Campus prepares for arrival of Empire State Games July 27
Ask John Shupe (Facilities Management) or Ralph Perez-Rogers (Dining Services) what's keeping them awake at night and they'll tell you it's the Empire State Games. And they aren't alone. Department heads from across the campus, including University Police, Residence Life, Campus Dining Services, Athletics, Facilities Management, Admissions, Conference Services, Publications and Public Affairs are making final preparations for the Games.
Drive by the college's athletic fields this week and you'll notice freshly painted dugouts (New Paltz blue, of course), resurfaced tennis courts (blue and orange, naturally), new blue windscreens around the softball and baseball fields and well-groomed athletic grounds. In the coming days, signs, tents and banners will appear on campus.
The Games begin July 27 and last through July 31. While there may be some inconvenience to students, faculty and staff who are on campus this summer, and some long hours for several employees before, during and after the Games, the event is a first for the Hudson Valley, a first for New Paltz and an opportunity for the college, says Shelly Wright, chairperson of the campus Empire State Games Committee.
"We've been given a chance to impress upon 2,000 young athletes what's great about New Paltz," she said.
Because New Paltz is housing and feeding the most athletes (2,000) of any of the other venues in the Hudson Valley, both Perez-Rogers and Corinna Caracci, (Residence Life), said that they had an opportunity to create a unique experience for all of the competitors.
Perez-Rogers, who expects every member of his 100- person staff to work the Games in some capacity, has many surprises planned for the athletes, including locating the main dining area under a large tent on the Crispell parking lot.
Perez-Rogers said that he will also be offering a wide range of healthy fare for the athletes, including a salad bar, pizza and pasta stations, and meat carving stations. In addition, he will offer vegetarian entrées.
His staff will likely prepare 270 pizza pies a night, and serve 12,545 meals throughout the five-day period.
Caracci will use nine residence halls on campus for the athletes, and has called in all 13 of her residence hall directors and several dozen additional college employees and volunteers to help out, especially on Wednesday, July 27, when 2,000 athletes arrive, get checked in, eat dinner and then board shuttles to Poughkeepsie to attend the opening ceremonies at 7 p.m.
Caracci also has special activities planned for the athletes. On Wednesday evening, after the opening ceremonies, there will be snacks and games for the athletes in the residence halls.
For Thursday evening, she has booked a comedian. On Friday and Saturday evenings, there will be snacks and movies with sport themes to entertain the competitors.
In addition to housing 2,000 athletes, New Paltz is hosting competitions in archery, boxing, synchronized swimming and tennis.
In preparation for the tennis competition, the college has almost completed a total rehabilitation of the North courts on campus, which includes lighting, fencing and resurfacing in the school's colors.
Stuart Robinson (Athletics, Recreation and Intramurals) said that his entire staff will assist the Empire State Games staff with the four sporting events on campus. Robinson has been instrumental in the college's preparation of the athletic facilities for the Games and is, himself, the coach for the Empire State Games Hudson Valley soccer team.
The following are interesting facts about the Hudson River Valley Empire State Games on the New Paltz campus:
For additional details, visit the SUNY New Paltz Hudson River Valley Empire State Games Web site at www.newpaltz.edu/empiregames.
JULY 18, 2005
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