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Excellence in Student Affairs

A fire safety demonstration was part of the annual block party in Pine Hills Park, hosted by the Off-Campus Ambassadors to build community between students and residents of the Pine Hill neighborhood. More than 500 people came to this term’s party, held Sept. 11, 2016.
ALBANY, N.Y. (March 1, 2017) — UAlbany’s Off-Campus Ambassadors Program won a gold award – the highest – from NASPA, a national organization of student affairs professionals. Two other student-focused programs also won NASPA awards: the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program and the Office of Student Learning and Assessment.
Off-Campus Ambassadors Nick Palazzo (left) and Larry Boyle braved the snow in late January during one of their bi-monthly community engagement walks.

Michael Christakis, vice president of student affairs, will accept the awards at NASPA’s annual conference, set for March 11-15 in San Antonio, Texas.

“NASPA’s Excellence Awards recognize innovative student affairs programs that transform our students’ college experience,” Christakis said. “I am delighted that NASPA has chosen not one, not two, but three programs that the Division of Student Affairs administers to further enrich our students’ UAlbany experience. These programs really have made a positive difference on student life.”

The Off-Campus Ambassadors Program won the top prize in the “Off-Campus, Commuter, Non-traditional, Graduate and Professional” category. The award is designed to highlight innovative initiatives for off-campus and non-traditional students.

The ambassadors program provides resources for off-campus students and works to enhance community relations. Student ambassadors act as liaisons between the University and the neighborhood they live in, hosting community events, sharing educational materials and acting as student representatives at neighborhood association meetings. Ambassadors serve as a point-of-contact for student residents and neighbors, and provide guidance and resources to help students ease their transition to off-campus living.

Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program won a Silver award in the category “Student Health, Wellness and Counseling.”

Middle Earth trains students to run telephone hotlines, online peer assistance, and education and career advisement services to help their peers meet educational goals and cope with emotional, social and other life issues. Established at UAlbany in 1970 in the spirit of students helping students, Middle Earth is a nationally-recognized service-learning organization.

The Office of Student Learning and Assessment won a Bronze award for its five-year assessment plan, Engage, Learn, Succeed: Collecting Data to Enhance the Student Experience, in the category “Administration, Assessment, IT, Fundraising and Professional Development.”

The new office was created over the summer to help the University improve retention, increase graduation, understand student behaviors and measure the impact specific programs have on student learning. Engage, Learn, Succeed describes the office’s data collection and measurement processes.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than
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