Binghamton in 5: BU + community = success

The Binghamton University College of Community and Public Affairs (CCPA) at the University Downtown Center is committed to the growth and vitality of downtown Binghamton, including being partners in making that a reality. With an investment in social entrepreneurship, CCPA faculty, staff and students are contributing to the public and nonprofit sector through applied research and best practices.

In five years, we hope that the efforts of CCPA’s growing students, faculty and staff contribute to making Binghamton a place where increasing numbers of people choose to live and work.

CCPA makes significant investments in our local community through hundreds of thousands of internship and volunteer hours a year. This, combined with faculty’s applied research, contributes to our local schools, health care, government organizations, nonprofits, and colleges and universities.

For example, faculty and students are involved in the Broome County Promise Zone initiative in collaboration with Broome-Tioga BOCES and the Broome County Department of Mental Health, geared to supporting all public schools in the county in becoming community schools. Binghamton city schools have been actively involved with this effort to make schools the hubs of their communities, where children, families and communities gather beyond school hours to take advantage of needed health and social services, enrichment, recreation and arts programs. In five years, we expect schools will be seen in this light.

In addition to providing programming and services for existing community members, this initiative has the potential to draw professionals and families and to keep Binghamton University alumni in our community. With cutting-edge educational systems, professionals will want to work here, and families will want to send their children to our schools.

The same can be said about our local health care settings. Many students and faculty in CCPA and across the university are involved in developing, implementing and evaluating innovative practices and programs at local hospitals, nursing homes and outpatient settings.

If an alumnus can graduate from Binghamton University and work here implementing state-of-the-art, evidence-based practices, then why would they move to a major metropolitan city for similar opportunities but with twice the pricetag? And if our services are among the best in the country, then as these young professionals age, they have fewer reasons to leave our community — and more reasons to stay.

So, a vision for “Binghamton in 5” consists of our community as a magnet for professionals of all ages and as a place where increasing numbers of the university’s graduates choose to stay and make their home. It’s a place that is known for increasing innovations in business, social entrepreneurship, programs, practices and services. This effort drives up home values (although still keeping them vastly lower than larger cities), and promotes more successful retail endeavors downtown. In summary, “Binghamton in 5” is a go-to place for people to live, raise families, age and engage in innovative career opportunities. Let’s make this so, together.

Dr. Laura Bronstein

Dean of the Binghamton University College of Community and Public Affairs

Note: this post appeared originally September 17, 2014 in the Press and Sun Bulletin

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