Monday, October 18, 2021

HOFSTRA Strong - With "Pride & Purpose!"

February 2020, After accepting a Departmental Scholarship, I started as a Graduate student bright-eyed & bushy-tailed eager to take on the world! I had enrolled as a Graduate student in hopes of fulfilling a lifelong aspiration to complete my master's degree in Education with a focus on College Student Development! Finding myself in NYC weekly attending classes touring various museums with my class after years at home dedicated to my 3 under 3 who now suddenly were teens and my aging mother well it was like being born again! I found myself saying to myself, "Hey, I remember you!" I had not been out & about and in and out of NYC as much since my days attending The Fashion Institute of Technology! So, when the Pandemic hit home and all were under a Shut-in and classes moved online I, like the rest of the world was met with an overwhelming sensation of anxiety. All of the self-doubt and concern about funding my return to school and performing technologically on the road ahead suddenly came flooding back. Now, I was met with a choice...I could opt to play it safe and put my dreams aside and give in to the anxiety crippling our Nation and the World or I could stand up and choose to come out of this stronger! The words of my mother rang through my ears: "Where there is Will, there is a way!" And so with zero to little Zoom experience, I forged ahead to continue my studies and remotely participate in Hofstra's "Museum as Educator'' class. Today, almost one year later I have continued to choose to take on various challenges big and small where needed to support this mindset and the Hofstra community at large. One such way I contributed was as that of, "Hofstra Health Ambassador'' - "a group of peer educators deployed across Hofstra to help inform the campus community about the new protocols and to encourage compliance." To Continue the spirit and momentum of this path to which I felt perhaps I was being divinely led I took one class per semester to find myself next seeking opportunities to observe in Student Affairs. It was the very Brave & Welcoming of none other than our very own Branka :)  Director of the Parent & Family programs that chose to safely and within protocol virtually take on a student observation during a Pandemic!! Well, they say that "everything happens for a reason," and I am not so sure about that but I am sure that if one remains open to the path presenting itself and if kindness is shared all things are possible. Today, I am writing to you as a Graduate Assistant in the Parent & Family program!! I am realizing my dreams and offering my servitude to the greater good. Challenging & Supporting Students and their families at this time of sensitive transition. Most of all, as a mother, and like my Grandmother, and mother before me, I am walking through this most challenging of times determined to come out of this stronger. As Life continues to shift I pray that I may remain open to the possibilities, And as Grandma Mountain once said, may I continue to choose to walk through the challenges, not around them. And I might add...And with "Pride & Purpose" and always Hofstra strong! Go Pride!

 

 A HUGE shout out to Vice President Houston Dougharty & Parent & Family Program Director Branka Kristic as well as Dr. Genevieve Weber and Dr. Seirup &  Dr.O'malley for investing in & supporting my endeavors & dreams!


Thursday, October 14, 2021

Dear Young Mom

Dear Young Mom,

Right now it probably seems like not a moment goes by without a tug on your sleeve; a nose that needs to be wiped; a fight that needs to be broken up; or a constant chorus of “Look, Mom.” There are also probably those moments when you want to lock yourself in the bathroom, turn on the faucet and the fan (to add a cushion of noise) and just scream at the top of your lungs. Or maybe you want to let loose a tirade of expletives. You just want to release the frustration and exhaustion that can overwhelm you. I know. I’ve been there too…

One of the sagest observations I ever heard about parenting is that the “days are long, but the years are short.”* It’s so true—but I don’t know if I ever fully appreciated that fact when my kids were young, when I was in the trenches, in the middle of it all and so worn down that a quiet house seemed like a miracle, rather than a depressing reality…

Motherhood is a job no one in her right mind would ever apply for, if it was a classified ad (or a LinkedIn post—I’m showing my age)… Long hours (sometimes all night, if there’s a case of croup or an ear infection). No vacation. No training before you’re thrown right into the job. You’ll be expected to fulfill such disparate duties as chef; chauffeur; laundress; therapist; nurse; referee; baker; cleaning lady; the list goes on and on… Your heart will break a million times over big and small things. In fact, if you do your job well, heartbreak is guaranteed—when you say goodbye to your child and send him or her off into the world. Imagine a job where your most important task is to train your best employees to leave and be successful elsewhere. That’s parenting. Those little babies who tugged on your sleeve and wiped their drippy noses on your shirt; jumped on the furniture after being told a gazillion times not to do it; colored on the walls (in non-washable crayons); left sticky fingerprints everywhere will leave the nest in the blink of an eye to meet the future that stretches out before them. And it should be that way, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

When they do go out into that big, brave world, they might seem very far away. They might not need you anymore and then…well then you’ll be left wishing—just wishing—that you could have that commotion back for one more day.  You’ll miss that whirl of small children playing way too rough, messing up the couch cushions, tugging on your sleeve… You’ll wish that you could hear that chorus of, “Look, Mom!” just a few more times. You’ll swear that instead of getting frustrated because you have work or laundry or dinner to prepare—if you could have that moment back again,  you’d kneel down and look, really look, at that scribbled masterpiece; the tower of blocks; the cool looking rock that must be a piece of the moon that somehow found its way to your backyard. But, as a young mom you don’t have to wish for that—it’s right there. You’re still feeling the tug on your sleeve, the endless loop of, “Look, Mom!” You still have the chance to kneel down and give your full attention to your small child. Do it.

All too soon, that little child will grow up and stop asking you to look. In fact, if your teen catches you glancing over a shoulder, he or she will immediately snatch her phone out of view or snap his laptop closed. Instead of details about school and friends, you’ll hear, “Can I take the car?” You won’t be the center of his or her world anymore and you’ll be relegated to further and further outside orbits, until he or she goes away to college and your house is quiet. (Even if you have younger kids, one leaving changes the dynamics—and believe me, it’s quieter.) And one day, you may send a text asking when you can call to catch up for a few minutes and get back, “I’m busy. I’ll call you when I can.” And then…your phone will stay silent.

So, mothers of young children—especially loud, rambunctious boys who leave your living room looking like a tornado hit it or a Toys ‘R’ Us exploded; who play ball in the house and jump on the sofa; who tug on your sleeve and say, “Look, Mom!” more times than you thought possible—relish it. Revel in the noise, the chaos—the fullness of it—because it is ephemeral. Blink, and it’s oh so quiet…

Much Love,

Stephanie





Monday, March 15, 2021

Staying Together

 

Staying Together

              My freshman year of college ended a lot differently than I had expected. On March 8, 2020, I got an email around 10pm saying that I wouldn’t have classes leading up to Spring break. I think myself and a lot of my peers saw this coming. The Coronavirus had just been detected in Washington state. 

              The coronavirus had been sitting in the back of my head for quite some time at this point. The office I worked at on campus had been the main hub for all talk Covid-19. Everyday I worked I heard all about Covid, the new updates, and what Hofstra was planning to do. I couldn’t escape the topic even if I tried.

              Once home, my family and I realized how boring it is to be stuck in the house all day everyday. Not only that, but my step family (who we didn’t live with at the time) was an hour away so we didn’t see them much. Masks were just becoming a thing and social distancing was starting to arise. There were a lot of unknowns and we didn’t want to risk anything. 

              Soon after we decided to hunker down, I began planning fun events for my whole family to partake in. These events happened once a week, where we all got together for dinner and whatever I had planned. Our first dinner was called “Family Costume Party.” I used the website Evite to create a fun invitation and then sent it out to everyone in the family. 

              There was only one rule. You couldn’t buy anything for a costume. Whatever you wanted to dress up as, you had to do it yourself. And let me tell ya, I was not disappointed with the outcome. My parents dressed up as Forrest Gump and Jenny, my sister as Squidward, my other sister as Elder Price from the musical The Book of Mormon, and myself as that crazy girl from the movie Finding Nemo. It was awesome.



              Some other events we had were “Family Quiz Night”, “Lord of the Rings”, “Tiger King Dinner”, and a “Tour of Italy.” For my sister’s birthday, we had a The Office themed birthday party. Everyone dressed up as their favorite character from The Office and added their own special touches. 



 I captured pictures from all of them to create a photo album at the end of the year. Looking back on them now, I don’t see a family in the middle of a pandemic, I see my family, all together, having fun.


Hannah Rowe '23
Undergraduate Assistant


Thursday, February 25, 2021

What I Wish I Knew Before I Moved Off-Campus

 


It is about that time of year when juniors and seniors start to make plans whether they will live in the residence halls or move off-campus in a house with their friends next school year. I lived in the towers for 4 years and for my first year of grad school, I decided to move off-campus with a group of friends in a house nearby. I learned so many lessons from this experience that I would love to share with anyone who’s student is thinking about living off-campus.

What I wish I knew before I moved off-campus:


  1. Students who live in off-campus housing no matter how close to campus are considered commuter students! This means your student has access to another office with resources, clubs and activities to participate in. The Office of Commuting Student Services and Community Outreach is located on the second floor of the Student Center. 
  2. Make sure your student knows their housemates. It is so important to really know who your student is going to be living with. Sometimes even a group of friends don’t truly know each other until they are sharing all of the same space all the time. With this, especially if living with friends, make sure your student is ready to have difficult and uncomfortable conversations about money, space, cleanliness, etc.
  3. Carefully review the rental agreement/lease with a trusted adult. This is the most important piece of advice I can give. Whether it is a parent, uncle, Hofstra staff member, etc. please encourage your student to review the rental document with someone who has prior knowledge and can help understand what exactly they are signing and what they are responsible for. 
  4. Take pictures of everything before you move in and after you move out. Especially in houses off-campus where college students usually reside, there may be holes, paint chips and other issues that were not caused by your student. Make sure your student takes pictures of everything inside and outside to avoid responsibility and to ensure you can get your security deposit back at the end of the lease.
  5. Many off-campus leases will begin June 1. If your student plans to come home for the summer, they are responsible for the rent for their room throughout the summer even if they are not living in it from the date that their lease begins. Certain places do have options of subletting for periods of time, but this is specific to each landlord and is usually included in the rental information.
  6. Decide who will have the utilities in their name. Many off-campus houses do not include utilities. If this is the case, a student will need to take responsibility for putting the utility in their name (ex. Electricity, Gas, Water, Wifi, etc.) and collect the monthly payment from the house mates. I recommend establishing a way to collect the money like Venmo, Zelle or Cashapp where there is electronic proof that this was paid as well as a way to track what was being paid by writing it in the description. It is also important to make sure that the utilities are turned on to start when your lease begins, certain apartment complexes have fees associated with this.
  7. Request a copy of the lease and monthly receipts from the landlord. Encourage your student to keep all documents both physically and electronically for any and all payments and documents in case there is ever an issue, they will have the documentation to defend themselves as needed.
  8. Have a house meeting when everyone moves in. This is extremely important for setting boundaries, expectations for spaces and cleaning up. It all may seem like common sense, but it is very important to set expectations and be on the same page, even if a student is moving in with their best friends. 
  9. Know “the basics” before living off campus. It is extremely important for students to have a basic understanding of how to fix certain things around the house like a clogged toilet or shower drain, and also what numbers to call if there is a water leak or the smell of gas. Please note that off-campus students don’t have access to services of our Public Safety in their houses and need to call 911 for any emergencies off campus.
  10. As much as your student thinks they’re going to cook everyday, they most likely won’t have time. With classes, internships, part-time jobs and clubs, it can be hard to cook every meal and find time to meal prep for the next day. There is always an option for the Commuter Meal Plan which is typically around $500 per semester. I highly recommend this to any busy student who spends a lot of time on campus.
  11. Label all of your food. If your student doesn’t want anyone else eating their food, encourage them to put their name on it. Some students are completely okay with sharing their food and some are not. My house had a different color sticker for each person. If there was no sticker, that was for anyone to take! I also recommend taking a trip to Costco or BJs to buy things in bulk like condiments where everyone can use it since you don’t want or need 5 different ketchups and mayos taking up space.
  12. Make a schedule for taking out the trash and recycling (both out of the house and also to and from the road for pickup.) You may think 18-22 year-olds don’t need a schedule to remember to take out the trash. After the first few weeks of classes when everyone is busy with their own schedules, the trash piles up quickly and I learned this the hard way. For my housemates and I, a weekly schedule was the best way to hold everyone accountable and also to be sure the trash is always taken out.

Hofstra is here for you and your student. In off-campus housing, there are no RAs to help solve roommate conflicts or RDs to report a plumbing problem to. However, there is ALWAYS someone at Hofstra that is willing to help your student. More information about the Office of Commuting Student Services and Community Outreach can be found here and as always, Parent and Family Programs is here to help however we can!


Kayla Rozanski

Graduate Assistant for Parent and Family Programs

Class of '19, '21


Friday, February 5, 2021

Cooking With Hofstra Pride



Hofstra's Parent Council is creating a custom cookbook, Cooking With Hofstra Pride, featuring favorite recipes from Hofstra family - parents, students, friends, family members, faculty and staff. These cookbooks will be professionally published and are sure to be a treasured keepsake for us all. Money raised will be used for the Hofstra Student Emergency Assistance Fund and other Hofstra student and family programs. Our aim is to make the cookbooks available for purchase for the Commencement, Family Orientation and Family Weekend 2021.


Please submit one of your favorite recipes so you can be represented in our cookbook. Recipes from many Hofstra families, students, faculty, alumni and friends will ensure that our cookbook is a success. We are using Morris Press Cookbook’s website to easily submit recipes online at typensave.com. Please note that, below the recipe, you will be able to add a dedication or a message of encouragement for your Hofstra student or a loved one, such as “To our son Sam in memory of all his Lord of the Rings parties and requisite feasts.”
 
We anticipate a great demand for our cookbooks, and we want to be certain to order enough. 
By submitting a recipe you are not obliged to buy any cookbooks but you need to complete the reservation and consent form below to give us permission to publish your recipe. Cookbooks will be available for $25 each. If you order 2 or more cookbooks, you will receive a discount. 

 
There are two easy steps you need to complete by March 15, 2021:

  1. Submit your recipe online:
    1. Go to https://www.typensave.com/ and click ‘Login’ on the top right. Log in only when you are ready to enter the entire recipe. Once you log out, you will not be able to make changes. See Recipe Writing Tips below.
    2. Enter the User Name: HofstraPC
    3. Enter the password: simmer472 and click ‘Submit.’
    4. Enter your full name and click ‘Continue.’
    5. Click ‘Add Recipes’ to begin adding your recipe.

****** Please Note You Cannot Edit Recipe Once You Have Logged Out. ******
****** DON'T FORGET TO COMPLETE STEP 2. BELOW *****


If you do not want to enter recipes in the online form, our committee can enter them for you; just email us at parents@hofstra.edu and complete the acknowledgement form below.

  1. Complete the reservation and consent form at the link here. You will be able to let us know how many cookbooks you plan to order. Please complete even if you don't plan to order cookbooks as we cannot publish your recipe without your signature.

Recipe Writing Tips:

  • When adding recipes, review the “Tips” and use standard abbreviations.
  • Only enter 1 ingredient per ingredient line.
  • List ingredients in order of use in the ingredients list and directions.
  • Include container sizes, e.g., (16-oz.) pkg., (24-oz.) can.
  • Write directions in paragraph form, not in steps.
  • Use names of ingredients in the directions, e.g., “Combine flour and sugar.”  DO NOT use statements like, “Combine first three ingredients.”
  • Include temperatures and cooking, chilling, baking, and/or freezing times.
  • You may add a dedication or a message in “Recipe Notes” field but the text cannot exceed 375 characters (4 lines).

 If you have questions, please email parents@hofstra.edu.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Awesome Hofstra Story

I am a member of the Hofstra parents class of 2024 Facebook group.  I was the one mentioned at the Thursday coffee that posted the list of get-to-know you questions that now has over 140 comments. I am submitting an interesting story that came out as a result of that post and this wonderful Facebook parents group.

This photo was taken at a wedding reception on July 4, 1920 in Zwickau, a German.  Sadly many of the people in this photo did not survive the Holocaust.  In the front row, left of the center are three girls. Here’s a closeup of that part of the above photo:

On the left is Berta Birnbaum Davis and the center is Erna Moerdler Brandwein. On the left is Erna’s sister Toni Brandwein Hausmann, she did not survive the Holocaust.  Berta and Erna were very close and stayed very close throughout their lives.  They both miraculously survived the Holocaust.  Betta married in Germany, had two children there and one in the U.S. and eventually ended up in Pittsburg.  Erna married and had one son.  Her husband did not survive he holocaust, but her and her second husband eventually ended up in New York.  The two women always stayed in touch and visited each other as often as possible. 

Erna is in the back row on the left.  Berta is in the front row on the right.  Next to Berta is her husband Emil and behind her is her daughter Rose Kay.

After Erna died their families lost touch.

On Wednesday, shortly after I posted the get-to-know-you post, I received a message from a Hofstra 2024 parent named Stacy Browning Stein.  She was showing her mother the Facebook page and her mother recognized my name.  I told her that I remember her grandmother! She told me about my grandparents dancing at her wedding.

Stacy’s mother is Rose Kay, the woman in the photo standing next to my grandmother Erna Schwartz. After texting for a while with Stacy and her mom, I video called my dad and I told him “Erna Brandwein Moerdler Schwarz’s great-granddaughter is going to be an incoming freshman with Berta Birnbaum David’s great-grandson!”  I went on to explained that I was contacted by a woman who said her grandmother was my grandmother’s first cousin, Berta David.  To say he was shocked would be an understatement. I could see all the emotion in my dad’s face as he told me that one of his biggest regrets over the past 25 or 30 years was losing touch with this side of his family.   As my dad talked, all my memories of Berta and Rose Kay flooded back to me.  I texted questions my dad had to Stacy, who, in turn asked the questions to her mother.   My dad asked for her mom’s phone number and email and that information was exchanged.  It turns out we (& our parents) live less then a half an hour from each other!  So hopefully they will get to see each other again soon. 

Instagram handles and cell numbers were also exchanged for the two incoming freshman. Elinoa Moerdler-Green and her first cousin twice removed Isaac Stein have chatted and are looking forward to meeting each other in person. They will even be in the same dorm, the Netherlands!

Thanks to Hofstra’s class of 2024 parents group two first cousins, once removed, have been reconnected after over two and a half decades of separation!

And every time I pass by that wedding picture from July, 1920, I think to myself how happy Erna and Berta would be that their families have reconnected and how they would laugh at the happy coincidence that their great-grandchildren are both members of the Hofstra class of 20204!

Hopefully, once this pandemic passes (or at least eases), our two families can reconnect in person, maybe even on Hofstra campus.  Wouldn’t that be an awesome photo?

Now how’s that for Hofstra pride?

Cordially,
Sharon Moerdler-Green



Friday, February 28, 2020

Living On Campus

A Student's Experience

As Housing Selection quickly approaches, many students begin to wonder what else they can do as a resident student, and the answer is: A lot! Take it from Pamela Vallejos, a Sophomore Biochemistry/Pre-med student who has gained so much more than just a place to live while a resident student.

***

Starting college, whether you are a first year or transferring student can usher anxious and exciting emotions all at the same time, especially when making decisions about housing. Being an international student, one of the first decisions I had to make was, with who am I going to spend not only my first semester of college outside my country with, but also an entire year of what is going to make up my first college experience. For incoming students, residing on campus is more than just getting a room and roommate; it becomes an experience in which helps shape you into the future working adult you’ve always wanted to become. With my personal experience, I believe residing on campus is among the top benefits college has to offer. It not only gives incoming students, but everyone who lives on campus, an opportunity to really get that college experience that we have waited and prepared ourselves for all throughout high school.

One of the most important benefits is that most campus resources are less than a 10 minute walk away from your room! Even resources that you had no idea you needed are present all around campus. Each dorm has a resident assistant who helps you in at any time of the day, who in addition works with resident directors who help guide you towards any path you want to take. Public Safety arrives immediately for any emergency and always responds to any students who request their help. Within the residence halls, they all have lounges, study areas, kitchens, some even a workout area where students are welcomed at any time. The RAs make programs that help students connect to resources on campus, and some programs even involve them with faculty and administrating members who reach out to students as well for them to really let them know that they are not alone and they will always have someone on campus they can talk to.


Living on campus gives students the opportunity to make strong friendships in a way that they become their second family. My first friend on campus ever, is someone I now call my little brother. We have become so close to a point where people actually believe we are related. Both of us living extremely far from our families and childhood friends bonded us to a point where we created a family setting between each other and our other friends. This strengthened our friendship and was one of the main reasons I was always excited to come back to campus. My suite mate became one of the closest friends I never thought I would make within the first months of college that even during vacations we always plan on spending time together whether it is me visiting her or the other way around. As all college students, we were able to support each other academically as well. Living on campus made it easy to make friends in and outside my major in a way that we could all spend time studying at the library or in our dorms together for certain classes throughout the week and weekends. In times of stress, such as finals week, we were there to support each other and push one another to keep working hard through all our upcoming exams. Once we all got through our finals, sharing the happiness of making through our freshman year together was very sentimental and a true bonding experience.

Living specifically in the Living Learning Communities (LLC) that Hofstra has to offer gives the opportunity to students to really grow in a community where everyone is there to support each other as we are all going through similar situations our freshman year. Living in the First Generation housing was something that really shaped me as the second year student I have become. Even though it was just one year, it was the beginning of a new life, my future career, and the person I am becoming and always wanted to be. The LLC not only helped me stand proud of who and what I represent, but also allowed me to meet others who do the same. It is one of my favorite experiences of my freshman year and something I am very grateful for having. The friendships and bonds I have made within the LLC still stand strong through the end of my sophomore year, and I know they’re something I will always be able to count on.

One of the biggest difficulties I had in high school was maintaining my academic life, social life, and work life together on top of my parents driving me everywhere I needed to be. Living on campus, made me view Hofstra as my new home. I eventually began to feel comfortable to reach outside the residence halls and participate in on-campus activities. By the first semester of my second year I have become treasurer of Hofstra’s Organization of Latinx Americans, and work with the wonderful staff of Student Affairs, and the on campus catering Hofstra offers at our new Starbucks, everything being a 5 to 10 minute walk away!

As much as I miss my family and friends back home, if I had the option to drive everyday to campus from my house to college I would still choose to live on campus. It really helped me grow not only as a student, but also as a person. Living on campus gave me the opportunity to really know where I decided to begin my future, and I do not regret making that decision. The more you live on campus, the more you become to enjoy and get more involved. Next year I will be joining the resident staff at one of the first-year residence halls and will have the opportunity to make an impact on students as an RA, as did mine for my first year and I could not be more excited to be a helping hand to incoming and transferring students!"

***

Housing Selection begins March 2 with the Housing Deposit. For more information about living on campus and the many facilities available, you can visit Hofstra.edu/Reslife