By Aidan Briggs
BROCKPORT, NY- Residents of Brockport know all the things the village has to offer. The variety of shops, small town charm and diversity of the people are all things residents know well. While locals know the benefits of the village and its uniqueness, others living outside the region may not. One of those benefits is the campus of SUNY Brockport.
There are almost 7,000 students who attend SUNY Brockport and many more staff members and professors that increase the total number of people that spend their day on the campus. As one of the 64 campuses in the SUNY system, Brockport is unique with over 120 student groups and clubs. Clubs are as varied as the students themselves. Brockport offers everything from media clubs to E-sports to the Humans versus Zombies club.
Sophomore Ryan McCrory is from a small town outside of New York City and chose Brockport because of its uniqueness. High school students who live in the Rochester area can easily gain information about the college and learn about why it could be a potential option but for people like McCrory, the admissions office has a tough job to do; sell the uniqueness of Brockport.
“Honestly I love the SERC and everything else that the campus has to offer. All the clubs and work opportunities on campus have helped me really enjoy my time here,” said McCrory.
Associate Director of Admissions Megan Sarkis leads the office in this task. Sarkis previously worked in the admissions office at the University at Buffalo. Her 24 years of experience in admissions has helped her develop a strong recruitment process at Brockport.
“We each have a recruitment territory that we’re in charge of so we get to know the schools and students that apply to our school in our territory,” said Sarkis.
There are ten people who work in the admissions office that are given designated regions throughout the state. They are tasked with visiting schools in the area and making connections with students. This method helps the admissions office develop a very positive and personal connection with potential incoming students, something that Sarkis is very focused on within her recruitment methods.
“I send handwritten cards when it’s their birthday, if I meet with them at their high school, I send a card saying it was great to meet you,” said Sarkis. “I think there is a myth that all state schools are large and impersonal…I want to make sure students feel supported and they’re not a number here.”
Supporting students is very important for Sarkis and the admissions office as well as the great location of Brockport’s campus. Located along the Erie Canal and a short walk away from the village and Main St. gives the campus a small town feel while also being just 15-20 minute drive away from Rochester which makes it easy for students to attend events, do internships and get jobs.
“I always say that we’re the perfect size…we try to get the students on campus because I think it sells itself,” said Sarkis.
Sophomore Chiara Terranova is from Churchville. She received the Fannie Barrier Williams scholarship which is a four year one, providing students from low-income families with high-performing academics financial help. The scholarship is unique to Brockport and is just one example of the many that are part of the college’s robust amount. This drew Terranova to visit the campus and just like Sarkis suggested, it sold itself.
“When I toured for the first time, I liked how the campus wasn’t huge and I didn’t feel like I was going to get lost going to class,” said Terranova.
The campus environment works. It’s not a small campus but it’s comfortable. The ability for staff to create personal relationships with their students is important and allows everyone to enjoy their time at Brockport. Sarkis and her office put a huge emphasis on the ability to create these relationships with students not only to draw them to Brockport but once they’re on campus. The focus was a massive success for admissions this past year and Sarkis is confident they’ll be able to get the job done again.
“From our standpoint it was just really exciting seeing all our hard work come to fruition,” said Sarkis. “Students were coming to our events and committing to Brockport and we’re just really excited here in this office to do it again this year.”
Throughout the year, Sarkis and her team work on viewing applications and approving decisions to allow new students to come to Brockport. The real work though is attracting new students every year. For Sarkis and her team, it’s personal.