Our roots as a student government begin in December 1946, when Triple Cities College in Endicott, NY established the first student government in the history of the institution. With a $750 budget from the college, administrators asked them to cultivate a vibrant co-curricular life for the student body.
Even though they functioned under the watchful eye of the Student Activities Committee, these early campus leaders were not inhibited. In the late 1940s, they fought against a 25% tuition increase, recommended an honor system for exams, and pushed for a student judicial board to handle infractions of the rules. While not all of their goals were accomplished, the dye was set for students in this new institution to develop an engaged role in the life of the college.
The college grew into Harpur College and was integrated into the State University of New York in 1950, and ten years later, the campus moved to it’s current location in Vestal. With it’s established name as the United Student Government, the student government grew into a vehicle of social action and cultural change, debating the fiery issues of the time: free speech, civil rights, the Vietnam War, and social justice. Unlike the administration, the student government emerged as an indicator of a new generation’s ideological temperature.
It was in this revolutionary climate that in 1970, SUNY Binghamton attempted a new form of “joint governance,” bringing together students, faculty, and staff in a single body to govern the University. While at first very successful, this brave experiment in university governance ultimately failed. Thus, in 1973, the Student Association at Binghamton University was born.
Since 1973, the Student Association has grown into not only a forum for student activism, but the primary financial system which hundreds of clubs and student organizations receive their funding and legal protection through. Despite our office residing within the University Union at the heart of the campus, we are an independent organization from the university, incorporated as a non-profit legal entity. With our variety of businesses and services, the Student Association offers students unique opportunities in leadership and project management, as well as a voice amidst the affairs of campus life.