Working to meet student needs amid the COVID outbreak

Photo of student Aubrey Smith
First-year student Audrey Smith is among those who received laptops to complete spring semester studies online.

One afternoon last week, Sarah Whiffen drove from her home to the Newark Campus Center to deliver laptops to two students.

She parked and waited in her vehicle. When they arrived, she placed the boxed devices on the sidewalk nearby and stepped aside – in strict adherence to social distance guidelines – so the students could collect the devices, one at a time.

Amid drastically changed working environments, FLCC faculty and staff have worked to not only transition to online instruction but also to ensure students’ needs are met.

Stories of outreach abound: Three weeks ago, as social distancing suggestions turned into business closures and stay-at-home recommendations, staffers Sara Iszard, Teresa Daddis and Jan Kerrick made the rounds at the Suites at Laker Landing and nearby rental sites. They knocked on doors, checking on students and helping them plan for what was to come. They and several colleagues worked behind-the-scenes, packing bags of non-perishables from the FLCC food pantry and delivering to the dozens who’d indicated they’d otherwise be without. Student Life staff complemented their efforts with bags filled with snacks and games.

Outreach efforts have been guided by surveys and the interactions like those spearheaded by Student Affairs staff. In the weeks ahead, they will continue, informed by surveys and an initiative to call every student.

Roughly 85 students indicated in surveys conducted last month that they needed a computer to complete their courses online. The Information Technology Division responded with the purchase of over 100 laptops, loaded with basic software. As of last week, about 50 had been mailed to the students overnight or handed out by Sarah, Jan or Janette Aruck at the main campus.

Meanwhile, last week, Sara continued to ensure the dozen or so students remaining at Campus Gate had food. She and colleagues have braved multiple grocery stores to keep up with the demand, but the FLCC student food cupboard is depleted. Community members can help restock it and help students faced with other emergencies by making a contribution to the COVID-19 Emergency Response effort by clicking here.

FLCC celebrates Women’s History Month with March 5 talk

Ashley Hopkins Benton
Ashley Hopkins Benton will give a talk at the main campus in celebration of Women’s History Month.

Finger Lakes Community College will continue its History, Culture & Diversity speaker series with an event on Thursday, March 5 focused on the fight for women’s suffrage in New York.

Ashley Hopkins-Benton, senior historian and curator of social history at the New York State Museum, will give a Women’s History Month talk, titled “Leading the Charge: The Fight for Women’s Suffrage in New York and Beyond.” Free and open to the public, it will be held from 12:40 to 1:50 p.m. in Room 2775 at the FLCC main campus, 3325 Marvin Sands Drive, Canandaigua.

Hopkins-Benton has worked at the museum since 2014, and has served as its senior curator for the past four years. Her focus is on women’s history, LGBTQ+ history, immigrant and ethnic history, sculpture and toys. She is the co-author of “Votes for Women: Celebrating New York’s Suffrage Centennial,” “Enterprising Waters: The History and Art of New York’s Erie Canal” and “Breathing Life into Stone: The Sculpture of Henry DiSpirito.”

She earned her master’s degree in history museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program and a bachelor’s degree in art education/art studio at the State University of New York College at Potsdam.
The History, Culture and Diversity series is coordinated by Robert Brown, professor of history at FLCC. After the March 5 talk, spring semester events are as follows:

• Talk commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Korean War, Thursday, March 26, 12:30 p.m., Stage 14, FLCC main campus. Veteran Norman Champagne will share his experiences with the Marine Corps in Korea from 1952 to 1953. His honors include the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, and he serves as historian for the Korean War Legacy Foundation.

• Holocaust remembrance talk by survivor Lea Malek, Thursday, April 2, 12:30 p.m., FLCC main campus auditorium. Malek was 5 years old when her family in Hungary was boarded onto trains headed for concentration camps. Much of her family was murdered. She survived, only to witness the brutality of the Hungarian revolution in Budapest.

The events are free and open to all. Those planning to attend should plan to arrive early for parking; handicap parking is available. For more information, contact Robert Brown at or (585) 785-1307.