New Page: Humans of SUNY Oswego

Modeled after the very popular Humans of New York page, SUNY Oswego has a new page that’s getting some major attention.

Humans of SUNY Oswego is a photography post project on Facebook that aims to photograph students and briefly interview them for a photo caption to tell a story. The goal of the project is to raise awareness of the age old saying “everyone has a story to tell”.

I’ve been a fan of the HoNY page fan for a while and enjoy viewing the interesting photos that the photographer posts.  Even better than the photos, are the short stories that the brief interviews tell. Regular people have spectacular stories of love, loss, dreams, war and everything in between.

I love the idea behind the project; to showcase that everyday passers-by on the street are all dealing with something or have been through something. It’s so easy to get caught up in our lives and problems and forget that the world is so much bigger than just yourself and your own daily struggles. These simple photos and brief interviews are often inspiring and thought provoking.

Being a Social Media intern with a love of photography, I wanted to take this idea and bring it to SUNY Oswego. There are over eight thousand students on campus and undoubtedly a lot of interesting stories to be told and heard. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I get lost in my own little world when I’m walking across campus with my headphones in and music turned up loud. But imagine, if you truly looked around at everyone and thought about their lives, what they’ve been through or what they are currently dealing with. These thoughts make the world (or the campus) seem a lot bigger than just ourselves and our daily lives.

As one of the photojournalists for the Humans of SUNY Oswego project, I aim to take photos of interesting students and share a line or so that they have shared with me about themselves or their life. I will be posting these photos on the Facebook page.

If you, or someone you know has a story to tell and would like to be featured on the site, please contact me by sending the page a message or emailing me at


Hack Upstate, Fall ’13

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”  -William James

Hi Readers,

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a local engineering event open to the public (provided advanced registration was duly made online) called Hack Upstate, which this year, was held at “The Tech Garden” in nearby Syracuse. This was a gathering of bright minds from all over New York state, who got together with the sole purpose of seeing what kinds of crazy projects could be attempted (and even more, completed!) over the course of an ever-so-short 24 hour window. The word “hack” in the name might imply a certain affinity for computer programming, and while there were certainly a majority of code projects on display, the competition is not limited to them in any way. There were some incredible feats of electrical and computer engineering accomplished for such a short amount of work time, and that is just the tip of the iceberg! The purpose of the competition is to utilize existing technologies in interesting ways – apart from that, there are virtually no restrictions on what can be attempted.

The Gathering Room

The Presentation Room

There were people from all walks of life present – even non tech-oriented types who simply had ideas they wanted to see realized. It truly was a melting pot for innovation. One group materialized a web-based game utilizing the popular Bandcamp website, wherein players could vote on randomly generated bands in order to find the so-called “best band on Bandcamp”. Another group created a website where stories are dynamically created by the users of the site – any user could add new branches or alternate endings, etc.. to an existing story, at will. Cool stuff.

Now, this probably sounds like all work and no fun, right? Think again! Organized by the show-runners of Syracuse Startup Weekend, Hack Upstate is a less formal event that takes place twice a year, and is a rockin’ good time meant to encourage interaction amongst the participants in fun ways. It starts with idea pitching, where anyone can come up in front of the audience and try to sell their idea to everyone in the hopes of finding talent to help work on it. After the competition begins, its just a party, with practically unlimited pizza and subs and free reign to do pretty much whatever you want. (There’s even an award given to the most social/engaging group of the competition!) A few of us groups got together and decided to go to a local venue nearby and do work while listening to some live music – truly a memorable experience.

Funk N Waffles

Enjoying some jams at Funk N Waffles while coding away!

Repping Oswego was myself and recent alumni Nick Poorman, a former Computer Science major and founder of Regattable, a startup operating out of the Tech Garden in Syracuse. Being a relatively new event with little publicity, it is understandable that not more of us techies from Oswego showed up. However, I am going to go ahead and use this as an opportunity to call on all tech majors at Oswego (Computer Science, IS, ECE, etc…) to bring yourselves and your “A” game to the next event in the Spring! So, join Hacker League today and keep an eye peeled for the upcoming Hack Upstate in Spring 2014. Hopefully I’ll see you all there!

Any questions or comments you have about the event, its organizers, or who the winners were, submit in the comments below!


The beginning of a new semester

Well, here we are. The start of a new academic year. For me, it just seems as if something else has simply begun on top of what I normally do. But, for ambitious individuals who aspire to one day be employed full time making good pay, it’s what needs to be done to meet that goal.

I knew it wouldn’t get much easier after graduating from undergrad last May and now that Graduate school is in full swing with two jobs, 3 extracurricular activities, bills, and the desire to have some kind of social life, I don’t expect to have a second for myself until after finals.

So far, I’ve been busy working with Civic Engagement, shameless self promotion here (check out my Rock the Vote Blog here to get the word out about the election, how to vote, where to vote, and everything else that it encompasses. It’s been a great experience and I know that it will help me in the long run.

Graduate classes already seem to be a huge step up from Undergrad. It’s the natural progression, everything I expected it to be. More work, more reading, more attention to detail, and did I mention more work?

It’s a different style of history being in a classroom versus in a museum;the feel for history isn’t the same. In a classroom  it becomes a more intellectually dense experience listening, digesting and analyzing, and in a museum the information comes at you using different senses, you’re inside of the history.

I like being back in academia. It’s a much different pace than the private sector or even the government side of the economy. There’s a certain sense collaboration, even if there hasn’t been a meeting to designate who’s doing what. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a lot of different professionals on campus and everyone has advice and is willing to lend a helping hand in the events or activities we have planned, or are trying to plan.

It’ll be a fun semester and I’ll keep this as well as my Rock the Vote blog updated regularly.

Another great opportunity

This is my first entry as a SUNY Oswego blogger and I am happy to be a part of a great tool in communicating ideas, events, and anything else that we have on our minds. I’ll start my journey as a blogger on this site with a little introduction;

I’m Jon Zella, I’m a Graduate student studying History: Museum Preservation here at SUNY Oswego. I recently graduated from SUNY Oswego with my Bachelor’s Degree in History and a minor in Italian, Buon Giorno. I am also the graduate assistant for Civic Engagement, I work as an interpreter at Fort Ontario State Historic Site, I’m the Head Coach for the Women’s Club Hockey team, Director of Athletic Affairs in Student Association, I write for a hockey blog called the Checking Line mostly about the Buffalo Sabres,  I play the drums in the Avondales and Burning Bridge Street, and now I write for this blog.

Though the above paragraph makes me seem like someone who might be high-strung, I’m generally a pretty calm person. Keeping busy allows me to stay focused and everything gets done, even if it’s at 2am. I enjoy being social, speaking to others; the exchange of ideas and culture is something I’ve always enjoyed.

I also run the Civic Engagement Word Press which will cover a lot of what I’ll be up to this academic year. I will do my best to blog on this as well and keep those interested in the loop with what I’m doing and how my year is going.

The Voice of campus

Wow , wow , wow

One day you are playing your favorite record as you organize your binders, notebooks and syllabi after the first week of class. The next you look up and it is October 6th. Exactly a month to the date that you lasted posted. I almost feel a reintroduction is necessary. In any event this last month has been a very hectic one to say the least. Much has taken place both in the academic and the student involvement sectors. This semester I have a list of defined and extremely detailed goals. On of those goals was to help introduce an idea that I have been working on all summer long. At the conclusion of last semester I decided that I wanted to create a home. A home where my fellow students could display their talents and put to use the knowledge they had gained in the classrooms over the years.

So I joined together with an organization that I knew would share in not only my vision but understand the passion behind it. The Black Student Union. BSU has been a staple in the Oswego community for over 40 years, and has continued to find new ways in which to define their excellence. Last year they were awarded the prestigious Student Involvement President’s Award. The distinction was just one of many accolades and achievements gained by the organization in the last academic year alone. The idea I presented them was simple. Create a media outlet that  would serve as “the voice” of the campus.

Now I am aware that on this campus we have a few outlets. One being the Student Blogs ( which we are obviously on as I write and you read) and the other prominent source being the independent student run newspaper the Oswegonian.  I have been a contributing writer for them as well.However with all due respect to the Oswegonian there are more opinions/interest than the few often covered.

This is where we come in. The Voice has one main goal. That goal is to be a direct reflection of the opinions and interest of the students on this campus. To proactively disseminate diversity through the articles and interest articulated by the student who contribute. A broad range of interest such as fashion,art,entertainment, local/national news and opinion will be covered on a biweekly basis. The central theme to every article written is lies within each writers desire to share a perspective voice on campus, the roads they take are all different but the destination remains the same. While I can share more. I can’t think of a better introduction to this site than to share with you what your fellow students have already done.

I Present : The Voice



Harry Potter Craze Hits Oswego

As Harry Potter fever swept the country , Oswego, NY, was no exception. Fans of the film series gathered shortly after 7 p.m nearly 5 hours before the special midnight release.

The release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2 , marks the end of a successful and fan adored series. Fans have anxiously awaited 9 months for the finale after the cliff hanger of Deathly Hollows Part 1 this past November.

The line trailed the entire length of Hogwarts the Oswego Cinema 7 block and even stretched around the corner at one point. The line contained a wide variety of fans from families , adult fans to small children obviously up past normal bedtime hours for the special occasion.Two lines were organized for movie goers. One for 2D and another for those wishing to witness the dramatic showdown in 3D( the first film of the franchise’s shown in 3D).

Lines started to move promptly at 11:05. Movie attendees were then ushered to various theater rooms, as it seemed that the entire movie house was temporarily transformed into a Harry Potter movie viewing complex. Many were ushered to theaters downstairs ,while others were shown additional seating upstairs. The movie started shortly after 12 a.m (12:08 a.m)

Video of the line for the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2



The 411

One summer class down and the swan song on math in undergrad. Not too shabby huh? What have I been doing in this past week since class ended absolutely nothing. This is the first true break for me since the spring semester began, yeah travel back that far.

Alright, I may not have been being a complete summer bum, I just took out three books on loan from Penifield. Two by James Baldwin and one by David Benioff writer of the 25th Hour famously turned into a Spike Lee directed Movie, he also wrote the screen play for The Kite Runner and Troy. I figure three books is a enough to keep me pleasantly busy while allowing my mind to recuperate for the way I repeatedly put it through the grinder over these last 5 months. I’ve also been trying to make my way down to the lake as often as I can while the weather is nice and at the risk of this sounding like a profile , I’ve been doing some bike riding around town as well.

At this point I may be enjoying summer days more than my friends. Everyday feels like a gift. One part of Oswego that is so underrated is the summer . We always hear about the snow, the strong wind gust and of course the sunset but summer is the town’s best kept secret. I have made it a goal of mine to share all of the different things that can be done for fun during the summer but I need to be selfish just a while longer.  Think of it as a finders fee.

Anyway I need to resume to this summer relaxation but don’t fret you’ll be seeing (hint hint) somethings from me pretty soon. Until then as Rob would say ” let that boy cook!”

Enjoy your summer day everyone,


Constructive Criticism

I think they truly have. See  I am student writer. One in the process of learning this craft, learning the mechanics and on a simpler note just learning how to write period. There is a difference between having good thoughts and articulating them in an efficient manner. My major says journalism but it also says student. Hence there must be a learning curve. Every post I write will not have a disclaimer to this fact. I will not make known the fact that everyday I learn new rules or find more habits that need to be broken. The point is to learn on the go and put what you learn into practice. The best piece of advice given to me when I told a mentor of mine at a previous school I wanted to write , was to do so everyday. Make it a daily habit. That’s kind of what this is about. That and to be truthful I have an unique perspective that I wanted to share with others. My college experiences are CRAZY.

HOWEVER what has annoyed me the most since starting this blog. Have been the comments. Not those by my peers I love them . Good and bad I love when people post comments on a post. It lets me know that you are alive , you are part of this little writer and reader relationship. Of course I see the amount of people that read my post and that always amazes me that so many people would read the blog. My issue however is with the Alumni. They kind of disgust me to be honest. As I write this someone is saying there goes his networking out the window( it was in my head as well) but to be truthful in edu domain friendly words “I don’t care”.

Countless amount of times my post has been featured on the school Facebook page. Whenever that happens I get more pedestrian views than usual. I sometimes don’t realize till a few days after. Usually when I see the numbers shoot off the chart. So I then take my little web stroll over to the school page and see it for myself. That’s when it always happens. Never fails that I see some Alum go ” ahhhhhh grammar grammar grammar” or “this shouldn’t be posted there are way to many mistakes” I can go on but I’m sure by now you get the point. Probably even have seen such. I then look at that comment and see about 5 “likes” . That is when I stew. Not only because that is about the only time that the alum is probably getting “likes” which some probably are still struggling to understand, but because for one the comments are never left on MY post. Which to me says “ego driven” . There is no reason I should have to go on the school page to read the criticism of my post. When I have a comment section! It’s senseless to me! That leads me to believe you are “like hunting”. More importantly is this. If I know or become aware of a typo or mistake, I fix them. After all the point is to be able to fix and correct. This is why we have the ability to edit articles already published.

The biggest issue I have with this stems from the above image. I could be wrong but I thought alum were here to uplift , encourage and be of help to current students. Simply telling the world but not the student writer of the problem will not fix or solve the current “ahhhh grammar grammar grammar” problem. I one time got so upset. That an English major graduate would take to Facebook to cry over the mistakes. Yet he didn’t think to help a current journalism major student right his wrongs or steer him in the right direction. Do you see how that sounds? What good came out of his comments. I didn’t see them until a week later and still didn’t even know what he was talking about 0_0 .This is all with out me adding in the fact that this is a BLOG. A BLOG! Not the New York Times. I am speaking to my peers: current students and soon to be’s . Where as you are still trying to remember how to change your current system preferences. I cld tlk like ths 2 my ppl nd still every1 wld get me, things like gifs, u dnt undrstnd but we do. u call it social media we use wrds like web , online, “goin on the computer during library hrs. So u c its not alwys bout wat u like but wat we like. Aii.

Moral of the story. If you are going to criticize or critique make sure that it’s function is to help and not to tear down. After all who we become or what we learn is a direct reflection of what you didn’t teach us.

p.s. Nobody likes a troll.Troll and get troll’d . Srsly

Busy Bee in NYC

Although I feel more like an actual New Yorker the longer I’m in NYC, I’ve still done a decent job of hitting up tourist locations. Since I can’t share a lot about what I’m doing at work, here’s a sneak peak into my life outside of magazines!

First and foremost, I’m still a fitness guru at heart and it’s always been on my bucket list to go running in Central Park. I’m always so envious whenever I see people in their jogging pants and sneaks, just trucking around the reservoir like they do any other day. I realized that my time here was quickly running out, so I laced up my sneaks and hit the pavement in the cold 35-degree weather, looking just like any other local.

And let me tell you, the views were worth it.

While I wasn’t in NYC for it, I was lucky enough to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra live. My mom and step-dad bought tickets for my three brothers, sister and I for Christmas, so we were all able to experience some awesome musicianship together. The pyrotechnics they used throughout the show covered the price of the ticket alone.

Once I was back in NYC, my boyfriend, Dustin, came to visit, as did my ASME friends and future roommates, Libby and Victoria to celebrate the new year. We made sure to hit up plenty of restaurants along the way, including my favorite Mexican restaurant, La Esquina. If you’re ever in the city, I highly recommend you try it. Insider tip: It’s a big place for celebrity spottings, so you have to reserve two to three weeks in advance.

We also made sure to hit up Tom’s Restaurant, famous for it’s recurring presence in Seinfeld.

I walk by this retro-looking diner every day on my walk home from work as well, so I tested out an Italian meatball sub and french fries at the Metro Diner, too. It was my first time having fries in over six months, but these were delicious!

Dustin and I also ventured around Times Square and took advantage of the M&M factory because he had never been. After we were hopped up on sugar, we played in Toys R Us. I tried to ride the ferris wheel, but you had to pay, plus the line was really long and full of little kids. I settled for a huge lollipop from the Willy Wonka side of the store instead.

And to prove I do super-cool things for my job, I took Dustin to a Harlem Globetrotters game! We were able to go to the VIP party and eat dinner with the players before the game. The Globetrotters worked with us on an article to help make a girl’s dream come true — she always wanted to play with the wacky team, so we made her dreams a reality! Check out a spring issue of FITNESS to read all about it.

What fun things have you done over winter break? Are you ready to head back to school?