The setting for this book is SUNY Buffalo State, part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. We went into the organizational and funding aspects of the institution in the last chapter. The website for the school contains the following description of the campus:

Buffalo State has one of the most diverse student bodies in the SUNY system and has been called the flagship for diversity in the SUNY system. We’re diverse in terms of student demographics and in ideas and experiences. It’s true: our students come from all walks of life…. Buffalo State’s beautiful 125-acre campus is located between the bustling Elm-wood Village and the pastoral Delaware Park. Our central placement provides easy access to museums, parklands, shopping, and restaurants.

We begin with a diverse urban campus in the SUNY system. In addition, SUNY Buffalo State has also self-identified as a liberal arts college. Cronon (1998) wrote “liberally educated people have been liberated by their education to explore and fulfill the promise of their own highest talents.” As we delve into the stories of the four cohorts, we will delve into Cronon’s organic model of liberal arts that focuses on ten characteristics of liberally educated persons rather than lists of courses. The Cronon article was read by all the participants in this study as part of their BSC 101 (Critical Thinking) class.