SUNY Canton's Creative Advising Program recognized for reaching students
Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 11:37 am

SUNY Canton Director of Advising and First Year Programs Sharon Tavernier, left, and Retention Specialist Marianne P. DiMarco-Temkin, dressed as Katniss Everdeen and Effie Trinket from the Hunger Games, wear extravagant costumes and interact with students to promote early registration at the college. :

CANTON -- Two staff members from SUNY Canton's Advising and First Year Programs office are going the extra mile to persuade students to register for fall classes early.

They come to work dressed in colorful costumes during the tenth week of classes every semester. They roam around campus dressed as gnomes, aliens, superheroes or other characters with the specific goal of getting students to register early for their next semester classes.

"We started doing this as a fun way to get students' attention," said Advising Office Director Sharon Tavernier. "Then we realized that we were talking directly to about 500 students on that day. We also use the pictures of us in costume as a way to get the word out on social media, casting that influence even wider."

Since Tavernier and her colleague Marianne P. DiMarco-Temkin, the college's retention specialist, began wearing costumes, about 20 percent more students have started registering earlier than in years past, according to the college.

The two employees presented their innovative ways to connect with students and their overall successes at a recent National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) conference in Verona. Their conference session was so popular that they've been asked to present it again at the national NACADA conference held Oct. 14 in St. Louis, Mo.

"Sharon and Marianne's advocacy helps students sign up earlier, which further helps us anticipate the number of course sections needed each semester," said SUNY Canton Provost Douglas M. Scheidt. "It is also really fun to see them dressed up."

The Advising and First Year Programs office works with new and continuing students to help them understand their degree progress. They also administer the college's “First Year Experience” and provide college success tips.

They provide workshop opportunities for faculty advisors and orchestrate the Stellar Advisor Award, a chance for students to nominate their faculty advisors.