Meet the Village People

SUNY Oswego officially has its own band of Village people on campus.

Village Commons

The Village, Oswego’s highly anticipated townhouse-style complex for students, opened this semester to the immense excitement of its first 348 residents.

The Village houses students in four- and six-person townhouses in a complex just south of Glimmerglass Lagoon. Featuring  a full kitchen, furnished living room and laundry unit in each house and a large commons building for leisure and studying, the Village townhouse complex boasts a plethora of luxuries not available in typical residence halls.

“Having a dishwasher and all the amenities of a fully furnished house
really makes living here great,” Colleen Cessna ’12 said. “We have our own rooms and a commons area that is practically private to just us in the Village.”

“The brand new facilities are really the best part,” Katherine Grzesik ’11 said. “The houses are so nice and so different than living in the residence halls.”

Spending a quiet moment in a townhouse kitchen are, from left, math education majors Donnie Hebert ’11, Katherine Grzesik ’11, Darren Lucas ’11 and Amanda Burch ’11.

The close proximity to other students has also been a hit among Village residents. When asked about the best part of living in the complex, Leslie Look ’12 said “the neighbors. They are all so great and fun.”

Kimberly Allen ’10 agreed. “It’s just nice to have the company around,” she said.

Many students have also come to love the off-campus feel that the Village provides, while still being within walking distance to classes and other campus activities.

“It’s nice that we are still so close to campus and yet the Village still has a regular house feeling to it,” Jason Johnson ’12 said.

Journalism major Chris McPherson ’12, left, shoots pool in the Commons game room with Tuba Toori ’11, a biology major.

“I felt that living off campus would be like living at home,” Chris McPherson ’12 said. “Living in the Village is a mixture. I have the freedom of living on my own without having to worry about things like rent and utilities.”

Calling the Village another component in the college’s focus on learner centeredness, Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley said, “The Village provides an environment that allows students to take learning deep within them, build a family around their learning experience, and gain more from the experience.”

Residence Life and Housing Director Rick Kolenda said the completion of the Village is a reflection of the collective efforts from a variety of different groups, including architects, construction crews, administrative planning and student focus groups. The final product is something of which the entire college should be proud, he said.

The Glimmerglass Bistro in the Village Commons is a busy place. Here biology major Regine Michel ’11 purchases a snack from Tiffany Chiu ’11, an accounting major.

“You have the flagship student building project in the state of New York, if not the Northeast,” Edward McGraw of Ashley McGraw Architects said during the Village dedication Sept. 17.

Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Joseph Grant said the decade-long journey included visiting other colleges and “reviewing architectural designs from all over the country,” but what separates the Village from the rest of the pack is not just its modern feel and state-of-the-art amenities, but the unparalleled passion and commitment brought to the project by students and administrators alike.

“The Village is more than the sum of all those parts,” he said. “This special place we call the Village is a residential community without equal anywhere in higher education.”

Joel Danko ’11, a biology major, pours a cup of coffee in his kitchen prior to a study session.

The $42 million complex was funded through the SUNY Capital Plan, mostly through bonds issued by the State Dormitory Authority, said Tom Simmonds ’84, M ’88, associate vice president for facilities.

Simmonds echoed Kolenda’s praise for the diverse groups that helped make the Village a reality. “I’m proud of the end result,” he said. “But I’m also equally as proud of all of the people who helped make this happen.”

Although blue-and-white siding adorns each Tudor-style townhouse, the Village’s biggest achievement could be in how green it is. The complex was designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, gold standards, meaning it was built using strategies aimed at saving energy, conserving water and limiting carbon emissions.

“There are various elements of design that will make this a sustainable building well into the future,” Facilities and Design Project Coordinator Allen Bradberry said. “Being very energy efficient, the design is such that it will have minimal impact to the environment and [have] longevity to the materials chosen for construction.” With SUNY Oswego continuing a campus-wide trend toward becoming a more sustainable campus, making the complex an environmentally friendly area was quite the accomplishment, said Bradberry.

The implementation of LEED standards will help students make a more positive impact on not only the Oswego campus, but the entire environment, Stanley said.

“It will help students understand how they will live in and interact with the world and make the world a better place, one person at a time,” Stanley said.

With the renovation of Piez, Wilber and Park halls now under way, and planning for a facelift of the Hewitt Quad set to unfold after that, Student Association President Steven DiMarzo ’11 said the Village is the latest in a long line of projects to modernize facilities across campus. “The completion of the Village is proof of how Oswego can, undoubtedly, expand and adapt to the future.”

For those students who call the Village home, that ability to transcend helped turn what was merely a bold idea 10 years ago into a modern, dynamic reality. l

“You have the flagship student building project in the state of New York, if not the Northeast.”

Leave a Reply