By Denise Richardson Staff Writer
The Daily Star
---- — Thousands of college students have returned to area communities — and more are expected to arrive in the days ahead — as the academic calendar turns to the first day of classes.
On the campuses in Oneonta, Delhi and Cobleskill, work has been underway planning academic programs, developing volunteer opportunities at local nonprofit groups and improving or sprucing up the infrastructure, college officials said.
Today classes start at the State University College at Oneonta, where an enrollment of about 6,000 students is expected, including about 1,100 freshmen and 525 transfer students.
Classes at SUNY Delhi start Monday, by which time students at SUNY Cobleskill will already have been cracking textbooks for a week.
At Hartwick College in Oneonta, classes for about 1,600 students begin Tuesday, with first-year students arriving Thursday.
Meanwhile, downtown Oneonta merchants, business owners and restaurant operators are happy to see students returning, Barbara Ann Heegan, executive director of the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesday.
“Students want to engage in the community — shop local,” Heegan said. “It’s overall very positive for the economy.”
Some highlights at area campuses include:
About 45 students in the freshman class are from Otsego, Delaware and Chenango counties, college officials said, and a more ethnically diverse student body is expected.
The college this year is presenting a common read initiative, which will examine topics such as equity, inclusion and personal history through a variety of perspectives and in connection with fall courses across several disciplines. For the initiative, first-year students were given a copy of “Flight” by Sherman Alexie, an award-winning Native American writer, who will give a lecture at the campus at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10.
In July 2013, the college transitioned to single-stream recycling, which may reduce the costs of waste disposal, officials said.
This year’s first-year class at Hartwick College boasts an academically accomplished and diverse group of more than 540 students, college officials said, and interest in Hartwick continues to increase locally, nationally and globally, according to recent statistics from Hartwick’s Office of Enrollment Management.
Hartwick received more than 6,400 applications for its entering class, including an application from every state in the U.S. except North Dakota and South Dakota. The Class of 2017 is one of the most geographically diverse to date, with 30 percent of Hartwick’s incoming class coming from outside New York state. They represent 23 states and come from 12 different countries
“High school students and their families continue to find what they’re looking for in Hartwick’s focus on melding a traditional liberal arts curriculum with experience-based opportunities inside and outside of the classroom,” Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing David Conway, said in a prepared statement.
At the State University College of Technology at Delhi, about 3,725 students are expected, including about 995 freshmen, officials said.
The college plans an official opening of Sanford Hall, new community conference room, café and state-of-the-art learning laboratories for business and nursing, they said, and among successes is that the criminal justice program is full to capacity
The State University College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill has more than 1,000 freshman and transfer students and a total enrollment of just more than 2,500, college officials said. A notable development is a growing interest in bachelor’s degrees, with about 45 percent of students currently seeking the four-year degrees.
The college expects to enroll more than 70 students who are veterans, the most in 10 years, officials said. And the campus has many renovation projects on-going.