INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY
Advocacy Day 2006
“We’re here to say, ‘Thank you. Thank you,’” President Lois B. DeFleur told Assemblyman Ron Canestrari, chair of that house’s Higher Education Committee.
Her five-person team, which also included Darryl M. Wood, president of the campus chapter of United University Professions; David W. Lee, president of the campus chapter of the Civil Service Employees Association; Katie Ellis, director of communications; and senior economics major Jason Bronowitz, met with lawmakers and an aide to the governor. More than a dozen other teams fanned out across Albany in an effort to visit as many legislators as possible.
This year’s Advocacy Day theme was Driving Success for New York State, and two exhibits in particular highlighted the concept: a driving simulator from Doron and the Society of Automotive Engineers competition car. Both drew attention from state officials and others who passed through the corridor where numerous displays featured University achievements and research as well as industry partners.
The exhibits and the messages conveyed through the meetings with state lawmake
rs focused on the University’s roles in economic impact, productive partnerships, research initiatives, educational excellence and outstanding outcomes.
DeFleur noted the University is having a successful year on several fronts and has already received more than 25,000 applications from would-be freshmen and transfer students.
“I probably couldn’t get in,” Canestrari joked.
In a meeting with Sen. Kenneth La- Valle, chairman of the Senate’s Higher Education Committee and a Long Island resident, there was more goodnatured humor. This time, the focus was Division I basketball and Binghamton’s rivalry with Stony Brook.
A more serious portion of that meeting focused on Bronowitz’s experiences as an undergraduate and his work as a director of Catalysts for Intellectual Capital 2020, a student-run economic development think tank.
“It’s what education should be, to take ideas and put them to practical use,” LaValle said. “You live in a student world and, in the blink of an eye, you’re going to be in an adult world, participating.”
He said he urges college students to be “bumble bees,” stopping to smell a variety of flowers.
DeFleur agreed that that’s a good idea and noted that Binghamton’s size makes it easy for students to do interdis
ciplinary work. “We are big enough to have the breadth of offerings, but we’re not huge,” she said.
LaValle said he sees the University mentioned frequently in the media. “Binghamton has really cut itself out a great reputation nationwide,” he said.
DeFleur noted that the strategic plan will allow Binghamton to enhance undergraduate education while carving out a niche in cutting-edge research.
Wood’s comments throughout the day echoed that concept. He noted that students at Binghamton don’t just sit back; they get involved and make opportunities for themselves.
“The University takes very seriously its three-part mission teaching, research and service,” Wood told staff members in Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s office.
Jeff Lovell in the governor’s office, like Canestrari and LaValle, complimented the University’s efforts in economic development.
“You all have the most focused agenda in terms of using the university for the traditional educational work and for economic development,” Lovell told DeFleur and her team.
LaValle noted that the University has the advantage of being in a community with a comfortable pace and great people. “The University,” he said, “should be and is part of the economic vitality of that region.”