Recently, I’ve made excursions to eight mostly deserted educational campuses: a high school, a two-year college, two four-year colleges, a university, an institute and two multi-site institutions. [SEE SERIES AT END]
Top (l-r): from An eerie quiet at McQuaid Jesuit High School in Brighton; from An eerie quiet at Nazareth College; from An eerie quiet at the University of Rochester; Bottom (l-r): from An eerie quiet at Rochester Institute of Technology, from An eerie quiet at Monroe Community College, from An eerie quiet at St. John Fisher College
Yesterday I visited SUNY Empire State College on 680 Westfall Road in Brighton and Medaille College on 1880 South Winton Road in Brighton. Most everyone knows Monroe Community College has a campus in Brighton; fewer realize that Brighton is home to three colleges.
Of all the campuses, Empire State and Medaille were the most desolate. Combined, I saw zero people and one parked car.
I’ve had some limited connection with Empire State College and its alumni. In On the Highland Crossing Trail in Brighton after an early March snowfall, the campus is seen at the end of the trek.
When the campus was in Irondequoit, I interviewed for a position as faculty mentor for an American History course. I like the Empire State model in which students, often an older and returning cohort, collaborate with instructors on an individualized curriculum. I had a strong sense the interviewers enjoy their work. Unfortunately, while I am an Americanist, because my M.A. and Ph.D. are in English, the school ultimately determined I was not eligible for the position.
I called the 800 number, learning that an electrical issue had crashed all the computers, temporarily closing the campus. Unbeknownst to anyone, of course, was the less than temporary closing awaiting.
As seen, in Talker sweet talks Cheetah Girl. Or was it vice versa., in 2016, I met SUNY Empire State College alum and award winning author and designer Deborah Gregory — the “Cheetah Girl” — at a Writers and Books’ “Writers to Writers Social.” I learned from ESC Associate Director of Alumni and Student Relations Lindsay Valenti that Deborah was an ESC Distinguished Alumni Award Winner; past winners include Kenny Baron, Melba Tolliver and Robert Roach.
At the W & B event, Deborah loaned me her cat hat and one of her cheetah coats.The next afternoon, Deborah and I met again at a reading, reception and book signing at the Memorial Art Gallery. I missed the evening Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair Gala Auction. (see Girl, you are WEARING that dress! Inspiring Beauty at the Memorial Art Gallery) Even though I entertained her fanboys and fangirls gathered in the gallery’s lobby patio, at her bookstore signing session, Deborah refused to autograph mine. She said I was not the intended audience, teenage girls. I disagreed. By mentality, I am close enough. Nonetheless, on the down low, Cheetah Girl slipped Talker a love letter.
I’ve only had one contact with Medaille College. Several years ago, I inquired about teaching postions. I was placed on the instructor list, but so far, nothing has come of it.