Fresh Water for All … it’s a straight-forward, yet powerful declaration. Access to fresh water is a fundamental need of all people. At SUNY Oswego—with one of the largest fresh water sources on the planet in our backyard—it can be easy to overlook its significance or even take it for granted. But we do not. Last fall, we embarked on a two-year, campus-wide Grand Challenges Project exploring the concept of Fresh Water for All.
Students and faculty from all disciplines and departments have joined forces to take on the multifaceted sustainability issue of fresh water. Grounded in shared goals, integrative skills and technologies, and a multidisciplinary approach to problem solving, the Grand Challenges Project reinforces the fact that today’s solutions need to include many stakeholders across a spectrum of informed scholarship, creative activity and opinion.
In this issue, you can learn more about some of the projects underway on campus that are helping us to develop deeper perspectives and find solutions to the far-reaching challenge of Fresh Water for All (page 16). You will also learn about a dedicated group of students who spent part of their winter break building and installing water filters in Puerto Rican communities devastated by two hurricanes in 2018 to ensure the residents have access to fresh water (page 22).
In fact, the entire issue pays tribute to water and the many ways it intersects our lives, from Brian Schultz ’09 who founded a clean-tech, water-based chemical manufacturing company (page 25), to watercolor artist Carol Zieres ’82 (page 31), to Steve ’84 and Cheryl Cope Surprenant ’86 who founded a nonprofit to install deep water wells in villages in India, Pakistan and Uganda (page 20), to fishing boat captain and guide Capt. Andy Bliss ’04 (page 30).
In this issue, we also bid farewell to the face of alumni relations at this college for 35 years, Betsy Oberst, who will retire from her role this summer. Under her leadership, the college was able to strengthen and grow our alumni relations, communications and stewardship programs. She has left her mark by founding such programs as the annual Welcoming Torchlight Ceremony, New York City Career Connections and my personal favorite event, the annual Scholars Brunch (page 46). But more significantly, she has added to this college community through her relationships with so many of our 86,000 alumni and her colleagues across campus. It is fitting that Betsy’s last issue as publisher of the Oswego Alumni Association’s magazine be focused on water, as her impact ripples onward, as a wave without end.
As the Oswego Alumni Association begins its next chapter under the direction of
our current Alumni Relations Director Laura Pavlus Kelly ’09, I invite you to reconnect and visit your lakeside campus with the knowledge that your alma mater is doing its part to help protect this cherished resource so future generations of Lakers can enjoy it, too.
Deborah F. Stanley