Tables filled the University Downtown Center’s lobby Wednesday afternoon as local organizations gathered for the first Community Connections event of the year.
Hosted by Binghamton University’s College of Community and Public Affairs (CCPA), the tabling event catered to undergraduate students studying human development. Victoria Viola, a student assistant for CCPA Career and Professional Services and a junior double-majoring in political science and history, helped organize the event to give students the chance to network and connect with different groups within the community.
“We want to put together these events once a month to reach out to students and make sure they know what’s going on,” Viola said. “Gearing toward CCPA students and human development majors, we help with résumé-building and cover letters, as well as job exploration by getting students to meet with organizations face-to-face through these Community Connections.”
Although it was scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the event saw lower attendance than expected, according to Viola.
“This is our first time organizing the event, it was kind of a test run,” Viola said. “We unknowingly picked a bad time of day — right when classes were going on. Next time, we’re going to schedule it for between classes.”
Organizations at the event included the Broome Community College Career Center, the Crime Victims Assistance Center and the Broome Country Urban League. Many came to reach out to students and educate them on issues, while others offered jobs and internships.
Jolynn Barton, habilitations coordinator for Community Options, Inc., came to the event to educate students about the national agency’s mission to develop housing and employment support for people with disabilities. Both Community Options, Inc. and the Southern Tier Independence Center are offering positions to undergraduate students.
“We’re currently looking for direct support professionals, which is an entry-level position where students would be working one-on-one with individuals who have disabilities,” Barton said. “I worked as a [direct support professional] while I was a full-time undergrad student in the CCPA human development program. It’s super flexible and there’s always room to grow with the company.”
Other organizations came to the event with the intention of making themselves better known by BU students. Maxine Wright, a case manager for the Dean of Students Office, said the C.A.R.E. (Consultation, Assessment, Referral and Education) Team wants students to know about its services.
“We just really wanted students to know that we exist and we do a lot to help out, whether you’re having issues with a roommate or professor, or just looking to chat about something without going through the University Counseling Center,” Wright said. “We’re here to talk to students and offer help whether it’s small questions or bigger problems, they can always come to us.”
According to Viola, Wednesday’s event was the first of many to come, including a résumé-building workshop next month.
“It’s going to be called ‘Fall Back into a Fresh Resume,’ and it’ll be fall themed with hot cider and donuts,” Viola said. “It’s going to be big and really fun, and we’re going to be planning a CCPA mini job [and] internship fair for later in the year.”