“Thank you for this amazing initiative,” said an out-of-the-area Hornet after attending SUNY Broome’s first virtual reunion. Reunion 2021 took place over four Wednesday nights in the month of May. While there was some disappointment that reunion was not able to occur in person, the Office of Alumni Affairs was glad to bring reunion back in some form. Unfortunately, last year the initial pandemic wave hit just as advertising for the reunion was about to launch.
“Reunion 2021 might have been different but I think it had some really positive outcomes,” said Senior Director of Development & Alumni Relations Lisa Schappert. “First, we were able to provide brand-new programs. Second, we realized that we could host online events and do them pretty well. Third, all four of our virtual events allowed alumni to have more focused and robust learning opportunities and conversations with our faculty. Fourth, and this was really important to me, graduates who have moved out of the Binghamton area were able to participate — some for the first time.”
“It was so exciting to see some unfamiliar names and alumni from different states and even from a different country,” Alumni & Development Associate Amber Johnson adds.
Sponsors for Alumni Reunion, including the college’s bookstore and local spiedie experts, made the events special by offering unique prizes. A few offered discounts on purchases for SUNY Broome alumni during the entire month of May.
There were four events for Reunion 2021 and feedback from attendees has been positive. An attendee to the Welcome Back to Campus event noted, “I enjoyed the quiz and learned a few history items that I was unaware of.”
The second event, the Experiencing the Everglades film screening, made a 1980s graduate jealous of those who had been able to go on the trip to Florida but said, “I had a wonderful time learning about it.” Another alumna said, “I have not attended [in-person] alumni events as I live too far away. But I sure enjoyed the Everglades film and would love more like it.” The Office of Alumni Affairs is grateful for the consistent support of the event’s presenters, Dr. Rick Firenze, retired SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor, and alumnus and film-maker Nick Venuti (‘17).
During the Alumni Art Showcase, the third event, a few attendees noted that they enjoyed the different types of art and the opportunity to see it. One graduate said that it was hard to pick a favorite piece since “they all were so outstanding from the quilt design, to artwork, to photography.” The hosts of the evening, Professor Patricia Evans and Professor Hall Groat of the Art & Design department, guided alumni through numerous artistic styles and mediums, and The Office of Alumni Affairs is thankful for their participation. Art from alumni, submitted virtually for the art showcase website, was also available online during the entire month of May.
During the final event of Alumni Reunion, the Department Breakout Session, Professor Maureen Hankin, the Dental Hygiene department chair, gave a short presentation on her program, while at the same time Assistant Professor Leigh Martindale in Criminal Justice was remembering her time as a Broome student, talking about changes in the program and showing a video about the last Mock Disaster. Simultaneously, Associate Professor Robert Lofthouse, Engineering Science & Physics chair discussed the opportunities in engineering and his student’s recent projects.
“We’re really grateful for the support of our faculty. They impact the lives of our students and it’s wonderful when they take the time to connect with our graduates. Sincere thank yous to Professor Maureen Hankin, Assistant Professor Leigh Martindale, and Associate Professor Robert Lofthouse and to those who participated in earlier reunion events, Professor Patricia Evans, Professor Hall Groat, and Dr. Rick Firenze,” said Lisa Schappert. “We 100% could not have done these events without their help.”
“I think that moving forward, there will be more virtual alumni sessions in the future,” said Catherine Williams, the Executive Director of the Broome Community College Foundation. She added, “It’s just a really great and brand-new way to connect with our graduates and something we can do in-between or alongside our in-person alumni events. So, stay tuned!”