CFES hosts annual college connection

Edward Summer, PhD., of Union College delivers the keynote address at the CFES College Connect workshop Feb. 6 in Essex.

Edward Summer, PhD., of Union College delivers the keynote address at the CFES College Connect workshop Feb. 6 in Essex. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Last year, College For Every Student packed local high school and college leaders into a small section of their near completed Essex offices for the first College Connect workshop.

This year, attendees were welcomed into the completed facility, coming together Feb. 6-7 to talk about ways of connecting primary school students to the next educational step.

“The partnerships with schools and colleges is really at the center and the foundation of our work,” CFES Executive Director Rick Dalton said. “We invite school and colleges here to think about these partnerships together and what we can bring to the colleges and how these connections can continue to last for years and years.”

CFES currently serves around 20,000 students in high schools throughout the country, with about 1,000 of those students living in the Adirondack region.

Edward Summers, PhD, Chief of Staff and Director of the Kelly Adirondack Research Center at Union College, was the keynote speaker at the conference and talked about the increased need for government to help fund programs to help get high school students to the next level.

“The amount of expenditures that has gone to higher education has dropped tremendously,” Summers said. “The government has to help more. It has to take a deeper interest in funding that supports the access to higher education and there needs to be more interest than just discussing the issue.”

Summers said the Adirondack Research Center is a program designed to connect students at Union to the Adirondacks and, in turn, attract more Adirondack perspective students to their campus.

“We have to become more connected to our local communities,” Summer said. “Our goal is to help the admissions office recruit more students from the Adirondacks and help them to be successful students. We also want to better educate people on the history and importance of the Adirondacks.”

Summers said when students first start in the program, he is surprised how many of them do not know where or what the Adirondacks are.

“The Adirondacks is a gem that everyone should know about,” he said. “It shocks me students do not have a lot of knowledge about the park, and we want to change that. I look forward to potentially partnering with the schools here to help that mission.”

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