In a New York State of Mind

Yes, you can unleash greatness as a student at the State University at New Paltz (SUNY New Paltz) and at the University at Albany within the New York State system. New Paltz is an hour and a half from New York City; Albany is three hours.

My first stop on a spring sojourn this year was at SUNY New Paltz, a school of around 6800 students in a town nestled near the Shawangunk Mountains and the Mohonk Mountain Preserve, an area with trails, cliffs, and waterfalls. I’ve long known SUNY New Paltz for its programs in the fine arts and in business and those are thriving, as are its programs in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, and education. The university features teacher certification in adolescent and early childhood & childhood education, as well as a minor in social justice educational studies.

The campus, which is welcoming a new president, Dr. Darrel P. Wheeler, this July, is a mix of contemporary and traditional architecture where the largest class is about 60 to 70 students, one reason my tour guide is a student at the school. Housing is available on campus for students all four years. The downtown is about a ten minute walk away, and it features restaurants and stores that cater not just to students but to families with vacation homes in the area. The admit rate for this year is 55%, and there is spring admission.

After an overnight in Hudson, New York, a charming town on the banks of the Hudson River, I proceeded to the Uptown campus of the University at Albany, which features nine schools: Arts and Science, Social Welfare, Education, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Public Health, Business, Public Affairs & Policy, Criminal Justice and Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity. The undergraduate population is approximately 13,000. The expansive campus features tunnels that connect all academic buildings, some of which surround a central courtyard anchored by fountains. There are undergraduate research opportunities on campus – one of the objectives of the university is to be a diverse research institution – and a popular community and public service program in which students volunteer throughout the Capital Region. The university also boasts varied opportunities for internships in the area, including ones in government and the sciences.

The admit rate for the university is around 50%, and this year, the university received 30,000 applications. This Division 1 school has an extensive athletic facility, I discovered, as I drove around the ring road that encompasses the campus. Chabad’s Shabbat House, located just off campus,  offers kosher dinner Monday through Thursday and alternates Friday night dinner with the Hillel at the University. Chabad also offers lunch and dinner on Shabbat and a brunch on Sunday.