By: Quy Nguyen SUNY Optometry 2013
Check out this video on the summit!
For some time, the New York State Optometric Association (NYSOA) has tried to increase the level of involvement of students graduating from optometry school into organized optometry. There seemed to be a lack of understanding among students as to what the link of the state association (the NYSOA in this case) is to the national organization (the American Optometric Association). In addition, students seemed to underestimate the need for their involvement in organized optometry. And that is when the NYSOA decided to work with SUNY State College of Optometry to tackle the issue.
On February 12th, 2011 SUNY State College of Optometry held its first ever organized student retreat titled Summit on Student Engagement with the NYSOA. The goal of the ambitious retreat was to better understand the factors that influence students’ involvement in organized optometry. SUNY faculty leaders, members from the AOA board, the NYSOA were all in attendance, but the goal of the retreat was to allow the students to voice their ideas and develop a plan to address them. At the conclusion of the retreat, excitement ran high and students were intent on working towards increasing student involvement in organized optometry.
This past March, the students involved in the retreat were able to increase SUNY student involvement in the Congressional Advocacy Conference in Washington D.C. In previous years, a couple of student leaders would attend this conference, but this year, 19 students were registered to go! This is a big step towards getting students to be more knowledgeable about the legislative side of optometry. Currently, the office of Student Affairs and student leaders from various student organizations pertaining to organized optometry are working on a long term project to further address the ideas that came up in the retreat. We are all optimistic that SUNY Optometry is taking a big step toward getting its students more involved.