e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

ESF Students Open Homework Hotline for Grades K-12 4/21/2020


By Karen B. Moore

Are you and your new homeschooler puzzled by Pythagoras? Hampered by Hamlet? Bewildered by biology? Confounded by Common Core? Students from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) have opened a Homework Hotline to help students (and their parents) with their schoolwork.

ESF students returned to their homes in March to complete the spring semester in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but that hasn't stopped members of the Student Environmental Education Coalition (SEEC) from helping where they can.

"SEEC usually works with students at Dr. King and Ed Smith Elementary schools (in Syracuse, New York) during the semester where we design and teach lessons aiming to help students pass their science exams," said Adrianna Calamita, club vice president.

"The SEEC club is a community outreach arm to the Syracuse schools for ESF," said Maura Stefl, of ESF's Office of Experiential Learning and Outreach. "The members are all students who are interested in working with youth and communicating what they have learned on campus."

"We all love teaching and outreach and it is a really important aspect of our experience at ESF. However, being at home, we are not able to help in the schools anymore and were brainstorming ways we can still help," said Calamita, a senior environmental education and interpretation major.

And so the Homework Hotline was created. ESF students are available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for immediate help. Other days, people can send an email to seec.esf@gmail.com or reach out through their Facebook page @sunyesfseec and a student will respond as soon as they can. SEEC members live in New York, Ohio, New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois.

"Our homework hotline is for all subjects," said Calamita. "Half of our members are environmental resources engineering majors and the other half are environmental and forest biology majors so we have a nice mix of students willing to help for all subjects and all age groups."

"Being able to help students understand and become passionate about new topics is a great feeling along with being very important," said Andrew Meashaw, senior environmental and forest biology major and SEEC president. "A young person's education empowers them to follow their dreams so it is great to be able to help continue the development of their knowledge during this unusual time."

The opportunity to offer online assistance means even more to the club's seniors.

"This was their last semester with SEEC," said Calamita, "they didn't want to just stop just because of the circumstances. We figured we put our talent to good use."

SEEC members are holding their weekly club meetings virtually where they discuss what else can do to help in their communities. In addition to the homework hotline, the group will be starting livestream STEM videos on their Facebook page.

"Each week one of our members will go on Facebook live or post a video of a science challenge or lesson that students can do at home with their families," said Calamita.

During the recent Student Organization and Leadership Achievement Recognition (SOLAR) awards ceremony - this year held virtually - SEEC was honored with the Student Organization for Community Service award. Calamita received the Distinguished Graduating Officer award.