Out with the old, and in with the new.
After a unanimous vote by the SUNY New Paltz College Council on Wednesday, March 6, new names have been assigned to the Hasbrouck complex buildings.
The new Hasbrouck complex building names—Shawangunk Hall, Awosting Hall, Minnewaska Hall, Mohonk Hall, Ashokan Hall and Peregrine Dining Hall—carry a local meaning.
Shawangunk Hall is named after the Shawangunk Ridge visible from campus. Awosting Hall is named after one of the “sky” lakes on the Shawangunk Ridge, and translates to a “place of grassy hills.” Minnewaska Hall is another “sky” lake on the Ridge. Mohonk Hall—yet another “sky” lake—calls attention to the 150-year-old mountain house in New Paltz. Ashokan Hall is named after the Shokan Field Campus, an outdoor education, conference and retreat center located in the Catskill Mountains. Lastly, Peregrine Dining Hall is named after the Peregrine falcons that soar above the Ridge—symbolizing resiliency and hope—and also refers to a wanderer from foreign lands.
“The Council’s resolution gives me the discretion to assign each approved name to a specific building,” said President Donald P. Christian in a campus-wide email.
The College Council formed a naming study group, including students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members to generate a list of potential building names for consideration by the College Council.
In mid-December, a survey inviting all students to share their input about replacement names was sent out by Alumnus, College Council Member and Chair of the Naming Study Group Vincent Cozzolino. This survey elicited more than 3,000 respondents—including students, faculty and staff, alumni, community members and Huguenot descendants.
According to the influx of responses, names reflecting New Paltz’s local beauty appeared to be the most fitting.
While Christian hopes to have these new names instituted by the fall semester, there is still a lot to consider before the name changes truly become a reality.
The next steps following this action of assigning new names to the Hasbrouck complex buildings entail developing a single resolution to the SUNY Board of Trustees to remove current names and assign new ones to these buildings, and “addressing the many ‘background’ infrastructure issues that must be managed before the new names can be effective.”
“We want to be sure that we can do all of this in a way that doesn’t compromise safety,” President Christian said in a meeting on March 8. “So 911, the fire suppression systems all have to be programmed with the new building names, and so it may be that we have two names on a building for a while. We’re still figuring out how complex that whole situation will be.”
“There’s all of these things that we have to take care of,” said Chief of Staff and Vice President for Communication Shelly Wright. “We got the mail room, we have to change addresses at the post office. We got to make signs, change maps.”
Currently a working group of students, faculty and staff is developing ideas for a contemplative space and other ways to present a more complete history of the campus and the community.
To inform future students and visitors on the history of the buildings, Christian wants to “install a plaque inside each building that talks a little bit about the former name, the process that we engaged in here in 2017 through 2019 to change the names, what that means and what the origin of the new names is.”
Once these safety and logistic considerations get straightened out, Christian strives to have a naming ceremony for the buildings.
“I don’t know what that would look like, probably something like a ribbon cutting,” Christian said.