On February 21, members of SUNY Buffalo State’s Ethics Bowl Team debated the pros and cons of genetic testing against competitors at least two generations their senior—retirees from the Canterbury Woods Life Care Community in Williamsville.
In a spirited discussion, five philosophy students had the opportunity to discuss two hot topics (the other was student cheating) with former doctors, business professionals, and teachers from the retirement community. The residents shared insights honed by years of experience and historic knowledge. It marks the second time this year the Ethics Bowl Team has given a debate-style presentation at Canterbury Woods.
“It’s good to get critical feedback about our arguments,” said Casey Brescia, a senior philosophy major who served as the lead spokesperson on the genetics case. “It’s helpful and fun to be here.”
Joshua Demont, a Buffalo State senior, who at age 32 is the oldest member of the team, said the intergenerational perspective is crucial.
“I have huge respect for the experience that comes from the residents,” Demont said.
This particular intergenerational debate came at a pivotal time as the team is preparing for the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, February 28, in San Antonio, Texas. They will compete against 31 teams selected from 10 regional ethics bowls across the country. This is the first time the Buffalo State team has made it to the national level.
“I think the students get a lot of different perspectives from the residents here,” noted team coach Julian Cole (pictured at left), assistant professor of philosophy and humanities. “It is particularly helpful that the conversation is intergenerational as this brings students into contact with perspectives that, in some cases, they encounter infrequently.”
The visit is part of an ongoing relationship between the School of Arts and Humanities and Canterbury Woods, where many Buffalo State alumni happen to live. Every month, representatives from different academic disciplines give a presentation to the residents. Two members of the college’s Anne Frank Project recently shared experiences from their January travel to Rwanda. The Music Department’s Digital Music Ensemble will perform on innovative, recently invented instruments in March.
“Through our four-year Arts and Humanities Presentation Series at Canterbury Woods, we have made many good friends, and our students have gained invaluable presentation experience that will benefit them in their academic courses and future careers,” said Ben Christy, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities. “The Canterbury residents are always a gracious and participatory audience, and we are grateful for this opportunity to expand Buffalo State’s community outreach.”