By Aleksandra Sidorova (writing) and Jacob Kent (reporting)
The first Chromebooks have begun to arrive at SUNY Plattsburgh’s branch campus at Queensbury, New York, as part of two county grants aimed to support students.
SUNY Plattsburgh at Queensbury is a branch campus 100 miles south of Plattsburgh, adjacent to SUNY Adirondack, a community college. It offers degrees in criminal justice, psychology and computer security with plans to add a human development and family relations program. According to Emma Bartscherer, director of SUNY Plattsburgh at Queensbury, the campus educates “approximately 300 students annually.”
Bartscherer worked with Assistant Director Michelle Howland and the Office of Sponsored Research to draft three grant proposals to Warren county, where SUNY Plattsburgh at Queensbury is located. The county received $12.6 million from the $2.2 billion allocated to New York state through President Joe Biden’s America Rescue Plan Act.
“Over the last six months, Warren County has reviewed dozens if not hundreds of worthy requests for funding,” Bartscherer said. “We are extremely grateful to the county for recognizing the positive impact of awarding not just one, but two grants to SUNY Plattsburgh at Queensbury.”
Two of these proposals have been granted — a total of $49,189. Warren County granted SUNY Plattsburgh at Queensbury $32,335 to award 100 students with Chromebooks and have 20 Chromebooks on loan, approved Oct. 7, 2022.
The county also approved $16,854 to equip SUNY Adirondack’s library with a reserve of textbooks required for Queensbury courses, approved Dec. 16, 2022.
The students eligible to receive a permanent Chromebook are Warren county residents who are also eligible for the Pell Grant assisting with tuition. The 20 Chromebooks on loan are available to students with a “short-term need to use a computer,” Bartscherer said.
“As a professor it’s very difficult to witness the extraordinary efforts and dedication of some students that are unable to afford a text or a computer, yet are giving 100% to their education and participation,” Adjunct Criminal Justice Lecturer Rachel Seeber-Conine wrote in an email to Bartscherer.
The textbooks on reserve have not yet been purchased, but will serve more than 35 courses offered at SUNY Plattsburgh at Queensbury, and amount to more than 100 copies, Bartscherer said. A similar service is already available at SUNY Plattsburgh’s main campus in Feinberg Library, where students can check out textbooks for two hours at a time.
In an email to Bartscherer, Jennifer Bremser, associate professor of psychology, wrote that graduating psychology students donated their textbooks for their juniors to use.
“We have a shelf dedicated to this in our office, but it’s typically first come, first serve,” Bremser wrote in an email to Bartscherer. “The work that went into this grant means we can accommodate all of our students and students can use their money on other necessities, such as gas, car repairs, the increasing cost of living, or even an investment in self-care like a gym membership or yoga class.”
The third grant — the largest requested but not yet granted — would allow the campus to hire a dedicated mental health counselor.