So, this article (full text below) was posted today about how ECC's three campus system should remain because the writers son is a volunteer fire fighter about a mile away and it is convenient for his schedule.
We have several arguments here about why we believe promoting downtown investment is important for our region however, the main argument we want to drive home is convenience.
Lets talk about convenience for a minute.
If an ECC student lived on Jefferson avenue, as many do, one would have to take two buses each way to get to ECC North campus which would take approximately one hour, or longer, depending on the bus schedule. All this time wasted for a 50 minute class? Hmmm... what is convenient about that? This also doesn't even begin to discuss the fact that the ECC student could have a job or a family to take care of at which, a two hour travel time for a short class could easily not be worth the effort and could deter the student from having success at ECC. Spending two hours on a bus is not convenient.
We encourage you to take a look at the bus routes and see it for yourself. For someone who does not have a car, we should be promoting a college education that provides access to everyone.. oh wait, that is a part of ECC's mission statement, right? Yes, it is.
In case you don’t know it, I am a huge fan of Erie Community College. I graduated from ECC’s North campus in 1981 with a two year degree in English/Humanities. I then went on to a four year college and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcasting. My education from ECC gave me a perfect foundation to achieve a four year degree and it also put me on the path to the career that I have now. In September of 2010, I was honored as one of Erie Community College’s Distinguished Alumni for my work in broadcasting and local charities. That recognition from my Alma mater is one the highlights of my life and career.
Yesterday I read a very disturbing article in the paper where a former county executive is trying to derail ECC’s plans to build a new building on the North campus in Williamsville. Joel Giambra claims that ECC’s new building must be built downtown because the city of Buffalo is dying. Mr. Giambra wants ECC to consolidate its three campuses and have everything centrally located in downtown Buffalo. This would be a huge mistake. ECC is thriving and serving our community well because of its three campuses. The three locations are perfectly situated in downtown Buffalo, Williamsville and Orchard Park. I live about a mile and a half from the North campus in Williamsville. My son Tyler is pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice with all of his classes at the North campus. He is also a member of the Main Transit Fire Department located less than a mile from the ECC North campus. There are times when he is attending class and gets a fire call and has to leave the campus. Because of the close proximity of ECC North campus and the Main Transit Fire Department, he is able to help his community when needed and get back on campus all in a timely manor. If every ECC class were taught in downtown Buffalo, it would prevent my son from going to fire and rescue calls while at school. It would also cost my son a lot more in fuel costs if he had to attend class in downtown Buffalo. With the price of gasoline these days, I don’t think he would be able to afford attending classes in downtown Buffalo. I don’t think Joel Giamabra realizes that many young people today are also in the same situation as my son. Money is tight and having a campus located near home is vital. It can mean the difference between being able to attend college classes and not.
It seems that Mr. Giambra has a personal ax to grind. He tried to consolidate the three campuses of ECC while he was County Executive. His plan was shut down back then because it’s a bad idea. Now he is threatening legal action to stop the new building from being constructed on the North Campus. We don’t need Joel Giambra trying to fix something that is not broken. Erie Community College is working perfectly the way it is. President Jack Quinn are his staff are to be commended for the fabulous way the college is being run and serving our Western new York community.