Buffalo State receives prestigious Civic Engagement Award, ranks in top 100 on various national university lists

Reuben Wolf, Reporter

SUNY Buffalo State will be awarded with The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars’ Civic Engagement Award on Sept. 26.

The award recognizes collegiate institutions that are committed to going beyond the confines of university walls and taking leadership initiative to promote community services. Buffalo State will share the award as one of five universities recognized for their students’ civic leadership, the other four being Marquette University, Purdue University, University of North Carolina- Charlotte and University of San Diego.

“This award is a wonderful affirmation of the many ways Buffalo State connects our campus to the community,” Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner said. “I am proud to have our campus recognized as a leader in the country and within New York state in promoting and implementing strategies that serve to advance our city and beyond.”

Located on the west side of Buffalo, Buffalo State is one of the only state university in the SUNY system to have its grounds in an urban area. The location of the college has put students in close proximity to a community of lower socioeconomic status where they have been able to participate in helping outside organizations such as Journey’s End and UNYTS.

Buffalo State is also instrumental in organizing school-wide community service events such as this past weekend’s Bengals Dare to Care Day, where nearly 600 Buffalo State students, faculty and staff helped provide community service work through over 30 community service agencies.

“An award like this does two things,” said Stephanie Zuckerman-Aviles, Director of the Career Development Center. “It recognizes the hard work that our faculty, students and staff have already done and it motivates, recommits, and excites others to join our efforts.”

This is not the first time Buffalo State has been recognized for its work in community service. In Jan. 2015, Buffalo State became a member of the Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification, which honors colleges for fulfilling their role in promoting community aide and fundraising.

Buffalo State’s civic engagement does not only consist of organized programs outside the college walls. Buffalo State has over 1,700 students involved in 96 service-learning courses offered by the school.

The school’s reach also extends beyond Buffalo. Buffalo State offers an alternative spring break, where students spend spring break providing aid in cities such as Detroit, Baltimore and Boston.

This trip is what Zuckerman-Aviles believes to be the area where Buffalo State students shine the most in terms of service and perhaps contributed the most to receiving the award.

“These trips are so powerful in terms of student dedication and leadership,” Zuckerman-Aviles said. “This is where students really step up.”

The award arrives at a pivotal time for Buffalo State, as they have also just received recent bumps in collegiate national rankings polls from Washington Monthly Magazine and U.S. News. Washington Monthly ranked Buffalo State 26 amongst master’s universities, which is a significant leap from last year’s ranking of 95. The same magazine also ranked Buffalo State 72 on their “Best Bang for the Buck Colleges in the Northeast,” besting 308 other schools. U.S. News ranked Buffalo State at number 110 on their list of Best Colleges in the “Regional Universities North” category.

“There are many aspects that impact overall national ranking,” Conway-Turner said. “But certainly being recognized as a leader in community engagement highlights our campus.”

Buffalo State is known across the state for its dedication to community service and student, staff and faculty dedication to helping the community. Conway-Turner sees getting involved as a necessary function for the college. Even in light of the award, she believes that there is still work that needs to be done.

“My top priorities [as president] are civic engagement within our urban environment, excellence in academic programs and developing socially responsible citizens,” Conway-Turner said. “I believe this recognition will allow our community to view the importance of our engagement and spear us all to continue to deepen our engagement.”

email: [email protected]