In-Person EOP Summer Institute Returns to Campus July 8-Aug. 6
For the Educational Opportunity Program at SUNY Plattsburgh, summer 2022 was 24 months in the making.
With the pandemic shuttering its Summer Institute for the last two years, EOP staff is eager to once again welcome students as they step off buses at the Angell College Center for the start of the month-long intensive pre-college preparatory program.
From July 8 through Aug. 6, EOP first-time, first-year students will live in SUNY Plattsburgh residence halls, eat in Clinton Dining Hall, meet with EOP staff for one-on-one counseling and participate in special programming and social programs all the while taking college level classes in math and English in addition to a first-year seminar class.
Cassie Joseph, SUNY Plattsburgh EOP director, said they expect close to 100 students to attend the mandatory institute.
“It’s the first in-person institute since summer 2019, and we are all very excited,” she said. “These last two years have proved to us how critical it is to have in-person interaction as opposed to connecting via Zoom and the virtual world. It’s not comparable; you cannot provide the level of support that you can in person. Students can’t get acclimated to campus virtually.”
EOP Counselor Supplied
All summer institute participants will be assigned to an EOP counselor who will continue to serve as a resource during the academic year. EOP counselors assist students with a variety of issues and concerns and will meet with all institute participants at least twice during the summer.
Students will be expected to earn at least a 2.0 grade point average in math and English during the institute in order to fully matriculate — enroll in and take classes — in the fall. They will also be expected to follow policies and the Student Code of Conduct.
And for the first time in as many years, the office is fully staffed. Joseph said they hired two new counselors, Amanda Suriel, formerly of the Global Education Office, and Arlis Garcia, former mental health counselor with Behavioral Health Services North, to help the students of Summer Institute and beyond.
Students accepted into EOP have a set of criteria they must meet prior to admission, including New York state residency, academic requirements and financial needs.
“Students have to be New York residents for at least a year; they have to meet academic criteria — they would have fallen just below SUNY Plattsburgh’s admissions standards,” Joseph said. “Our role, our mission, is to do what we can do to insure access so students who want to go to college can go to college.”
Joseph said it’s not that the program admits students who just couldn’t cut it. On a level playing field, these students may have had a chance. EOP gives them that chance.
“These students don’t have the means; they couldn’t reach their full academic potential for any number of reasons — they faced homelessness, something happened to affect their financial abilities. Financial ability is a huge component,” she said. “We work with them beyond the Summer Institute and throughout their college experience.”
Not Just from NYC
She said there is a misconception that EOP is just for students in New York City.
“That’s not the case,” Joseph said. “This year’s incoming class has 74 percent from one of the five boroughs, but eight percent come from one of five counties in the North Country — Clinton, Essex, Franklin, St. Lawrence and Jefferson.” Others hail from around the capital district.
The Educational Opportunity Program is funded in part through the state Office of Opportunity Programs. Now in its 55th year, the Educational Opportunity Program is found on 54 SUNY campuses, although Gov. Kathy Hochul said in May that work continues to bring the program to all campuses in the SUNY system.
In addition to state Office of Opportunity Programs funding, the SUNY Plattsburgh EOP Summer Institute also receives funding from Plattsburgh’s Office of Institutional Advancement, which helps support students’ room and board on campus and more.
All this helps the program so that it costs nothing for students to be here.
Students reside in Macomb Hall, where EOP is housed, not only giving them close proximity to EOP headquarters but also a leg up as they prepare for residence hall life in the fall.
Summer Institute at Plattsburgh also gives students downtime activities such as a trip to AuSable Chasm, a hike in the Adirondacks, movie and bowling nights and a field day.
“We learned during COVID that community building is a critical component that was missed during the last two years,” Joseph said. “It’s important to focus on building community because it helps to build trust.”
The final event of the month-long institute is the farewell banquet Aug. 5. Held in the Warren Ballrooms, students are feted for their accomplishments and success in the program. While most students will board the buses that bring them back home to the city or are picked up by parents who can make it to campus, some students will stay at Plattsburgh in campus housing “because they have no where to go,” Joseph said.
In the fall, students return when the EOP Town Hall kicks off the semester. There, institute students have the chance to meet the rest of the EOP students on campus “and the rest of the EOP family,” Joseph said. “We chat about the upcoming year, answer any questions and give them the feeling that they’re welcome here.”
Joseph said as of mid-June, there were about 15 spots open for Summer Institute 2022. For more information, contact Joseph at 518-564-2263, email [email protected] or visit https://www.plattsburgh.edu/plattslife/student-support/educational-opportunity-program/accepted-students.html.