Recently, student involvement is spreading as fast as a cold in a residence hall. Students who took a freshman seminar class or spoke to an advisor heard it before. The key to happiness at Stony Brook is getting involved.

Tickets for the ski-trip sold out in one day, free tickets to the Staller Center’s presentation of Groovaloo were gone in two minutes and Advisory Council meetings are packed with groups competing for the right to reserve event space.

Susan DiMonda, associate dean and director of Student Life, has been at Stony Brook for the past 22 years. Since her days as director of Campus Recreation, she has seen the campus change and involvement grow.

“SUNY students are more appreciative, more outgoing,” she said. “[They] see the responsibility to create community.”

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Bernie Lubell, an undergraduate member of the Student Life Advisory Council, started a group on Facebook for students who are against Princeton Review’s “Least Happy Students” list, in order to do “empirical research” on the issue enabling students’ voices to be heard. In the latest survey conducted by Princeton Review, Stony Brook ranked number three on the “Least Happy Students” list.

The Student Life Advisory Council, a group of students, faculty and administrative staff members, aim to improve the quality of student life.

“Students made very constructive comments,” Lubell said. “There is a stigma against Stony Brook. [The] stigma is fading, but it is still there. Something we are trying to counteract.”

According to the Princeton Review website, the ranking is determined by students’ responses to the survey question, “Overall, how happy are you?” The 2010 survey is available online for students.

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The ratings do not seem to bother DiMonda too much. According to her, research has shown that student satisfaction has improved and her own personal observations further her proof.

DiMonda saw students being turned away from the men’s basketball game against Binghamton because there were no more seats but thinks of it as a good problem. For students who say there is nothing going on DiMonda said, “They have their heads in the sand.”

But for those who are skeptical of an administrator’s comment, The Campus Involvement Project, or CIP, which DiMonda calls a true “grass roots project,” may convince them.

“The Campus Involvement Project [was] formed with the ultimate goal to help unify the campus community by increasing student involvement,” said Kirin Mahmud, CIP member.

According to Mahmud, CIP creates and promotes the “25 things to do at Stony Brook before you Graduate” list, which organizes a bunch of campus traditions and events.

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“This is a first step for students to try new things and meet new people,” Mahmud said. “We also present to incoming transfer students during Opening Weekend as well as Freshman 101 classes to inform and inspire them on being a student leader.”

Mahmud, who is also president of the Commuter Student Association, said that the Princeton Review ranking is misleading.

“I cannot even express how amazing my time here at Stony Brook has been,” she said. “As a commuter, I spend more time at Stony Brook than I do at home.”

Lubell recognizes also he is very lucky to have had a positive experience and have his voice heard while at Stony Brook but recognizes that others are not as lucky.

“You have to be proactive to have a voice of impact,” he said. “It is what you make of it.”

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