SUNY Oswego Quest program features variety of topics including health & wellness

SUNY Oswego’s annual Quest program took off early Wednesday morning, featuring events and presentations from a variety of speakers throughout campus.

The program started with an opening event for faculty at the Penfield Library at 8 a.m. on Wednesday. Events began opening up at 9 a.m. and will continue throughout the day.

This year, various programs are featuring different topics, mainly consisting of health, art, and the economy.

A presentation was hosted by the EXCEL Office for students who need assistance with academics and social support. The office hires student mentors to assist other students through the Focus Forward program.

In the presentation from Focus Forward titled “A Service Learning Experience You Can Earn Credit For,” student and team leader for the program, Jenna Shaulys spoke about a common difference between mentors and those being mentored.

“We’re kind of that middle ground where even though we are older than them,” said Shaulys. “They are able to talk to us when we provide them with these skills they need to do good in the community.”

In another session hosted by the university’s Health & Wellness division, presenters spoke about the PERMA theory, and how it could be used by students to improve their well being.

The PERMA model was described as having elements of positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, achievement and vitality.

“Everyday you wake up you have the opportunity to give yourself happiness,” said Amy Bidwell, an associate professor within the university’s Department of Health Promotion and Wellness.

The presentation also featured the topic of multitasking, which was cited as having become a common issue among college students.

The Department of Anthropology also hosted a presentation about women in public spaces. Presenter Emily Waldruff, who is an anthropology major and a first-semester senior, spoke more about various topics, including safety precautions and gendered spaces.

“I am a woman who has been socialized as a woman for 22 years and so I think it’s ingrained in a lot of what I do, is assessing risk,” Waldruff said.

The presenter also mentioned how the separation of the university’s campus into different sections can create difficulty for outside travel in the nighttime.

“I think what I didn’t notice as much was how much of an island each section of campus is and how much processing it takes to get across campus after dark,” Waldruff said. 

Waldruff walks towards buildings with lights, and goes with a friend for comfort.

“So, for example, after a sports game, yes you can walk down the hill back to Lakeside but often my friend and I would choose to walk from Marano, through Shineman, and through Park because that’s the most light and that’s the most indoor space.”

Waldruff cited street lamps, paved walkways and clear sight lines as factors that increase safety for students. Through research, she discovered that the lakeside area of campus does not feel safe for many women to walk after dark.

The university’s Economics Department also presented at Quest at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Presenter Adam Reiter expanded massively on the area of minimum wage and employment, and used case studies and statistics for research.

“I was looking through the Bureau of Labor statistics and I didn’t really find any occupation that was paying the $7.25,” Reiter said.

Despite this, there are a few states including Oklahoma that continue to use the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

The speaker made points that compare the amount of employment in some industries, and how it may be more difficult to find people in industries like engineering due to the amount of training that people may need.

“Engineers require a lot of training and specialization,” Reiter said. “You can’t just pull someone off the street to do that role.”

Reiter also discussed the way in which an increase in minimum wage may have a market specific impact, indicating that only industries that require more training would be impacted.

“For specialized fields, where it’s harder to find people, they may see an increase in their wage but for lower skilled people, where it’s easier to get rid of people, I don’t see a huge change in wages,” Reiter said.

The Economics Department also hosted another presentation about inflation, development in the labor market and monetary policy.

Samuel Meltser provided more information about preparation for economic disruption.

“Forecasting the economy as of now is extremely difficult since we’re in a foggy time when it can go either way,” Meltser said.

Meltser focused on workers and compared and contrasted between employers and farmers.

“All jobs were included and separated into traditional jobs and farming jobs,” Meltser said. “Not sure exactly why but that is what I was finding that farm jobs won’t be affected as much by a recession or high inflation because there is just such a high demand for roles.”

Student presentations composed the majority of the presentations for Wednesday’s morning events; however, later in the afternoon there will also be events including a performance from the university’s Department of Art and Design.

From 3 to 6 p.m., the main events will consist of more students’ presentations, art shows, and a planetarium show.

— Students from JLM 319 contributed to this story.