October 21, 2014


Volume 1, Issue 7 – October 21, 2014

 “It’s On Us” Selfie Contest

As many of you are aware, we had a selfie contest as part of SUNY Canton’s It’s On Us campaign against sexual violence on campus. President Obama started the It’s On Us campaign and Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand have sponsored legislation trying to stop sexual violence as well.

The winner of the contest is Shaniqua Norville, whose selfie can be seen below. Shaniqua wins a night on the town, including transportation, dinner for two at the 1844 House, and a movie at the American Theater. Now that’s a great prize! Congratulations Shaniqua!

10727242_1470992149833048_1397430575_nmichielou_pr3ttii Join the growing movement to combat sexual assault on college campuses!! #sunycanton #itsonus


Fun with Funeral Services Administration

They say that there’s nothing new under the sun, but last Tuesday, I did something for the first time—something that I had never thought about doing before. I joined the students in the Funeral Services Administration program to have them make a life mask of my face. For those of you who don’t know what this involves, here’s what happens.

First, you lie down on a table. Second, they put some petroleum jelly all over your face, especially on your sideburns, eyebrows, and anywhere else you have hair. Third, they put a green rubbery goop over the petroleum jelly, being careful not to plug your nostrils. Fourth, they add a layer of plaster of Paris on top, again being careful not to plug your nostrils. Fifth, you have to wait for about 20 minutes for everything to dry. At various points, I was asked if everything was OK. Since my mouth was covered, I had to reply by giving a “thumbs up”. It was pretty weird breathing under the mask—I could breathe reasonably well, but the idea of my whole face being covered except for those two small holes was a bit scary.

zvi mask1

All color photos from here down are by Greg Kie

When everything was dry, I could feel the life mask pulling away from my face. It was very easy for the student to remove in some places, but unfortunately, a big glob of plaster of Paris had gotten onto one of my sideburns and didn’t want to let go. Ultimately, Professor Pennepent had to get a pair of scissors and cut it loose, taking most of the sideburn with it. The mask came out pretty well and they’re going to give me an impression of it, which will make a pretty strange present for my wife. After it was all over, I was all gunked up from the remaining petroleum jelly. I went to the restroom and tried to wipe and wash it off, but I felt sticky until I got home that night and took a long shower. Bottom line: between getting ice dumped on me in the Ice Bucket Challenge and this, no one can say I haven’t given my all for SUNY Canton!

zvi mask1-2


Burning Down the House

Last Thursday, there was a really interesting (and somewhat scary) demonstration held on campus about fire safety, sponsored by our Environmental Health and Safety Office. There were various events held throughout the day, but the most impressive was the controlled burning of a model dorm room, built for the occasion by students in the Wood Structures class. The model dorm room was about 10×10 feet in size, and contained a bed and various other things one might find in a typical student residence.


When an outside corner of it was set on fire, the smoke alarm went off immediately—well before any smoke could be seen. This clearly indicated the importance of having a properly working smoke alarm—by the time fire and smoke can be seen, conditions in the room are so dangerous that one may not be able to get out. Early warning is imperative. As the fire spread, the room wasn’t well lit (like on TV)—it quickly filled with smoke, making it almost impossible to escape.


The temperature was high too—above 200F at floor level, rising to 800F near the ceiling. Members of the Canton volunteer Fire Department then put the fire out, but the damage was already done—everything in the room had been burnt to a crisp.


The goal was to make you, our students, more aware of fire safety and for you to avoid unsafe practices in your residence hall rooms.

After the dorm room demonstration, there was a fire extinguisher demonstration on how to properly put out a fire. After being informed of the right procedure, I took one of the extinguishers, pulled the pin and approached the fire slowly, spraying from side to side with each step, until the fire was out. You can read and watch videos about proper procedures all you want, but there’s nothing like a hands-on use of a fire extinguisher with a real fire to show you what has to be done.

zvi extinguisher

My deepest thanks to everyone who was involved in Fire Safety Day. Your work was critically important and may have saved some lives.


Coakley Dedication

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending the dedication of the Coakley Student-Athlete Study and Classroom in the CARC. It was great to meet Bill and Carol Coakley, Carol and Ronald Spadaccini, and Tom and Nellie Coakley; as well as their families through several generations, including some very sweet grandchildren, there for the occasion.

zvi - unveil-2

The Coakley family (owners of Coakley Carpet One Ace Hardware) have long been supporters of SUNY Canton. Robert J. Coakley, Tom, Bill, and Carol’s father, filled in as a Construction instructor in the College’s earlier days. Bill was the assistant men’s ice hockey coach for 15 years, during which time the team won numerous championships. Tom has been a member of the College’s Foundation Board of Directors since 1981, and with his wife Nellie, serves on the Service Members Advisory Board. Carol helped design the renovation of the Alumni House.

Also present at the dedication was SUNY Canton’s legendary former hockey coach Terry Martin. It was a real thrill to meet him and to hear that he’s still actively involved in cheering our hockey teams on and helping recruit students for the program.

zvi - martin

I gave a short speech talking about how there is a connection between athletic and academic success, with the skills needed for athletic success (teamwork, focus, practice) also being skills needed for academic success. Tom Coakley noted: “The relationship between athletics and academics has been absolutely crucial to the success of our family…For us, it was a natural fit to add our family name to a room that contributes to the academic success of student-athletes at SUNY Canton.”

You can see the new steel signage now present on the exterior of the room, as well as a ceremonial plaque that hangs by the classroom door.

Events like this dedication are important because the College relies on generous people like the Coakleys to support our programs, pay for scholarships, and to help us build new facilities. You may not know this, but the tuition you pay doesn’t cover the full cost of your education, even adding in the contribution we get from the State of New York. The rest of the funds needed to support what we do on campus comes from alumni and other friends of the College. Some students can’t afford to pay the tuition, low as it is compared to other schools, and need scholarship support. The money to pay for those scholarships comes from alumni and other friends of the College too. The Coakleys benefitted from support when they attended college and they have decided to “pay it forward” so that another generation of students can benefit as they did. When you graduate, you should think about paying it forward too by becoming a member of our alumni society.

Living Writers

Also on Thursday, I dashed over to the Miller Student Center to see the second installment of this year’s Living Writers series. Our guest was Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of the book “She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders”. The book is autobiographical, detailing her journey from being born male, struggling with her increasing realization that she wanted and needed to live as a female, and ultimately undergoing gender reassignment surgery. boylan2

The event was very well attended, with the Theater totally filled by an attentive crowd of students and faculty (including a number from co-sponsor Clarkson University) and many people from the community. I had a chance to speak with Ms. Boylan before her talk, where I asked her if her book’s title had derived from the Zombies’ hit song of the same name. Indeed it had, and two of her other autobiographical books also have song-derived titles (“I’m Looking Through You” and “Stuck in the Middle with You”). These were all really good songs from the 1960’s and 1970’s and you can check them out on You Tube.

Boylan’s talk was really interesting and included two extended readings from “She’s Not There”. Right at the beginning, she began to sing a few lines from the Zombies’ song and when applause rang out at the end, she looked at me and said “You liked that, didn’t you?” Yep—I did! The readings were witty and compelling, describing both her own struggle and the reaction of her family to her changing life. A portion of the talk described the wide range of different sexual identity choices falling under the label of transgender. She ended by taking a number of questions from the audience.

The Living Writers series is quite a wonderful labor of love organized by Phil LaMarche of our Humanities Department. The logistics for this particular event were handled by Phil and by Emily Hamilton-Honey (also of the Humanities Department). My congratulations to both, as well as to the others who help support this series. Everyone in the audience thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d encourage everyone to attend the next Living Writers event, featuring short story writer Patrick Lawler, on November 19. You won’t be sorry.


Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s trivia contest had to do with October. The first person getting all four correct was Denver Berry. Others getting all four right included  Courtney Cotter, Mark Hamilton, Amanda Boots, Abigail Ofori, Jonathan Butler, Charles Butler, Charles Romano, Shayna Hotrum, and Francesco Palumbo.

Just come by my office (6th floor of FOB) to get your prize, a $10 gift card, usable anywhere on campus, Denver. Here are the correct answers:

  1. Holiday on which you dress up in costumes and trick-or-treat.  Halloween.
  2. German festival upon which much beer is consumed.  Oktoberfest.
  3. In Peanuts, Linus always waited for this to show up, but it never did.  The Great Pumpkin.
  4. 1990 movie with Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin about a Russian sub captain who violates orders and heads for the US, it’s based on a book by Tom Clancy.  The Hunt for Red October.


This Week’s Trivia Challenge

Staying with our Halloween theme, the answers to today’s challenge all have to do with witches.  The first reply with the most answers right takes the prize.  No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO answers@canton.edu since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them!

  1. Fairy tale where a witch wants to eat two children and gets shoved into an oven herself.
  2. Television show on from 1998-2006 about the three Halliwell sisters who are witches, fighting the forces of evil.
  3. City in Massachusetts where the witch trials were held between 1692 and 1693.
  4. How the wicked witch of the west was destroyed in the Wizard of Oz.
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