SUNY Broome received a surprise visit from SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras on Tuesday, August 31, 2021. Chancellor Malatras traveled to SUNY Broome to kick off the fall semester and highlight SUNY Broome’s commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy campus.
Chancellor Malatras and President Drumm met informally with a small group of students, faculty, staff, and administrators to discuss how SUNY campuses can move forward in a post-Covid world. “I’d like us to engage in an open conversation about what we can do as a system to support our students at SUNY Broome and at all of our other SUNY schools,” said Malatras. The Chancellor encouraged the group to share updates and ask questions.
Aeden Gerds, a Communications and Media Arts student, attended the meeting to share his personal motivation behind being vaccinated. “I got vaccinated at SUNY Broome as soon as I received the campus email alerting students that vaccinations were available. My mom is considered high risk and I wanted to make sure that I did what I could to keep her healthy and safe. I don’t know what I would do without her,” said Gerds.
Chancellor Malatras admitted that his encouragement of vaccination for SUNY students and staff is not nearly as effective, or as valuable, as peer support of the vaccine. “Students are the best ambassadors for one another. We, at SUNY, will provide the resources and tools, but the students, through conversations, interactions, and social media, can help spread the positive message of 100% vaccination,” said Malatras.
For students hesitant to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, Chancellor Malatras warned of the abundance of disinformation on social media. “The virus thrives on disinformation. Students with questions about the vaccine can visit SUNY’s “Returning to Campus Safely This Fall” page for information on all of the Covid-19 vaccines and resources on where to get vaccinated. SUNY Broome students can get vaccinated on their own campus this week, which is really great,” said Malatras. SUNY Broome hosted a pop-up vaccination clinic on Thursday, September 2nd where unvaccinated students were able receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
President Drumm reminded the group that in addition to following SUNY guidelines, which mirror the recommendations of the CDC, SUNY Broome also falls under the jurisdiction of Broome County. “Currently, masks are required in all Broome County buildings, which includes our campus,” said Dr. Drumm.
Following the group discussion, Chancellor Malatras and President Drumm visited a class of first year nursing students during their first lab of the semester. In that class was new student, Yueqi Diao, winner of New York State’s Vaccination Scholarship. Diao, along with 49 other New York State vaccinated college students, won, via a raffle, a full-ride scholarship to any SUNY or CUNY school. Chancellor Malatras congratulated Yueqi and thanked her for her desire to enter the field of nursing.
After touring the location of SUNY Broome’s pop-vaccination clinic, the Chancellor visited with students on the Quad and participated in some Welcome Week activities.“We don’t want to be doing this for ten more years. I want to put Covid-19 in the rearview mirror. We need to monitor and manage it of course, but I am ready to refocus our energy on educating and building our future workforce. SUNY Community Colleges are the foundation to access higher education. As the largest comprehensive higher education system in the country, we need to leverage our pathways so that students can attend a SUNY anywhere in the state and via any modality,” said Malatras.
In accordance with SUNY mandate, all unvaccinated SUNY Broome students are required to be fully vaccinated by 9/27/21.