Monday, September 20, 2010

BU community to support local charities

A very important campaign has begun on campus; one that has immediate impact on thousands of children and needy families, locally and worldwide. Bloomsburg University has been a supporter and contributor to the SECA (State Employee Combined Appeal) Campaign for more than 30 years. This year, our campaign kicked off Sept. 13 and continues through Oct. 22.

It’s a great partnership we have with the community, as well as charities around the globe. Our SECA campaign, along with the United Way of Columbia County, supports numerous nonprofit agencies which, in turn, benefit local families through services, such as summer camps, day care, community health awareness and afterschool education.

Some of the local agencies who benefit directly from our SECA Campaign include the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum, Bloomsburg Public Library, Boy Scouts of America in Columbia-Montour counties, Camp Victory in Millville and local chapters of the American Red Cross and American Cancer Society.

A wonderful perk of the campaign is the ability of our faculty and staff to choose which charities will receive their contributions. That provides an even stronger commitment to the campaign and an emotional connection to making a difference. It’s very rewarding to know our contributions often go to work immediately and, thanks to low administrative costs, more than 90 percent of each donation goes to the selected organizations.

The SECA Campaign is one of many examples of how BU’s faculty and staff connect with both neighbors in the local community and those worldwide. It’s also a prime opportunity for our campus community to join together for a wonderful cause with lasting results.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Unveiling an impactful plan for the future

We will be setting a wonderful precedent this week when the campus joins together for the unveiling of Bloomsburg University’s new strategic plan, Impact 2015: Building on the Past, Leading for the Future. The special Forum, scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 15, at 3 p.m. in Kehr Union, is the culmination of a year’s worth of work and collaboration between the university and local community. This special event launches the next step in our ongoing process of building on BU’s standard of academic excellence.

In a series of meetings over the past year, representatives from across the campus composed new mission, vision and value statements. This group – the Strategic Planning and Resource Council (SPARC) – also determined the challenges and opportunities facing BU over the next three to five years and how to meet them. This plan, which will be unveiled to the public for the first time, will set the tone for how we will tackle these challenges and take advantage of our opportunities.

So far in this strategic planning process we:

• evaluated who we are as an institution, reviewing what makes us distinct from not only the other 13 PASSHE institutions but from all regional comprehensive universities,

• looked at what we value as an institution, as demonstrated through our daily actions, interactions and operations,

• and determined what we aspire to be as an institution.

SPARC is leading the strategic planning efforts, but involvement from the entire BU community, as well as the greater Bloomsburg community, will be the hallmark of a successful plan. As we enter this next phase of development and change at BU, I invite you to become actively engaged in these strategic planning efforts. This special open forum is the perfect opportunity to join in, to become a part of the plan that will carry BU into the future. All members of the campus community are invited to participate.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

BU mourns the loss of a student

As president of Bloomsburg University and father of three adult children, my heart goes out to the family and friends of student-athlete Brian Savage, who passed away overnight Friday at an off-campus apartment.

Our entire campus community feels the tragic loss of this 19-year-old soccer player from Elizabethtown. It is always painfully difficult to inform a student’s family of news of this nature. The shock still lingers as we continue to mourn the loss of this young man who was beginning his sophomore year and second season on the Huskies men’s soccer team.

This tragedy was felt immediately, as evident by more than 100 messages left on his Facebook page as of Tuesday afternoon. We continue to offer our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends. Although the official cause of death has yet to be determined, it is believed alcohol played a role in Brian’s death. Even the suspicion of alcohol warrants a strong reminder of how dangerous it can be for those of legal age and younger. This tragedy reinforces our commitment to be vigilant, to stress to our students through a variety of educational programs the dangers of alcohol and the serious results of binge drinking.

Despite these warnings, we still have too many students engaging in binge drinking which is often a behavior begun in high school. In the wake of this tragedy, I urge students and parents to take notice once again of how dangerous alcohol use can be. Parents, please take time to speak with your son or daughter about the importance of making responsible and safe decisions. We understand the college experience is a time for young adults to grow into young leaders, something we relish in doing here at Bloomsburg.

Although it seems many young people view alcohol consumption as a right of passage, BU does not condone or permit the use of alcohol on campus or at university-affiliated, off-campus housing. And we certainly do not condone underage drinking. Our alcohol awareness programs begin with our incoming freshmen orientation programs, and an active campus group, DAWN (Drug Alcohol Awareness Network), offers an open door to students who need help or simply have a question to be answered.

But regardless of the cause, we have lost a member of our community much too soon. Our counseling staff stands by to assist students and staff during this time of loss.