The five SUNY campuses on Long Island made an appeal to the governor’s office for funding on Wednesday when a panel led by SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and the campus presidents hosted the SUNY Showcase in the Wang Center.
Long Island is one of the 10 regions that will be competing for, as Zimpher put it, “millions and millions of dollars” in funding as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s regional economic development plan.
Zimpher and the five presidents each spoke on behalf of SUNY and Long Island, although Zimpher plans on holding similar events with SUNY schools in each of the other nine regions.
Shaun McKay, Suffolk Community College’s President, said he was excited about the $135 million in new infrastructure coming to his campus. “That’s what it’s really about,” he said, “jobs.”
McKay was joined by President Samuel Stanley of Stony Brook, President Calvin Butts of Old Westbury, President Hubert Keen of Farmingdale and President Donald Astrab of Nassau Community College.
Small displays staffed by professors, faculty and graduate students, each one featuring an attention-grabbing program hosted at one of the universities, filled the Wang Center’s three major lobbies.
One display showed a compost heap while the display next to it allowed attendees to operate a flight simulator used in an aeronautics program.
While the Chancellor and presidents emphasized their ability to make good use of funding to their audience of Long Island-based state politicians, the staffs at many of the booths didn’t want to talk about attracting state dollars.
“We’re just letting the public know what we have,” said Andrea Daly, a nurse in Stony Brook University Hospital’s CTIC unit. She said that fund raising was not the reason she and her team were demonstrating the pacemaker. A number of other tables expressed a similar sentiment.
Some display teams even seemed to have a separate motive of their own.
“We’re looking for potential bone marrow donors,” said one hospital employee, pointing attendees to a table staffed by doctors with cheek swaps and donor forms.
The Dean of International Academic Programs and Services, Dr. William Arens, said that Stanley’s office asked him to present at the showcase. “SUNY knows that we are a major player in international affairs,” he said, echoing Stanley’s talking points.
The presidents stressed that improvements to their schools would reverberate beyond Long Island. “SUNY and Stony Brook are interested in being global universities,” said Stanley.
“Once you reinvigorate the State of New York,” said Butts of the regional economic development plan, “you invigorate the rest of the country.”