Parent Connect Newsletter

January 2022

Randall Edouard

Dear parents and families,

I hope you had an enjoyable holiday season spending time with friends and family. This past fall semester was a successful one, seeing the majority of our events and services returning to in-person formats, but I know it was still stressful as students transitioned from remote learning to a more typical campus environment. I’m sure the winter break was much anticipated by many of them!

As we prepare to begin the spring semester, I want to assure you that we are prioritizing the health of our students, while still offering them the in-person academic and extracurricular opportunities they expect from a premier Binghamton education. Some of these efforts were implemented after careful consideration by University leadership, while others were the result of state or SUNY-wide mandates, but they all share the goal of keeping our students safe.

We have delayed the start of the semester to allow for students to obtain booster shots and for comprehensive COVID testing of all students as they arrive. We will continue to monitor the situation closely, providing ample testing options for students to ensure their good health throughout the semester. The booster vaccination requirement will also go a long way toward reducing the prevalence and severity of cases on campus, but we are prepared to provide rooms on campus for students who need to isolate and are unable to return home to do so. 

We’re starting yet another semester with some degree of uncertainty, but I am confident that, together, we will overcome any challenges that arise.

And for a quick reference guide to the residential move-in process, visit our Move-in information for spring 2022 webpage.

Sincerely,

Randall M-J Edouard
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students


COVID-19 boosters required to help protect entire campus

As you know, much has happened during the break as it relates to COVID-19 and the requirements that have been mandated by New York state and SUNY that all SUNY and CUNY students be, not only fully vaccinated, but also to have had a booster of the vaccine before they can attend classes. 

These requirements have been put in place to help maintain the safest environment possible for campuses, including Binghamton, as our country works to emerge from a pandemic that has taken its toll on all of us. 

So, in addition to the vaccination and booster requirement, the successful completion of an in-person spring semester will depend on all of us maximizing our resistance to developing COVID-19. 

Booster doses

Current medical evidence shows that COVID-19 antibody levels in your bloodstream drop approximately five months after receiving a Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccine or two months after a viral vector vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen). Falling antibody levels may lessen your resistance to developing COVID-19. Vaccine boosters are administered to remind the body’s immune system of the virus it is intended to fight. This improves or gives the immune system a “boost” leading to an increase in antibody levels.

We ask that students obtain their booster vaccine by Jan. 20, or within 30 days of when they become eligible, and upload proof of having done so to the student health portal. Individuals are eligible six months after receiving a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and two months after receiving a Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  

Students should also bring their student ID, insurance card and vaccination card (or photo of their vaccination card or Excelsior Pass Plus) to check-in, and continue to monitor their Binghamton email for any additional tips or information about the start of the spring semester.

To help everyone slow the spread of transmission, the following tips were sent to students prior to the start of the winter break, provided by Decker Student Health Services Medical Director Richard Moose, MD:

Pandemic considerations

  • Avoid large gatherings. Given the current prevalence of the COVID-19 virus in our communities, if you are in a group of people, you ARE being exposed to COVID-19. Keep this in mind. 
  • Vaccination against COVID-19 reduces your risk from developing COVID-19. It does not mean you cannot get COVID-19. Act accordingly.
    If you must be in a group, wear a mask. Masks are highly effective at preventing the transmission of respiratory illnesses.
  • If you eat at an event, consider the food to be “grab and go” after you are done socializing. A group of people with their masks off to eat is a very high-risk activity for the spread of COVID-19.   
  • Stay within your “bubble.” Introducing new people to your social  group increases the risk you are bringing in someone with COVID-19.
  • If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild, get a test. Some people can have the infection and be completely asymptomatic. Therefore, even mild symptoms can indicate you are infected with the COVID-19 virus. 
  • Symptoms of COVID-19 do not have to be severe. Typical “cold” symptoms are often due to COVID-19 in young, healthy people. Get a test as soon as possible if you develop ANY of the following symptoms, even if they are mild:
    • Cough
    • Sore throat
    • Nasal congestion/runniness
    • Fever or chills
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Muscle aches
    • Shortness of breath
    • New loss of taste or smell

Travel

  • Travel should be undertaken only if it is necessary.
  • Uncertainties about the course of the pandemic, including the unknown ways in which the emergence of the Omicron variant will affect it, could disrupt travel plans. If you must travel, consider purchasing tickets that are changeable and travel insurance.
  • Keep in mind your return home may be delayed. Give yourself enough time to return to campus if something goes wrong.
  • International travel is especially risky for several reasons. There is uncertainty of border closures/travel restrictions, variability regarding the availability of consular services (many embassies may be closed or have limited services) and the ability to re-enter the United States. 
  • Keep in mind you will need to have a COVID-19 test performed within 24 hours of boarding your return flight. How will you manage your situation if you test positive?
  • When making plans to travel, take into consideration the incidence of COVID-19 in the community you wish to visit. 

Influenza

Get a flu shot to:

  • minimize the spread of influenza in your community.
  • minimize your risk for developing this infection and missing out on a week of classes due to illness!

On-campus room selection for 2022–23

Has your student made on-campus housing plans for next academic year? Residential Life’s housing portal opens on Jan. 31 for registration and group formation (part one of the housing process). Room selection starts March 28 and continues through April 8 (part two of the housing process). Returning students who want to live on campus during the 2022–23 academic year must participate in both parts of this process to acquire housing. This is a group-based process that allows for students to sign up to completely fill suites/flats/apartments and corridor double rooms. It’s also designed to give students within a community priority to return to their same community while allowing for some movement between communities.

Why should your student live on campus? Studies continue to show students who live on campus have a higher graduation rate and greater satisfaction with their college experience than students who live off campus. Our 200+ staff, 24/7 access, and social, educational and career-networking events create the supportive environment your student needs to find friends, learn and thrive.

Encourage your student to prepare ahead of time by selecting their roommate group. Find information about this housing process on the Residential Life returning student housing web page.

Spring semester move-in

Spring semester move-in will take place over a period beginning Thursday, Jan. 20 and concluding Sunday, Jan. 23. Students received an email on Jan. 6 from Residential Life with their assigned day and time to login and select a move-in date and time, as well as information on testing and booster requirements. The deadline to select a move-in time is 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12.

It is important that students arrive during their scheduled move-in time to ensure a smooth testing and check-in process for everyone. If students do not arrive during their scheduled time, we will do our best to check them in. However, be advised that we will not be able to process anyone after 4 p.m. once the Testing Center is closed. Students who arrive outside of Testing Center hours (8 a.m.–4 p.m.) will not be allowed to move in until the next day.

All residential students are required to check in at the University Union upon arrival to test for COVID-19 and show proof of a booster before they are permitted to move into their residence hall. Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be encouraged to return home for their isolation period. When that is not possible, they will be required to move to an isolation building, space permitting.

All students eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster should make every attempt to receive a booster prior to arrival, but the University will hold booster clinics during check-in, offering a limited number of Pfizer and Moderna booster shots to residential students who are unable to access a booster prior to arrival. Appointments are required for these clinics, and information on scheduling an appointment was emailed to students from Residential Life on Jan. 11. Students who are able to sign up for a booster appointment at the on-campus clinic will need to schedule a move-in date/time that corresponds with their booster appointment. 

Family members and other guests are not permitted to enter residence halls. For additional information, visit the Spring 2022 FAQ and move-in information page. Questions about move-in can be directed to reslife@binghamton.edu.

Ways to get involved

Starting a new semester is exciting for many reasons, especially when it comes to students getting involved, pursuing their interests and making new friends outside of the classroom.

Have your student take the Binghamton Club Match Quiz — it's not just for incoming students — to see which clubs would be most interesting to them based on their interests and hobbies. Then they can head to B-Engaged to connect with student groups, extracurricular opportunities, events and more.  

Students can start exploring by downloading the B-Engaged app, called CampusGroups, or logging into the system at https://bengaged.binghamton.edu.

Spring parking permits available

Semester parking permits are available for purchase online at the Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS) portal. To log in, you will need your Binghamton University BU login id. If your student purchased a permit for the academic year, no further action is required.

Students who are first-time permit buyers must first register their vehicle online with the University. If they are a returning customer, they will log in and follow the step-by-step instructions. First-year resident students are not allowed to have vehicles on campus.

TAPS utilizes License Plate Recognition (LPR), which eliminates the need for parking decals. LPR is a plate-recognition technology that virtually associates Binghamton University parking permits to a license plate without a decal or hangtag. Once a virtual permit is purchased online, a confirmation will be emailed and the permit is active. Vehicle information can be updated from their online account at any time.

Information on alternative transportation options such as buses, bike share and carpooling can be found on the TAPS website. Questions can be directed to parking@binghamton.edu.

Register for Zoom series to support parents 

The Parents Leadership Council (PLC) at Binghamton University is hosting a series of virtual programs designed to familiarize parents and family members with University resources that can help them better support their students' success.

The first program will be held at 6 p.m. EST Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, on Zoom.

Erica Kryst, senior associate director of career experience education in the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development, will be joined by a student staff member to discuss the range of opportunities available for everyone from first-year students to graduate students. They will explain how Fleishman Center staff can help if your student is still undeclared, needs to freshen up their resume or cover letters, or wants to practice interviewing skills. The Fleishman Center is the campus's hub for internship and job opportunities.  

Register in advance for this meeting.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

The series will run each month during the spring 2022 semester. Upcoming programs and topics will be announced in this newsletter, via email and on social media.

Questions? Contact Linda Salomons, assistant director of Parent and Family Programs.

Events to boost student career readiness and marketability

The Fleishman Center will be hosting events this spring to help students increase their professionalism and marketability ahead of the Spring Job and Internship Fairs:

JCPenney Suit-Up

Feb. 14–20, 2022

The Fleishman Center is partnering with JCPenney to create the Suit-Up event, which allows students to purchase professional attire at a significant discount both in store and online Feb. 14–20. The Suit-Up event is a way for students to begin building their professional wardrobe at a lower cost to prepare for internships, interviews and post-graduate professional life. Additionally, professional attire is recommended for the Spring Job and Internship Fairs, which will be held Feb. 23–25, so students who plan to participate are encouraged to take advantage of this discount. Students can obtain their coupon by texting BINGJCP to 67292. The coupon is valid both in store and online.

“The Power of Networking” with Dan Black ‘94

6–7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17, Union Undergrounds Lounge

The Fleishman Center is excited to welcome back Dan Black ‘94, a Global Recruiting Leader at EY responsible for global talent acquisition strategy. Black is an accomplished public speaker and Binghamton University alumnus who will be sharing his wisdom with students to help them learn the ins and outs of how to become a powerful networker. As a recruiting leader with 23 years of experience, Black is a master networker who has connected with professionals across the globe and introduced them to their next opportunities. His skill and expertise in acquiring top talent make him an established industry resource, and his advice is invaluable to students looking to improve their networking skills and stand out to recruiters. Attending this event will give students the knowledge they need to begin creating a strong network, which they can then leverage for future opportunities. Register here.

President's Winter 2021 Road Map Quarterly Report released

Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger has released his quarterly report for the months of October through December 2021.

Check out the report’s easy-to-navigate pages to learn about how Binghamton University is Re-aiming the Road Map, as well as activities and initiatives in his report and those of the vice presidents for academic affairs; advancement; communications and marketing; diversity, equity and inclusion; operations; student affairs; research; and the director of athletics and executive director of the Binghamton University Foundation.

Coming to dining this spring

Binghamton University Dining Services (BUDS) is excited for the spring semester. New and expanded services are in the works, as well as many fun and engaging events! We have learned over the past semester that our operational business can abruptly change based on supply chain and employee shortages, but we still hope to provide the following for the campus community:

  • The Appalachian C-Store and Nite Owl are opening! The C-Store will serve breakfast and lunch on weekdays until late afternoon and will reopen in the evening to offer snacks, beverages and other convenience items. The Nite Owl will be located in the dining hall seven days a week, staying open until 1 a.m.
  • Breakfast will be served all day at Breakfast & Beyond in the MarketPlace, along with an updated evening/dinner menu.
  • Subway is coming to the Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences Café.
  • The Starbucks Truck will be back! Find it at the ice rink, located at Dickinson Co-Rec Field.

This February, we’re throwing it back to the Roaring Twenties at Hinman Dining Hall with Return of the 20’s, and in March we’re putting a tasty spin on a classic board game with MonopolEATS at C4 Dining Hall. We even have some sweet Valentine’s Day promotions, National Day celebrations and tasty Chef pop-ups at the dining halls. We hope to see your student there!

We look forward to serving your students this semester. Stay up to date on upcoming events, hours of operation and all things dining on our website, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok

Paid research study on undergraduate student mental health

Binghamton University has partnered with the University of Massachusetts Medical School to provide HYPE-on-Campus (Helping Youth on the Path to Employment), a paid research study (up to $250 per student) to better understand how to help undergraduate students with mental health conditions stay in school and do well. Interested students can determine their eligibility by completing an online survey. They can also learn more by contacting study organizers at HYPE@umassmed.edu or 508-450-6819 (text or call). The deadline for submissions is Feb. 1, 2022.

Encourage your student to visit the Education Abroad Fair when they return to campus

The Binghamton University Office of International Education and Global Initiatives is excited to invite students to the spring 2022 Education Abroad Fair Days at the Old Champlain Atrium (OH-133) from 1–4 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 26 and Thursday, Jan. 27. Encourage students to mark the occasion in their calendars so they make sure to stop by.


This is a great opportunity for students to learn about Binghamton University's education abroad programs and meet with advisors, faculty leaders and former participants. Visit the Education Abroad Fairs website for more information.

Financial Aid

2022–23 FAFSA application

FAFSA filing news! The 2022–23 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) became available Oct. 1, 2020. You can file your FAFSA online.

Students/parents will report 2020 tax information on the 2022-2023 FAFSA. Reporting accurate tax information is simple with the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which ensures accurate and streamlined FAFSA filing. 

Note to New York state residents: Remember to also complete your NYS Aid Payment Application. This online application process is used to apply for New York State’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), as well as for payment of a scholarship for which you have already been approved, such as Excelsior, STEM and NYS Merit Scholarship. You can find the application link on the confirmation page of your submitted FAFSA, or at https://www.hesc.ny.gov/.

2022–2023 Financial Aid Award notification timeline

Financial aid award notifications for the 2022–23 academic year (fall 2022, spring 2023) will be emailed to returning students with a valid FAFSA on file beginning mid-March 2022.

Scholarship Reminder

Students who received a renewable scholarship based on “demonstrated financial need” in 2022–23 must file their 2022–23 FAFSA no later than March 1 in order to meet the conditions to have their scholarship renewed. Email reminders to the students affected were sent in December letting them know the deadline of March 1. If you are not sure if the scholarship your student received is renewable, they can check by clicking on the scholarship in their award offer found on the Financial Aid tab of BU BRAIN. Details pertaining to their specific scholarship and any terms or conditions for renewal can be found there.

Education abroad for spring 2022

Is your student considering education abroad? If yes, once accepted to an education abroad program, we encourage financial aid applicants to meet with a financial aid counselor to discuss costs and funding options. Students must bring a printed copy of the program acceptance letter and a detailed program cost sheet. Learn more on the Financial Aid website.

Loan Repayment

Graduating seniors were sent an email notification in mid-December about loan repayment information, if they borrowed federal loans as an undergraduate student. 

To learn more about federal repayment information and options, check out the Department of Education’s loan repayment, loan consolidation and loan forgiveness web pages. 

Note: If your student will be continuing their education in graduate school, loan repayment may be delayed based on the type and terms of the loan(s). Students should contact their loan servicer and/or private lender for more detailed information and to keep them informed of enrollment plans.

Important information for New York state college graduates: The NYS Get on Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program provides up to 24 months of federal student loan debt relief for eligible students. For more information visit the Higher Education Services Corporation website.

Proxy Access available for financial aid information

Proxy Access is the ability students have to grant others access to view their financial aid information via BU BRAIN, Financial Aid tab. For more information, including instructions, visit the Financial Aid website.

Student Records

Fall 2021 semester important dates

Final grades and GPAs became available in BU Brain the evening of Dec. 27. 

For students with degrees conferred in fall 2021, diplomas will be mailed to students beginning the week of Feb. 8.

Transcripts held for grades will become available the week of Jan. 10, 20202

Transcripts held for degrees will become available the week of Jan. 17, 2022.

Spring 2022 semester important dates (Jan. 25–May 11)

  • Registration for spring 2022 will reopen on Tuesday, Jan. 17 with time tickets based on earned credit hours. Students can view their time tickets online through BU Brain via the Binghamton portal, my.binghamton.edu, to find out when they are able to register.
  • Confirmation of Enrollment deadline is 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 31. 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).
  • Add/drop spring course registration ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7.
  • Change of grade option deadline is 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 1.
  • Course withdrawal deadline is 11:59 p.m. Friday, April 1.

Spring 2022 proof of enrollment

Proof of advanced registration for spring 2022 is now available online through the National Student Clearinghouse. Students can access this through their BU Brain account on my.binghamton.edu. Click Student tab, then Student Services Tools.

Graduating seniors — applications for degree

Undergraduate students graduating after the Winter Session must notify us of their intent to graduate by e-mailing degree@binghamton.edu.

Currently enrolled undergraduates intending to graduate in spring 2022 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 2022 must email degree@binghamton.edu to complete their Application for Degree.

Cancellation of courses/University withdrawal for the spring semester

Prior to the start of the spring 2022 semester (before Jan. 25), students who are registered but do not plan to attend can submit an email request to have their classes canceled. The email request must be submitted to registrar@binghamton.edu and must come from the student’s official Binghamton email address. Students should include their full name and B-number.

After the spring 2022 semester begins, students seeking to withdraw completely from the University must complete the University Withdrawal form. The Semester Withdrawal Form is required for students who wish to drop ALL courses and who want their academic record to indicate in good standing. The deadline to withdraw from the spring semester is 4:30 p.m. on the last day of classes, Wednesday, May 11.

DegreeWorks Audit

Students should review their DegreeWorks audit to ensure their spring 2022 courses will be meeting degree requirements.

Clear holds

Be sure to clear all holds that may prevent registration. Holds can be viewed online through BU Brain.

Lost IDs

Students can request a replacement ID card through myBinghamton or by sending us an email (using their official Binghamton University email account — emails from other accounts cannot be processed) with their name and B-number to idcard@binghamton.edu.

  • There is a $20 fee for all replacement ID cards, which will be assessed to the student's bill in Student Accounts.
  • Students will need a photo ID to pick up their card. Acceptable forms of ID include: driver’s license, passport, high school or other university photo ID.

Official expedited electronic transcripts are available

In addition to free official paper transcripts, we offer official expedited electronic transcripts. There is a $5 charge per recipient for the expedited service. More information about electronic transcript service is available online.


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