Along with obtaining knowledge through traditional lectures, class assignments, and textbooks, Buffalo State students have numerous opportunities to learn outside the classroom. These lessons come through extracurricular offerings such as master classes, professional conferences, and campus clubs supporting various majors.
Extracurricular enrichment opportunities, however, have costs—the gasoline required to drive to a conference, for instance, or the stipends paid to professionals conducting master classes.
Through the annual Faculty and Staff Appeal, the campus community can help students with this piece of their education by giving to a department fund. Every academic department on campus has its own fund that can be used for a variety of purposes.
In February, for instance, the Theater Department brought in legendary actor, singer, and dancer Ben Vereen (pictured) for a master class and lunch. Students got to hear a little about his career and witness his critique of a rehearsal for the play, The Brothers Size.
“This provided an invaluable lesson that affected students far beyond his visit,” said Carlos Jones, chair and associate professor of theater. “Bringing in professional actors and directors gives our students a taste of the world outside the campus. We also rely on the department funds to cover production costs like lighting and costumes and paying for musical rights for productions, which can run upward of $5,000.”
Across campus in the Science and Mathematics Complex, students in the Physics Club compare notes on class projects, prepare for upcoming seminars, and discuss career options—while forming friendships in weekly meetings. The 50-some member club, which receives financial support from the Physics Department Fund, promotes both competition and camaraderie among students, said Dermot Coffey, chair and associate professor of physics.
“Physics is a small program and the Physics Club helps strengthen the students’ identification with the department, which supports retention,” Coffey said.
Meanwhile in the Fashion and Textile Technology Department, the department fund goes toward purchasing lab equipment, keeping machines in working order, and supplementing faculty travel to conferences.
“These conferences keep our faculty up to date on the latest research and technology and make their teaching all the more relevant for our students,” said Lynn Boorady, chair and associate professor of fashion and textile technology.
Likewise in Exceptional Education, the department fund enables students and faculty to attend professional development conferences; it also covers the cost of the graduate students’ biyearly symposium.
“In our field, students need to be attending conferences, working in the community, and engaging with individuals with disabilities and their families before they graduate,” said Kevin Miller, chair and professor of exceptional education. “Our department fund is crucial to supplementing what students are learning in the classroom. Through these extracurricular activities, our students develop into more confident and holistic professionals.”
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