Past, present and future Bearcats bundled up on Monday evening and headed to Manhattan’s Bryant Park for a night of ice skating and school pride.
The park was closed to the public from 6-9 p.m. and offered the Binghamton University community the chance to eat, skate and socialize in an indoor tent, for the price of $10.
More than 500 students and alumni, sporting free BU winter hats given upon entry, milled around the heated tent, snacked on nachos and laced up skates in anticipation of hitting the park’s rink. George Kirkup, a senior majoring in political science, said the event encompassed a little of everything.
“I came to ice skate, but it’s important to come to events like this because so many people from Binghamton come to the city after they graduate,” Kirkup said. “It’s good to establish a base of people here.”
Having that base of people in one place was a good opportunity to network, according to Alejandro Ortiz.
“They have so many people here, and it’s fun,” said Ortiz, a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience. “It’s a chance to make connections.”
The event was part of an annual week-long series of events, called Binghamton in the City Week. The week is geared toward engaging all of BU to come together in New York City and enjoy the season students know all too well, said Morgan Kenyon, who works for the Dean of Students Office and was a coordinator for the event.
“So much of the year at Binghamton is wintertime,” she said. “And students say ‘oh I can’t do anything, it’s wintertime.’ That’s always stuck in my head in terms of, let’s take advantage of our natural surroundings and the cold weather, let’s make it a fun thing. Bryant Park offers us a great location where we can have an indoor venue but people can also take part in healthy exercise and winter surroundings.”
The event is a departure from the kind of gatherings that usually happen during Binghamton in the City Week, Kenyon said. Other events include a talk on renting in the city, a seminar on legal writing and Metro Connections night.
“Every other event during the week is open to specific alumni or specific students or specific groups,” she said. “This is the one event that’s open to prospective students, current students, parents, alumni, everybody. We really want to engage friends of Binghamton University.”
Keeping students engaged miles away from campus is important now and in the future, said Vice President for Advancement Jim Broschart.
“All of the events were very well-attended, which goes to show what a strong presence Binghamton has in the New York City metro area,” he said. “We hope to make this an annual event and love nothing more than to see our students and alumni interact outside of campus.”
Aside from the admission fee attendees paid in advance, funding for the event came from various sources such as the Alumni Association, the Dean of Students Office as well as from Road Map to Success funds and contributions from every division on campus, many of which were tabling at the event.
One of these tables was from the Division of Research, which held flyers and information on the school’s current endeavors. Though he came to inform students about the projects being undertaken by BU researchers like the student incubator, Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development Per Stromhaug said he also was looking forward to blowing off some steam.
“We have to go ice skating,” he said. “I’m from Norway, we have to go ice skating.”