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Binghamton delivers positive messages

By : Katie Ellis

Jozef Sofka, a electrical engineering doctoral student at Binghamton University, demonstrates the Omni Wrist III laser communications technology for Sen. Thomas W. Libous during Advocacy Day.
President Lois B. DeFleur led more than 100 campus leaders, faculty, staff, community members, alumni and students to Albany on Tuesday, April 19, as 14 teams met with legislators throughout the day, bringing with them positive messages about Binghamton initiatives.

Under the umbrella theme of “Binghamton Delivers,” teams thanked legislators for working hard to pass an on-time budget. They also stressed six areas of value that Binghamton brings to the region and state: educational excellence, research initiatives, economic development, innovative technologies, community partnerships and downtown revitalization.

Economic development was foremost in discussions for DeFleur’s team, which included Darryl Wood, campus chapter president for United University Professions; Tyrone Webb, campus president of Civil Service Employees Association Local 648; and Jonah Kimmelstiel, a senior political science major. The team met with Sen. Kenneth LaValle, chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee; Assemblyman Ron Canestrari, chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee; Senate Minority leader David Patterson; and staff from Sen. Joseph Bruno and Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s offices.

“We do economic development in a lot of ways and we’ve really brought it to the fore,” DeFleur told LaValle. “The future lies in the University and working with people and different firms.”

Earlier in the day, DeFleur met with Sen. Thomas W. Libous and taped a segment of his cable access program. The two discussed a number of topics, including the Innovative Technologies Complex, the University’s partnerships with companies including Endicott Interconnect Technologies, the quality of the incoming class, Division I athletics and the state budget.

“The University has seen some tough times over the years and this year we made a commitment to get you back on track to where you need to be,” said Libous. “It’s important because the University is an economic development engine.”

“The assembly was very successful in higher education and some other areas this year,” Canestrari said about the budget. “Timing is important and we have to respond to that, but equally important is content and this year flowed together quite well.”

Kimmelstiel, who created a student think tank to focus on economic development, is working on an Economic Development Administration grant proposal that he hopes will bring as much as $200,000 each year over three years to the Binghamton region. He told legislators that Bing-hamton came to Albany to demonstrate how faculty, staff and students are delivering on a promise to contribute to the community. “We really feel we are the answer,” he said. “Binghamton is a place where you can create your own opportunities.”

As teams criss-crossed the Legislative Office Building (LOB) and Capitol, other staff members staffed the many displays and tables in the concourse and LOB entrance, showcasing University activities and accomplishments.

The event culminated in a reception for legislators and their staffs, hosted by the teams.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08