Alexandra “Alex” Sorbello, artist designer with SUNY Oswego’s Office of Residence Life and Housing, has earned the 2019 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service, a State University of New York honor that recognizes her for “superior performance and extraordinary achievement.”
“My co-worker for 17 years, Alex Sorbello, is an excellent example of what the Chancellor’s Award stands for,” wrote Mary Craw, Sorbello’s nominator and Residence Life and Housing colleague. “She always does her best and goes above and beyond the scope of her job description.”
Craw detailed some of the many ways Sorbello has taken initiative, gone the extra mile and substantially helped students, parents and others better understand the college’s residential offerings and culture.
A native of Pittsburgh who started college at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Sorbello later transferred to SUNY Oswego as a nontraditional student, earning her bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design in 2007 while working at the college, raising three children, and helping her husband on the family’s farm in Fulton. She started in Residence Life and Housing as a keyboard specialist -- a common starting point for support personnel in the state’s Civil Service system -- but began to jump into extra projects, demonstrating that she was conversant not only with graphic design but software, printers, photography, digital signage, computers in general and more.
“Alex helped us get up to speed with social media by creating our first Facebook page,” wrote Craw. “Now she has grown this to include Twitter and Instagram, using her personal phone to post, answer questions and stay in tune with students (even after work).”
Sorbello has worked with web developers and co-workers to improve Residence Life and Housing’s website functionality -- as an example, improving the accessibility of all website materials for people of varying abilities -- and to keep content vital and updated. Examples include a “ResLife Heroes” program to shine a light on resident student staff, a resident photo contest, a video to show student residents in action and taking photographs to highlight events in the residence halls and the Village townhouses.
“Alex always seems to be working on an extra project, many times with Communications and Marketing,” Craw said. “Together, they made a video to represent each campus residential community (13 in all). Recently, she worked with their student intern and the chief communication officer to create a marketing plan. This past semester, Alex has worked hard to publicize a photo contest, created and designed ‘ResLife Heroes’ for each hall and partnered with them to modernize our website’s home page.”
Sorbello has worked with many academic and administrative departments, assisting with websites, graphic design challenges, digital signage that broadcasts informative slides in buildings across campus, flyers, PowerPoint presentations and more, Craw said.
A hallmark of hers is follow-through, Craw said. When she fills in to field inquiries from concerned parents and students: “Alex always does her best to calm their fears, ask questions to understand the situation and alert the people necessary if there’s a problem.”
Craw also cited Sorbello’s volunteer participation in campus charitable campaigns, such as those for awareness of breast and ovarian cancers. Active in her church, Sorbello also supports Blessings in a Backpack and the Child Advocacy Center in Fulton.