"UBThisSummer" to Offer Activities for Entire Community

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: May 6, 2003 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Summer usually is quiet at the University at Buffalo, with most students taking off from classes, and faculty members spending much of their time pursuing their research interests. The campus usually is nearly empty.

But not this summer.

In an attempt to make better use of campus resources during what traditionally has been a slow period, the university will present "UBThisSummer," a series of workshops, lectures, summer camps and programs designed to showcase UB faculty and facilities to the wider community. The initiative, the brainchild of UB Provost Elizabeth D. Capaldi, is being overseen by Sean Sullivan, vice provost for enrollment and planning.

"When I came here, I was struck by the absence of activity in the summer, when the weather is just beautiful," Capaldi says in describing how she came up with the idea for "UBThisSummer."

"I was familiar with programs at other campuses that used the summer months for programs that acclimated accepted freshmen to campus, and also showcased the campus to high school students for recruitment, and provided educational opportunities to the community," she says.

Capaldi notes that while some of the "UBThisSummer" activities will provide revenue for the university, "more importantly, these programs improve our ability to deliver educational and service programs -- two of our main missions."

Kate Ferguson, associate vice provost and director of graduate recruitment services who is leading the marketing effort, says the initiative opens the campus to "a broader community than normally feels comfortable coming to UB by providing programs that are accessible and that are of interest to a general public.

"One of the things that's important to us is to have the Western New York community -- a broader community if we are able to attract people outside of Western New York -- aware of what a vibrant place UB is, and we think summer is a really good time to do that."

Although Ferguson admits it may sound clichéd, she says "UBThisSummer" offers something for everyone.

"The concept is that a 7-year-old can go to soccer camp, her mother can attend a lecture or take a workshop in media design, and her grandmother can participate in the elder enrichment program," she says, noting that there will be activities offered for individuals of all ages.

"Under this theme 'UBThisSummer,' we give people the opportunity to look and think about doing things that they might not otherwise have thought about," like using their lunch hour to attend a lecture, or learning about degree programs or areas of specialization in topics like bioinformatics, she says.

"UBThisSummer" gathers under one "umbrella" many activities that have been on campus for years, such as camps run by the coaches of UB's athletics programs, the traditional summer academic offerings and the annual June in Buffalo new music festival.

But there will be some new programs offered this year as well, Ferguson says. Among them:

o University & the World Lecture Series. Faculty members from across the university will lecture every weekday at noon from June 2 through Aug. 15, except for the week of June 30 through July 4. The topics run the gamut, from the architecture of Buffalo and virgin suicides to dangerous volcanoes and global warming. The lectures are priced at $5 each, or $30 for 10, and include lunch. They are targeted to anyone who is on campus around noontime, and will be particularly attractive for faculty and staff, Ferguson says. "The topics are broad; it's a good way for faculty to talk to an audience they don't normally talk to," she says.

o Career Perspectives. This series is designed to offer information for college students exploring their career options after graduation or persons looking to make a career change. Among the career fields to be addressed are nursing, law, bioinformatics, education and business.

o Elder Enrichment. This five-day series of lectures and tours for seniors ages 55 and older, being held June 15-19, will be sponsored by the School of Nursing. The series will address the general theme of "healthy aging."

o Academic Challenge and Enrichment Program. This program offers conditional admission to UB to students who show potential for academic success, but whose credentials do not allow for regular admission. ACE students must attend and successfully complete the three-week residential summer program offered by the Center for Academic Development Services in order to be admitted to UB. Once enrolled, they receive additional services, including tutoring, peer mentoring and guidance counseling.

"UBThisSummer" also encompasses such regularly scheduled events as a Ray Charles concert and the North American Rock Guitar Competition in the Center for the Arts, as well as summer academic institutes, such as "Reinventing Education: Practical Strategies and Perspectives," to be presented by the Graduate School of Education. "Reinventing Education," which is targeted toward teachers, administrators and counselors in K-12, will feature a series of nationally recognized speakers and workshops. At least 300 educators already have committed to attend the institute, says Ferguson.

Ferguson points out that "UBThisSummer" organizers would like to use this coming summer's effort as a "launching pad."

"We have all kinds of ideas for things that we'd like to do in subsequent summers -- just in looking at what other campuses do and also in responding to what people have expressed an interest in," she says. For example, there is interest in developing more summer academic camps, such as the one operated by UB's Center for Computational Research, for high school students.

Some possibilities might be opportunities for students to conduct lab work with faculty members, or work with UB poets, she says, to allow them "to immerse themselves in a particular subject area over the summer."

Such camps, most likely for high school sophomores and juniors, provide a great resource for the community, as well as a way for UB to attract more talented students as undergraduates.

Prospective students can see UB's resources, interact with faculty, get a sense of the campus and develop a comfort level that may prompt them to attend the university, she says.

Organizers also would like to expand this year's elder enrichment program into a series of three or four.

Both the academic camps and the elder enrichment program are "exposing the campus to groups of people who don't normally come here," she says.

As far as marketing "UBThisSummer," Ferguson says UB hopes to link up with the Buffalo-Niagara Summer-long Sensation tourism campaign -- Buffalo-Niagara region has been designated a summer destination for the "I Love New York" campaign -- since more visitors are expected to come to the area as a result of that advertising effort.

A Web site has been developed -- http://www.UBThisSummer.net -- that provides detailed information on all programs, and the project is being advertised on radio and billboards.

Moreover, brochures have been mailed to 65,000 UB alumni in Western New York to try to bring more alumni back to campus, Ferguson adds.