Staten Island (NY)

College of Staten Island

The College of Staten Island (CSI) is a four-year, senior college of The City University of New York and is one of the 11 senior colleges of The City University of New York (CUNY). Programs in the liberal arts and sciences and professional studies lead to bachelor's and associate's degrees. The master's degree is awarded in 13 professional and liberal arts and sciences fields of study. The College participates in doctoral programs of The City University Graduate School and University Center in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Nursing, Physics, and Psychology.


It was established in 1976 from the merger of Richmond College (opened in 1965) and Staten Island Community College (opened 1956). Richmond College had been threatened with closure because of New York City's financial crisis, while the older school, because of its status as a community college, received state support. The merger was particularly logical since the community college offered two year degrees, while Richmond College was an "upper divisional" college (the third in the nation) that offered degrees to those in their third and fourth years of schooling.

The College of Staten Island has been located on the grounds of the former Willowbrook State School since 1993. It is the largest campus, in terms of physical size, in New York City. Before the relocation to Willowbrook, the college had a split campus, located at the former Staten Island Community College (in Sunnyside, on Todt Hill) and Richmond College (in St. George).

The first president of the college, Dr. Edmond Volpe, an American literature scholar, retired in 1994, after having successfully handled the merger of the two colleges and the unification of the two campuses. He was succeeded by Dr. Marlene Springer, as the second president of the college, an English and American literature scholar, under whose leadership the College improved academic standards, introduced two doctoral programs and several master's programs, raised the level of the faculty, added research institutes, and introduced an Honors College, the Verrazano School, and the CSI High School for International Studies. She retired in August of 2007 and was succeeded by Tomás D. Morales, whose doctorate is in higher education administration, as the third president of the college. He has arranged for a free bus from the Staten Island ferry to the Willowbrook campus.

The Campus

Completed in 1994, the campus of CSI/CUNY is the largest site for a college in New York City. Set in a park-like landscape, the campus is centrally located on Staten Island. Mature trees and woodlands, flowering trees and ornamental plantings, fields and outdoor athletic facilities, the great lawn, sculpture, and seating areas create a rural oasis in an urban setting. In 2005 a vacant building on the campus was converted into the CSI High School for International Studies, the first senior class to graduate from the high school will do so in 2009.

Fourteen renovated neo-Georgian buildings serve as classrooms, laboratories, and offices. The academic buildings house 300 classrooms, laboratories and instructional spaces, study lounges, department and program offices, and faculty offices.

North and South Academic Quadrangles are connected by the Alumni Walk, with the Library and Campus Center as focal points. The Center for the Arts is located midway between the Quadrangles at the fountain plaza. The Sports and Recreation Center and the athletic fields are located near the main entrance to the campus.

Sixteen works of art, a permanent collection of works either commissioned or purchased through the Art Acquisitions Program of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, are installed throughout the campus. The artists and their free-standing sculptures and reliefs are: Vincenzo Amato, Body of Hector/Glaucus; Miriam Bloom, Shooliloo; Fritz Bultman, Garden at Nightfall (extended loan); Chryssa, Untitled; Lucille Friedland, Big Stride (gift of the artist); Red Grooms, Marathon; Sarah Haviland, Staten Island Arch; Jon Isherwood, Borromini's Task; Zero Higashida, Maquette for a Small Universe; Valerie Jaudon, Untitled; Niki Ketchman, Red Inside; Win Knowlton, Ellipse; Mark Mennin, Torak; Don Porcaro, Moon Marker; and Hans Van de Bovenkamp, Stele in the Wind.

Astrophysical Observatory

The dome astrophysical observatory was completed in 1996. In addition to serving students in astronomy courses, the facility is used for faculty and student research projects, environment monitoring projects, and community programs.

Biological Sciences/Chemical Sciences Building

An ultramodern facility, the building contains classrooms, laboratories, faculty offices, research facilities for faculty and students, the Center for Environmental Science, and the Center for Developmental Neuroscience and Developmental Disabilities.

Campus Center

The Campus Center provides facilities for a complete student life including offices for student organizations, food services, health services, a study lounge, chapel, game room, screening room, bookstore, and the studios of WSIA-FM, the student-operated radio station.

Center for the Arts

Entered from the Great Lawn and from the Alumni Walk, the Center houses two academic wings for programs in the arts as well as superb public spaces: the 440-seat Clara and Arleigh B. Williamson Theatre, the 900-seat Marlene Springer Concert Hall, a recital hall, an experimental theater, lecture halls, an art gallery, and a small conference center.


Designed with inviting reading rooms, open shelves, and study carrels, the Library research and study facilities are enhanced by computer data-based operations available to all students. The Library Media Services make accessible pedagogical multimedia materials to distant classrooms and laboratories by means of the campus fiber-optic network.

Sports and Recreation Center

This multipurpose facility and surrounding athletic fields serve the intercollegiate and intramural sports and recreation programs for students. On a membership basis, faculty, staff, alumni, and the general public also have access to the facilities.

Special Programs

New students are welcomed through a unique orientation program called CLUE, the College Life Unit Experience. In addition to helping new students make a smooth transition to college life, CLUE gives new students the opportunity to have meaningful exchanges with faculty, staff, and current students.

  • Baccalaureate Program for first-year students meeting senior college admissions standards.
  • CUNY Teacher Academy
  • Macaulay Honors College
  • Departmental Honors Program
  • Verrazano School Program for high achieving students.
  • Study-Abroad programs through the Center for International Service.
  • University Skills Immersion Program provides academic preparation for first-year students. Tutoring through the Academic Support Center for students with deficiencies in the academic skills and subject matter.
  • Adults Returning to the Classroom (ARC), introductory courses at off-campus locations.
  • Internships with government agencies and in the private sector.


  • CSI's campus is the largest in New York City.
  • CSI students can choose study-abroad programs in more than 20 nations, including year-round programs in China, Ecuador, Greece,and Italy.
  • CSI has a growing international reputation in the fields of polymer and biopolymer chemistry research.
  • The on-campus Discovery Institute provides professional development for area teachers.
  • On-campus research centers include the Center for Environmental Science and the Center for Developmental Research Neuroscience and Developmental Disabilities.
  • Facilities in the Department of Performing and Creative Arts include an experimental black-box theater, editing studios, a screening room, and a graphic design and desktop publishing laboratory.

Notable Alumni

Student Life Organizations/Publications

The Third Rail

The Third Rail is the literary political arts magazine of the College of Staten Island (CSI) and publishes semesterly. Fully embracing W.E.B. DuBois' notion that "art is propaganda," and in the tradition of “FIRE!” the groundbreaking political arts magazine founded and destroyed during the Harlem Renaissance

The Third Rail features Poetry • Political Commentaries • Philosophy • Photography Arts • Fiction • Non-Fiction • Drawings • Social Commentaries, Plays & everything in the nature of the political arts

  • ''Third Rail has won the Independent Press Associations (IPA) 2003 Journalism Award for Best Reporting.
  • Third Rail has been placed on The Nations “One of Our Favorite College Papers” list.
  • The spring 2007 issue of Third Rail which focused on student apathy featured a cover shot of two nude students, one male, and one female. As a result of this cover the issue has constantly been stolen from school racks and dumped in trash cans. This has prompted the first ever second printing of a single issue. The ongoing story of the battle over censorship has been covered by the Student Press Law Center and Staten Island Advance.


In the mid 1970s, a group of students intrigued by radio gathered in a broom closet of the C Building at the College of Staten Island to form WSIA.

The founding members of WSIA include Ronald Resnick, Greg, Joe Mininni, Karen Cino, and Diane T. amongst others. Upon working with the college, the students were able to apply for an FM license and were granted a construction permit.

In the late 1970s, a new group of students applied to the Student Government and Association for money to commence construction. Immediately following the basic construction, a general manager was hired to handle the daily tasks of the station. In the early 1980s, an agreement was reached to acquire an antenna site on Todt Hill which is noted as the tallest point on the East Coast. Phone lines were eventually installed for the transmitter. The remaining construction of the studio was expedited in the basement of the E Building on the Sunnyside campus. On August 31, 1981, WSIA commenced regularly scheduled broadcast.

After having worked off of student fees, the college would eventually pick up the salary of the general manager in 1985. Although, a lack of knowledge would affect the station in the early 1980s. By the mid 1980s most of the station’s support was a direct result of its alternative music programing that included obscure Brit-Punk and Goth-Punk bands to American Grunge and No-Noise Bands, such as Sonic Youth and Smashing Pumpkins, attracting listeners as the station grew in recognition.

The early 1990s proved to be beneficial for the station as the operating budget was increased to $100,000 annually from the original budget of $8,800.

Since the early days, the programming has undergone a number of changes. Despite the growth of the station, the students remain committed to using the facilities in new and innovate ways. The station remains a beneficial and influential outlet to its listeners and sponsors.

In 1993, the College of Staten Island moved its entire campus to a larger location. This enabled an opportunity for WSIA to obtain a state of the art facility. The facility now houses a 64 track recording studio, multiple broadcast booths/rooms and full office space for its staff. The recording studio also houses musical instruments such as guitars, pianos, turntables, and much more.

WSIA serves as an outlet for breaking emerging artists to the mass public. The station and its studio is a learning ground for students and aspiring broadcast enthusiasts alike. The station is operated by an all-student Board of Directors and employs a General Manager and Chief Engineer. The station’s general manager is Philip Masciantonio. The station’s technical operation is maintained by John Ladley.

The station is licensed by the FCC and transmits to the Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Manhattan areas of New York in addition to New Jersey. The station also has a strong international following via the World Wide Web.

The station’s current programming includes music, news, public affairs discussion, sports talk, and more. The music department broadcasts live programs catering to various genres of music. The stations music department is noted to have hosted many established recording artist’s in-studio commentary and interviews. The Untouchable DJ Drastic is a popular DJ known to credit WSIA as a founding aspect of his career. The sports department broadcasts many live events such as baseball, college basketball, football, and more.

WSIA is open to full and part-time students at the College of Staten Island. No previous broadcast experience is necessary. The WSIA studios are now located at 2800 Victory Blvd. Building 1C / Room 106 in Staten Island, NY.


The New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) is a New York State-wide student activism and training organization. It has existed since 1973. Its current executive director is Rebecca Weber and its founding director was Donald K. Ross. Blair Horner had been its Legislative Director for many years.

NYPIRG is New York's largest consumer protection and good government organization.

NYPIRG is controlled by a student board of directors. Any issue that NYPIRG works on, or stance it takes, must be approved by its student board of directors. In the 28 years that NYPIRG has been at the College of Staten Island, students organizing with NYPIRG have been successful in many local and statewide campaigns, including:

Closing the Fresh Kills Landfill; Stopping cuts to the TAP financial aid program and fighting tuition increases; Securing money for the State Superfund program to clean up toxic waste sites statewide, including nine in Staten Island; Creating an online book exchange where students can sell their books for more, and buy their books for less money; Passing legislation in the NYC City Council to protect children from the debilitating effects of lead paint poisoning; Lobbying the MTA to start a bus line, the S93, which runs from Brooklyn to the College of Staten Island; Increasing the New York State minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.15 an hour.

Ben DeAngelis, Project Coordinator City University of New York Campus Center 1C- Rm. 219 2800 Victory Blvd. Staten Island, NY 10314 (718) 982-3109

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