“We welcome this opportunity to pool our resources,” said Joseph Hankin, president of Westchester Community College. “This new partnership will give our students the ability to move on to a four-year institution at a sister SUNY college and will allow Empire State College students to use our cutting-edge digital arts labs in Peekskill. It’s a win-win.”
Under the agreement, Empire State College students will have access to the audio and video labs and classrooms at the Center for Digital Arts through individual or group study. Empire students will also be made more aware of the opportunities for digital arts education available through cross-registration at the center, and centers students will be made more aware of the availability of bachelor’s degree programs at Empire.
The institutions will share digital arts resources, events and expertise.
“Partnering with Westchester Community College is another example of 'systemness' among SUNY institutions of higher education for the benefit of our students,” Empire State College Acting President Meg Benke said. “Students from both Empire State College and Westchester Community College will be more aware of the many local opportunities for offerings at the partner college, which strengthens the education pipeline in the Hudson Valley."
Peekskill Councilwoman Kathy Talbot, a former graphic artist, greeted the agreement favorably.
“The fact that this came to Peekskill and that it’s now expanding to help offer four-year degrees — it’s great and it’s one more thing drawing people to Peekskill," Talbot said.
The programs will give students a chance to continue their education at a variety of levels, said Naomi Morris, a trustee at the Academy at Duane Lake. Students at her school often continue at Empire State College or community colleges and work toward a college degree while still in high school, she said.
"What this facility does is allow students the ability to, at whatever their entry point is, work toward their college degree in their field of interest," Morris said.