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One office on Binghamton University’s campus dedicated to doing just that is the Harpur Edge office. The idea for the office came about in the summer of 2014 when then Harpur College Dean Anne McCall suggested creating a space on campus specifically for liberal arts students. With Harpur College being the largest school on Binghamton’s campus with over 9,400 undergraduate students, McCall wanted liberal arts majors to have an office on campus to accommodate their specific needs. That same fall semester, Harpur Edge was able to open its doors due to the generosity of alumni donors.
As their tagline says, the office’s goal is to help “Harpur students take charge of their education and their future.” In order to accomplish this, Harpur Edge has several Signature Programs along with weekly programming.
So, what exactly are these signature programs? Two programs focused on connecting students with alumni are the Liberal Arts to Careers Externship Program (LACE) and the Distance Mentoring Program.
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LACE gives students the opportunity to job shadow alumnus for a 3-5 day period over the winter or summer break so they can see first-hand the day-to-day operations of working in a certain field. This program is perfect for underclassmen who are still deciding on a major to see what kinds of careers are available for liberal arts majors and the see the value of their degree whilst gaining a mentor. The Distance Mentoring Program also connects students with alumni, but in this case virtually. Students can register for access to the application and find alumni for one-on-one mentoring based on their interests.
The next Signature Programs focus on helping students following pre-professional tracks in law and medicine. In collaboration with Harpur Academic Advising administers the Harpur Law Council Pre-Law Public Interest Law Internship Summer Program and the Summer Physician Mentor Program, giving students the opportunity to work alongside attorneys and medical professionals. Another signature summer program is the Dr. Ellyn Uram Kaschak Summer Research Grant which grants one student a $1,500 award to perform summer research in the field of social justice for women and girls.
Lastly, there is the Harpur Fellows Program. This prestigious program awards 4 students up to $4,000 dollars to conduct a community service project. What is so unique about this opportunity is the project can be conducted ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. Check out this service project done in 2016:
This semester the office has launched a series with the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development entitled Fleishman at The Edge, a series of workshops held every Wednesday afternoon followed by walk-in career consulting.
In addition to Signature Programs, Harpur Edge also hosts other enrichment events! If you are a looking for a way to de-stress before finals week, considering going to the Laugh & Learn: Storytelling Slam on April 18th from 3-5pm! It is modeled after the Moth storytelling platform where performers must craft a story based on a single word. Hosted by alumna Melissa Edelblum 15′ and Paige Nazinitsky 14′, the event’s word will be “perspective.” So take a break from studying and think about what unique “perspective” you can bring to the slam!
If there is one thing Director of Harpur Edge Wendy Neuberger would like students to know, it’s that there is virtually something for everyone in the Harpur Edge office,
“It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, we’ll find some way to give you an edge.”
Aidan is the Editorial Director for Verge Campus Binghamton. She is a senior majoring in English Literature and Rhetoric with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies. She is a former Orientation Advisor for New Student Programs and current Tech Services Student Assistant in the Science Library.