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Summer Activities With SUNY While Social Distancing

A laptop placed on the grass in a park with a screen showing a camping tent.

Summer is always an exciting time of year. It gives many people a chance to take a break and create new experiences for themselves and their friends and families. It may be a bit more difficult to do that this year, but it won’t be impossible. Even with social distancing protocols still in place, many SUNY campuses are still providing camps and cultural activities to their communities this summer in changed or digital formats.

If you’re looking for some ideas of what to do this summer, here’s a sample of what our colleges are offering:

Activities for Adults

UAlbany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy is launching Rockefeller Reads, a virtual book club. The first book is Automating Inequality: How High-tech Tools Profile, Police and Punish the Poor by Virginia Eubanks, an associate professor of political science. Dr. Eubanks will facilitate an online discussion on July 23, at 7 pm.

Hudson Valley Community College is offering three, year-end student art exhibitions in its online galleries: “Pulse 5, Digital Media Student Exhibit”; “Fine Arts End-of-Year Student Exhibition” and “The Before, The After and In Between: Advanced Study in Drawing and Painting.”  The three exhibitions are housed online at the Teaching Gallery and open 24/7 through Monday, Aug. 31

SUNY Empire State College has just launched “Creative Expressions,” a weekly visual arts series featuring conversations with students, faculty, staff, and alumni about their art. The artists offer a Q&A, along with a presentation of their work. Each presentation is followed by a Q&A with the artist. Join the conversation every Thursday at 5 pm on this Zoom link.

SUNY Plattsburgh is offering Job Search Boot Camp, featuring a different topic each week. The boot camp will help participants craft resumes and cover letters, learn to network and use LinkedIn, and master the job interview. The weekly Zoom sessions will be held Mondays, at 5 pm, beginning July 13. Visit for the complete lineup and registration information.

SUNY Polytechnic Institute is offering two summertime lectures on Zoom as part of its Poly People series. On July 14, at 6:30 pm, alumnus T.J. Allard ‘97 will discuss his film, “The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch.” As the executive producer, Allard will discuss the making of this documentary, along with other film credits. On August 11, at 6:30 pm, alum Bianca Johnson ’15 will present “Got Stress? Learn How to Beat It.” To RSVP and get more information, visit here.

Stony Brook University Alumni Association and Stony Brook Athletics invite those who enjoy exercising for a cause to sign up for the Seawolves Virtual 5K Run. The weeklong event from July 2 to July 6, invites alum to run, walk, or ride in support of student scholarships.


Just for Kids

UAlbany will host its three-week Summer STEP program beginning July 13. The program, which is virtual this year, provides STEM training for 85 local middle and high school students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Buffalo State College will be offering its Buffalo Beginnings STEM Program on Tuesdays and Thursdays, July 14 –  30, from 1 to 3 p.m. The program will provide students and families from Buffalo Public International School 45 with STEM-focused, programs and activities that include games, experiments, and innovations presented by guest experts.

Buffalo State College will also host its Buffalo Beginnings Bridge Program on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from August 11 – 27, from 1 to 3 p.m. The Buffalo Beginnings Bridge Program serves former refugee youth and families who have recently resettled in Buffalo. This program will focus on building English literacy and STEM-focused activities.

Columbia-Greene Community College has joined forces with Black Rocket Productions LLC, to offer a series of online summer camp classes in the digital arts and creative sciences for children ages eight to 14. The weekly courses start June 29 and continue until the week of August 10. Courses include: Battle Royale: Make Your First Fortnite Style Video Game; Code Breakers; Minecraft Designers; Pokemon Masters: Designers & 3D Makers Unite! and Video Game Animation.

Finger Lakes Community College has modified its STEAM summer day camps for middle school students into an online format that will run from July 13 to July 31. Students will work on projects in fields such as conservation, art, technology, and athletic training, and share their work on video conferences. The camp will also feature virtual field trips with local businesses.

The Hudson Valley Writing Project at SUNY New Paltz will offer two online “place-based” writing programs in Dutchess County for students ages 12 to 16. The program is held in collaboration with the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Site and the Friends of Clermont.

The two week-long writing enrichment programs are designed for students wishing to explore nature, history and art. “Writing into History” will take place July 7-11 and “Where Art, History and Nature Meet!” will be held July 21-25, both from 9 am to 3 pm.

SUNY New Paltz is also offering the new online Young Writers Project, for students of varying ages and diverse interests and goals. From comic books to poetry, mythic stories to the college essay, young writers will find an array of courses to choose from, all led by teachers from the Hudson Valley Writing Project.

Onondaga Community College will host the Southwest YMCA Summer Youth Camps. The weeklong camps are held June 29 to August 21, with a different theme each week. To register and find information, visit the YMCA Camp Southwest.

SUNY Polytechnic Institute is partnering with 15-Love to provide a STEM camp for children in second through eighth grades, on Wednesdays from July 1 to August 5. The Albany-based program features tennis lessons with one day devoted to STEM topics, ranging from nanotechnology to light and energy. The small in-person classes will be filmed and made available on the 15-Love Youtube channel.

Stony Brook University’s Southampton MFA in Writing and Literature program is offering two week-long online creative workshops for teens, ages 13-18. The workshops, which will be held July 6-10 and August 3-7 from 10 am to 3 pm, pair seasoned adult writers with students for workshops in fiction, personal narrative, poetry, playwriting and screenwriting.

By week’s end, students will have several completed works and the opportunity to participate in a reading of their work, which will be shown online. Workshops will be held using ZOOM.

Stony Brook Southampton will also offer two script writing workshops July 13 to 17 and August 10 to 14, from 10 am to 3 pm.  Each student creates a short, two-character script for stage or screen. The final day is devoted to a rehearsed reading of students’ work to be showcased online.

For those who prefer to tell their stories on film, the program offers a Youtube film workshop, which will be held July 30 to August 3, from 10 am to 3 pm. Participants will produce a video over the weekend on an issue of importance to them.

Ulster County Community College has a number of virtual programs for youth this summer. Youth from ages 4-12 have opportunities to explore the worlds of S.T.E.A.M., chess, yoga, and mixed-media arts in a number of virtual camps during July and August.


These are just a few of the opportunities SUNY schools are making available to New Yorkers this summer. Got an activity or event you want to add? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

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Written by Winnie Yu

Winnie Yu is a writer in the Office of Communications at SUNY System Administration.

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