Lawyer, professor, blogger and author Perry Binder, a Binghamton University alumnus, recently published a new book and blog hoping to give freshmen and sophomores advice on surviving college.
Binder graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. His book, “99 Motivators for College Success,” is based on his blog, advice columns he has written and his own college experiences.
He said he began blogging in 2009 as an extension of classes he teaches at Georgia State University.
“My posts all deal with education or the law, and range from social justice issues (for example, Lessons of Justice: Grandpa versus Big Coal) to the ridiculous (#Top10 Hashtags that Your #Professors Should Follow) to college student advice (10 Tips for Picking a Career Path in College),” Binder wrote in an email to Pipe Dream.
Binder’s first book, “Unlocking Your Rubber Room,” is about the humorous side of law and how ordinary people can use the law to their advantage.
“While it was fun and cool to write about what goes on in my class, that book made me think back to my own college experience and how intimidated I was by my professors as a 16-year-old freshman at Binghamton,” Binder said. “That was the inspiration for writing ‘99 Motivators for College Success’ (2012).”
Many of the tips and stories Binder writes about in his new book are anecdotes from his time at Binghamton.
“For example, my ‘welcome to college’ moment occurred when I got a C-minus on my very first English paper,” Binder said. “It probably didn’t help matters that the prior week, I got a mini-helicopter toy from a Dickinson [Community] dining hall Cap’n Crunch cereal box, and launched the copter in class. That sucker circled the classroom and soft crashed on the C-minus giving English prof’s head. She was actually very cool about it, and I’m in touch with her to this day.”
He said many of the lessons he learned from his Binghamton professors continue to inspire him.
“I was a Poli Sci major and my favorite prof was Professor Andrew Milnor,” Binder said. “In one of his seminars, we studied the political struggle inherent in organizing poor communities. That class humbled me, helped me in the abstract when I taught for three years in a low-income Hialeah (FL) community, and remains with me today.”
He said some of his most cherished Binghamton memories are going to school with his best friend, meeting his roommate of four years and “living as a freshman with the greatest group of characters on 3rd floor Endicott.
“In the days before a TV in every dorm room, about 30 of us would watch Twilight Zone at midnight every night in the Endicott basement,” Binder said. “Also, senior year when Shot Night was banished from the Bingham Basement (drinking age was 18 back then), my animal house at 24 Mill Street was honored as host for a night.”
After graduating from Binghamton and earning his law degree from University at Buffalo, Binder decided to move to Miami.
“I went to Miami after SUNY Buffalo Law School, not to practice law, but to be the next Jerry Maguire. (and to thaw out after seven Bing/Buff winters!)” he wrote. “I was on the local NBA subcommittee to bring a team to Miami (which is how we got The Heat), repped a minor league hockey team, and interviewed athletes on a sports radio show (‘Love of the Game’).”
But Binder said he was disappointed by the lack of ethics in the sports agency field.
“So then I was left to just practice law without much career direction,” he said.
Binder claims he found his true calling at age 26 when he became an adjunct professor.
“Trying to inspire students that first day of class was terrifying and tougher than any judge or opposing counsel.” he said. “But I was hooked from that day forward.”