by Dave Berkowitz of PipeDream
By day, he studies mechanical engineering. By night, he's under the spotlight as the musical director for one of Binghamton University's most loved a cappella groups, the Binghamtonics. This variety of interests has helped Mike Feinberg take in all that BU has to offer.
"Don't be afraid of new experiences," are his words of wisdom for undergraduates. Feinberg followed his own advice during his years at BU He acted in the musical production of The Princess Bride as a freshman, and later performed in the musical revue Behind Closed Doors. He has spent four years with the Binghamtonics and two singing in the Harpur Chorale. Feinberg performed in the Pappy Parker Players for one year. He has been a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for two years. He even joined the Rollerblading Club and was an enthusiastic member until the club was dissolved.
The loss of the Rollerblading Club seems very insignificant when compared to the other changes Feinberg witnessed at the university. "People are more willing to come together on issues," he said. He cites the Oct. 15 incident in the University Union as a crisis that brought the school together. He added, "I think people are a whole lot friendlier now."The freshmen that Feinberg has met have shown a strong willingness to be involved in all facets of the university, and "seem to be a whole lot more enthusiastic about everything," he said.
Since becoming active in the performing arts, Feinberg has seen the number of theater groups on campus double from three to six. With several annual performances from the Pappys, Dickinson Community Players, the Hinman Production Company and the other theater groups, he feels that it might be too much. "I think we have to learn our limitations," he said. "There's only so much that should go on."
Contradicting the rosy picture Feinberg painted of the student body and campus activities, he feels that the administration has become less personal. He cited that while it once was very easy to speak to someone if he had a problem, now he would have to go through three people to get the same result. "Now it' s a big bureaucratic mess," he said. "It was [when I was a freshman] too, but it' s bigger now than it was before."
One of the most memorable experiences Feinberg has had at BU happened this semester while coming back from New Hampshire on a road trip with the Binghamtonics. They decided to stop at Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop, which turned out to be four hours out of the way. Then they chose to take a scenic back roads route and avoid the highways on the trip home. One of those back roads ended up going to the top of a ski slope. After reaching the top of the hill, they had to drive down a 30-degree incline in their minivan and everyone, especially the driver, was terrified. To allay the tension, they broke out into their alumni song.
This fall, Feinberg will be attending Boston University for mechanical engineering with a specialization in acoustics and vibrations. He managed to find a specialty that suits him well; now he will be studying sound instead of producing it with his fellow 'Tonics. He says he has definitely grown up here, saying, "[My] eyes have been opened to many new things."