**There has been a correction made to this article**
We received a press release from Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo on Saturday Feb 25, 2012 announcing a “Community Conversation About Youth Civic Engagement”. This press release is in regard to the initiatives coming from Assemblywoman Lupardo’s meeting at the White House in January, and discussed with us recently in our interview with her.
The release states, in part,
Community leaders and students will join Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell), Binghamton University’s (BU) Center for Civic Engagement and Broome Community College’s (BCC) Center for Civic Engagement for a dialogue about the role, goals and future of youth civic engagement in the Southern Tier…
The event is by invitation only and is not open to the public.
The upcoming event is the 2nd time that Assemblywoman Lupardo has presented her initiative to integrate initiatives at BU with the community in the Southern Tier. The first was a meeting, also closed to the public, with the Endicott Rotary Club.
The meeting with the Edicott Rotary Club was stated as,
“An initiative spearheaded by Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell), the presentation not only showcases some of Binghamton’s current projects but also serves to demonstrate how the University’s innovative and entrepreneurial spirit impacts the Southern Tier.”
While the potential of the program described to us by Assemblywoman Lupardo in our interview, and in the above quote from the Lupardo website, did sound productive, we have been looking forward to hearing more details. We have been expecting the opportunity to see the details explained to the public, and to gauge their interest. But so far that is not possible.
We must ask the question, if this is about benefits and impact to the community why is it being only discussed with a fraction of that community? Why is the meeting tomorrow only with selected members of the student body and community leaders – whomever that may include. Why have the press, to our knowledge, been kept at arm’s length from the discussions?
Like all residents of the Southern Tier of New York, we want to see improvement in the local economy. We want to help encourage initiatives and draw in new business opportunities. At the same time, we want to provide details on how and when these initiatives will affect the community. Like who specifically will benefit, or if this is more of a trickle down action that will take substantial time to impact residents of the Southern Tier.
We hope that the continued talks by Assemblywoman Lupardo indicate progress. Hope because there is nothing else to go on.
The discussion tomorrow may lead to many things, and it may be the best thing for the Southern Tier since sliced bread. But it is not a “community conversation”. Not when it is an invitation only event. Not when the press are not invited. Not when the apparent focus is on Binghamton University, Broome County College, and their students. Even if you discount the rest of the Southern Tier of NY, that does not even encompass the City of Binghamton’s diverse community.
We invite any and all those participating in the event on Monday Feb 27, 2012, to contact us – or to directly comment here. We encourage their insight and observations. We look forward to sharing any response and details with the Southern Tier community, so that they can truly make this a community conversation.