This past Sunday, local businesses from the Binghamton area set up tables in the Appalachian Collegiate Center, Mountainview College’s dining hall, in an effort to educate students about life outside of campus.
While Binghamton-based band Voodoo Highway played live music, organizations including the Ross Park Zoo, BC Rollers, the Roberson Museum and Science Center and Kopernik Observatory offered pamphlets and information about their role in the community. The Binghamton Bike Share signed students up for free bike rentals and the Center for Civic Engagement connected students with opportunities to volunteer.
The Binghamton Expo was coordinated by Alex Moehring, a junior double-majoring in English and human development. After taking the class “The Binghamton Microcosm,” which teaches students how to connect to the Binghamton area through student-initiated projects, Moehring said she was influenced by the possibilities of getting involved in the community.
“The purpose of today’s event is to show Binghamton students that there is a lot more to Binghamton than State Street,” Moehring said.
According to Moehring, the class showed students more about the Binghamton area and introduced different ways to get involved in the community. The exposition was a way to introduce these ideas to the whole student body, particularly freshmen who are new to it all.
Kevin Wright, a professor in the human development department and one of the professors who taught the class, said he encouraged Moehring to put on this event.
“We really go to great lengths to say welcome to Binghamton University,” Wright said. “But we never tell you what its like where you landed, you know? And students are fairly good at finding out State Street, but beyond that, what’s here for recreation, for internships, so if we can start getting people acquainted then hopefully they will benefit from that.”
Roy Williams, who represented the Kopernik Observatory, said that he was happy for the chance to tell students about the programs they offer.
“We’re just trying to tell students what’s available,” Williams said. “We’re trying to get more students up here and show them the observatory.”
Accordingn to Moehring, Sunday’s event will serve as a prototype for future events. She said that it was important to continue conversations between students and off-campus business representatives.
“Honestly even just them talking to these people, engaging with them, that’s plenty for me,” Moehring said. “I think that would be fantastic, they have a cool conversation here and that leads to an internship, even if it doesn’t lead to that, just seeing them talk to people here and then making connections.”
Students at the event said that the opportunity to engage with businesses they may not know about otherwise was beneficial.
“I think it’s really cool how there’s a lot of local businesses and stuff, I really can get involved,” said David Hamel, a freshman majoring in computer science.
Talia Ditkoff, an undeclared freshman, said that the event encouraged her to visit more of the local community.
“It was very informative and I learned a lot about what’s going on outside of campus,” Ditkoff said. “I feel compelled to leave campus now and explore the rest of Binghamton.”