Buffalo State offers a number of extracurricular activities for students interested in politics and diplomacy. Some of these are academic clubs recognized by Buffalo State's United Student Government or by the Office of Student Life. Others are departmental-level clubs.
Political science students and faculty are actively involved in a number of these clubs or activities.
The Student Political Society (SPS) is the student academic club associated with the Department of Political Science. SPS hosts many events throughout the academic year such as visits and discussions with local politicians, post-election analyses, the ins-and-outs of graduate school, and lectures/discussions on topics of current interest to club members. SPS has a bulletin board next to the political science department chair's conference room (next to the department office) and a group on Facebook.
The Student Political Society office is located in B211 Classroom Building.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Patrick McGovern
Pi Sigma Alpha is the National Political Science Honor Society. Buffalo State has held chapter membership in Pi Sigma Alpha since 1983. Membership in Pi Sigma Alpha is by invitation. The chapter faculty advisor will send out invitation letters in early March of each year.
Eligible students must meet two criteria: 1) complete at least 30 hours overall and 18 or more hours in political science at Buffalo State, and 2) earn a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in political science courses
The lifetime national membership fee is $35, which is collected by the local chapter (Xi Theta). The initiation fee is the only payment members ever make to the national office of the honor society; there are no annual dues. Students bring a check made payable to Buffalo State Department of Political Science. Honorees are officially inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha at the Political Science Department Award Ceremony (which takes place in late April or early May).
Faculty Advisor: Mr. Jon Lines
The Buffalo State Mock Trial team was created in 2007 as a student club and mock trial competition team. We are affiliated members of the American Mock Trial Association, a national organization that sponsors regional and national undergraduate mock trial tournaments around the country. For the last three, we have competed in the two day Adirondacks Regional Tournament sponsored by the AMTA and held at Syracuse University in mid-February. This is one of about two dozen or so AMTA regional tournaments, and draws about two dozen teams (23 in 2009) from public and private colleges and universities around New York State, Pennsylvania, and New England. In 2009 & 2010, Buffalo State competed against teams from Pennsylvania State University, Hamilton College, and Syracuse University.
The objective of the Mock Trial team is to give students hands-on experience with the legal system and trial procedures. Mock trial competitions follow closely the courtroom processes in the “real” world. While the cases are hypothetical, student attorneys must present evidence, conduct direct and cross examinations of witnesses (witnesses are also played by student competitors), follow rules of evidence and trial procedure, and present opening and closing arguments to a two-person panel of judges who score them on knowledge of law, quality of presentation, and their general role playing skills. Many students have joined the Mock Trial team because they have aspirations of attending law school, but all of our students enjoy the law and the courtroom experience as an intellectual exercise. We become a tight-knit group after spending the fall semester preparing the case, developing our arguments, and rehearsing for the February competition.
The Mock Trial team consists of students of all class ranks from freshman to seniors; and come from a variety of majors (political science, criminal justice, fashion technology, forensic science, etc.). We encourage any student with an interest in law to join our team and participate in the competition regardless of your major or career interests. While the preparation is intense, particularly during the Fall semester, you will learn the skills of developing an argument and oral presentation that will serve you well in whatever academic and career pursuits you undertake, while making new friends and having fun.
Visit our USG Bengal Connect page.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Kyeonghi Baek
The United Nations is a student committee run under the auspices of the Student Political Society. See Dr. Baek for details.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Laurie Buonanno
The SUNY Model European Union is sponsored by SUNY System Administration Office of International Programs, SUNYMEU Council (composed of representatives from SUNY campuses), the Institute for European Union Studies at SUNY, and SUNY New Paltz (hosts the SUNYMEU office and directorship).
Students participate in SUNYMEU at SUNY New Paltz and at a SUNY partner campus in Europe in January, 2014.
The SUNY Model EU Committee operates under the auspices of the Student Political Society.
Why study the European Union?
The EU has its roots in the 1950s, when six Western European states established what they called the European Economic Community for the purpose of enabling them to promote economic growth through various forms of mutual economic cooperation. From these relatively modest beginnings, the importance of the EU has grown enormously over the years. It has done so in two particular respects.
First, its membership now includes twenty-seven European states. Until May 1, 2004 these were all Western European states: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. On May 1 the EU-15 were joined by the two Mediterranean islands of Cyprus and Malta, and eight former communist countries in central and Eastern Europe: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The 2004 enlargement marked a major advance in the gradual unification of the European continent, bringing together as it did most of what formerly were thought of as the two halves of Europe. Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007. Accession negotiations with Croatia, the Former Yugoslave Republic of Macedonia, and Turkey are currently underway. Other European states are applying for membership as well. It is an importance that is seen in a number of ways: the EU has the world’s largest economy as measured by gross domestic product; it is the world’s largest external trader (just ahead of the U.S.); it has a market size of some 450 million post the 2004 enlargement; and it has a currency – the euro – that is rapidly establishing itself as the world’s second most important currency.
Second, the range of activities and responsibilities of the EU has grown enormously. Far from it being confined to economic coordination tasks, it is now deeply involved in the making of policies and laws across a wide range of policy sectors. There is now a Single European Market, with European-wide regulatory rules on matters as varied as health and safety standards in the workplace, product specifications and standards, and trading practices. As part of the process of completing the Single European Market, twelve of the EU’s member states (the EU-15 apart from Denmark, Sweden and the UK) have even given up their national currencies in favor of having a shared currency – the euro. The new member states will, in time, adopt the euro. Beyond market-related policies, other policy areas in which the EU is deeply involved include environmental policy, internal security policies, and foreign policy.
Third, paralleling the growth in importance of the EU have been developments in its organizational capacities, many of which have been brought about through treaties negotiated between the member states. Such has been the extent of these developments that many observers have described the EU as having many of the characteristics of a federal state.
New York has a special relationship with Europe. Many New Yorkers have strong cultural ties to Europeans. But beyond this, New York has a special economic relationship with Europe. New York State exports over $11.2 billion in goods (2003) to the EU, surpassed only by California as the European Union’s leading trading partner among U.S. states. New York State ranks third among the 50 states with nearly $37 billion in direct investment. Specific effects on the U.S. economy includes: 28.6 % of total NYS merchandise exports, 58.5% of total foreign direct investment in NYS , and EU direct investment in NYS adds 259,500 jobs. (See facts and figures.)
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