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Monday, June 24, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Make your years count

UB’s more than a set of classrooms — it’s a small city. Make it yours.

When I arrived at UB, I hated it.

On Aug. 25, 2021, I heaved my boxes and bags into a dingy South Lake Village apartment, met my roommate (and eventual nemesis) and headed out to discover the Seven Wonders of North Campus.

OK, seven is being generous: North Campus truly is an “academic factory,” as one UB student described it nearly 50 years ago in a letter to The Spectrum.

But I didn’t stop there — I made a habit of walking the Ellicott Creek Trail, became a regular on the Metro Rail and got to know my way around Buffalo. I knocked on my new neighbors’ doors with cookies, joined the Residence Hall Association and tried half a dozen clubs.

I met a lot of people in those first couple weeks — and most of those people quickly faded away, forming their own groups. I struggled to make friends in my major, clubs and classes.

But I tried. And you should, too — because this university isn’t just a collection of classrooms and parking lots (and parking lots, and more parking lots). Though UB may seem like a uniquely apathetic island — nearly three-quarters of its 30,000 students commute from off campus, and only around 10,000 are active in a club, according to Student Engagement employee Tom Vane — it remains a campus of 30,000.

That’s an Ithaca, or a North Tonawanda, or two Batavias. And like those cities, UB has all kinds of people: people who share a lot with you, people very different from you, but most importantly, people who take ownership of their time here.

And maybe you won’t find your people at UB — but that’s OK, too. Buffalo is a city of 300,000 people, the Niagara Frontier is home to 1.2 million and the Golden Horseshoe has 7.8 million. Someone here will get along with you.

For me, it began in Charles Anzalone’s journalism class. He filled the three-hour night class with infectious passion and endless patience. His encouragement gave me the confidence to try my hand as a staff writer at The Spectrum — and dozens of late nights, long meetings and phone calls later, I feel more a part of UB than ever before.

The Spectrum attracts people who care deeply about the people of UB — people who sit through those boring meetings, people who listen to both the protesters and the counter-protesters, people who stay up well past midnight “making the donuts” — because they know the people of UB matter.

These are people I am proud to call my friends.

So I invite you to find a place here in Buffalo where you can write your story — and if you have a little extra time, maybe you can join us in writing everyone else’s.

It’s a lot of work, and a lot of responsibility, but it’s an honor. 74 years of Spectrum reporters agree.

Sol Hauser was the senior news editor and can be reached at sol.hauser@ubspectrum.com

Mylien Lai is the new senior news editor and can be reached at mylien.lai@ubspectrum.com

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