seven days. Students will then scan into the car using their Zipcard, and drive away. Zipcar covers gas, insurance and 180 miles per day.

For more information on OCCT, Zipcar or additional transportation options, visit the TAPS website.

With the new year comes a new focus on health  

It’s January. It’s that time where gyms are full with well-intentioned “resolutioners” and advertisements for fitness apparel seem to follow us everywhere. Countless people take this time to commit to healthier lifestyle choices, with exercising and eating right topping the list of New Year’s resolutions.

Many of these resolutions fall flat by February, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and defeated. It doesn’t have to be that way! A little motivational support can go a long way and the staff at Campus Recreation is here to help. 

In addition to our state-of-the-art fitness facilities, group fitness classes  and specialty wellness classes, we offer nutritional advising provided by Binghamton University Dining Services as well as personal training services with nationally certified trainers. Both services are available right on campus in the Recreation Center.

Nutritional services range from a nutrition check-up to special diet sessions. Visits can help students understand their nutrition history, define nutritional goals and develop healthy eating plans for special conditions or weight management. The professionals with Binghamton University Dining Services can even help students navigate the dining halls to find healthy options or learn ways to prepare nutritious, well-balanced meals on their own. Nutrition advising is offered free of charge to current students. For more information or to schedule an appointment for your student, call the Wellness Services Suite at 607-777-3515

Exercising with a personal trainer is another great way for students to meet their wellness goals. We offer personal and small group training, as well as fitness assessments. Our nationally certified personal trainers help students identify fitness goals and map out a plan to get there safely and effectively. Whether your student is a beginner or already a fitness fan, a personalized training program can help motivate and educate. Students receive a 20 percent discount on all personal training services and all sessions take place in the Recreation Center.

There are good reasons why so many Binghamton students choose the Recreation Center to achieve their health, fitness and wellness goals. It’s conveniently located on campus with patron-friendly hours, knowledgeable staff and secure facilities, to name a few. All currently enrolled students pay a recreation fee and have access to the Recreation Center (excluding the FitSpace fitness facility and group fitness classes) during Recreation Center building hours. 

Fitness memberships give students unlimited access to FitSpace and group fitness classes. Purchase a spring semester fitness membership online for your student before Tuesday, Jan. 17, to save $5 off the registration fee, which brings the cost down to only $18 each month. The fitness membership may also qualify for full or partial reimbursement through insurance. 

Student fitness memberships may qualify for reimbursement through insurance

If you have a student who is currently enrolled in the University’s Domestic Student Health Insurance Plan, he or she may be eligible to receive a percentage of their annual or academic annual fitness membership reimbursed.  

In order to be eligible for wellness reimbursement, the student must:

• be enrolled in the Domestic Student Health Insurance Plan;

• be an active member of the exercise facility (i.e., Binghamton University’s FitSpace); and

• complete 50 visits in a six-month period.

At the end of the six-month period, the student must submit documentation of visits from the facility, a copy of the membership fee receipt and a copy of our brochure. Our staff is happy to assist with any necessary documentation to secure reimbursement.

If your student is covered by your family insurance plan, check to see if your insurance carrier offers a similar wellness incentive. 

Financial Aid and Student Records

Ensure proper bill credit

Is aid missing aid from your student’s spring 2017 bill? Check that all requirements have been satisfied online via the BU BRAIN Financial Aid tab. See more information online.  

2017-2018 FAFSA and TAP application is now available

  • Students can now file their 2017-2018 FAFSA and TAP application. Binghamton University’s recommended filing date for returning students is April 1, to receive the best offer of financial aid. The FAFSA is required for all students wishing to receive financial aid for summer 2017, fall 2017 and spring 2018.
  • If the Apply for NYS TAP link on the FAFSA confirmation page is missed, HESC will send an email or postcard reminding you to complete the TAP application online.
  • Students/parents will report the same 2015 tax information on the 2017-2018 FAFSA as was used on the 2016-2017 FAFSA. Because of this change, completing the FAFSA application as soon as possible is encouraged so that any conflicting information between the two aid years is resolved and aid can be disbursed in a timely manner.
  • Reporting accurate tax information is simple with the IRS Data Retrieval Tool and ensures accurate and streamlined FAFSA filing. For more information about the new changes to the FAFSA, go online
  • Scholarship reminder: Students who received a renewable scholarship in 2016-17 must file a 2017-18 FAFSA no later than April 1, to avoid jeopardizing the receipt of further scholarship funding. If your student is not sure if a scholarship is renewable, he/she can check by clicking on the scholarship in their award offer found on the BU BRAIN Financial Aid tab where the details pertaining to the specific scholarship is available. 

SUNY Smart Track literacy tool provides financial guidance to college students

Smart Track® resources cover the spectrum of personal financial literacy from budgeting, responsible credit card use and avoiding identify theft to the basics of banking, borrowing and working through college. The online learning center demystifies college financing through loan payment estimators and strategies to responsibly borrow and repay funds. A great resource for your student. Go online to get started

Has your student lost his/her Binghamton ID over break?

If your student has lost his/her Binghamton ID card, replacing it is easy! Simply have your student email us from his/her official Binghamton email account with the ID card replacement request and his/her B-number. A $20 replacement fee will be placed on their spring 2017 bill.

IDs can be picked up between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday – Friday, in the Admissions Center, Room 112. IDs will also be available for pick up from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, in the Admissions Center basement, room B04.

Spring 2017 registration

Registration re-opened for spring 2017 on Friday, Jan. 13. Time tickets are based on credit hours earned. Students can check their registration time ticket on BU BRAIN. 

The add/drop deadline for spring 2017 is 11:59 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27.

All holds, including account balance holds, must be cleared to allow for registration adjustments. Holds can be viewed online in BU BRAIN.   

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 2017, the Confirmation of Enrollment deadline is 4:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23. All courses will be dropped for students who do not confirm their enrollment by the deadline. 
  • Financial aid recipients must confirm enrollment to have funds not only credited but applied to pay their student account balance and 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 the University.

Proof of advanced registration available online

Proof of advanced registration for spring 2017 is available online through the National Student Clearinghouse. Students can access this through BU BRAIN.

Spring 2017 Proof of Enrollment

Spring 2017 Proof of Enrollment will become available at the end of January 2017 on BU BRAIN.

Graduating seniors: Applications for Degree

Undergraduate students graduating after the Winter Session must notify us of their intent to graduate by emailing us.  

Currently enrolled undergraduates intending to graduate in spring 2017 must complete the online Application for Degree available on BU BRAIN in order to receive their degree. Students completing coursework at another school in spring 2017 must email us to complete the Application for Degree.

Cancellation of courses/University Withdrawal for the spring semester

Prior to the start of the spring 2017 semester, students who are registered but do not plan to attend can submit an email request to have their classes cancelled. The email request must come from the student’s official Bmail address. Students should include their full name and B-number (Binghamton University identification number).

Once the spring 2017 semester begins, students seeking to withdraw completely from the University must submit the University Withdrawal form to Financial Aid and Student Records, in Admissions Center 112. The Semester Withdrawal Form is required for a student who wishes to drop all courses and who wants his/her academic record to indicate in good standing. 

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
  • Jan. 15: Residence halls open at 2 p.m.
  • Jan. 16: No classes, Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Jan. 17: Classes begin
  • Jan. 27: Course add/drop/delete deadline

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Last Updated: 1/9/17