This e-mail was sent to you by First-Year Experience of St. Bonaventure University.
To ensure receipt of our e-mails, please add us ( to your e-mail address book.
View this e-mail online



Blazing fire safety demonstration on campus

It took only three minutes for the mock room to be fully engulfed in flames.The fire ravaged the room in just two minutes and 45 seconds; all contents melted into a mass of charred remains and melted twisted plastic.

But the fire was a controlled burn, designed to bring a message to St. Bonaventure students.

“Fire safety is a primary concern,” said Ralph Aloia, fire and life safety officer. “It just takes one minute for a fire to get out of control.”

To promote fire safety on St. Bonaventure University’s campus, the Allegany Fire Department set fire to a mock dorm room on the front lawn of Devereux Hall Sept. 15.

The 8-by-8-foot room, constructed of plywood and plaster, was furnished with a bed, microwave, desk, extension cords and other legal and illegal accessories typically found in a residence hall room.

Littered with props including beer cans, stuffed animals, clothing, posters and an ominous candle, the room was a realistic demonstration of a college residence gone wrong, and a reminder of what can happen if everyone does not remain constantly vigilant.

“I report at least one fire safety hazard a day,” Aloia said. “Typically, it is an exit light out, doors propped open. Unfortunately, this campus’ No. 1 problem is the tampering of fire safety devices such as fire extinguishers. That is a life safety device and tampering with them can get people arrested for it.”

The Allegany Fire Department, joined by the university’s Medical Emergency Response Team and Safety and Security Office, volunteered personnel and materials to assist during the blaze.

The mock dorm fire cost less than $300, which came from the Fire and Safety budget, Vito Czyz, director of safety and security, said. It is the first of such a type of demonstration to occur in Western New York.

“We are all really proud to be able to provide such an educational visual for our students,” Czyz, said. “Every one of the major core buildings (at Bonaventure) has burned. It has been over 40 years since the last one and I would like to keep the streak going.”

Czyz took time before the demonstration to explain to students the importance of fire safety. He said the loss of a life due to a fire breaking out is grave yet preventable with smart choices and education.

Along with the visual of the burning mock dorm room, Safety and Security personnel gave out pamphlets on fire safety awareness.

Many students are unaware of what will produce these flames. Alcohol, cooking, smoking and the use of extension cords are all sources of residence hall room fires.

Czyz said he hopes this demonstration educates students and they make fire safety a part of their daily lives.

Matt Schweiger, a freshman psychology major, now believes he has the right perspective about fire safety.

“I was really surprised about just how fast it all went up,” Schweiger said. “It just took a minute for the smoke and flames to cover everything. This definitely put fire safety in perspective and I hope they do this next year.”

Approximately 200 people watched the mock residence room fire, said Czyz.

“There are over 3,000 residence hall fires a year, averaging 40 deaths across the United States on college campuses alone,” Czyz said. “Many of them (are) alcohol related.”

“We hope this really drives home to students how important fire safety is,” Czyz said.

-Jess Kumor
Class of 2011


University president addresses class of 2014

St. Bonaventure University President Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., S.T.D., met on Wed., Sept. 17 with members of the class of 2014 to welcome them to the university and discuss the importance of diversity both on and off campus. The discussion, which was mandatory for all freshman students, was part of the university’s First-Year Experience Program, and has been a tradition for several years.

Sr. Margaret Carney addressed the class of 2014 Wednesday. Sr. Margaret used the discussion to inform students of the university’s policies on discrimination. Her main goal was ensuring that all students are aware of their options should they find themselves in a situation where they feel they are the victim of bias. She shared with students “several avenues” which they can use to approach situations of intolerance.

Any student who feels that he or she has been the victim of any type of discrimination is encouraged to contact any of the following people:
• The student’s resident assistant or residence director, who will give advice on how to handle the situation
• Advocacy officers, who are various St. Bonaventure University staff members who have been given specialized training to handle such issues
• Dr. Gary Ostrower, St. Bonaventure University’s ombuds officer, who will facilitate communication to resolve all types of conflicts.

Sr. Margaret also used the discussion as an opportunity to relate the All Bonaventure Reads book, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” to students’ lives. Since one main theme of the book is racial despair and prejudice, Sr. Margaret hopes that the university community can use this knowledge to build better relationships with one another during “the journey to become better citizens.” Sr. Margaret closed the discussion by saying, “here at Bona’s we want to understand, educate, and eliminate all forms of discrimination.”

-Danielle Hibler
Class of 2012


SBU Family Weekend to feature Casino Night, hypnotist, and annual Bonagany celebration with the village of Allegany

This year’s Family Weekend celebration at St. Bonaventure University promises fun for the whole family with music, games, presentations and festivals over three days. The festivities run from Friday, Sept. 24, through Sunday, Sept. 26, and will allow family members to get out and see the wider campus community in action.

The entire schedule of events is available at

Fall Open House Dates

SBU students have a subscription to the online magazine Student Health 101. There is a parent companion piece for you!
Access this online magazine.


Time to hit the books

You’re talking to your student about college life, and he admits that he’s finding studying for college courses a bit more difficult than he’d expected. Or she tells you that most courses are going fine, but there is one that she just can’t seem to sort out.

You can do more than sympathize and worry. Time to hit the booksYou can suggest some places where your student can find the academic help she needs.

A first step is toward your student’s professor. Professors can provide useful tips to students who need help. A student who needs additional help may be directed to the Teaching and Learning Center, located in the lower level of Doyle Hall. The center offers a variety of academic help, including tutoring and labs in some subjects.

Students struggling in a class can visit the center to request a tutor. The student will then be matched to a tutor appropriate to his or her needs.

Tutoring is scheduled for once a week, up to one hour per subject. Students can be tutored in more than one subject.

The Teaching and Learning Center offers writing and math labs. These labs can help students focus on assignments and papers and can even help students brainstorm ideas for projects. Tutors should be told of big projects, such as research papers, at least 24 hours before a session so there is enough time for the work required.

The Teaching and Learning Center is located in room 26 of Doyle Hall. Its hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.


The inside scoop on your student’s RD

Less than a month ago, your freshman left the nest to fly solo. But even outside the classroom, your student has resource people to help make the college transition a very good one.

On each floor of the residence halls, students have resident assistants (RAs) to help them adjust to college life. Overseeing the residence halls are resident directors (RDs), who work with RAs and residents.

Meet Jessica Taylor
Taylor is the RD for Falconio, Robinson and Doyle halls. She is from New Bern, N.C. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Appalachian State University in 2008, and, this year, received her master’s in student development in higher education.

“I was working with freshmen as an undergrad, and then it kind of lugged me into this whole college thing,” Taylor said.

“My whole time in college and while completing my master’s I was told ‘you’re just making a career out of college’ and it turns out you actually can do that,” Taylor said. As a sophomore, Taylor became an RA and started to help co-teach freshman seminar courses. While she was completing her master’s degree, she worked with freshmen at a few different schools to gain more experience. At St. Bonaventure University, she also teaches some sections of the Freshman Foundations course.

“It’s cool because I get to know a small group of students outside the residence halls (in her classes),” Taylor said.
Resident Directors Gesina Traub and Jessica Taylor.
One new thing for Taylor – her current job requires living in the residence hall.

“I haven’t done that since I was an RA,” Taylor said.

Living in the residence hall means the RD can be available 24/7. That allows Taylor and other RDs to be part of everything from solving problems to having fun. Taylor posts her office hours on her door, so students know when they can stop in to see her.

Taylor is also getting involved outside of residence life. She is now the adviser of the SBU Hip-Hop team and is involved with the staff intramural softball team.

Taylor’s ideas for the coming year include a “Judge Judy” type of activity to help teach students what is and is not allowed in the residence halls.

“We’ll have scenarios, food and a ‘sketch artist’ there as well,” she added. A date for the event has not yet been set.

Another event planed for residents is “popcorn reflection night,” hosted by Dr. Paula Scraba, one of the three ministers-in-residence living in Robinson/Falconio/Doyle. Popcorn reflection night takes place every Tuesday from 9 to 10 p.m.

Taylor is drawn to being an RD in a freshman building as it affords her the opportunity to watch and support the transitions students go through in their first year.

“I can be there to challenge and support them,” Taylor said. “I know a lot of students just want me to give them the answer or if they have a problem, they just want me to fix it. In this atmosphere, you can challenge them and support them, but I challenge them while supporting them because they do need that support.”

A quote Taylor likes to go by is “Life is what you make it.” She will encourage freshmen to make it a great year by “providing an environment where they can achieve their No. 1 one goal, which is academics, which is why they're coming to the university,” Taylor said. “So providing that environment where they can get the things they need to get done done, but also have a balance with social fun things to do – an outlet on campus.”

Meet Gesina Traub
For the third year, Traub is the resident director for Shay/Loughlen. This year, upperclassmen live in Shay, while Loughlen has floors for freshmen and floors for upperclassmen.

“It is interesting to see how they (freshmen) grow … you just fall in love with that age and being able to help them adapt to the University,” Traub said.

Traub, from Georgetown, Ind., was an RA at Indiana State while she worked toward her undergraduate degree. Now, she is studying for her master’s in counseling at St. Bonaventure. She anticipates graduating in 2012. Time management is key for Traub in balancing both jobs, as it is for her students.
Some of her biggest jobs as an RD include managing the residence halls, helping solve roommate or floor problems, and, most importantly, making sure that the students feel safe.

“There is always an RD available somewhere on campus … even if it is not your student’s RD, there is one on duty at all times,” Traub said.

Traub herself is a knock on a door or an e-mail away if someone is in need.

“I’m very devoted to this job … I’m always willing to help the students,” Traub said. “I am very educationally based on how I approach situations; if there is the possibility for students to get a life-learning opportunity out of it, that’s where I go with things. And with that counseling background, I am very conversational and one-on-one.”

Traub plans to help put together a floor contest through which each floor will participate in different activities to win points, with prizes awarded.

She said she pushes students to become involved in campus activities because there is something for everyone. If students are feeling bored, Traub urges parents to have their students talk to their RA or their RD about the different clubs and organizations St. Bonaventure offers.

“There is always something the campus can provide,” Traub said.

Traub’s current quote to live by is from Oscar Wilde: “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.”

“I see people really struggling with who they are and not appreciating who they are,” Traub says. “I really encourage people to look at their strengths and look at the things that make them them and then to respect that, because we all have our strengths … and our part in the world; be who you are and like who you are.”

-Megan O’Donnell
Class of 2013


Upcoming events on campus include:
Ongoing - Math Lab available for drop-in assistance in mathematics
Friday, 9/17 - Women's Soccer vs. Canisius

Friday, 9/17 - First-Year Service Program Informational Meeting
Friday, 9/17 - Karaoke Night in the Skeller
Saturday, 9/18 - FIFA X-Box Tournament in the Skeller
Saturday-Sunday, 9/16-17 - BonaResponds Mini Service Weekend
Sunday, 9/19 - Women's Soccer vs. Niagara
Sunday, 9/19 - NFL Football in the Skeller
Sunday, 9/19 -Heavenly Harvest Celebration at Canticle Farm
Monday, 9/20 - Ernst & Young will provide an employer forum on Mastering the Interview for accounting and finance students
Monday, 9/20 - Monday Night Football in the Skeller
Tuesday, 9/21 - Seneca Nation History Presentation
Tuesday, 9/21 - Tournament Tuesday: Foosball in the Skeller
Wednesday, 9/22 - Open Mic Night in the Skeller
Friday, 9/24 -Wind Soloists of Western New York concert at the QCA
Friday-Sunday, 9/24-26 - Family Weekend
Monday, 9/27 - Monday Night Football in the Skeller
Monday-Wednesday, 9/27-10/6 - Francis Week
Tuesday, 10/28 - Jazz and Coffee with Prof. Les Sabina's trio, "NY Standard Time"
Wednesday, 9/29 - All Bonaventure Reads Author Visit, Rebecca Skloot, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"
Saturday, 10/2 - Cedar Point Amusement Park
Sunday, 10/3 - Men's Soccer vs. Niagara
Saturday, 10/23 - Grove City Outlets
Saturday, 10/30 - Rafting Trip
Sunday, 10/31 - SBU Band and Choir Concert
Saturday, 11/6 - The Mountain Auction benefit in support of Mt. Irenaeus
Sunday, 11/14 - Buffalo Bills vs. Detroit Lions

"The Immortal Life" author visit scheduled

Author Rebecca Skloot will discuss her best-selling book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” during a public lecture at St. Bonaventure University Wednesday, Sept. 29. The program begins at 7 p.m. in the Reilly Center Arena and will be followed by a book signing.

Skloot’s first book hit No. 5 on the New York Times’ best-seller list less than a week after its February publication date. has named “The Immortal Life” one of the 10 “Best Books of the Year,” and Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball have teamed up with HBO to create the film version of the book.

“We are enjoying enthusiastic responses to our All Bonaventure Reads selection of ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,’” said Jean Trevarton Ehman, chair of the All Bonaventure Reads committee and director of the university’s Teaching and Learning Center. “Our campus community has embraced Skloot’s storytelling ability, as she expertly wove a complicated story into an engaging, page-turning revelation that captivates readers.”

“The Immortal Life” is the enthralling story of Henrietta Lacks, the forgotten woman behind one of the most important tools in modern medicine, and of Lacks’s descendants, many of whom feel betrayed by the scientific establishment. Lacks, who died of cervical cancer in 1951, is the source of the HeLa cell line, the first human cells able to reproduce on their own in the laboratory.

The book speaks to many themes — medical ethics, scientific research, the experience of African Americans in the second half of the 20th century, and the availability and cost of health care.

St. Bonaventure Provost Dr. Michael J. Fischer asked all incoming students, as their first official college assignment, to write a one- to two-page reflection on the book. A group of faculty and staff are now in the process of reading each paper and selecting a group of winning essays. Winners will be recognized and will have the chance to meet Skloot when she comes to campus.

More information can be found at


Admissions | Alumni | Bonaventure Fund | Campus Construction | Campus News | Undergraduate Programs | Graduate Programs
Spiritual Life
| The Anniversary Campaign