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Reaching out to help others

As a student at Binghamton, David Byrnes quietly set about helping fellow students. As a Discovery Adviser and High Hopes training coordinator, he devoted a big portion of every day to reaching out to other undergraduates.

“He’s reserved, but he brings a lot of reason and rationale when he does assert himself,” says Scott Bennett, coordinator of Discovery advisers. “He exudes openness and he’s a really active listener. He’s approachable and genuinely compassionate and empathetic.”

Byrnes grew up in Port Chester and majored in math, and is currently pursing a degree in counseling at Hunter College.

As a Binghamton student, Byrnes joined High Hopes, a crisis intervention and information hot line, when he was a sophomore. As a junior, he was in charge of training other student volunteers to respond to callers’ concerns about sexuality, drugs and other topics.

“It was just a way to help people,” Byrnes says. “I learned how to deal with a problem in a more helpful way.”

Byrnes also was the DA for a special floor in Mohawk Hall devoted to fostering friendships among students of different nationalities that housed about a third American, a third students from the Turkish dual-diploma program and a third other international students.

“I tried to target the international students and make them feel more welcome,” Byrnes says. The group’s biggest challenges seemed to be homesickness and U.S. history, he says.

Byrnes continued to take an active interest in other cultures. He minored in Italian, in part because his grandparents are from Italy, and studied abroad in London as well.

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Last Updated: 2/11/10