Press Releases

Alfred University student leadership course competition: It’s about A’s and G’s

Alfred University | 5/13/19

Members of Alfred University’s LEAD 300 leadership class were competing for the A’s, as in grades, and the G’s, as in a share of a $5,000 prize.


ALFRED, NY – Members of Alfred University’s LEAD 300 leadership class were competing for the A’s, as in grades, and the G’s, as in a share of a $5,000 prize.

Co-taught by Alfred University President Mark Zupan and Gabrielle Gaustad, dean of the Inamori School of Engineering, “LEAD 300: Improving Alfred University” is the first course in a sequence that will lead to a newly developed minor in leadership.

To add some excitement to the course, Trustee Charlie Joyce and Sherry Walton ’80, ’88 MS, offered a $10,000 prize, with $5,000 to be shared among the team members, and another $5,000 going to the University to help implement the winning program.

Each team had to identify a problem, and propose a solution.

The winning entry, determined by judges including Greg Connors ’92, chairman of the Alfred University Board of Trustees; Yasmin Mattox ’07 and Josh Dahlman ’97, as well as Joyce and Walton, was “Alfred HELLO.” Team members Victoria Cramp ’20, Angelica Sudore ’20, Emma Karch ’20 and Marquis Russ ’20 suggested using videos to communicate with alumni, as well as other “key constituencies,” such as faculty and staff, current and prospective students.

The videos would be crowd-sourced, submitted by students, with a student oversight team to cull out the best items to distribute via a video messaging service. Also providing oversight would be a faculty member and the University Marketing and Communications Team.           The end goal, according to team members, is to increase alumni engagement and encourage support of the University.

Walton praised the Alfred HELLO group. “They did their research. The presentation was both oral and visual, and included current statistics and desired goals.” Additionally, she noted, the concept is “sustainable and makes good use of technology (email, video and crowd-sourcing.) She was pleased that it included opportunities for student internships as well.

A similar experience through an independent study course when she was a student at Alfred University “allowed me to put my education to work. I was able to expand my knowledge base beyond the classroom,” Walton said.

“To me, the Alfred HELLO presentation fit seamlessly with many of our strategic initiatives in student and alumni engagement and communication,” said Joyce, explaining his choice for the winning team.

“I was impressed by all the participants’ knowledge of and enthusiasm for their projects,” Joyce said, adding he thinks the LEAD 300 course “is a major winner.”

Walton liked the enthusiasm displayed by all the teams, and also noted “The course offers hands-on, practical applications and experience working with a team, all of which will benefit the participants now and going forward.”

Judges were asked to select the idea that “would most advance our University,” said Zupan.

While Alfred HELLO team members walked away with the prize money, the other teams’ projects “were also deemed to be meritorious by the judges, and will be beneficial to our University,” Zupan said.

Some may be implemented right away as well, he noted. “AU Fast and Fresh” team, for example, suggested vending machines, stocked with fresh, healthy food options, be placed around campus for the benefit of students who might miss a meal due to scheduling conflicts. Of particular concern was athletes who might miss meals because of their practice or work-out schedules. AVI Fresh, the University’s food service provider, has already agreed to place a vending machine with healthy options in the Joyce and Walton Wellness Center, adjacent to McLane Physical Education Center.

Members of the “AU Fast and Fresh” team were Ruggiany Georges ’20; Samantha Gleason ’21; Shannon Mendola ’21 and Alexandra Taylor ’20.

“‘Fostering our Future’ has a 10-year plan for making Foster Lake a more highly utilized facility with a lot of great ideas,” said Zupan.

Members of that team were graduate students David Dobesh ’19 MS Glass Science; Andrew King ’19 MS Materials Science and Engineering; Sean Locker ’20 PhD Glass Science; and Robin Mazejka.

University Advancement and Enrollment Management will be implementing several of the ideas offered by the “Fiat LINKS” team as well, he said.

Tiffany Gannon ’19; Julio Fuentes ’25; Anastasia Campbell ’20; Dillon Smith ’20; and Victor Liz Lascano ’22 were members of the “Fiat LINKS” team.

Zupan noted the course enrolled students from every college and school at the University, and at every level, from first-year to graduate students.