Being in College is more than just knowing the University

Going into college, I didn’t think much about what kind of difference I wanted to make in the world, rather the things I wanted to get out of my next four years. Ive come to realize that what is more important is what I give back in my four years, to the community, to the school, and the environment around me.

Luckily, one of the best things on a university campus is the connections that made with the community surrounding it. At Binghamton the CCE, Center for Civic Engagement, has a multitude of different volunteer opportunities for anyone wanting to get involved around the city of Binghamton. Historically, Binghamton had job security and things for children and the community living there, but recently the city has become more and more depressed. The CCE helps put student volunteers around the city and helps to develop better and safer and more consistent programs for the people living around our University. It is increasingly important to get involved in the real world at this time in our lives, to be able to contribute to other peoples happiness and welfare and not just concentrate on what we need to be doing to succeed in the long run.

One of the many things most Binghamton University students don’t know is that 1/3 of the average Binghamton High class isn’t in school on a given day. There are numerous problems with the school systems, and the support of the University only strengthens the growing student population going to school here. The CCE specifically takes students going to College in Binghamton and sets them up to help out the kids living here whether it be in an after school program or an extracurricular activity. There are also groups and activities set up to help the elderly community here, keeping them stimulated and strengthening the community further. Students are able to volunteer at the Discovery Center, where Binghamton Children come to play and learn, or at the Senior Center where there are coordinated Bingo games, for example.

On the CCE website it is very forward and clear as to how to get involved. When you get to the homepage, there is a search button where you can type in any sort of “keyword” and then find volunteer projects that connect you to that. The school makes it incredibly easy and even enticing to help out in the greater Binghamton community. 

At this point in our college careers we are not only trying to prepare ourselves for just a job, but also to live in the ‘real’ world. Helping with the CCE and connecting with people living around the university is a good way to ground yourself and see that there is more to life than just doing basic college endeavors. It is important to give back to the community which is essentially hosting us in their city for four years while we learn and grow.

We found this wonderful Turkish couple feeding pigeons near State Street.  When we told them we wanted to interview them for a blog they started giving us directions to the library.  Despite having trouble understanding each other we spoke for a pretty long time.  When we asked if we could take their picture, the husband pulled out his phone and took a picture of us.  Or he might have been recording us.   "Fifty percent of Binghamton very bad man, fifty percent very nice people."

We found this wonderful Turkish couple feeding pigeons near State Street. When we told them we wanted to interview them for a blog they started giving us directions to the library. Despite having trouble understanding each other we spoke for a pretty long time. When we asked if we could take their picture, the husband pulled out his phone and took a picture of us. Or he might have been recording us.
“Fifty percent of Binghamton very bad man, fifty percent very nice people.”

This guy was very quotable and had an interesting, but tragic story.  He moved here from a dangerous neighborhood in the Bronx thinking Binghamton would be safer, but didn't find that to be the case.  He lost his children but told us "I'm a survivor." He left us with this: "People in Binghamton need to start focusing more on their families and sticking together.  That's the only way they're going to survive in this town." He was wearing glasses that he took off for the picture.  When asked about this he responded, "I'm going for that Clark Kent look."

This guy was very quotable and had an interesting, but tragic story. He moved here from a dangerous neighborhood in the Bronx thinking Binghamton would be safer, but didn’t find that to be the case. He lost his children but told us “I’m a survivor.” He left us with this:
“People in Binghamton need to start focusing more on their families and sticking together. That’s the only way they’re going to survive in this town.”
He was wearing glasses that he took off for the picture. When asked about this he responded, “I’m going for that Clark Kent look.”

What do you like? Absolutely nothing!

"Have you always lived in Binghamton?" "No, it's an interesting story actually.  I lived in Deposit, then I moved to Las Vegas, then I ended up here." "Why did you go all the way from Deposit to Las Vegas?" "To get as far away from Deposit as possible." "Then why did you come back here?" "Abject poverty.  It was literally the only option." "What do you like about Binghamton?" "Absolutely nothing."

“Have you always lived in Binghamton?”
“No, it’s an interesting story actually. I lived in Deposit, then I moved to Las Vegas, then I ended up here.”
“Why did you go all the way from Deposit to Las Vegas?”
“To get as far away from Deposit as possible.”
“Then why did you come back here?”
“Abject poverty. It was literally the only option.”
“What do you like about Binghamton?”
“Absolutely nothing.”