Center for Civic Engagement News, Events, and Photos

CHOW Holds Walk to Fight Hunger

Hundreds showed up to the 30th annual CHOW (Community Hunter Outreach Warehouse) Hunger Walk on the Binghamton University campus on October 21st. CHOW is an organization which annually provides thousands of individuals and families with food, and this year's walk aimed to raise $50,000 for just that purpose, explained CHOW Director, Deacon Ed Blaine.

Many volunteers are required to 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. Over 133 volunteers were recruited through the CCE this year.

The actual walk itself, which many students took part in, started behind the East Gym, and continued through the Nature Preserve and back again, totaling 2.5 miles. Sodexo provided refreshments for the walkers who finished, and Engaged Entertainment provided music. Deacon Blaine promises that the funds raised will be released in several days. CHOW operates within the Broome Country Council of Churches and is located at 3 Otseningo Street in Binghamton.

You can make contributions to CHOW by calling (607) 724-9130.

Binghamton University Road Map Team Invites Community to Participate in Survey

Binghamton University's Community Engagement Road Map Team has decided to roll out an online survey for members of the community to weigh in on the team's strategic plan, starting on October 18th.

The new Road Map initiative was started by University President, Dr. Harvey Stenger, and is meant to provide for the structured growth of the school moving forward. The Road Map initiative consists of nine teams made up of students, faculty and community leaders. The nine teams' foci include Philanthropy, Diversity and Inclusiveness, Creative Activities and Research, Infrastructure, Student Success, Rankings and Reputation, Global Engagement, Community Engagement and Advanced Learning. Each team is required to create a budget proposal which highlights their ideas for the future. In December, the proposals will be finalized and will come to decide how the University will make future budgeting decisions.

The Community Engagement Team (of which Dr. Allison Alden, CCE Director, is a part) who created the survey, finalized both five-year and 20-year statements which propose a vision for the future of Binghamton University. The five-year statement proposes that the University will "enable commitment to community engagement through curricular activities, outreach, and partnerships" while the 20-year vision is hopes that the University will exemplify "mutually beneficial civic, social, cultural and economic engagement with the local state, national and global communities."

Using the survey responses of community members, the Community Engagement team hopes to develop ideas to implement at Binghamton University.

You can access the Community Engagement Team's survey here. The survey will close on Friday, November 2nd

Binghamton University Forum: President Stenger Discusses Community Engagement

This article appeared in Pipedream on October 12, 2012. You can read the full article here.

On Thursday, October 12th, 2012, University President Harvey Stenger held the second of three forums which help outline his Road Map to Success. Thursday's forum focused on Community Engagement team, one of the nine Road Map team themes.

President Stenger's Road Map manual states that the Community Engagement team's aim is to "define 'community' and 'engagement' more specifically while brainstorming ways to increase Binghamton University involvement in the community", a goal which coincides with the Center for Civic Engagement's mission.

President Stenger started the forum by telling all attendees, which included Victor Yang, one of the Center for Civic Engagement's AmeriCorps VISTAs and a member of the University's Veterans Affairs department, that the goal was to come up with ideas to help Binghamton play a bigger role in the community.

"We're looking for ideas, we're looking for thoughts, we're looking for answers to how we can do things better," President Stenger explained. "Why don't we, as a university, decide for ourselves what the premier public university should be in the 21st century? Let's define that, and let's find a way to get from here to there."

Following his statements, the attendees were placed in groups of five to discuss their ideas. Each group was supplied with a large pad of paper and colored markers to jot down their thoughts.

The conversation reached across multiple spectrums, from students' perceived lack of opportunities to engage with the City of Binghamton, to the difficulty of getting from place to place without a car.

The Center for Civic Engagement's Graduate Assistant, Alison Handy (also a student in the MPA program), weighed in on the issue of transportation as well. "I think transportation is a challenge for students, especially in terms of getting outside of the immediate areas that the blue buses take students to.

Henry Aery, a Sophomore at Binghamton University summed up the event: "Whether the speaker was a student, professor, ResLife representative, CCE worker or the President himself, ideas were brought to the table that challenged others to think critically about the impact, plausibility and effectiveness of that idea."

CCE AmeriCorps VISTAs Featured as Graduates Staying in Binghamton

The Center for Civic Engagement's very own AmeriCorps VISTAs Pat Madej and Victor Yang were featured on Fox 40 HD News on October 10th, 2012, in a story about Binghamton graduates finding work opportunities in Binghamton.

Madej, a VISTA working to coordinate a Youth Engagement Program with Cornell Cooperative Extension and Hinman College which aims to improve Binghamton High School student graduation rates, said that while many people who graduate from Binghamton University "just choose to go back home or go off to somewhere else... a lot of them might not know about the opportunities that are here in Binghamton."

AmeriCorps VISTA, Victor Yang, whose project focuses on providing services to Veterans at Binghamton University and the surrounding area, agreed. "There's a great community there that unfortunately is a little bit depressed right now. I think it's a great opportunity for graduates like myself to stay and help." Yang also added that he finds it "disappointing more people don't stay and help out" as he felt the community in Binghamton and the surrounding areas offered him much during his time at Binghamton University.

While there are many theories as to why graduates don't end up settling in the area, the job market is the likeliest culprit. In August 2012, Binghamton's unemployment rate was 8.9 percent, up from 7.9 percent in August of 2011. Additionally, the numbers show that Binghamton's per-capita income was just over $24,000 in 2011, below both the national and New York state averages. While this may be the case, both Madej and Yang believe that there are more opportunities on the way.

Binghamton University Research Conference: New Thoughts About Causes, Prevention & Treatment of Childhood Obesity

Binghamton University, Conversations in the Disciplines, and the Binghamton Biomedical Research Group jointly hosted a Research Conference on New Thoughts About Causes, Prevention & Treatment of Childhood Obesity April 27 and 28 at the Binghamton Riverwalk Hotel and Conference Center. This conference aimed to provide a venue for scholars, service practitioners and health professionals who study and address the incidence of obesity in children to share their knowledge from the perspective of their respective disciplines. The goal of the conference was to help all participants arrive at a more comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon of childhood obesity and its important implications so that they are better able to collaborate on developing community-based solutions.

For more information, see coverage from Channel 34, Fox 40 and WBNG 12 Action News.

Binghamton University's SUNY Vines places second in Newman's Own Foundation Campus Community Service Challenge

The Center for Civic Engagement is proud to announce that SUNY VINES (Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments) and its partner organization, VINES (a program of Earth Day Southern Tier) has placed second in the Newman's Own Foundation Campus Community Service Challenge with an award of $15,000. This award will help SUNY VINES for VINES to develop sustainable urban gardens in Binghamton and educational programming for youth. This is Binghamton University's second year in a row as a top three finalist.

Photograph taken by Steve McLaughlin, America East Conference. 

CCE Featured in Spotlight on Members - New York Campus Compact Weekly Newsletter

Read the entire article in the Weekly Newsletter here.

The Center for Civic Engagement was featured in the New York Campus Compact Weekly Newsletter on February 24th, 2012. The CCE served to coordinate flood recovery activities in the aftermath of the flood that devastated the Southern Tier in September 2011. First, the CCE launched a flood recovery website that contained numerous ways people could support flood victims from both on-campus, as well as in the community. Special flood recovery e-newsletter editions were distributed to thousands on campus. CCE worked with dozens of student groups, academic departments, and offices to set up fund-raisers and resource drives to replace the clothes, food, toys, coats and other items lost to flood waters.

Through the coordinating efforts of the Center for Civic Engagement, Binghamton University responded immediately when our community was devastated by a natural disaster. We are pleased that our staff, students, and faculty were present and ready to assist when our community needed us most.

Aftermath of the Floods (From Inside Binghamton University)

Students Volunteer with Flood recovery

One month after floods devastated communities in the Southern Tier, Binghamton University students, faculty, staff and alumni continue to provide support to those affected – and to learn from the experience.

Whether it has come from individuals, student organizations, performances at the Anderson Center for the Performing Arts, visits by alumni during Homecoming Weekend, collections in departments and offices on campus or other initiatives, money has been raised, supplies have been delivered and volunteers have grabbed gloves and shovels to help with cleanup.

The Center for Civic Engagement began serving as a clearinghouse for volunteer efforts almost immediately, and continues in that role. Director Allison Alden sees a long road ahead. "I want to emphasize that we will continue to be busy for weeks," she said. "It’s clear that it will take a long time for us to recover and rebuild and I see students playing a very vital role. “There are a lot of students helping," she added. "We maintain an extensive database and within the first few days of the flooding, about a thousand students asked to be added to our e-newsletter (there are now over 3,500 subscribed)."

Alden, who herself could not get to campus for several days after the flood, said the center was fortunate to have its infrastructure in place to establish solid communication with potential volunteers. "The fact that we had our website ready meant we could share information immediately," she said. "And we update it daily with new information. We’ve been getting over 1,000 hits a day, and when we put out our e-newsletter, it spikes even higher."

The center also gets calls from the community and is in regular contact with outside agencies such as the Red Cross and other non-profits. “We probably still have one of the most accurate websites around. I see our role as managing information, making sure information is available and working closely with student groups who want to do something and don’t know how.

“We guide them and mentor them through it,” she added. "It’s really amazing how our students step up. They couldn’t all help at the Events Center when it was a Red Cross shelter, but they didn’t give up. It’s just amazing to see them want to make a difference − and that will continue."

Course Developed to Respond to Flooding (From YNN)

Although the doors to its shelter have closed, Binghamton University is still helping out in the flood relief effort.

"Community in Recovery" is the title of a new internship course being offered by BU. The course runs through November 16th and will discuss a variety of issues related to the flood, including the psychological, economic and environmental impacts of the disaster.

Along with the educational component of the course, students will also be required to provide hands-on relief.

"The other part of the course is that they provide 30 hours of service directly to the community to help us recover from the flood. We have 50 students enrolled, so that's quite a few hours," said Allison Alden, BU Civic Engagement Director.

Anyone not registered to take the course for credit is welcome to sit in on the seminars. They run every Wednesday through November 16th at 6 p.m. at Binghamton University's Academic A Building.

CHOW Hunger Walk 2011

CHOW Hunger Walk 2011

Hundreds participated in the CHOW Hunger Walk on October 16th 2011 on the Binghamton University Campus, sponsored by the Broome County Council of Churches to raise money and donations for CHOW. See photographs by Jonathan Cohen, University Photographer in a slideshow on our Flickr.

CCE Featured on University's Real-to-Reel Series

This recent Real-to-Reel segment was filmed at CCE's inaugural Showcase of Community Opportunities event in September, which brought over 500 students and nearly 100 community organizations, student groups and faculty to the Mandela Room to display their various experiential learning, internship, and volunteer opportunities.

Students help raise funds for ACA Memorial Park Fund

On April 30, 2011, the Center for Civic Engagement, along with Sodexo co-sponsored a food and music festival that was led by several Greek student groups. The goal of the festival was to help raise money for the construction of ACA Memorial Park Fund, which will be built to celebrate the lives of the victims of the shooting that took place at the ACA about two years ago.

The event was held in the Dickinson Amphitheater on campus, and it included an international food fair and entertainment from student bands and acapella groups like The Binghamtonics, The Mad Hatters and Anything Goes. The event also included a silent auction and a drawing for more than five hundred dollars in prizes donated by local restaurants, clothing stores and hair salons. This Fund Fest raised nearly $1,000.

To view the photo gallery, click here.

Nearly 200 Student Volunteers Help Make 28th Annual CHOW Walk “One of the Best.”

A Group of CHOW Walk Volunteers with CCE Director, Allison Alden

On October 18th, 2010, the Binghamton University Center for Civic Engagement partnered with the Broome County Council of Churches Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW) staff to organize and carry out the annual CHOW Hunger Walk. Nearly 200 students volunteered throughout the day to help coordinate the event. Approximately 1000 walkers turned out to participate and over $55,000 was raised to support the work of CHOW, an increase of $13,000 from last year’s event. Deacon Edward Blaine, Director of CHOW commented that it was “one of the best” ever. Additionally, over 1,600 pounds of food items were collected. These donations will support the continuation of CHOW’s role as a food distributor to over 35 local pantries. To learn more about the work of CHOW and how to get involved, click here.

View the CHOW Hunger Walk 2010- Photo Gallery

Over 500 BU Students Attend Inaugural Showcase of Community Opportunities

Showcase 2010

On September 21st, nearly 100 community organizations, student groups, and faculty displayed their work at the Showcase of Community Opportunities organized by Binghamton University’s Center for Civic Engagement. This attracted over 500 students to the Mandela room to see what volunteering and other experiential learning options the campus and community have to offer.

Diverse groups of students met with the leaders of community organizations such as the Family Enrichment and the American Civic Association. Many students were also drawn to the tables of service- oriented Sororities and Fraternities, as well as student groups such as Circle K and the Student Volunteer Center.

Campus staff and faculty members also displayed information about exciting opportunities for community-based research and service-learning courses that involve students in community settings.

For a complete list of displayers that attended and their contact information, click here.
Showcase of Opportunities 2010- Photo Gallery

BU Volunteers Make a Difference on 2010 Day of Caring

Day of Caring HCA Mural

Over 100 students, staff, faculty, and alumni participated in the 2010 United Way Day of Caring that took place throughout the Greater Binghamton community on September 10, 2010. Even though the University was on break and classes were not in session, Binghamton students were still out in full force as volunteers were sent to a number of different charities and nonprofit organizations to do clean-up work, maintenance projects and other activities. Pictured here is a group of Binghamton students, who volunteered their time help paint a mural at the Handicapped Children's Association in Johnson City. Click below to view more photos and video of our Binghamton University volunteers in action.

Day of Caring 2010 - Photo Gallery
BU Volunteers Help Clean Up Broome County - (WBNG-TV Video)

Boys & Girls Clubs Student Mentors Win $15,000 Grant from Newman's Own Foundation!

NOF Award Acceptance

The Binghamton University Boys & Girls Club Mentors student group has placed second in the Newman's Own Foundation Campus Community Challenge and won a $15,000 grant on behalf of the the Boys & Girls Club of Binghamton. This innovative student-run program provides mentors for over 350 children everyday at before and afterschool programs run by the Binghamton Boys & Girls Club in the Southern Tier.Learn more about this student group's efforts in this video

Newman's Own Foundation (NOF) recognizes and honors student groups that are making the world a better place through a demonstrated commitment to philanthropy and community service. NOF sponsored the Campus Community Service Challenge in partnership with the America East Conference (AEC) for the second year. Student groups were encouraged to celebrate their community service work by applying with a nonprofit partner for a grant. Last year a BU student group was awarded $7,500 on behalf of A Room to Heal. The application process was managed here on campus by the CCE. For more details on the NOF visit their website.

BU Grad Student Nominated for Students-in-Service Award

Binghamton University graduate student Moshe Roberts has been nominated for a Students in Service Award for his community work with the Boys and Girls Club of Binghamton. Support Moshe's efforts and vote today to help his chances of capturing a SISA scholarship!

Project Summary:
Moshe recruited, trained and background checked over 150 student volunteers to mentor underprivileged children at 10 before and afterschool programs run by the Binghamton Boys & Girls Club throughout the Southern Tier of New York. The volunteers mentor over 350 K-12 children every day, helping with homework, art, sports and personal development.

Many of our youth live in poverty and do not get the help they need at home. The kids are reading at higher levels than before, finishing their homework, saying “please” and “thank you” and behavioral incidents have dropped dramatically in just 2 years since the “B&GC Volunteer Program” began!

Screening of 'The Lottery' Brings Discussion of Education Reform to Campus

Photo - Graham

The critically-acclaimed documentary, The Lottery, which follows four inner-city families betting on a long shot by entering their children into a charter school lottery, was recently screened on campus. About 90 people - a group including alumni, current students and members of the local community - watched the film and took part in a discussion of the movie and future directions for public education.

Dahlia Rissman Graham '06, coordinator of the documentary's nationwide campus tour, led the discussion. The event was sponsored by the Alumni Association, Graduate School of Education and Center for Civic Engagement.

CCE News Archive

CCE featured in President's Quarterly Report (December 31, 2014)
CCE featured in Dean's Message to Parents (Parent Connect, June 11 Edition)
CCE receives SUNY Social Media Innovation Award (Inside BU, 6/15/11)
Local Program gives Technology Access (YNN, 6/6/11)
Recycled Parts to Further Computer Literacy (Press & Sun-Bulletin, 6/3/11)
Fundraising gap closing for ACA memorial park in Binghamton (Press & Sun-Bulletin, 6/2/11)
Day of Action Promotes Community Service (BU Pipe Dream, 5/10/11)
Binghamton University Helps ACA Park Fund (WBNG-TV, 4/30/11)
Campus Festival to Help Raise Funds for ACA (BU Pipe Dream, 4/29/11)
BU Students Organize Fundraising Fair for ACA Memorial (NewsChannel 34, 4/25/11)
Center for Civic Engagement Hosts Open House (NewsChannel34, 4/7/11)
Four Faculty Members to be Named Community Scholars (Inside BU, 4/13/11)
Boys & Girls Club Partnership Wins $15,000 (Inside BU, 3/29/11)
Alumna Leads On-Campus Discussion of Education Reform (BU Alumni Connect, 3/24/11)
$15,000 Grant to Aid Binghamton Mentoring Program (Press & Sun-Bulletin, 3/7/11)
CCE Featured on Real-to-Reel Series (BU Communications & Marketing, 2/1/11)
Donate Your Old Computers to Bridge the Digital Divide (YNN, 1/18/11)
Green' Use for Old Computers (Press & Sun-Bulletin, 1/18/11)
BOCES Affiliate Elects Board Members (Press & Sun-Bulletin, 1/3/11)
BU Students Win Grant for Catholic Charities (WBNG-TV, 12/15/10)
CCE Featured at Binghamton University Forum Event (News Channel 34, 11/24/10)
Local Group Works to Expand Computer Access for All (Press & Sun-Bulletin, 11/21/10)
What You Don't Know Can't Help (BU Free Press, 11/11/10)
Hunger Walk Brings in $55k (Press & Sun-Bulletin, 10/24/10)
28th Annual CHOW Hunger Walk Takes Over Binghamton University (Fox 40, 10/18/10)
Binghamton University CHOW Walk Photo Gallery (BU Facebook Page, 10/18/2010)
Hundreds to Walk to Put Meals on the Table (WBNG, 10/17/10)
Center for Civic Engagement Feature (News Channel 34, 9/16/10)
Center Provides Opportunities for Student Volunteers (BU Pipe Dream, 9/14/10)
Day of Caring Volunteers Featured in BU's Photo of the Day (BU Communications & Marketing, 9/13/10)
BU Volunteers Help Clean Up Broome County (WBNG, 9/10/10)
BU Makes an Impact During 2010 Day of Caring (News Channel 34, 9/10/10)
Center for Civic Engagement Names Director (BU Communications & Marketing, 3/18/10)


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Last Updated: 7/31/15