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The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry

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I attended ESF in the hopes of beingQuite BrightBiology
I attended ESF in the hopes of being at a school where students cared about the environment. I expected a different type of student than the typical high school student. Boy was I wrong. First off, if ESF is so concerned with the environment, why isn't it a smoke free campus? It seems I am constantly breathing in cigarette smoke. On top of that a large proportion of students smoke pot. Which in my opinion is disgusting. I am housed in ESF's "beautiful" Centennial Hall. I am surrounded by loud obnoxious freshman...on top of that I have awful roommate. Other than the social aspects, the education at ESF is not as great as they brag about. One of the professors is exasperated and frustrated when students as a question, however, there are a few who are extremely kind and helpful. I live 30 minutes from home and I find myself going home every weekend because the student body is beyond annoying. I would never recommend this school. I am a freshman student and thank God I will be transferring in the Spring out of this awful place.
1st Year Female -- Class 2015
Scholastic Success: A, Education Quality: F
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SUNY ESF taught me one thing;Other
SUNY ESF taught me one thing; No matter how hard you work, or the effort you put in, you can't make it anywhere with their education.

Even using my networking contacts I can't find employment anywhere. My former adviser that I did research for 20-40hrs a week for the past two years is useless as well. He informed he would be glad to assist me in my job search... hollow words from someone who didn't deserve my time. After he ignored an e-mail of mine for over a week I called and he pretended not to know me.

Now I am forced to move beyond my education to find ways to get by.ESF no one needs you, you're not that great.

Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
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SUNY ESF is a good school academically ifBright
SUNY ESF is a good school academically if you can worm your way in with a faculty member who has been there sometime. I reinforce the "if" as the faculty tends to be cold and condescending. It feels like a few of them have been there a little too long. You can succeed without being good with the faculty, but if it is a lot easier if you are. The relationship should be started in the first two years of your education there, assuming a four year degree. Otherwise you will be adrift in the wind.

One of the major academic problems is that a student can through course selection make their education very specialized. This is a two edged sword. If you're in a field with openings you could be hired before you even leave the school. More commonly though the situation is that no one knows what your degree means or even what they would hire you for... besides being proficient in word and excel. Networking is also very limited, even with the recent prevalence of job fairs the school has held. Often times these "employers" aren't really looking for long time hires, or are just looking for volunteers or interns. My peers and I have experienced the situation where the agency or business was there, but they didn't have anything available. They were just there.

When it comes to advisers some are helpful, the rest are quite the opposite. They would rather just have you sign your class registration slip (add/drop form), and never see you again. Fellow students described finding their advisers during there advising or registration week as, "Searching for Big-Foot, you only get reported sitings". Once my adviser took a trip to Costa Rica during advising week and I had to get another member of the faculty to sign my form.

In fact it was due to my adviser's negligence that I had to stay on for another year. There were two classes marked as an "F" on my transcript, the result of the bursar's office failing to drop them after I submitted the form well within the allotted time. When I went to the petition that the two marks be removed my adviser told me,"Sounds like a legit failing" and refused to sign. I was forced to retake these classes and then much to my chagrin found out that ESF doesn't replace your old grade with your new grade... it averages them. In effect making any academic efforts on my part appear trite. I unfortunately accepted this at the time by getting a newly approved minor in the extra academic year, in the hopes of it helping me in my job search. Although it turned out I ran into the aforementioned problem of my degree being too specific later on.

The fact you can take Syracuse classes is now a MYTH. With the state cutting funding all the time they no longer willing to pay for ESF students to take SU classes, which was a huge disappointment to those freshman who had been lured to the campus by that opportunity, and a cruel reality to upper class men who were finally looking to have easy classes in their schedules. Yes, for the most part SU classes are infinitely easier than ESF classes, having taken a few. One student I know came over from Syracuse to ESF for a few classes and couldn't understand why the curriculum was so hard or so fast, and in his own words, "Why do we have to read so much?"

If you tire of the general apathy of SUNY ESF, you can go next door to SU. Over there they actively disdain you. ESF Students due to their working class origins and often impoverished backgrounds take work study jobs both on the ESF campus and at SU. However the type of work study job ESF students can take at SU is severely restricted. The majority of those available jobs? Food Sevice. During my experience I knew nearly all the faces behind the food counter and nearly none in front of it. Thus SU students are subconsciously trained even as freshman to look down as ESF students as a Wall Street Broker looks down at a Beggar, and at the very best moments putting them on equal par with a piece of used furniture. It doesn't matter if the person putting in a new pan of fried chicken is actually double majoring with an IQ that dwarfs yours, he is just another ratty ESF student.

SU is commonly known as a huge party school, and for the most part it seems that's all they know how to do, besides spending their parents money. Freshman year this harsh contrast was underlined when ESF students shared dorms with SU students. Even when sequestered to separate floors ESF students were passive aggressively harassed, and when a female peer confronted RA's and the students responsible she was the one who got in trouble. Not only her but our entire floor was chastised. ESF did nothing. In fact there seems to be a tradition of the ESF administration bending over backwards to accommodate SU, and conceding to SU in any dispute involving ESF students. Another incident occurred during one of SU's block parties known as "May Fest". A female ESF student was sexually harassed and victimized but a group of young men, just off Euclid the main party thorough fare. She reported the incident to the SU "Saftey Police", security guards with no real power, and the incident seemed to disappear. She tried to follow up with the incident, and spoke to a few administrators at ESF who said they would "look into the incident". Still nothing happened, and by the time the young lady got around to talking to the city police the spring semester was over and there was essentially nothing they could do because all possible suspects were now scattered across the country with no way to put them in line up or single them out.

ESF won't even defend it's traditions. When I first arrived on campus there was a tradition of tackling of students who walked across the quad. It was a fun lighthearted tradition that no one took to seriously. Until one day my junior year when a SU student walking diagonally straight across the quad from one corner to the other was intercepted by another ESF student. Now this student didn't even tackle the offender as it had rained and the quad had become wet and muddy. Instead he just shouldered him a little as a courtesy. The SU student blew up, became highly aggressive, and actively HIT the ESF student. Props go to the ESF student as he calmly explained the tradition even as the offender punched him. Eventually the SU student, now with a soiled bag that he had thrown down in his rage, retreated shouting obscenities, and the ESF student rejoined a group of friends that had arrived on the scene. When the incident reached the ears of the administration, the tradition was summarily banned without explanation only those who had witnessed or heard the story from those who were there knew what had truly happened.

ESF didn't even lift a finger to actively help a young women who was chronically depressed and tricked into misfortune by an older student. This story begins when the young lady sought help for her condition at ESF. ESF referred her to SU Psychiatry Services. She met a psychologist there and after meeting for the first time said he would get back to her early next week. The week came, she called, no response. Next week the same, she called some more and visited the office. This continued for four weeks, and when the psychologist all could say was, "Sorry there were no one else was available". Yet during this time the damage had already been done. With no one to turn she was vulnerable and was quickly taken advantage of by a perpetual student who was at the age of 32 and married. This man was a schemer and manipulator, who quickly took advantage of her by offering comfort and solace. Sex wasn't enough for this man, his bank account was running low, so he cajoled this young lady to co-sign a loan with him for over $10,000. Never mind that she was far too young, he merely got the corrupt loan issuer to forge her age. Once he used her, he discarded her within a month's time for some other vulnerable young woman. Shortly there-after though during one of his many attention getting "suicide attempts" no one made it home when he expected they would and he died for his miscalculation. This left the poor young women with the loan debt, few friendly faces as all her friends had been alienated by the scoundrel, and ever worsening psychological condition. To make it worse ESF had a memorial for him, which made him sound a saint. Simultaneously the financial aid office was of no aid to her and only could inform her incessantly that she must pay his debt. This only drove her to trust no one after that. Thankfully this story has a happy ending, she moved on to a much better university, and the loan debt was eventually forgiven after much hard fought campaigning by her family. Although it was no thanks to SUNY ESF.

The administration is also not above corruption. There was an incident also in my junior year where some students living on Lancaster were charged with the possession of illegal substances. This was true, the students had been supplying their SU contemporaries with various homegrown narcotics and hallucinogenics. Now as they were "arrested" by the SU saftey police it was entirely up to the ESF administration what to do with the students. After hearing all the students, and their parents, appeals all of the students were kicked out of the university as in standing with campus policy. Yet afterward the most affluent parents of one student conferred in private with key administrators, and after a small donation the student was allowed to come back to ESF after a year's time. None of this was publicized of course aside from the offending student spilling the beans anecdotal amongst friends.

Needless to say any of these horror stories could have happened at any college this is the sad truth, and my feedback would have been negative there as well. Although I would still like to think there are colleges who behave much differently than SUNY ESF.

My experiences at SUNY ESF were so personally draining, that my IQ actually lowered. Yes, I took an IQ test before I went to ESF and then took the same test after I left, and low and behold it was 10 points lower. A whole ten points. ESF made me dumber, and all my friends and relatives back even seemed to be alarmed at the change in me. When I went to ESF I was bright, eager, and with good habits. I came back cynical, overweight, disillusioned, and worst of all average. They couldn't understand why my college experience had been so terrible, were theirs had been overall enlightening or enjoyable. Despite my daily efforts all I can do now is watch as they get jobs in fields that are not supposed to be doing as well as mine in this economy, start families, and buy homes.

ESF is not what you make of it. ESF makes you what it is; hollow and meaningless to the rest of the world.SUNY ESF is no different from any other college or university, it only cares about money.

5th Year Male -- Class 2010
Perceived Campus Safety: A+, Education Quality: D
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