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Community Connections

Faculty, staff make a difference in Greater Binghamton

University faculty and staff members contribute to a variety of Greater Binghamton organizations. Some use talents also on display in their day jobs; others say their offcampus activities are a chance to exercise a completely different side of themselves.

The following profi les illustrate just a couple of the ways in which the University community is a tremendous resource for our community at large.

Future installments of this feature will highlight other employees’ contributions. Do you know of another faculty or staff member making a difference in the Southern Tier?

E-mail or call 777-6626.


Andrew Perry has discovered new places throughout the Northeast with the help of the Triple Cities Hiking Club.

“I’ve always enjoyed hiking and the outdoors,” he said. “I’d much rather hike around for three hours than go to the gym.”

The group offers challenging hikes most Saturdays and easier ones on Sundays as well as special events such as banquets and trips over long weekends. The club also maintains 43 miles of the Finger Lakes Trail.

Perry goes most Sundays and also belongs to a subset of the club that hikes on Wednesday evenings, complete with fl ashlights. Sometimes his wife, a local schoolteacher, comes along.

Rain, snow and mud are no obstacles for these hikers.

“There really is no such thing as bad weather,” Perry said. “Unless the county closes the roads

Andrew Perry enjoys outings with the Triple Cities Hiking Club in
, we’ll go.”

Perry, who joined the club in 1997, now serves as its treasurer. He said the club has 250 to 300 members, who pay dues of just $5 a year. Several other faculty and staff members belong to the group.

Some of the hikers are environmentalists; others are naturalists or geologists.But most are just interested in enjoying the outdoors and meeting new people, Perry said. He guesses that people in their 50s make up the biggest group in the club, though people of all ages come for the hikes.

“There’s some great role models for aging,” Perry said, mentioning one man who’s nearing 90 and still active in the club.

Perry, assistant director of libraries for systems, is on leave this year doing special projects for libraries throughout SUNY. The Lehigh Valley native has worked at Binghamton for 18 years.

“The work I do is very technical,” he said. “It’s all in the virtual world. You
need the real world to balance it all.”

Day job: Assistant director of libraries for systems
Off-campus group: Triple Cities Hiking Club
Get involved:


Steven Scalet delivers food to senior citizens every Wednesday through Meals on Wheels.

“I find it’s a wonderful way to get outside of yourself with a very small time commitment,” he said.

Scalet, who began volunteering for Meals on Wheels while he was in graduate school, has devoted about two hours a week to the local organ

Steven Scalet shares a word with Hazel Sabine while delivering a hot meal to her at
ization during the past three years. Most volunteers are retirees, he said, and there’s an especially great need for help in the winter after the snowbirds head South.

His route, on Chenango Street in Binghamton, includes 12 to 15 stops. A few of the people he visits are in their 90s. He enjoys spending a little time with them and fi nds it a pleasant contrast to the time he spends on campus with young people.

“What it does, in effect, is allow elderly people to remain in their homes, sometimes quite longer than they could otherwise,” said Scalet, 35, of Binghamton. “I find it to be a fantastic community endeavor.” Scalet delivers hot and frozen meals and said he’s never heard a complaint about the quality of the food.

Like many volunteers, Scalet said he finds the time he puts in rewarding. “There’s something energizing about the sense of community spirit among the people there,” he said.

Scalet, who came to Binghamton in 1999, holds a bachelor’s degree from Franklin & Marshall College as well as master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Arizona. His specialty is political philosophy.

Scalet said faculty members’ schedules are uniquely suited to this kind of volunteer work. “For very little time commitment, you can have a big impact,” he said. “It makes me a believer in services to the elderly, that for little cost you can have such an effect on their quality of life.”

Day job: Assistant professor of philosophy and economics
Off-campus group: Meals on Wheels
Get involved: 778-6206
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Last Updated: 10/14/08