State colleges and universities from around Western New York made a rare appearance together under one roof Tuesday to showcase what the State University of New York system has to offer.
The event in the Burchfield Penney Art Center at Buffalo State College was orchestrated by SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, as part of her plan to use SUNY to help revitalize the state's economy.
"We made a promise to the State of New York we could be an economic engine," Zimpher said. "We can't just say that -- we're going to do it."
The regional showcase -- the last of 10 held around the state since October -- provided a venue to show the public some of the system's more interesting and innovative programs.
Some 1,500 people -- school superintendents, guidance counselors, business leaders, Chambers of Commerce officials -- were invited to Tuesday's event, which featured campus presidents from nine local schools: Buffalo State, the University at Buffalo, Fredonia State College, Alfred State College, State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Empire State College and Erie, Niagara County and Jamestown community colleges.
A wide range of programs were on display -- from horticulture at NCCC to energy utility at ECC; from music at Fredonia to art conservation at Buffalo State.
New technologies also were profiled.
UB and Buffalo State showed off their joint smart grid project to help retrain workers for green jobs, while Alfred State provided a glimpse of its award-winning efforts to achieve fuel efficiency in vehicles.
"It really is an opportunity to look at what everyone is doing," said Jack F. Quinn Jr., president of Erie Community College. "This is cutting-edge stuff in a place that needs it the most -- Western New York."