When most people think of Binghamton University, I’d venture to guess some of the first things that come to mind are Baxter the Bearcat, Pantone 342 and, of course, our affordable tuition rates. While those are positive things to be associated with, as well as integral parts of our University identity, that list seems to be lacking something.
To me, that something could be anything — an annual event, a philanthropic cause, even a specific sports team — that our entire student body, faculty, staff, alumni, etc. can come together in support of and rally behind.
Why is it that schools all over the country have that one thing they can join together in and rally around, but BU doesn’t? For some schools, it’s an annual event or a sports team — typically a football team — that inspires a shared pride and excitement in students, faculty, alumni, locals, etc.
Though the partying around SUNY Cortland’s annual “Cortaca Jug” game (where the SUNY Cortland’s and Ithaca College’s football teams play each other) has gotten out of control in recent years, it is an annual event that offered both the entire student bodies of SUNY Cortland and Ithaca College — as well as their local communities — a chance to come together and rally around their football teams.
For other schools, it’s a major philanthropic endeavor that brings their student body together, forcing a tangible passion for a common cause, as well as a shared pride for the change college students are capable of making collectively.
Pennsylvania State University’s 45th annual Dance Marathon is a prime example of this, and occurred just this past weekend. The event, hosted by Pennsylvania State University Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils, brought together thousands of students, contributors, etc. who danced for 46 hours, all while raising awareness and donations for pediatric cancer.
This year, the event raised over $10 million for Four Diamonds at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. These types of major events and huge philanthropic undertakings can be seen at countless colleges and universities. They become synonymous with people’s impressions of the schools in which they occur. As we continue to follow the road toward “premier,” BU needs something like this.
In the four years I’ve been a student here, I’ve seen the BU community rally around the fact that we’re “the premier public Ivy” of the Northeast and the best SUNY school.
We’ve come together for exciting and entertaining events, such as University Fest each August, the Homecoming tailgate, [the] soccer game in the fall and Spring Fling every May — but in major, community-binding events, we’re lacking.
I’m not sure what can be done to remedy this situation, but I believe the change has to start with combining the efforts of the powerhouses that exist on this campus, such as the Student Association (SA) and Greek life, for example, to put on major events that individuals, clubs, teams and organizations can all get involved in.
The SA has a huge hand in putting on major (and fun) events each semester, like University Fest and Spring Fling, while BU’s Greek organizations raise thousands of dollars every semester for philanthropies ranging from pediatric AIDS, to breast cancer, to cystic fibrosis.
Imagine if the SA and Greek life came together to put on one big event every year. Almost every student on this campus is involved in some sort of club, team or Greek organization. If this type of event became a reality, it could capture essentially the entire student body working toward, or supporting, a common cause and experiencing an amazing event that only BU is known for.
I realize there are countless other ways for the University community to come together, as well as an innumerable amount of factors inhibiting this from becoming a reality — but the change has to start somewhere.
We have so much more to be proud of and bond over as BU students than Pantone 342.
Giovanna Bernardo is a senior double-majoring in English and political science.