Stony Brook Southampton, the embattled campus that was all but closed last August, may be on its way back as soon as next semester, said President Stanley in an exclusive interview with Think Magazine.
“We have had some very good ideas, and I think a couple of them are things we’re looking towards implementing in the fall semester,” he said.
Stanley was hesitant to discuss any plans in detail however, because the committee tasked with making a final judgment on the campus has yet to announce its proposals.
But he offered a glimpse into what the campus may look like in the near future.
“I think we’ll have two programs we’ll roll out and then we’ll continue to look at other things we can do,” he said.
One program is the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, which currently operates its own facility at Southampton by the water. It is home to just a few dozen students throughout the year, but the rest of the Southampton campus could accommodate the entire department if the university chooses to relocate it there.
“We are going to build programs that will bring students there,” said Stanley. “Some of them may be from this campus that will be able to take classes there, others will be new students that come from outside.”
Having just two academic departments would be a significant reduction in offerings for Southampton, which until 2010 offered a range of programs focused on sustainability and environmental stewardship.
Figuring out the best use for the Southampton campus was a step that President Stanley thinks should have been done to a greater extent when Stony Brook University purchased the campus in the first place for $35 million in 2005.
“One of the things that I think wasn’t perhaps considered as carefully as it should have been was what are the unique strengths of that location, what are the things that make it valuable?” he said. “I think we have two really good programs that will take advantage of that location.”
“The plans we’re putting forward are things that would really play to that location.”
Students and supporters of Southampton who envision a return to what the campus was as early as last year shouldn’t get their hopes up too quickly though.
“I think that the biggest challenge I see moving forward is going to be people’s expectations,” warned Stanley. “We may not be able to start with 300 students there again right away, we may need to build gradually. We’re absolutely committed to taking advantage of that place.”