This is a shout out to the 35 University at Buffalo students from department of urban planning that I met with this morning to discuss the climate of the city. A short while ago I was contacted by Ramzi Farhat, Ph.D., Department of Urban and Regional Planning, who asked if I would be willing to come out to talk to the class. “The class is meant to introduce our students to community development
and the city of Buffalo,” Ramzi wrote to me. “And is designed around having guest speakers
join us to discuss their thoughts and experiences.” Instead of heading off to UB, I offered to host the students at The Eights on Main Street. A deal was struck, and this morning I found myself surrounded by the students, some from WNY and many from outside of the area. I was happy to see that the majority of them took the Metro Rail.
After speaking for longer than I probably should have, from Buffalo Rising to Navigetter to the Elmwood Festival of the Arts, I decided to ask the students if they had any questions. Now I’ve fielded these types of discussions many times before and the question is always the same. “How do we get directly involved with shaping Buffalo?” These are not students that are required to formulate a question for brownie points – rather these are young people who are truly interested in learning about Buffalo through volunteering for important projects.
Yes, we have the colloquiums where the collegiate and university students are required to interact with organizations in the city. But where does a student go who just wants to join in on progressive projects. I suppose there are internships where students can learn about the industry that they are about to embark upon. That’s obviously important. There has got to be more opportunities for these people to join in on. A place that is a living think tank where the ideas flow and the people whom can help to orchestrate the ideas are present. We see fleeting instances of this with Brad Wales and Harvey Garrett. How could we develop an organization that literally takes the motivated young people and places them into the hands of the innovative people of the community?