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Program Details


>> 1 p.m.: Keynote Speaker — Dr. Vincent T. Covello, Founder and Director, Center for Risk Communication

Communicating Effectively in High Concern or High Stress Situations: Best Practices

Dr. Vincent T. Covello, founder and director of the Center for Risk Communication, is a nationally and internationally recognized trainer, researcher, consultant and expert in crisis, conflict, change and risk communications.

Over the past 25 years, he has held numerous positions in academia and government, including associate professor of environmental sciences and clinical medicine at Columbia University. Prior to his joining the faculty at Columbia, Covello was a senior scientist at the White House Council on Environmental Quality in Washington, D.C.; a study director at the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences; and the director of the Risk Assessment Program at the National Science Foundation.

He received a B.A. with honors and M.A. from Cambridge University in England and his doctorate from Columbia University. He is on the editorial board of several journals and is the past president of the Society for Risk Analysis, a professional association with more than 2,500 members. Covello has authored or edited more than 25 books and 75 published articles on risk assessment, management and communication.

>> 2:15 p.m.: Concurrent Session 1

Empowering Students to Tell Your Institution’s Story

Meg Bernier, St. Lawrence University

As communications and marketing professionals,we seek creative ways to share student stories with prospective students, parents and alumni. These audiences crave authentic content in print, on websites and across social media platforms. St. Lawrence has revamped its approach to better tell these stories.

This presentation focuses on award-winning admissions publications, which include only student voices, and shows how St. Lawrence’s social content strategy mirrors that approach. We will also discuss the success of a completely student-run Instagram account, @herewegosaints. This account has not only bolstered recruitment efforts but also strengthened St. Lawrence’s relationship with students.

Alumni Relations Strategic Planning and Metrics: Playing Nice with Development, Communications & Marketing and Other Siblings

Brenda Dow, SUNY New Paltz

This session focuses on alumni engagement — one of eight essential initiatives created through SUNY New Paltz’s campus-wide strategic planning process. It reviews benchmarking and metrics, including those developed to dovetail with the goals development, communication and marketing and other offices. It also looks at decisions and deliverables from the first year of implementation, 2013–2014, including a new approach to the alumni association and alumni-volunteer leadership issues.

This session builds on Dow’s 2013 SUNYCUAD presentation; however, no knowledge of that session is needed. Anyone interested in reviewing SUNY New Paltz’s five-year alumni strategic plan can do so at

Creative Collaboration: How Ridiculous Ideas Lead to Incredible Projects

Sarah Cunningham, Sarah Richard and Jennifer Aguglia, SUNY Plattsburgh

You’ve been given an important project. Sitting alone at your desk, you can’t think of anything with that “wow” factor you know everyone is expecting. You waste hours on so-so ideas and wonder if you can pull it off. You realize you’re stuck.

Use creative collaboration to break through the block. Learn how to put your team’s talents to work. Yes, we’re talking about brainstorming, but not the time-wasting, aggravating and unproductive kind. We will show you the three main steps that lead to a successful brainstorming session — minimizing negativity, getting people to feel comfortable and herding ideas toward one amazing concept. All you need are your colleagues, a whiteboard and a sense of humor.

40 Years of Seeking Big Gifts: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Michael Luck, Maple Leaf Management Group

Big gifts are the bane of existence for all SUNY colleges and universities. Sometimes the “productivity models” for successful fundraising, which include strategic goals, research and measurement, do not produce optimal results. After more than four decades of experience (including some with the SUNY system), this presenter will provide pearls of wisdom. He will offer insights about the soul of major-gift fundraising, helping you to become a brilliant fundraiser.

Consultant Creep

Jessica Rood, New College of Florida

The hiring of private firms and consultants for projects like market research, branding work or design is on the rise at university and college campuses. Work with consultants can be extremely complex and requires a skilled project manager to juggle scheduling, relay feedback and generate buy-in.

The process can result in rewarding relationships and award-winning work — if it’s done right. It can also pose many challenges, like going beyond your budget or the scope of the project. This session will focus on how to write a call for proposals, get the right committee to assist you and manage the expectations of the campus and the vendor. It will also be a lesson in task management and being a good diplomat among stakeholders.

What’s Next for Local and Regional Media

Tim Farkas, Northern New York Newspapers; Ron Lombard, Time Warner Cable News; Ellen Rocco, station manager for North Country Public Radio

Moderated by Alexandra Jacobs Wilke, SUNY Potsdam

Across New York state, local and regional media are adapting to changing markets and new online environments. Large regional newspapers like the Syracuse Post-Standard are now publishing fewer and smaller print editions each week, migrating more reporting and resources solely to the Web, while some community papers still flourish in print. Affiliate TV stations with long-standing local news teams now compete with the relative newcomer, Time Warner Cable News, with its statewide 24-hour channel. Public radio is also changing the way it covers the news, with in-depth stories accompanied by blog posts and Web content.

For public relations, government relations and marketing professionals, it is important to see where the New York news environment is headed and to know how best to get the word out about SUNY, whether through media response, pitching a story or figuring out where best to spend advertising dollars.

>> 3:15 Break

>> 3:30 Concurrent Session 2

Courage Does Not Always Roar: Keeping Your Head High in the Worst of Times

Ray Agnew, Paul Smith’s College

The session is geared for major gift officers and those who aspire to be major gift officers. It includes practical tools, inspirational words and special takeaways as it looks at how we earn the right to ask for major gifts and what it takes to earn that right. It focuses on how to build better friendships for our organizations — the old-fashioned way — and through today’s best tools, including social media and micro-targeting.

It starts with being your own best friend and advocate, and recognizing that, as Mary Anne Radmacher says, “Courage doesn’t always roar; sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

Sunnier Days Ahead: Storytelling, Social Media Across Silos — CANCELED :(

Ron Bronson, Kentucky Community &Technical College System

Who “owns” our college’s social media presence? In the olden days — just a few short years ago — this was a simple question. These days? It’s a far more complex one. How do we craft a presence that’s consistent with our brand, while reaching diverse audiences — internally and externally — and ensure that the uniqueness of our institutions shines through?

We’ll take a look at the unique challenges faced by SUNY institutions using social media and how to navigate the barriers of silos to craft a social presence that advances institutional goals.

Benchmarking Your Community College Fundraising Efforts

Paul Heaton, CASE Center for Community College Advancement

Wondering how to benchmark your community college fundraising efforts? This session will provide an extensive analysis of the most recent data from the Voluntary Support of Education survey, as well as details from relevant CASE surveys — like the IRF Data Book — that included community colleges. Learn how to use data to inform and improve your fundraising, and find out the importance of participating in these benchmarking surveys.

This session will be of interest to anyone involved in fundraising at a community college, including development officers and foundation directors. The session will also include national survey data on foundation operations, including board composition and staffing.

Effective Moves Management: What It Is, and How Banner Can Help

Emily Hutchison and Beth Bellardini, SUNY Potsdam

Moves management is the process of managing and tracking prospects throughout the entire fundraising cycle — through identification and research, to cultivation and solicitation, to stewardship and then back to cultivation. Good moves management is the foundation for a strong fundraising program. But beyond a good action plan, moves management is really about building donor relationships for long-term engagement with your college. Learn how SUNY Potsdam has instituted a relatively simple moves management process that has helped increase efficiencies and better focus the fundraising team’s efforts.

This session will offer a theoretical overview of moves management and its importance to long-term fundraising success, as well as a practical overview of how the Banner Advancement Self Services and Moves Management module can be used to coordinate and monitor your donor engagement and stewardship efforts.

Establishing Your Student Base Will Allow You to Turn Foothills into High Peaks

Mike Paestella, SUNY Oswego

This session will challenge participants to change the paradigm on the way they engage current students, student organizations and student affairs staff in developing relationships for the long term. It will explore the benefits of developing relationships with student leaders and student affairs staff to foster affiliation to the campus, so that when current students become alumni, they will be more likely to support their alma mater.

The presenter will share how his involvement as an undergraduate student and as a student affairs staffer in three different states has led to insight on the importance of affinity development. By consciously collaborating and seeing each other as members of the same team, student affairs, development, alumni, public affairs and marketing staff can create a synergy that deepens connections as students move from officers in student organizations to community leaders long after they graduate.

How to be Awesome with Emerging Technologies

Robin Smail, Renegade Element

In higher ed, we’re no strangers to doing more with less. We have less manpower but higher expectations; fewer resources but more responsibilities. We need new ways to curate content, to shine while presenting information and to make things interesting for our users. But it doesn’t have to be mission impossible.

Let’s talk technology and how you can use it to win friends and influence people. Need to curate information in an interesting format? We’ve got apps for that. Want to collaborate with coworkers in a way that doesn’t share internal information to outsiders? We’ve got ways to do that, too.

How about growing your community? Way ahead of you. In this session, we’ll explore emerging technologies to embed in your sites, add to the conversation and add to your repertoire so you can look good and be awesome. Who can’t use an inside track to awesome?

>> 4:30 p.m. Late check-ins/prepare for outing

>> 6 p.m.: Outing to Olympics Center, sponsored by Liberty Mutual … with special guest! (shuttle buses starting around 5:30 p.m. from High Peaks lobby)


>> 9:30 a.m.: Concurrent Session 3

Throwing in the Kitchen Synch: Legal, Technical and Cost Considerations in Creating Dynamic Videos Using Synchronized Music

David Belsky and Joseph Storch, SUNY System Administration

This session will provide a how-to guide for SUNYCUAD professionals charged with creating dynamic video or still content that is synchronized with songs protected by copyright. The legal landmines involved can be tricky, and the litigation costs of violating copyright law are steep. Yet licensing music is not without cost — nor can it be accomplished overnight. In addition to copyright performance rights from ASCAP and BMI, synchronization rights are acquired separately, for the master and the composition, from the label and the publisher. This can be a daunting task the first time around.

This session will explain the law, provide examples where this process succeeded, discuss why it can fail, cover potential liabilities for creating such content without acquiring the rights, describe resources for obtaining information on individual songs and offer negotiation tips.

Annual Endowment Reports: Creating Personalized Reports Takes a Village

April Grant, Clarkson University

Endowment reporting — reflecting the fiscal status and endowment growth of the institution — is a critical piece of the stewardship puzzle. The key to a great report is to make it easy for donors to read and to provide examples of who and what donors are supporting, while still conveying important information about fiscal stability.

Staff at Clarkson University have found that it takes relationship building on and off campus to create a good report. Partnerships empower donor relations staff to create reports with substance that are easily understood.

Create, Collaborate and Celebrate — A Simple Formula for Major Program Success

Kerry Gotham and Darby Knox, The College at Brockport

Timing is everything, but you must plan accordingly. Learn how The College at Brockport advancement team mobilized the entire campus to rally around Homecoming, Reunion and the grand opening of their newest recreation facility to host one of the most successful major events in the college’s history. The buzz and excitement created by the project created resulted in hundreds of faculty, staff, alumni and students literally dancing on the ceiling. Curious to know more?

Learn how the creative use of social media (Facebook, YouTube) and the imaginative spirit of students and alumni, development, marketing, facilities, food services and student development collaborators led to a celebration of school spirit and a philanthropic success. Get inspired to kick your own programs up a notch. (You could be dancing too!) Hear specific examples of the college’s success and the routes it took to get there.

The Hottest Topic in Community College Advancement: Alumni Relations

Paul Heaton, CASE Center for Community College Advancement

Community college alumni and advancement professionals are on the cusp of something big — alumni engagement. Many of our institutions now see alumni as a viable constituent group to engage and cultivate as supporters. To foster this emerging field, CASE — the Council for Advancement and Support of Education — conducted a national survey of community college alumni relations programs. The survey covered staffing, budget, communication and engagement strategies, alumni boards and dues structures. Learn the results of this comprehensive survey and use it to inform your alumni relations activities.

This session will be of interest to anyone who works in community college alumni relations or fundraising, as well as college leaders interested in alumni relations.

Is Your Board Bored or Are You Floored? Either Way There’s Work to Do!

Michael Luck, Maple Leaf Management Group

A reasonable, thoughtful, proactive and progressive board is hard to find. But, if you don’t have one, you have no one to blame but yourself. Good boards are not an accident. They are intentionally created and nurtured. With persistence, engagement and love, boards can become transcendent. This presentation will deal with 12 clever steps you can initiate to create a better board immediately.

Socially Speaking: Prepping for the Onslaught

Michelle Ouellette, Steven Krolak and Colleen Lemza, SUNY Plattsburgh

A scandal. A protest. A fire. A death. When crisis comes, you’ve got a basic idea of how to handle most things — the press releases, the talking points and so forth. But do you have a plan for social media?

This idea-sharing session will look at various ways you can help your department — and your school — maneuver through social media chaos.

>>10: 45 a.m.: Concurrent Session 4

Creating High-end Video with a Low-end Budget

Brian Busher and Bill Pyke, University at Albany

Today, engaging and effective video is an expected experience for nearly every brand in every category. Now, more than ever, audiences are accustomed to seeing well-executed, creative and professional-quality video. Thankfully, the tools to deliver that “Hollywood look” are affordable and accessible to everyone. That iPhone in your pocket is a live satellite truck. Love those cinematic dolly shots? We’ve got a low cost solution you can slide right into. Whether you’re a large department or a “oneman-band,” this hands-on workshop will show you the tools and techniques to create high-end video that offers the mark of quality without crushing your budget.

Engaging Your Campus Community for Fundraising Success

Emily Hutchison and Sherry Paradis, SUNY Potsdam

The campus community is an important fundraising partner for any advancement department and college foundation. Learn how advancement at SUNY Potsdam has intentionally engaged campus leadership and faculty and staff as active partners in both our campaign and on-going fundraising efforts. Through regular advancement/dean liaison meetings, parallel advancement/foundation/campus priority planning, joint development/faculty donor visits, collaborative work with the college’s scholarship program, regular emails to campus account holders regarding gifts and endowment funds and joint stewardship activities, the campus community truly plays an important role in the college’s fundraising success.

This session will offer both a theoretical overview of the value of aligning advancement, foundation and campus priorities and fundraising activities, as well as practical tools that can be easily instituted on any campus to promote better donor engagement and stewardship.

Restructuring Your Alumni Leadership Board & Regional Chapter Development

Teresa Planty, Clarkson University

This breakout session will be broken into two parts:

(1) “Restructuring Your Alumni Leadership Board”: This portion will discuss how to steer your alumni leadership board through a process to determine what functions and activities are most important (and best aligned) with both the university and the alumni board’s goals and mission. We will take a closer look at how an advisory committee-based organization transitioned to a project-based, partnership model.

(2) “Regional Chapter Development: One Size Does NOT Fit All”: This portion will discuss how to organize and manage your regional chapters. There will be a strong emphasis on young alumni engagement. Best practices on how to measure success will also be highlighted.

Social Media/Cross-Media Development and Communication for Young Alumni

John Sheedy and Peter Winters, MSP Digital Marketing

Alumni behavior and the world of communications have permanently changed. Nowhere is it more pronounced than with young alumni — graduates of the past 15 years. While opportunity exists, organizations must develop and deploy new strategies and tactics to be effective in this arena. Old methods that worked in an analog-media environment no longer apply to this generation.

Are UXperienced?

Robin Smail, Renegade Element

Let’s be honest: User experience — UX — has become this year’s new black. What is it? How do I get it? Is UX the same thing as UI? How do I know if I have it? This session will address usability, information architecture and user experience design. We’ll discuss just how important UX and UI are, how to recognize UX, how to test your site to see if you have it and how you can make it better.

We’ll explore examples of the good, the bad and the ugly in user experience, in addition to identifying tools you can incorporate into your Web toolkit that will help make UXperienced.

Start-Up NY: What’s It Worth to Your College?

Keith Tyo, SUNY Plattsburgh; John Wicke, SUNY Potsdam

Start-UP NY is a groundbreaking new initiative from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo that will provide major incentives for businesses to relocate, start up or significantly expand in New York state through affiliations with public and private universities, colleges and community colleges. Businesses will have the opportunity to operate state and local tax-free on or near academic campuses, and their employees will pay no state or local personal income taxes. Businesses may also qualify for additional incentives.

Start-UP NY coordinators at SUNY campuses are either finalizing or implementing their campus plans. Part of their responsibility is to develop leads with new and expanding businesses that will locate the designated tax-free zones and have an academic link to your college.

Here’s your opportunity to learn the nuts and bolts of the START-UP NY program and how it can impact the student experience, provide faculty opportunities and knowledge sharing and help you engage alumni, students, donors and business partners.

Noon: Lunch and SUNYCUAD Awards for Excellence

1:30 p.m.: Concurrent Session 5

Spinning GOLD from Straw: A One-Year Success Story in Building a Recent Alumni Program

Kerry Gotham and Bill Sachman, The College at Brockport

In the fall of 2012, the alumni and development team at The College at Brockport launched a formal GOLD program. In less than one year, the program raised more than $50,000, secured 10 leadership level donors, increased the GOLD participation rate by 12 percent, increased total GOLD giving by 13 percent and built an active committee of 20 volunteers.

Learn how a truly collaborative effort between alumni and development departments, an effectiveuse of social media and a cohort of imaginative volunteers can make creating a recent alumni program a reality — or help you revitalize and rejuvenate an existing program.

Sponsored Programs and Government Relations: A Marriage Made in Funding Heaven

Dawn Grzan, Farmingdale State College

How can you be more creative in acquiring funding from state and federal legislators and government agencies? Government relations offices can maximize their partnerships with the campus Sponsored Programs Office and the Research Foundation for SUNY Collaborative Proposal Development Innovation and Partnerships to highlight faculty research interests and connections in the industry. Government representatives can influence how government agencies such as the Department of Education, Department of Defense ,National Science Foundation and many others distribute awards that help create new funding streams to replace cuts to the state budget. Understanding the priorities and special focus of local representatives and matching them with federal agency programs and specific faculty expertise delivers a win-win for the campus and the legislator or agency.

Why Are We Still Writing Press Releases?

Greg Kie, SUNY Canton

Press releases have long been a staple of higher education communications. As higher-education writers, we are typically writing to entice media to an event or draw attention to a potential news story on our respective campuses. But newspapers are becoming increasingly less receptive to our efforts for a variety of reasons. Press release distribution services have indicated that news must be hyper-local to prevail in respective markets and have turned greater emphasis toward social media. As writers, we’ve been told to constantly ask, “Who is our audience?” In the changing face of news media, are we reaching our intended readers? This session will explore the changing media landscape and the evolution of the press release from written-for-print to content-rich interactive media with insight from news agencies and writers covering higher education.

The Best Use of Web and Social Media to Enhance a SUNY Campus’ Brand Identity

Taras Kufel and Maxwell Morgan, SUNY System Administration

This session will provide strategies and tips for SUNYCUAD professionals charged with maintaining or creating a campus Web presence, including social media networks. The emergence of new technologies and Web platforms can be challenging for traditional organizations. The goal of any campus Web property is to maximize the perceived value of the campus brand to prospective students while concurrently engaging current students and alumni. By understanding the flow and function of Web 2.0 and a unique perspective that the SUNY System Administration team applies — based on data — SUNY campuses can capitalize on the opportunity to achieve this goal.

Attendees can expect to learn about best practices for optimizing social media (mainly Twitter, Facebook and Instagram), building goals for Web traffic, and to gain a better understanding of the campus role in SUNY messaging.

What Every Development Officer Should Know About Planned Giving

Jason Ladouceur, SUNY Potsdam; Ellen Blaisdell, SUNY Oneonta; Curtis Hill, The College at Brockport

The words “planned giving” can be intimidating for a prospective donor and even the solicitor. This session will make planned giving accessible to any fundraising professional. It will identify basic planned-giving concepts and gift vehicles. It will give you confidence when speaking with a prospective planned-giving donor by providing real-life examples of planned-gift conversations, tips on how to introduce planned-giving concepts to donors and multiple ways to ask for planned gifts.

It will cover the art of making an ask without asking, what to listen for when speaking with a prospective donor and how to use what is said by prospective donors to strengthen their relationship with your institution and, ultimately, their willingness to include your school in their estate plans. The session also will connect you with online resources and professional colleagues willing to help develop your planned-giving knowledge and comfort level. It will allow you to ask questions of our planned-giving professionals both during and after the session.

Expect To Win: Plan, Prepare, Produce

Jerry Smith, J.F. Smith Group

To be successful in a capital campaign you have to expect to win. But it takes more than a positive attitude. Each of the three “P’s” makes up an important piece of the fundraising puzzle: You must plan, prepare and, ultimately, produce.

Plan: Learn about the structure that needs to be in place before beginning a campaign and the importance of clarifying your mission and projects as well as maintaining a clean database.

Prepare: Hear about the importance of a feasibility study, the five “I’s” in donor cultivation and the things you need to be accomplishing to acquire an ask amount.

Produce: Discover a proven five step approach to solicitations and the importance of follow-up. Then, listen to the comments of some great givers about why they give.

>> 2:30 p.m. Break

>> 2:45 p.m. SUNY System Roundtables

>> 3:45 p.m. Explore Lake Placid

>> 6 p.m. Reception

>> 7 p.m. Dinner

>> 8 p.m.: Keynote Speaker — Tristan Jeskanen, USA Junior Luge team, Clinton Community College student


>> 8:30 a.m.: Breakfast (with prize drawings)

>> 9:30 a.m.: Keynote Speaker — Nancie Battaglia, Olympic and Adirondack Photographer

Citius, Altius, Fortius: Faster, Higher, Stronger (the Olympic Motto)

All of us in advancement are called upon to follow the Olympic motto: to reach “Faster, Higher, Stronger” to achieve greatness for our institution. Adirondack and Olympic Photographer Nancie Battaglia will share her award-winning work and discuss how to work with photographers to create gold-medal images showing your institution in the best light.

Battaglia lives in Lake Placid, N.Y., and has been documenting Adirondack lifestyle, scenes, themes and sporting activities for more than 25 years. She has been to 11 Olympics, the most recent being the Sochi Winter Games. Her stock and assignment photography has seen credit in editorial publications like Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, Ski, Newsweek, Boys Life, Outside, Adirondack Life, the New York Times and a variety of specialty magazines. Her work has also appeared in books and promotional material for I Love NY, the Adirondack region, many classic Adirondack establishments, businesses and schools. Her photo collection exceeds 200,000 images reflecting nature’s beauty, human energy, rustic charm and life in the mountains.

As an active outdoor person, Battaglia is twice an ADK 46er. She is also a Saranac Lake 6er both summer and winter. She has adopted a lean-to and is a loon counter. With cameras in her pack, she can be found paddling, hiking, skiing, adventuring and documenting the scenes around her.

>> 10:30 a.m. Advance planning for Rochester conference

>> 11:30 a.m. Conference adjours