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Planning to study abroad?

As freshman year comes to a close, this is probably the best time to be looking at all the options students will have during their Bona journey. The University is rich in areas of service, volunteering, and academic experiences, both here and abroad. Qualified students can apply for semester, full-year, or summer overseas academic programs.

The office of International Studies maintains a Web site that lays out experiential opportunities abroad. Included in that Web site is information about academic opportunities that fall into two categories:
• programs that have a faculty leader and a population usually made up of SBU students traveling to an overseas destination and taking classes from SBU instructors
• programs where SBU has overseas affiliations. Those partner institutions serve as host institutions to our students. Students are not accompanied by SBU personnel, nor are they traveling with a group of SBU students. Those programs cover the span of six continents and offer programs suitable for students from all majors. Most provide total immersion into the host university culture.

As markets and economies evolve, we view study abroad as a crucial piece of a student’s résumé. The skill set that a student develops during an overseas academic experience speaks to the creativity, initiative, motivation, maturity, and independence that it takes to pursue study abroad—all the qualities a potential employer may be looking for. Our office works closely with the Career Center during the pre-departure advisement period and post-program follow-up, guiding students through the process of taking their academic experience and weaving it into a professional asset.

The programs we offer are compatible with the foreign languages taught on campus—Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Arabic. Other non-English speaking sites include India, Czech Republic, Greece, Japan, Portugal, and China. Additionally, we have many destinations in English-speaking countries, such as Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and England. Our newest SBU program is offered in collaboration with the Fr. Mychal Judge Center, and is a semester program at Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

In the study abroad advisement process, we look for two factors to be solidified. One very important factor to you, as parents, is the financial. The financial aid audit forms the basis for this discussion. I evaluate the aid package through the lens of the cost of education here at SBU for one semester. We allow students to use federal aid on all semester programs, TAP (NYS) for some programs. Institutional monies cannot travel with students, but to offset the loss of SBU funds, we work closely with students to identify endowed, partner, outside, and local community sources of additional funding. We also work with students to apply for a number of federal scholarships the U.S. government offers for study abroad. Most of our programs are affordable and some are about half the cost of a semester at SBU.

The academic portion of the study abroad advisement process involves the academic audit that lays out the course plan for the degree. It is conveniently divided so that we can look at courses for the major, Clare College courses, peripheral requirements related to the major, and electives. We strive to find a program suited to those elements of the degree, and also work to build a schedule that would closely mirror the student’s campus schedule for that semester.

Most program requirements include a 2.5 overall GPA; some more competitive universities require a 3.0 GPA for consideration. Students are expected to maintain a full course load and grades earned abroad are posted to their SBU transcripts and calculated as part of the overall GPA. This conveys the message that study abroad is a complement to their on-campus coursework and is recorded as such.

If you have specific questions about our programs, you can check our site:, contact me via e-mail: or call me at 716-375-2574. If you plan to be on campus any time, I am happy to have a cup of La Verna coffee with you and chat about our students’ experiences.

Alice Farris Sayegh
Director, International Studies


Summer Orientation

Summer orientation leaders are important. They serve the dual purpose of acclimating incoming freshmen to life at St. Bonaventure University and making the transition process as fun and easy as it can possibly be. So how were this summer’s orientation leaders selected?

Abby Cohen, assistant director for the First-Year Experience, said the process began with a series of four open information sessions outlining time commitments and other requirements.

Following the information sessions came a written application.

“The application had basic questions in it along with the requirement of two letters of recommendation,” said freshman journalism/mass communication major Samantha Kauffman.

Applicants were then required to attend a group workshop, where they split into smaller groups of four to five students to complete tasks involving teambuilding exercises or producing and performing a skit.
“We really look to see how they work under pressure, and how they work with each other,” Cohen said.

After the group workshop, applicants scheduled individual interviews. Cohen said the goal was to get to know each student personally.

“We look for people who are passionate about Bonaventure, and who are easy to get along with,” she added. “Blending leadership styles is also important. We chose some who are very quiet and others who are more outgoing.”

Once orientation leaders are selected, an intense training process follows. Each leader must undergo training to become a Peer Coach in the fall, plus a weeklong training program before the first orientation session. The program includes CPR and first aid certification training. It also includes basic theater training to aid in the production of skits. Cohen said leaders must also become intimate with campus resources and how freshmen will use them.

Ten orientation leaders, two parent orientation leaders and two upperclassman co-coordinators have already been chosen for the 2010 orientation season. Kauffman, one of those leaders, said she is excited for her first session.

“I am most looking forward to helping to make the transition as easy as possible for (incoming freshmen) and seeing them experience the new chapter in their lives,” she said.

Waheed Ameen, another leader, said he wants to give the same positive experience to the next batch of incoming freshmen that his orientation leaders provided for him.

“I am looking forward to working with my peers and meeting new people that I plan on influencing during the summer and carrying on into the 2010-2011 school year,” Ameen said.

Having orientation leaders with this level of enthusiasm and excitement is important, a fact Cohen understands.

“I think that it is essential to have qualified orientation leaders,” she said, “because they are the faces of Bonaventure for incoming students.”

-Connor McDonald
Class of 2011

Campus leadership opportunities

St. Bonaventure University’s size may have been one of its attractions for your student -- perhaps he or she felt more comfortable on a campus this size, where it's sometimes easier to get to know faculty, staff and fellow students.
But the University's size makes something else easier as well — working toward leadership positions in campus activities.

Parents sometimes hear the complaint "there's nothing to do," noted Steve Kuchera, assistant director of the Center for Activities, Recreation and Leadership (CARL). That may be the time to suggest to your student that he or she get involved with campus activities and work his or her way toward leadership roles.

Becoming a leader makes a student’s résumé stronger and may assist in the search for internships and jobs. It also gives your student a chance to see – his or her efforts result sometimes in a permanent change.

Students interested in becoming involved could start their search for activities through CARL, Kuchera said. That office, established in the fall of 2009, oversees all student club and sport organizations. It offers students a place to learn communication skills, effective strategies for dealing with conflict and ways to run effective organization meetings.

One way for your student to learn leadership skills and likely obtain a leadership position on campus is through the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS). This is the first year for the program at St. Bonaventure, Kuchera said.

Currently, 200 students are involved with the program. All students who finish program requirements will be honored at a banquet on May 6, Kuchera said.

The program will shift next year from a one-year to a two-year commitment, he said. In addition, it will be available to any student who wishes to take part.

First-year students in NSLS acquire community service and leadership hours. Students will also continue to plan and organize key events though the organizations with which they are involved.

During the second year of the program, Kuchera said, the students will mentor new students in the program, teaching them conflict resolution, management and different leadership styles. By the second year, he said, students will likely become a leader of one of the more than 60 organizations on campus. Some of those groups include the Campus Activities Board (CAB), Student Government Association (SGA), the office of Residence Life (Resident Assistants) and the Peer Coaching Program.

Student leaders coordinate such activities as the Sean Kingston concert scheduled for Spring Weekend and the New York City day trip. Both are sponsored by CAB, a campus organization where students organize and effectively coordinate and execute events.

Kuchera said parents who have any questions about what activities are available on campus or what to do on campus may contact him at

If your student is still at a loss for what to do, suggest he or she walk through the door at CARL; they will find some answers there.

-Robbie Chulick
Class of 2013


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

Spring Weekend: A chance to breathe

With trees budding, the sun shining and temperatures above 40 degrees, spring surely has arrived! Tagging along with this new arrival is the bittersweet stretch to an end of another semester. The race to prepare for finals, wrap up projects and finish papers in just one month will quickly begin.

The last weekend of the spring semester, before the anxiety of finals week arrives, is dedicated to de-stressing and fun. Spring Weekend, which is open to the entire campus community, offers students a variety of activities, including a softball tournament, concerts and carnival-like games.

The kickoff to this year’s Spring Weekend will be a performance by Sean Kingston, a Jamaican-American reggae-fusion singer and rapper. His performance is co-sponsored by the Student Government Association, Campus Activities Board and the Damietta Center.

Kingston’s performance will be Thursday, April 29, at 8 p.m. This part of Spring Weekend is open to the public. Tickets for members of the public may be purchased for $12 at Students may purchase their $10 ticket at the Reilly Center.

In addition to Kingston, smaller musical acts will perform during the weekend.

“There will be a DJ this year and the possibility of a cover band,” said CAB member Melissa Gentile.
WSBU-FM is also arranging for musical acts to play throughout the weekend. In years past, they have brought acts such as Spitalfield, I Am the Avalanche and Owen to perform.

WSBU is not ready to reveal details of this year’s lineup, station manager Zack Witzel said.

Students will have the opportunity to receive free souvenirs to commemorate the weekend. Those will include the ever-popular Spring Weekend T-shirts, the beloved Buzz sunglasses, trinkets from booths and more.

“SGA designs and purchases the Spring Weekend T-shirts, which are given to students for free every year and are very popular,” said SGA president Sabrina Maddeaux.

The event has often included caricature and spray paint artists, picture booths and other token things students can take as souvenirs, said CAB president Ali Dykeman.

The biggest attractions, she added, are the inflatable stations. CAB has not officially decided what inflatables will be at this year’s Spring Weekend, but members are confident they will be a hit.

Finally, the hallmark of Spring Weekend is the traditional Rick Farina Softball Tournament, which begins April 29. Students have the opportunity to form teams and compete against each other throughout the weekend. Each team that signs up is guaranteed to play at least one game. Sign-ups for the tournament are usually a couple weeks before Spring Weekend.

Spring weekend is a reminder that even though school is about work, it can be fun, too. It’s the perfect time to breathe and clear the mind before finals week begins and the 15 weeks of summer separate students from each other.

-Meaghan O’Rourke
Class of 2013

Upcoming events on campus include:
Ongoing - Math Lab available for drop-in assistance in mathematics
Friday, 4/9 - Women's Lacrosse vs. Temple
Friday-Saturday, 4/9-10 - SBU Department of Visual and Performing Arts Theater Program presents a senior capstone production FAT PIG, a play by Neil LaBute
Friday-Sunday, 4/9-11 - Hut-a-thon
Saturday, 4/10 - Softball vs. George Washington
Sunday, 4/11 - SBU Chamber Music
Tuesday, 4/13 - University Spring Awards Ceremony celebrating the Fr. Joe Doino, Employee Recognition and Faculty Recognition awards
Wednesday, 4/14 - "To Know the Peace Corps" presentation by Lucha Skandar
Friday, 4/16 -"For the Respect of Women" - Mr. Bryon Hurt
Monday, 4/19 - Faculty Research Colloquium: Soccer Clubs and Politics in Buenos Aires between the Two World Wars

Wednesday, 4/21 - SBU Jazz Band Concert
Friday, 4/23 - Barbara Carr McKee Scholarship Luncheon
Saturday, 4/24 - Honors Project Presentations
Sunday, 4/25 - SBU Band and Choir Concert

Wednesday, 4/28 - Student Research and Creative Endeavors Expo

Spring semester is jam-packed with Campus Activities Board events!


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