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Student Services

Mental Health During COVID:Dear Students,Your wellbeing is of primary importance to us. We recognize that the pandemic, particularly during the holiday season, presents unique challenges to our students’ mental health.

As support, I would like to highlight some of the services offered by the College and the SUNY System. Please do not hesitate to access these resources. It is important to reach out for help when you need it. All inquiries will remain confidential.

ReachOut/Project Hope: Staffed by trained volunteers, ReachOut provides support to New Yorkers impacted by COVID-19, 8 AM to 10 PM, seven days a week. The service is free, confidential, and anonymous. The hotline number is 1-844-863-9314.

Crisis Text Line: Staffed 24/7/365 by trained volunteers skilled in active listening, Crisis Text Line helps individuals in distress move from a hot moment to a cool calm. There is a New York-specific keyword for Crisis Text Line: SUNY participants can text “Got5U” to 741-741.

Mental Health Counseling: The College continues to offer five free counseling sessions through our psychologist on retainer. You can access this service by emailing the doctor directly through the SUNY Opt SafeinSight app or the link under the Mental Health Counseling tab.

Food Pantry: The Food Pantry at Guttman Community College will continue to be available to students. The Food pantry can be accessed Monday through Friday from 10am-3pm by appointment only. SUNY Optometry students can call in advance to set-up an appointment for pick-up of non-perishable food items (perishable items are not available at this time).

T-Chats: The College offers sessions on various topics, including mental health and stress management, throughout the semester.

Suicide Prevention: For more resources on suicide prevention, visit the Suicide Prevention tab at the bottom of this page.

ThrivingCampus: ThrivingCampus is an online directory that allows SUNY Optometry students to access a list of off-campus, licensed mental health clinicians, many of whom specialize in working with students. The website includes various guides and resources that assist students through the process of securing off-campus outpatient care. You can search providers by area of practice (e.g., academic stress, addiction, etc.), therapeutic approach, race, gender, health insurance, and much more. To visit ThrivingCampus and connect to an off-campus, outpatient provider, click here.

I would also like to draw your attention to a free online suicide prevention training available to all SUNY Optometry community members. For more information, visit qprinstitute.com.

In addition to the services outlined here, please connect with me at any time via email or by text at (808) 366-8102.

Wishing you a happy holiday season!

Gui Albieri, PhD
VP Student Affairs, CDO

COVID-19 Announcement: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Food Pantry is now open on Monday through Friday from 10am-3pm by appointment only. SUNY Optometry students can call 646-313-8101, in advance, to set-up an appointment for pick-up of non-perishable food items (perishable items are not available at this time). Students must bring their SUNY Opt ID for verification.

Student Handbook

Title IX

Admissions
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The Office of Admissions coordinates the College’s recruitment and admissions to the academic programs. All documents submitted for purposes of consideration for admission or questions related to admission should be directed to this office.

Orientation
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The orientation program is an annual event designed to familiarize the student with the academic demands of the curriculum, college policies and student life. It also provides a forum to introduce key alumni and optometric organizations who offer important perspectives about the profession and the College. Orientation is planned by a student/staff committee that selects and coordinates various activities that include lectures, tours and social events.

Records and Registration
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The Office of the Registrar coordinates the scheduling of courses and maintains all official student records, which include transcripts, health forms, etc. Any changes to student information should be directed to this office. Additional functions include the preparation and dissemination of the academic calendar, the student health forms and national and state board information.

Financial Aid
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The Financial Aid Office administers all federal, state and institutional programs available to assist students in financing their education. Counseling is available to assist students in their financial planning, including budgets, loan alternatives and other financial options.

SUNY Smart Track Financial Literacy Website
Financial Literacy training and tools brought to you by SUNY and the University at Albany

 

SUNY Smart Track, Empowered Financial Planning. Smart money management is key to a bright financial future. From banking and budgeting to identifying theft and student loans, learn what you need to know. Take 30 seconds to click the SUNY Smart Track button and create an account. Use the entire program or pick and choose!
SUNY Smart Track is an online learning environment that empowers students for a lifetime of financial success. The interactive financial aid literacy tools can assist students to achieve smart money management skills. Courses and modules cover topics that include budgeting, credit cards, identify theft, paying for college, banking, debt, working in college, and savings.
Student Housing
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A Student Housing Committee assists each student with his/her housing arrangements. Students set their priorities regarding cost, space, distance and area, and the Housing Committee assists the student in locating and securing suitable housing to meet his/her specific needs. The Housing Committee operates under the direction of the Financial Aid Office and is functioning between April and September.

Student Health
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All students are required to maintain adequate health insurance coverage. Students are encouraged to have an optometric examination upon entering the College. Optometric examinations are offered by appointment in the University Eye Center.

The College requires each student matriculating into a degree program to complete and submit to the Office of Student Affairs a health form which contains general health information and a complete immunization record.

The Office of Student Affairs offers counseling to students about health programs and can make referrals to health practitioners and clinics when specific services are required

mental-health
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The Office of Student Affairs seeks to build a vibrant college community that is healthy and supportive in all aspects of life. We care deeply about our students’ well-being and strive to offer the services needed to be successful.

We recognize that at times your academic and clinical training can be stressful. We also understand that extenuating life circumstances can add to the levels of stress experienced by our students.

Mental health issues, including stress, anxiety, and depression, often impact students’ ability to perform at their best, and have adverse effects on well-being in general, as well as negatively affect memory and learning. The College strives to foster well-rounded, compassionate health care providers who flourish in all aspects of life.

There are two general rules of thumb when dealing with distress:

Don’t be afraid to ask for help;
Ask for help as soon as you feel the symptoms of distress.
Common symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, and other common mental health illnesses, can be found here:

Symptoms

You can take simple yet important steps towards improving your mental well-being. Often times, just talking with someone about issues that may be causing distress offers major relief.

Proven methods that you can implement to increase positive mental well-being include mindfulness and managing cognitive distortions. For more information on these methods, visit Cognitive Distortions (PDF)

Some students, however, may need more structured assistance.

We offer a host of services to help students who may be experiencing some kind of distress in their lives.

The Office of Student Affairs 11th Floor Safe Zone
The office of Student Affairs offers a supportive, friendly safe zone with strict privacy. Regarding any issues you may be experiencing–school-related or not–you can make appointments to speak with:
Gui Albieri: galbieri@sunyopt.edu
Jackie Martinez: jmartinez@sunyopt.edu
Christian Alberto: calberto@sunyopt.edu
**Walk-ins are also welcome!

Mental Health Counseling
Talking with a counselor or therapist has shown to alleviate stress symptoms and is an effective way to help you reach solutions for problems that may be causing stress.

Counselors offer individual and group counseling for a range of concerns, such as: stress, anxiety, depression, difficulty adjusting, eating concerns, relationship issues, grief, etc… All health information discussed is confidential.

To schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Nirav Soni, Licensed Psychologist, at niravsoniphd@gmail.com

Gouverneur Healthcare Services: major health insurances accepted, including Medicaid. Students without health insurance can get treatment and will be charged according to a sliding scale. Contact the Office of Student Affairs for more info.

TeaChats
The College offers workshops throughout the year called Tea Chats on topics such as stress management, sleep hygiene, and test anxiety. We strongly encourage all students to attend these workshops.

Interfaith Prayer and meditation room
The College’s interfaith prayer and meditation room (Rm #1220) is meant to serve and accommodate students of all beliefs and to support the holistic wellness of the College community. This room is accessible to the community Monday through Friday throughout the day. If the room is locked please see Ms. Ayana Wint in the President’s suite for access.

Suicide Prevention
Students having suicidal thoughts are encouraged to seek immediate help by calling a suicide crisis helpline:

We also recommend you read Are You Feeling Suicidal?

How to help those with suicidal thoughts
The behaviors listed below may be signs that someone is thinking about suicide.
  • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
  • Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live
  • Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun
  • Talking about great guilt or shame
  • Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions
  • Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Using alcohol or drugs more often
  • Acting anxious or agitated
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Changing eating and/or sleeping habits
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast
  • Talking or thinking about death often
  • Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy
  • Giving away important possessions
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family
  • Putting affairs in order, making a will

If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently.

ThrivingCampussunyopt.thrivingcampus.com
ThrivingCampus is an online directory that allows SUNY Optometry students to access a list of off-campus, licensed mental health clinicians, many of whom specialize in working with students. The website includes various guides and resources that assist students through the process of securing off-campus outpatient care. You can search providers by area of practice (e.g., academic stress, addiction, etc.), therapeutic approach, race, gender, health insurance, and much more.

To visit ThrivingCampus and connect to an off-campus, outpatient provider, click here.

To visit ThrivingCampus’ Help Guide, click here. 

(Mental health services offered by ThrivingCampus are not free. You can use the search engine to find providers who accept your insurance. The ThrivingCampus Help Guide offers great tips on how to better understand your insurance’s mental health benefits )

Project LETS
Project LETS (Lets Erase the Stigma) at SUNY College of Optometry is a chapter of a national grassroots peer-led mental health and disability justice advocacy organization. Our goal is to end stigma and ableism, build community, form radical peer support collectives, provide intersectional education, and develop advocacy. We are led by and center the voices of students with lived experience of mental illness, madness, Disability, trauma, neurodivergence, and other marginalized identities. Students, faculty, and staff with lived experience are able to apply to become Peer Mental Health Advocates (PMHAs). PMHAs undergo 16-hour training and work by providing peer counseling, disability advocacy services, and rapid crisis support that is independent from the college and fully confidential.

If you are interested in either becoming involved with our chapter or would like to be assigned a Peer Mental Health Advocate to support you, please email us at sunyopt.lets@gmail.com

For further information and our list of resources visit here: https://linktr.ee/sunyopt_wellness

Counseling
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The staff in the Office of Student Affairs is available to all students for personal, academic and financial counseling. Referrals can also be made to professionally trained counselors and therapists.

Tutoring
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The Office of Student Affairs administers a peer program to assist students in their academic studies through individual and group tutorials. Students are urged to seek tutoring as soon as the need arises or if recommended by faculty.

Minority Recruitment and Retention Program
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A continuing objective of the College is the identification, recruitment, admission and retention of qualified students from underrepresented groups in the field of optometry. As in other health professions, African-Americans, Hispanic and Native Americans are significantly underrepresented in optometry. The College has developed and adopted a minority assistance plan for the purpose of providing the necessary support and services to assist minority students in meeting program demands.

Foreign Students
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All services including advising and processing of required documents are handled by the Office of Student Affairs. All foreign students are required to enroll in a mandatory health insurance plan made available to all foreign students and their families through the State University of New York.

College Work Study
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The primary purpose of the College Work Study Program (CWS) is to promote the part-time employment of students. The program is designed for those students who have great financial need and is intended to relieve the student from incurring an unduly heavy burden of indebtedness.

Students must be in good academic standing and have verified need. It is recommended that first year students refrain from working during the first quarter of enrollment in order to provide for a period of adjustment. All CWS positions will be subject to the approval of the Dean or Vice President supervising the various areas. The Academic Dean will approve all academic related CWS positions.

Each CWS position must have a job description on file that states the purpose, duties and responsibilities entailed. This serves to provide the student with information and sets bounds of time needed for the job. Interviews are arranged through the Financial Aid Office to assure mutual satisfaction.

Interfaith Prayer and Meditation Room
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The College’s interfaith prayer and meditation room is meant to serve and accommodate students of all beliefs and to support the holistic wellness of the College community. This room is accessible to the community Monday through Friday throughout the day.

Request an ID Card
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To request an ID Card. Please fill out this form here.

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TEMPORARY HOUSING OPTIONS

Information on subletting
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How Subletting Works in NYC

You may choose to sublet an apartment from a tenant who temporarily leaves the city plans to return to the same apartment after a period of time. Instead of moving out of the apartment, this person may choose to sublet it to another person. This means that someone else (a ‘subtenant’) can live in this apartment and use the furniture and kitchenware until the original tenant returns. You can also sublet an unfurnished apartment.

Subletting is very common in New York City, but you should be cautious if you decide to sublet. A subtenant’s rights are not as clear as those of a primary tenant. You should be sure that you are dealing with a reliable person and that you, too, are reliable. A reliable tenant follows legal procedures when subletting an apartment to you.

To sublet an apartment to you, the tenant must first obtain permission from the landlord. In general, a landlord is obligated to give permission unless he can prove that you would be a ‘bad’ subtenant. For example, the landlord may require information about you and your ability to pay the rent. Generally, you will pay the rent to the tenant, who will then forward the rent to the landlord.

Another item a landlord may request from the tenant is a copy of the sublease. The sublease is a written contract that states: 1. the condition of the apartment and its furnishings, 2. the duration of the sublet, and 3. your responsibilities as a subtenant. Be sure to keep a copy of the sublease for your records. The primary tenant should remove all valuable items from the apartment before you move in. If it is a short-term sublet, the tenant should make specific arrangements with you about mail delivery and telephone messages. The conditions of the tenant’s lease cannot be changed while he is away without his consent.

If you are subletting a furnished apartment, the primary tenant is allowed to charge you more than 10% above the legal rent (this can be verified by looking at the primary lease). You will probably have to pay a security deposit of 50% to 100% of one month’s rent. This amount may vary depending on the duration of the sublet and the furnishings provided, as well as the condition of the apartment. The money should be deposited into a savings account at the bank and returned to you when you vacate the apartment IF the tenant’s home and furnishings have been left in good condition.

Information on how to use Airbnb and Craigslist
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How to Navigate Airbnb

  • Start with a specific, narrow search
    • Go to www.airbnb.com
      • Search for listings in New York, NY
      • Select date of stay and number of guests
    • Click ‘Search’ to view available listings
    • Select room type (‘Entire home/apt’ or ‘Private room’ recommended)
    • Use sliders to select price range
    • Click ‘More Filters’
      • Select the number of beds required (otherwise, you may be sleeping on a couch for your stay)
      • Select the ‘Superhost’ option for verified hosts
  • Look for verified listings
    • Verified listings can be photos or hosts determined legitimate by AirBnb
    • Consider ratings and read reviews posted from past tenants
  • Message the host before booking
    • Introduce yourself and explain your reason for travel to NYC
    • Their response will give you a sense of who they are and how they will be as a host during your stay
  • Consider properties with more house rules, not less
    • Properties with more rules tend to be higher quality and more comfortable
    • These listings may be slightly more expensive, but you may have a more enjoyable stay
  • Check for reduced extended stay rates, which may not be apparent from the initial listing
    • Be sure to click on listings that interest you, as the price may drop when you look at the listing in more detail
    • Consider messaging the host to discuss the price and see if there are any discounts available
  • Read ALL the details on a listing before booking it!!!
    • Make sure that everything you need for a comfortable stay is included
    • Do NOT assume that things not explicitly listed in amenities will be available to you, no matter how basic the amenity
    • If you have ANY questions or concerns, email your host and clear them up BEFORE booking
  • Listen to your gut and avoid listings if they
    • Do not have pictures and/or reviews
    • Are significantly underpriced
    • Are new listings – this is not the time to take a chance

How to Navigate Craigslist

  • Start with a specific narrow search
    • Go to newyork.craigslist.org/search/sub
    • Check off the option to display posts with images by clicking ‘has image’
    • Enter in price range with minimum and maximum – including a minimum range will help sort out fraudulent posts
    • Select the number of desired bedrooms
    • Consider further limiting the number of posts by localizing the search to just Manhattan, Queens, or Brooklyn
      • Find the drop down lists at the top of the page where it says ‘CL new york > all new york > housing > sublets & temporary’
      • Select ‘all new york’ and choose a more specific location in the drop down menu
    • Consider viewing the listings on a map rather than in a list to more easily determine the apartment’s location and proximity to SUNY and public transit
      • Under the ‘search sublets & temporary housing’ box, find the gray box that says ‘thumb’ and click it
      • Select ‘map’
  • The golden rule for Craisglist: ‘If it’s too good to be true, it probably is’. Apartments or subleases that are extremely cheap or offer luxurious amenities for an average price are almost alwaysfraudulent
  • MESSAGE YOUR SUBLETTER EXTENSIVELY! Confirm that the sublease has been approved by the landlord, and confirm that the landlord is actually the landlord
  • Use Google search to research everything and everyone you work with when looking at an apartment – this includes and is not limited to the real estate agent and or/broker, the landlord and/or management company, the property itself, and the listing itself
  • BE EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS if renting an apartment without seeing it first – see if the current tenant will Facetime or Skype you to give you a tour if you cannot see the property in person first OR see if a friend can view the apartment for you
  • NEVER pay with cash
  • NEVER wire funds through any wire service including Western Union or MoneyGram
  • Nothing on Craigslist offers ‘buyer protection’ or ‘seller certification’ so posts including these phrases are to be avoided
  • NEVER give out your financial information
  • TRUST YOUR GUT – do not follow through with a sublease unless you are 100% confident in its validity

(Sources: StreetEasy.com: ‘How to Avoid Being a Victim of a Rental Scam in NYC’ from March 30th, 2015 and The Denver Post: ‘Simple Craigslist Precautions Ensure a Fun – and Safe – Website Exchange’ Lifestyle from May 11th, 2012)

Temporary Housing Resources
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EHS
https://www.studenthousing.org/
Summer prices start at $3450 for about 10 weeks – prices vary by location and the number of bedrooms. Tenants must be students currently taking classes or taking classes the following semester and currently enrolled in an experiential program. International students accepted. Offers housing by semester (fall, spring, summer). Housing for shorter periods or one month may be available as well as group reservations with special inquiry.

NYU Summer Housing
https://www.nyu.edu/summer/housing
Max rent ~$1600 for 4 weeks. Group options available (10 to 75 people, 18 years and older, 3 week minimum stay). First come, first serve basis for non­NYU, non­affiliated applicants. Some housing requires purchase of meal plan. Applications for summer housing close by mid-May – apply early.

Chelsmore Apartments
http://www.chelsmore.com
$3950 for small 2-bedroom; $3200 for studio. Flat rate of $250/month for utilities (gas, electric, heat, hot water, cable, internet, and telephone line). Furnished bedrooms for minimum one month stay.

AFI Property Management
http://www.afiapartments.com
$3100 for 1 bedroom studio,$3500 for 1 bedroom suite, $4350 for two bedroom suite (average prices; vary by season). All apartments located in UES around 77th St and 2nd Ave. Furnished bedrooms for minimum 30 day stay.

92YResidence
http://www.92y.org/Uptown/92YResidence-Student-Intern-Housing.aspx
$1450 per person for small double room, $2000 for large single room. $250 application fee. Dormitory style student and internship residence. Private or semi­private furnished rooms with common kitchen and bathroom. List of amenities can be found by clicking the link above. Located in Yorkville within a close walk to the subway.

International House
http://www.ihouse-nyc.org
$976 to $1561 for dormitory style options, $1788 to $2447 for apartment style options. Dining services charge of $145/month. Offers housing for graduate students and people coming to New York to study in other programs. Short-term stay (under 20 days) and long-term stay (few months) available.

AirBnb
www.airbnb.com
Prices vary. Offers a wide range of options. Use with caution and refer to ‘How to Cautiously Navigate Sites Like Airbnb and Craigslist’ for helpful tips.

Craigslist
www.craigslist.com
Prices vary. Offers a wide range of options. Use with extreme caution and refer to ‘How to Cautiously Navigate Sites Like Airbnb and Craigslist’ for helpful tips.

Literarti Housing NYC
http://literati.nyc
Affordable co-living option. $900-$1450 monthly rent, per furnished single room with utilities throughout NYC. Flexible lease terms, 1 month minimum. Roommate housing with easy subway access and opportunity to live with other medical students. Please mention SUNYOPT.edu or sunyopt to get preferential placement/rates.

HomeToGo
https://www.hometogo.com/new-york-city/
Prices vary but they allow you to specify the desired period and length of stay in a flexible date search. You can also filter by desired amenities, accommodation types or properties you can book immediately. Use with caution and make sure to examine all details carefully before booking. This site is similar to AirBnb.