MARCH 2014

University connects with new Advocacy Day format

By Katie Ellis

Binghamton University Advocacy DayTaking a new approach to the annual Binghamton University Advocacy Day in Albany this year, a much smaller-than-usual contingent traveled the two-plus hours to the state capitol in mini-vans on March 5.

(Pictured: President Harvey Stenger speaks with Heather Briccetti '85, president and CEO of The Business Council, during Binghamton University Advocacy Day activities in Albany.)

In the new format, Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger, Vice President of Research Bahgat Sammakia, United University Professions Chapter President Benita Roth, CSEA Chapter Vice President Martin Honeychuck and University tour guide and BU Zoo co-president Ben Zachs – what in the past would have been called the Gold Team – manned a Binghamton display set up in a high-traffic area of the Legislative Office Building. Karen Cummings, senior assistant director for Undergraduate Admissions, was also on hand to speak with prospective students and alumni.

The display was interactive, though not in the way most people would expect. Instead of high-tech, a large map of New York state took center stage. As people passed by, Stenger and team members asked if they had a "Binghamton connection." Those who said yes were asked to write their connection on a post-it, including their name and e-mail address, and place it on the map by their hometown. Within a few short hours, the map was covered with post-its.

The display itself also fostered conversations with several visitors, including Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, Assemblyman Dan Quart '94, and Heather Briccetti '85, president and CEO of The Business Council, staying for an extended period of time.

While Stenger and the team remained at the display, student interns Ben Sheridan and Michael Swanson, along with Roth, Zachs and Darcy Fauci, public relations assistant to the president's chief of staff, visited all of the state's legislative offices, leaving information packets. The packets included information specific to the legislators, including the number of Binghamton University alumni and current students living in their districts. Stenger did make one side-trip to a meeting during the day, leaving to meet with Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy about Regional Economic Development issues.

Overall, though the number of people participating was small, the impact was great, said Stenger. "We wanted to try something different this year, and it worked extremely well," he said. "Our location allowed us to interact with legislators, alumni and others who have a Binghamton connection in a way that didn't happen in the past. For example, I never would have been able to have a conversation like I did with Ken LaValle, chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, or Brian McMahon, executive director of the New York State Economic Development Council.

"I enjoyed the new format and believe we should use it again next year," Stenger said.





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Last Updated: 9/26/16