The Center for Civic Engagement strives to connect campus and community via events,
programs and initiatives that facilitate deep, critical thinking, reflection, and
most importantly action. Below is a sampling of some efforts we have carried out these past three years (CCE
was founded in 2010). In some cases,we have provided links to archived website pages,
which have been preserved since the time they were in use (e.g. Hurricane Sandy Relief,
Political Engagement). In other cases, events and programs have been summarized with
links included to their respective promotional materials. If you have any questions
regarding a past initiative or program, or you would like more information, reach
us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome Week Service Project
August 25-27, 2014
The Welcome Week Service Project was a pilot program which sought to strengthen the campus culture and University's
commitment to service and community engagement. It aimed to prepare students for purposeful
living while impacting the local community and expanding University-community collaboration.
61 incoming freshmen signed up for the program, which involved arriving at campus
a few days early and participating in one of four service projects planned across
the city of Binghamton. The service projects included painting a series of four murals
at the Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park, painting a mural at the Ann G. McGuinness Elementary
School, assisting with upkeep of the outdoor Story Garden at the Discover Center of
the Southern Tier, and working at Binghamton University Acres Farm, a pesticide-free
farm that grows all-natural vegetables and is maintained entirely by students and
Showcase of Community Opportunities
The Annual Showcase of Community Opportunities provides students with the opportunity
to connect with faculty, staff, community organizations and student groups to find
out what they are working on, form important partnerships and promote engagement and
outreach among students. The most recent showcase featured over 60 community organizations,
student groups, academic departments and campus programs working to strengthen the
relationship between the University and the greater community.
Global Service Fair
Binghamton University's Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) hosts an annual Global Service
Fair with students, faculty, staff, and community organization representatives in
attendance. The Global Service Fair provides a chance for students to get connected
with groups/projects that support or engage in global service. Students learn about
global fundraising initiatives that happen here in Binghamton, international service
trips, and many other global service opportunities!
Millions were affected by Hurricane Sandy all over the northeast. The CCE's Hurricane
Sandy 2012 website provided information and guidance on how to plan a drive or run
a fundraiser, upcoming events and opportunities to get involved, and information on
how/where to make financial and other donations.
On September 7, 2011, a devastating flood hit the greater Binghamton area, displacing
tens of thousands of families, and severely damaging thousands of homes, nonprofit
buildings, businesses, and public properties. The new Binghamton University Downtown
Center was one of the structures that suffered extensive damage. Fortunately, due
to community preparedness and quick action, no lives were lost.
Binghamton University was integral to the success of the immediate emergency response,
as well as the long term flood recovery. As flood waters rose, emergency shelters
were established to house the thousands of people evacuated from their homes. The
largest group of displaced residents (about two thousand) was housed in the Binghamton
University Events Center and West Gym. In conjunction with others, the Center for
Civic Engagement (CCE) took immediate action to coordinate the University's disaster
Amidst intense community-wide distress, the CCE was able to serve as the main hub
for up-to-date information, student guidance, and community connections related to
the flood. See the presentation below for a description of how the Center for Civic
Engagement carried out its charge to lead Binghamton University's response to the
catastrophic flood through strong relationships forged between the University and
The Center for Civic Engagement teamed up with the non-profit organization React to
Film to host a pre-release screening of the documentary Hell and Back Again at 6 p.m.
on Thursday, Sept. 22. The documentary follows Sgt. Nathan Harris through his transition
from battle in Afghanistan to readjusting to life back at home in North Carolina.
Students, faculty, staff, and community members came to the Hinman Commons to watch
the film, viewed a question-and-answer session with director Danfung Dennis, and had
a meaningful follow-up discussion, and found out how to take action to help soldiers,
veterans, and Afghan children affected by the conflict.
Discussion: October 13 & 14, 2011
Film Screening: October 17, 2011
The Center for Civic Engagement and non-profit organization React to Film hosted a
screening of Miss Representation at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 17, in Old Union Hall.
The documentary focuses on the most persuasive and pervasive force of communication
in our culture -- media -- and the ways in which it is educating a generation to believe
that a woman's primary value lays in her youth, beauty and sexuality, rather than
in her capacity as a leader and an intellectual. The screening was followed by a meaningful
discussion on the film and on what we can do to take action and make a difference. The
event was co-sponsored by the Women's Department, Psychology Department, Women's Student
Union, Voices Against Violence and Women in Business.
October 21, 2011
In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry,
exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer
with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's
food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead
of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and
our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant
soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of E.
coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually.
We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic
level of diabetes among adults.
Sing Your Song
February 13, 2012
The Center for Civic Engagement hosted a screening of Sing Your Song, a documentary
that follows the life of Harry Belafonte as a heroic cultural and political figure
of the past 60 years, at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 13, in Old Union Hall. The documentary
focuses on his social justice work globally and during the U.S. Civil Rights movement.
The screening was followed by a recorded question- and-answer session between Belafonte
and the president of REACT to FILM, as well as an open discussion. Faculty, staff,
students and community members attended and discussed this important film. The event
was co-sponsored by the Center for Civic Engagement, REACT to FILM, UNICEF@BU, Amnesty
International, Sigma Alpha Lambda and the Hillside Community.
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
March 12, 2012
At 7 p.m. Monday, on March 12, in Old Union Hall, the Binghamton Center for Civic
Engagement and national non-profit organization REACT to FILM hosted a free screening
of “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom,” a 2012 Academy Award-nominated documentary
that follows survivors in the areas hardest hit by Japan's recent tsunami as they
find the courage to revive and rebuild. Professors Herbert Bix, David Stahl, and Roberta
Strippoli spoke after the film as part of a follow-up discussion about the issues
Japan has faced and what can still be done to help. The event was co-sponsored by
Sigma Alpha Lambda, the Student United Way, Asian Outlook Magazine, and the Institute
for Asia and Asian Diasporas. Faculty, staff, students, and community members are
welcome to attend and discuss this important issue.
March 8, 2012
Beyond Belief is the story of two soccer moms from the Boston suburbs who have lost
their husbands in the 9/11 attacks. In response, they dedicate themselves to empowering
Afghan widows whose lives have been ravaged by decades of war, poverty and oppression
— factors they consider to be causes of terrorism.
April 12, 2012
The Center for Civic Engagement hosted a Community Issues Forum, "Beyond Kony 2012"
at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 12, in LH-10, about Invisible Children's Kony 2012 campaign.
In mid-2012 "Kony 2012" had gone viral, stirring up much debate worldwide (80,000,000+
views on YouTube and hundreds of articles, blog posts, and response videos). The aim
of this community issues forum was to go beyond the "Kony 2012" campaign by situating
the video in its appropriate social, political and historical contexts. It provided
students, faculty, staff and community members with an opportunity to openly discuss
their views in a safe, comfortable setting. Actions steps beyond those proposed by
Invisible Children were also be discussed. This event was co-sponsored by the Indian
International Student Union, UNICEF @ BU, Sigma Alpha Lambda, B.L.A.C.K. Unity and
the Office of International Programs. Featured speakers included Professor Michael
West, Professor William Martin and Adjunct Professor Virginia Brown.
Living for 32
April 16, 2012
At 8 p.m. on Monday, April 16, in Old Union Hall, The Center for Civic Engagement
and REACT to FILM held a free screening of the film "Living for 32" to remember the
32 people whose lives were lost at Virginia Tech five years ago and to drive critical
discussion around the issue of gun violence. "Living for 32" is the inspirational
story of Colin Goddard, a survivor of the tragic shooting massacre that occurred on
the Virginia Tech campus on April 16, 2007. The screening was followed by an interactive
livestream Q&A with Goddard and film producer Maria Cuomo Cole, as well as a nationwide
candlelight vigil in which Binghamton participated. Faculty, staff, students, and
community members were invited to participate in this free event. The screening was
co-sponsored by Sigma Alpha Lambda, the Secular Students Alliance, and Peace OUTside
March 19, 2013
Rafea—a 30 year old Jordanian mother of four—is traveling outside her village for
the first time to attend a solar engineering program at India's Barefoot College.
She will join women like her from Guatemala, Kenya, Burkina Faso, and Colombia to
learn concrete skills that have the potential to change their communities. If Rafea
and the other women succeed, they will be able to electrify their villages, train
more engineers, and provide for their families. But at what cost? After the film,
there was a discussion facilitated by Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Joshua
Reno, who has done extensive research on the controversies surrounding the use of
modern technology to solve problems ranging from waste and climate change to disability
and energy insecurity. Faculty, staff, and students were invited to come and get informed,
discuss, and take action!
More To Live For
April 17, 2013
This film chronicles the life and struggle of legendary saxophonist, Michael Brecker,
whose search for a compatible, life-saving, bone marrow donor was ultimately unsuccessful.
Brecker passed tragically in 2007 after a hard-fought battle with leukemia. Since
the film was first shown, thousands of people have signed up for the International
Bone Marrow Donor Registry, each of them a potential life saver. Faculty, staff, and
students were invited to watch the film and sign up as a bone marrow donor by having
their mouths swabbed.
Become a Leader in the Fight Against Poverty
November 6, 2013
In conjunction with Dr. David Campbell of the College of Community and Public Affairs,
the CCE sponsored a panel discussion that was meant to educate the community about
what is being done to ease the pain of poverty in our region. Panelists Larry Parham
(Citizen Action), Debbie Thorpe (All Saints Episcopal Church), and Alan Thornton (Rescue
Mission) provided those who attended with motivation, inspiration, and opportunities
to get involved and be engaged in the fight against poverty.
November 13, 2013
In collaboration with Dr. David Campbell, the CCE sponsored a panel discussion that
was meant to educate the community about careers and volunteer opportunities focused
on sustainability. Panelists Amelia LoDolce, Laura Biasillo, Tarik Abdelazim, and
Dr. Richard Rehberg provided those who attended with motivation, inspiration, and
opportunities to become engaged in the quest for sustainability. The panelists shared
personal stories exemplifying the work they do. Many panelists discussed the importance
of small, local change making the true impacts.
Genetically Modified Organisms
November 21st, 2013
This community issues forum was designed to give students a wide array of information
regarding genetically modified organisms. GMOs are hotly debated in our culture and
so many grab on to one nugget of information instead of researching a wide spectrum
of thoughts, opinions and data. By presenting two panelists, Dr. Davies from Cornell,
and Dr. Andrus from BU, we were able to give students a spectrum of viewpoints in
order to make educated decisions moving forward.
Pathways to Public Service: Liberal Arts to Public Service
March 12, 2014
The first in a series of two Pathways to Public Service Community Issues Forums, this
event aimed to show students the diversity of careers -- related to public service
-- that a liberal arts degree can offer. Panelists, Danielle Britton, Diane Brown,
Sean Cummings, and Chelsea Robertson -- all BU alumni -- agreed that being in the
right place at the right time is key to success. Other notable points were made such
as the importance of persuasive and concise writing skills, as well as being willing
to do a multitude of tasks in order to "prove" yourself and your work ethic to potential
employers. In regards to finding a career you are passionate about, Diane and Sean
both found their passions in unexpected places and talked about the importance of
loving what you are doing. Diane specifically mentioned that once you feel as if your
career is no longer providing you with energy and rather taking energy away, it is
time to move on and blaze a new trail.
Pathways to Public Service: Graduate Degrees that Make a Difference
April 1, 2014
The second in a series of two Pathways to Public Service Community Issues Forums,
this one focused on graduate degrees. This event aimed to show students the diversity
of careers -- related to public service -- that a graduate degree (both traditional
and unique) can offer. Our panelists, Katie Olszowy, Merrit Hartblay, and Alison Handy
Twang -- all BU alumni -- agreed that graduate degrees--whether pursued right after
undergrad or later in life--should be personal and something you are passionate about.
Other notable points were made such as making connections and networking with those
in fields that you are interested in. The idea of having mentors and agencies that
know you and your work ethic and dedication are vital to success. The panelists showed
that your education can always be applied in creative ways to do a wide variety of
jobs dedicated to public service.
Legalization of Marijuana
April 30, 2014
This forum focused on the societal, physical, and community implications of the legalization
of marijuana. Panelists Lina Begdache, Judy Quaranta, and Claudia Edwards offered
a comprehensive picture of what the legalization of marijuana -- specifically for
medicinal use -- may look like the in the future. Notable points by our panelists
included the need for further and long-term research, the need to become responsibly
educated rather than rely on emotions and propaganda when voting, as well as the importance
of protecting the most vulnerable when considering new and somewhat radical legislation.
Did Your Ice Bucket Challenge Make a Difference?
October 15, 2014
During this public forum on the Ice Bucket Challenge, we discussed its impact on the
ALS Association, those affected by the disease and the effectiveness of viral marketing
campaigns on the nonprofit sector. Do these campaigns really make a difference? What
is the best way to help support an organization or cause that matters to you? Panelists
included Kathy Lahey, executive director of the ALS Association's Upstate NY Chapter;
Ann Cannella, associate program analyst, Charity Navigator; Ryan Yarosh, director
of media and public relations at Binghamton University; and Christie Zwahlen, assistant
director of the Center for Civic Engagement.
Who are the Americans of the Future? Immigration, Citizenship and the Dream Act
November 12, 2014
This panel discussion focused on the challenges facing immigrants to the US, and the
perspective of the "Dream Act" as the most popular legislative initiative to address
immigration. Panelists Aja Martinez (Assistant Professor of English), Lisbeth Pereyra
(BU MPA Student), and Stephen Ruszczyk (PHD Student, Community Activist) sought to
answer questions such as: Why are certain immigrants granted a path to citizenship
and not others? Who is being denied access to citizenship and for what reasons? How
can YOU become engaged in work with immigrant communities, whether as an activist
or through a career in public service?
Day of Caring
Day of Caring 2010-present
This annual volunteer event is held near the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, to
remember those who lost their lives, commemorate the volunteers and heroes who responded
to the events that day, and promote community spirit and development through over
100 service programs. BU supports this initiative that provides great benefit to our
community and in the past, our University President has authorized employees to participate
without charging vacation time to attendance records.
CHOW Walk 2010-present
Binghamton University's Center for Civic Engagement and the Broome County Council
of Churches host an annual Hunger Walk to raise awareness for the Community Hunger
Outreach Warehouse (CHOW), a philanthropic organization that aims to feed the hungry
in the Binghamton area. Many volunteers staff the Walk each year, and the Center for
Civic Engagement helps to recruit and coordinate all of them. Volunteers help with
event set-up, registration and clean-up, and serve as both crossing guards and marshals
to ensure the safety of walkers.
The 2012 Presidential Election
Tuesday, November 6, 2013
Starting in September, students and staff organized events such as voter registration
drives, political talks, forums, and roundtables, concerts and more. Everything culminated
in the Tuesday, November 6th General Election, where students gathered by the hundreds
to vote in the Old Union Hall. To see the full list of events held between September
and election day, visit our 2012 election website. As detailed in Political Science professor Jonathan Krasno's report, 1,719 campus residents voted in the three Vestal precincts that contain Binghamton
University's six residential colleges, up 32% from 1,303 in the 2008 Presidential
Speed Dating for Service
The Speed Dating for Service event provided local organizations with the opportunity to
forge a sustainable partnership with a Binghamton University student organization.
During the event, students and organizational representatives met for brief periods
of time (4-6 minutes) to help identify the best match based on service interests.
The idea was that a long-term sustained partnership could lessen the amount of time
and effort spent each semester trying to identify and recruit organizations with which
to work. This gained time would be better spent implementing service activities, developing
projects, and conducting fundraisers.
Several Binghamton University student organizations have already developed sustainable, meaningful,
and successful relationships with nonprofit organizations throughout the community.
For example, the Boys and Girls Club Mentors student group and the Boys & Girls Club
of Binghamton received a $15,000 grant from the Newman's Own Foundation as a result of
their strong partnership, which has played an important role in increasing the capacity
of the organization.
Peru Service-Learning and Language Immersion Program
This study abroad summer program has been organized through a collaboration of the Center
for Civic Engagement, the Master of Public Administration Department in the College
of Community and Public Affairs, and the Office of International Programs. It will
combined a course at Binghamton University with 2-3 weeks of on- site language immersion and
service-learning in Peru. The 6 credit Binghamton University course linked to this
experience abroad in Peru provided an opportunity for students to learn about the dynamics
of local development with a focus on the Andean Region in Latin America. It situated
local-development practice and its relationship to "sustainable communities" which
emphasized the interconnection between environmental issues, economic viability, social
equity as well as cultural identity.