Stony Brook University's president said in an interview Wednesday that the administration realizes the school is a large entity with a major impact on the local community – and said the university is willing to work with the residents on their concerns.
"I think there's always some concerns. We work very hard to be a good neighbor," said Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr., who arrived three years ago to become the fifth president in the university's history. "I think we’re interested always in listening to what’s going on and understanding what the concerns are."
Stanley recently expressed the university's support for a plan for downtown revitalization that's being developed near the north end of campus, surrounding Stony Brook's Long Island Rail Road station.
And in a recent presentation to the local civic association, another high-level university administrator said Stony Brook plans to increase enrollment and add new dormitories along with new research and student life facilities over the next several years, which raised quality-of-life concerns for the residents.
Stanley said the university tries to be sensitive to local residents' issues. He also emphasized what the university is able to give back to the community at large. Not only is Stony Brook an economic engine that adds more than $4 billion to the regional economy and is one of Long Island's largest employers, he said, but it also adds value with elements such as popular sports teams as well as compelling arts programming at the Staller Center.
"I think people forget sometimes how much we’re integrated into the community," he said. " ... Hopefully people recognize that, but also will recognize that we really do care about community, about this area. We want to be great neighbors and we’ll continue to work to do that."