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Panel Livestream – Community Engagement: Collaborative Partnerships Addressing Complex Social Issues

Watch live on CornellCast, Friday, October 20, 2017 at 10 a.m.

Public engagement has been a pillar of Cornell’s mission for more than 150 years. Today, through highly acclaimed initiatives such as Engaged Cornell, the university is bringing together students, faculty, staff, and community members to seek solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges. Join Provost Mike Kotlikoff, and a panel of engaged Cornellians and community partners, as we discuss how these partnerships are providing unique engaged learning opportunities for Cornell students, while simultaneously addressing complex societal issues, both in Ithaca and around the globe.

Moderator: Michael Kotlikoff, Provost


  • Michael Berlin, MD, Program Director – Internal Medicine Residency, Cayuga Medical Center
  • Gen Meredith OTR MPH, Lecturer, Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • David Pelletier, Professor, College of Human Ecology, Director, Cornell in Washington
  • Dr. Monika M. Safford, John J. Kuiper Professor of Medicine, Chief, General Internal Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
  • Randi Lynn Quackenbush, Advocacy and Education Manager, Food Bank of the Southern Tier


Extension summer interns recount helping New York businesses, communities

Stepping up to the podium at the 2017 Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) internship reception Oct. 11, at Cornell Biotech, 26 students shared their experiences of working at CCE county association offices across the state this summer. One theme emerged from each presenter: an enhanced appreciation for purpose-driven research through hands-on community engagement.

Working on projects ranging from winery establishment and expansion in New York’s north country to enhancing children’s play and parents’ knowledge in Suffolk County, Long Island, the interns learned how applied research from Cornell, the state’s land-grant institution, benefits citizens across New York state. Sixteen of the students are in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and 10 are from the College of Human Ecology (CHE).

“This program is a wonderful representation of the powerful and effective collaboration between CCE, CALS, CHE and the Office of Engagement Initiatives,” CCE director Chris Watkins said. “Our internships are unique in that students work on projects proposed by faculty and staff from CALS and CHE and are hosted by extension educators at local extension offices in counties and boroughs all over New York state.”

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Civic Ensemble & Cornell to Investigate Climate Change Through Theatre

This fall, Civic Ensemble and Cornell University’s Department of Performing and Media Arts continue their partnership with a new version of PMA’s Theatre and Social Change course.

The course, originally developed and taught by Professor Sara Warner, has been reimagined, and with funding from Engaged Cornell, is now being co-taught by Professor Warner and Senior Lecturer, and Civic Ensemble Artistic Director, Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr. Additional collaborators are Civic Ensemble Artistic Director Sarah K. Chalmers and Cornell Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Assistant Professor Toby Ault.

The course teaches students how to use theatre to initiate dialogue and change around a vital issue of our times. This semester, that issue is climate change here in Tompkins County and the greater Finger Lakes area.

Read the full article on

Cornell Commitment interns reflect on summer experiences.

As an undergraduate intern in the emergency room of New York City’s Bellevue Hospital, Rachel Marks ’19 glanced down at the stump of a homeless man’s amputated leg. “His injury was infected and swarming with maggots, hundreds of them, completely covering the wound and crawling over his sheets,” she said.

“A doctor then approached the man and began talking to him. The resident was polite and kind,” Marks said. “I watched in awe as the doctor removed them, one by one, and cleansed the infected area.”

Marks, a biology major who aims to become a doctor, explored several specialties last summer at Bellevue, including its level 1 trauma center, where she was placed with an emergency medical team and handed gauze and other materials to the physicians.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Community engagement initiatives deliver reciprocal benefits

In the three years since its inception, Engaged Cornell has inspired new and deepening partnerships between Cornell and local organizations in Tompkins County and beyond. To date, 122 Engaged Cornell grants have been awarded, collaborating with more than 60 Tompkins County partners in community-based learning and research.

On Sept. 27, a forum in downtown Ithaca with faculty, staff, and partners offered stories of experiences and answered questions about implementing community-engaged initiatives. The forum was cosponsored by the Office of Community Relations, the Office of Engagement Initiatives in collaboration with the Community Foundation of Tompkins County.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Faculty train to use new technologies to share their research widely

Scholars are using websites, vlogs, information comics and PechaKuchas to reach wider audiences than journal articles that sometimes baffle the general public.

This is a key takeaway message from the workshop series, Knowledge Matters: Communicating Research for Different Audiences Through Transmedia. Designed for Cornell faculty members and academic staff, Knowledge Matters is helping participants translate their research into a variety of digital media platforms.

“Transmedia knowledge is knowledge created and communicated across different media forms, including books, presentations and community installations,” said co-organizer Jon McKenzie, the College of Arts and Sciences dean’s fellow for media and design, and visiting professor of English.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

New MPH students tackle disease, planetary health

Outbreaks of infectious diseases, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and foodborne diseases are happening around the globe and make comprehensive public health assessment, planning and action crucial.

A diverse group of 15 students recently began to learn how to address these issues as members of the new Master of Public Health (MPH) program administered through the College of Veterinary Medicine.

The program is supported by an Engaged Curriculum Grant, Food Systems for Global Health.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Cornell maps Ithaca’s sustainable campus

Keep up with campus sustainability by consulting Cornell’s new online Sustainable Campus and Community Map.

In just a click you’ll find reusable bottle water filling stations, bike share and car share locations, environmentally friendly trails, electric car charging stations, campus sustainability centers and institutes, and reuse centers.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

New engaged learning curriculum offers gateway to the world

Launching this fall, the Department of Anthropology’s new Global Gateways course sequence will give students the opportunity to prepare for, and make the most of, Cornell’s off-campus opportunities, from engaged learning programs to study abroad. The Global Gateways three-course curriculum uses techniques of active learning and peer mentorship to promote hands-on, practical development of intercultural engagement skills. The curriculum development was supported by a 2016 Internationalizing the Cornell Curriculum grant, and grants from Engaged Cornell and the College of Arts and Sciences’ Active Learning Initiative.

“Whether you are heading to another continent or out your door, the most important skill for thriving in today’s global marketplace is the ability to connect, collaborate, and create across lines of social and cultural difference,” says Adam T. Smith, the Goldwin Smith Professor of Anthropology. “As recent events have shown, the skills of intercultural engagement have never been more critically in need than they are today.”

Read the full article on the College of Arts and Sciences website.

Engaged Cornell Offers Leadership Certificate Program

Treating others the way they want to be treated can now be a certifiable skill, according to Engaged Cornell.

Introduced in the Fall of 2016, the Certificate for Engaged Leadership program gives Cornell students the opportunity to use their leadership skills to “address areas of public concern” in the local community.

Twenty-four Cornell students formulated the Certificate in Engaged Leadership program in the spring of 2016. The program aims to “challenge students to bring about the world they wish to see — now and throughout their lives,” said Mike Bishop, director of student leadership in the Office of Engagement Initiatives.

Bishop stressed that the Certificate on Engaged Leadership focuses on the importance of “critical reflection as a prerequisite for life-long leadership development.”

Bishop also noted that the Certificate in Engaged Leadership is “meant to support one in integrating one’s interests in leadership and public involvement.”

Read the full article in the Cornell Daily Sun.

Undergraduates lead summer film camp for middle school kids

Fifteen students from the Dryden and Spencer-Van Etten middle schools made movies at Cornell this summer in a program that emphasized visual interpretation and expression, and technical and teamwork skills needed to develop a story from idea to film.

The Summer Film Academy is run by Cornell students in the education minor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). Four undergraduates spent the spring semester preparing the curriculum and field trips, learning CPR and mastering filmmaking equipment.

The program, now in its second summer, is a spinoff of the afterschool film club that senior lecturer Bryan Duff and students in the course Engaging Youth in Learning run each semester in Ithaca. For the summer program, “we focus on youth from rural areas because their access to summer enrichment tends to be limited,” said Duff, who directs the education minor.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

‘I’m First!’ connects first-gen students, faculty, staff

This week the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI) and the Office of Engagement Initiatives (OEI) launched the I’m First! campaign on Cornell’s Ithaca campus. The goal is to encourage faculty and staff to identify themselves via T-shirts, buttons or other means as the first in their family to graduate from a four-year institution.

For the approximately 2,000 first-generation students on-campus, the visual campaign will help them identify and connect with faculty and staff who have walked in their shoes.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Fun, hands-on course teaches science communication


When the 11 students in Psych 4500 – Psychology at the Sciencenter – first walked into their classroom in Uris Hall, instead of chairs they found a “maker” space: walls lined with shelves of crafts supplies like glue, string, foam board, nails, marbles and the ever-versatile duct tape.

Their first assignment: Create a science exhibit based on a simple description.

In groups, the students constructed a hot air balloon, a roller coaster, a windmill and more. And while creating the exhibit was a challenge, recalled doctoral student Samantha Carouso Peck, “it paled in comparison to the next task: to write a clear description for a demo ourselves, when we were provided only with a scientific concept we needed to convey.” Her group’s topic was transfer of energy through a fluid medium. Their solution was an activity that asked participants to construct a vessel and find two different techniques to propel it across a tub of water without using their hands.

“This is by far the most rewarding and challenging course I’ve ever taught,” said Michael Goldstein, associate professor of psychology. His usual research focuses on the evolution and development of vocal learning in birds and babies, and learning about science communication was a whole new field for him and Khena Swallow, assistant professor of psychology, whose research focuses on attention and memory in adults.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Connecting People with Jobs: Cornell alum, staff, students team with community members to build software

Susan Porter ’14 was trying to help a man in his 20s, who has disabilities, find a job.

“I asked him what he did well, and he couldn’t think of anything,” she recalled. “It’s so sad. Many of my clients within this population have never been told that they can do anything well.”

But, the young man could do some things very well. Slowly, gradually, Porter, who is an employment specialist at Linking Employment, Abilities and Potential, known as LEAP, based in Cleveland, Ohio, coaxed answers out of the man.

She began by asking him what he liked to do for fun, then figuring out with him how those interests, talents and skills could transfer to the workplace.

“It takes a lot of work upfront,” said Porter, who noticed a pattern. “When I ask my clients what they need, they all have a similar answer: I need a job; I need money.”

Porter, an active member of the Cornell Club of Northeast Ohio, shared that as she joined forces with other Cornellians who are part of developing a job search software application for people with disabilities that conducts conversation via audio or text.

Read the full article on the ILR School website.

Video: Adapt: The Key to Climate Resilience

This video highlights Climate Smart Communities (CSC) certification program’s action to “develop climate adaptation strategies.” Visit to learn more.

To learn more about the Cornell Climate-Adaptive Design studio, visit

To learn more about the Hudson River Estuary Program and how you can get involved, visit

POST participants serve Ithaca area before classes start

For the 22nd year, a group of incoming Cornell undergraduates came to Ithaca for four days of community service through the Public Service Center’s Pre-Orientation Service Trips (POST), Aug. 13 to 18. The program focuses students from all seven undergraduate colleges on a single goal – connecting with and contributing to their new home.

“I wanted to be involved in the Ithaca community and I thought that this would be my best chance to get familiar with it, not just in terms of community service, but also in terms of talking to people in Ithaca and learning more about it,” said Ronnie Dumesh ’21, a biological sciences student from Staten Island, New York.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

NY re-entry program awards Cornell $750K for prison education

Cornell’s Prison Education Program (CPEP) has received $750,000 in grant funding from the College-in-Prison Reentry Program, an effort to expand educational opportunities at correctional facilities across New York state.

Cornell is one of seven colleges and universities in New York awarded grants totaling $5 million to provide college-level classes, training and re-entry services at 17 state prisons over the next five years. CPEP operates at the Cayuga, Auburn, Elmira and Five Points correctional facilities.

Announced Aug. 7 by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., the awards are funded by the Manhattan DA’s office through its Criminal Justice Investment Initiative. The initiative backs transformative projects to prevent crime and improve public safety and the justice system with $250 million seized in international financial crime prosecutions.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

At Orientation, peers are ‘guide to all things Cornell’ for new students

Approximately 4,000 new first-year and transfer students will begin their journeys at Cornell Aug. 18-27, with orientation events exposing them to academic, social and cultural life on campus.

“Our student volunteers are working very hard to create a great orientation experience,” said Peggy Arcadi, director of New Student Programs. “A lot of this is student-run. Peer-led orientation groups ensure that each new student has a guide to all things Cornell, including student organizations, campus resources and academic opportunities.”

“A new program on Sunday [Aug. 20] focuses on the engaged student experience, with events throughout the afternoon at the Engaged Cornell Hub in Kennedy Hall,” Arcadi said. “For three hours they’ll be offering information and ice cream and tours, highlighting opportunities for students to engage in service, on campus and beyond.”

Read the full story in the Cornell Chronicle.

AguaClara begins construction of water plant in Nicaragua

Since 2005, AguaClara has built 14 gravity-powered, electricity-free surface water treatment plants in Honduras, with a 15th under construction at Zamorano University in Tegucigalpa. These plants bring safe tap water to approximately 65,000 people in the Central American nation.

Now the Cornell-based program, run almost exclusively by engineering students, is expanding its reach in Latin America.

Construction on the 16th AguaClara facility began Aug. 1 for a plant in La Concordia, Nicaragua. The ground-breaking was the result of two years of work by the Honduran nonprofit Agua Para el Pueblo, the U.S. nonprofit Water For People, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

“I’ve been dreaming of the day when AguaClara technologies would begin to spread globally,” said Monroe Weber-Shirk, founder and director of AguaClara, and a senior lecturer in the College of Engineering. “The need for resilient, climate-friendly water treatment technologies is mind-boggling, with perhaps 3 billion people who don’t have access to reliable and safe water on tap.”

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Collaborative play transcends borders, cultures

A new play about borders has found an unusual way to transcend them: by integrating local experiences in each new place it is performed. When it travels Aug. 26 to Akwesasne, the Mohawk Nation territory divided by the U.S.-Canada border, the script will incorporate stories of local Mohawk people, some of whom will join the cast.

“Root Map,” an international collaboration between Cornell University’s College of Arts and Sciences and Jadavpur University in Kolkata, India, interweaves stories from different cultures to explore the similarities people experience when encountering borders. It had its inaugural performance Jan. 27 in Kolkata, India, followed by performances in Ithaca, New York, and El Paso, Texas. In each city, local actors join the production, contributing new material to the script that reflects their experiences with borders.

Read the full story in the Cornell Chronicle.

Measure of America summer research interns explore human well-being

This summer, two interns from the College of Arts & Sciences, Lala Xu ‘18 and Emily Bramhall ‘19, will assist in researching, writing and producing papers and reports on human well-being, freedom and opportunity for the Measure of America project.

They will benefit from an Engaged Cornell grant, which will provide them with stipends to assist with the costs of living in Brooklyn over the summer.

“This internship gives students who are minors in Inequality Studies the opportunity to develop their quantitative analytic skills, apply what they learned about inequality in their courses, and work for an organization that’s bringing social scientific evidence into the public debate about inequality and poverty in America” said Kim Weeden, the Jan Rock Zubrow ’77 Professor of the Social Sciences and director of Cornell’s Center for the Study of Inequality.

Read more on the College of Arts and Sciences website.

Cornell’s Hudson River conservation work nets DEC award

The Hudson River has been a critical part of New York’s infrastructure since before the country’s founding, linking New York City with Albany, the Erie Canal and beyond.

The corridor is also environmentally rich: The watershed that feeds the Hudson comprises only 13.5 percent of New York state’s land area but contains 85 percent of the state’s bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian species.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Discussion & Film Screening of Documentary ‘Human Again’

A panel discussion and screening of the award-winning film Human Again, produced by  Cornell Department of Performing and Media Arts professor Bruce Levitt, will take place on Saturday, June 10, 2017, from 3:15–5:15 p.m. in the Film Forum, Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts.

This joint session with the Cornell Prison Education Program (CPEP) and The Phoenix Players Theatre Group (PPTG) at Auburn Correctional Facility will explore Cornell’s involvement with prison education in three facilities in the region and feature a screening of the documentary Human Again, about the Phoenix Players Theatre Group.

Click here for more information about this event.


Office Hours | 10 Questions with PMA Professor Bruce Levitt

For our second installment of “Office Hours,” a series of interviews with prominent personalities on Cornell’s campus, Sunspots writer Andrew Shi talked with with Performing and Media Arts Professor Bruce Levitt, who has taught at Cornell since 1986 and is involved with Phoenix Players Theatre Group (PPTG), a prison theatre group at Auburn Correctional Facility.

Read the full article in the Cornell Daily Sun.

Rebecca Stoltzfus tapped to lead Goshen College

Rebecca Stoltzfus, vice provost for undergraduate education and professor of nutritional studies, has been announced as the candidate of choice to become the 18th president of Goshen College, her undergraduate alma mater.

Founded in 1894, Goshen is a private liberal arts college in Indiana affiliated with the Mennonite Church. According to the college, she will be formally introduced to the campus community June 14-15. The search committee then will present a final recommendation to the Goshen College and Mennonite Education Agency boards. It is expected Stoltzfus will take office in early November.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Class gathers oral histories of Caribbean residents in Brooklyn

Student walking tour of BrooklynStudents met with Caribbean residents in Brooklyn over spring break to record their life stories as part of an engaged learning course in oral history and urban ethnography.

The four-day field trip was designed for students “to observe and conduct ethnographic research and talk to as many people as possible … so the Caribbean immigrants that remain there can see themselves reflected in representations of their community,” said Oneka LaBennett, associate professor of Africana studies.

Students were able to “see how Brooklyn is changing through gentrification … and how gentrification is affecting the Caribbean community there,” she said, particularly in Flatbush and Crown Heights. “Some once-vital immigrant businesses have shuttered because they can’t afford the increasing rent. Brooklyn is now one of the most expensive places in the U.S. to live.”

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Cancer patients and survivors connect with Cornell students

Students talk to cancer patients and survivorsThis spring, a unique workshop took place on the Cornell campus that united two very different groups of people—cancer scientists, and cancer patients. The event, titled ‘Social Issues in Community Engagement by Cancer Scientists,’ was organized by College faculty Dr. Robert Weiss and Dr. Kristy Richards, and is part of an ongoing series supported by an Engaged Curriculum Grant. It involved lectures and group discussions, creating a dynamic exchange among people with different, yet intimate understanding of cancer. “This is a unique program where we connect cancer scientists in training and community members on a real on-going basis,” says Bob Riter, executive director of the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes (CRC), which closely partners with Cornell on the series. “It’s worth noting that nobody else in the country does this.”

Read the full story on the College of Veterinary Medicine website.

Auburn student prisoners debate team of future lawyers

In the Auburn Correctional Facility’s gray stone chapel, 50 incarcerated students and prison staff waited alongside dozens of Cornell faculty and staff Wednesday.

They were eager to hear the results of who won a debate between three men serving time at Auburn and a “dream team” of Cornell Speech & Debate Society alumni now attending the nation’s top three ranked law schools.

The maximum-security prison that opened in 1817 is widely known for housing the first electric chair, producing New York state’s license plates and for creating the “Auburn System.” Many 19th century prisons followed the system, which required inmates to live in silence.

Men serving sentences in Auburn no longer live in silence. Three of them Wednesday showed they have something to say and know just how to say it, in thanks, partly, to their ILR “Argumentation and Debate” class.

Read the full article on the ILR School website.

Seed to Supper connects students with the community

By the time Andrew Pochedly came to Cornell last fall to pursue a Master of Professional Studies degree in horticulture, he already had a great deal of professional experience under his belt. As a Peace Corps volunteer, he helped to develop sustainable agriculture practices in West Africa. He worked with the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Green Corps program, which helps teenagers build academic, workplace and life skills by immersing them in urban agriculture and business.

But when he came to Cornell and took horticulture senior lecturer Marcia Eames-Sheavly’s Seed to Supper two-semester course sequence, he realized there was a deeper level of community building and engagement that he had not tapped when he was in the field.

“I have the luxury of being able to look back,” Pochedly said. “I see lessons I learned in this class that I could have applied in my career. Going forward, I’ll take those with me.”

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Showcase celebrates Cornell students’ public engagement

Student panel

More than 200 people gathered in Willard Straight Hall April 24 to honor the civic engagement of Cornell students. The 2017 Community Engagement Showcase highlighted several dozen projects, each in partnership with a local or global community, and Student and Community Excellence in Community Engagement Awards and the George D. Levy Faculty Award were given.

The event also featured a panel discussion with student representatives from the Cornell Sober Housing Initiative, the Climate Change Awareness in Vietnam course and the ILR School’s High Roads Fellowship. George Ferrari ’84, who received the Community Engagement Trailblazer Award, gave the keynote address.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Students’ green thumbs help Harlem Grown’s garden thrive

Students work at Harlem GrownWhile many college students see spring break as a chance to rest, celebrate and gear up for the push toward semester’s end, a few use the week off to make a difference in the lives of people for whom small acts of kindness can mean so much.

Such was the nature of Alec Martinez’s week off, spent with five fellow Cornell undergraduates helping to create a sensory garden for children in collaboration with Harlem Grown, a New York City nonprofit. Martinez and his friends were in the city April 3-6 as members of the Alternative Breaks (Alt Breaks) program, which promotes service-learning through direct engagement with various communities.

“The work was definitely tough, but it was incredibly satisfying,” said Martinez ’18, an urban and regional studies major from Laredo, Texas. “The great thing about Alternative Breaks is, it’s not just a ‘drive-by’ volunteer opportunity, something we can put on our résumés and we’re done. These relationships matter.”

A program of Cornell’s Public Service Center (PSC), Alt Breaks aims to heighten social awareness, enhance students’ personal growth and advocate lifelong social action. Alt Breaks’ inaugural Harlem Grown trip was one of 10 New York City projects involving more than 70 Cornell students this spring.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Cornell, Boynton students find common ground through writing

At Boynton Middle School on a recent Thursday, a few kids are shooting hoops on basketball courts outside the cafeteria, but sixth-grader Ja-kai Correio is inside, focused on his computer.

“For English, I had to make up my own God, like the ones in Percy Jackson, and now I need to write five paragraphs about what he can do,” Correio said as he types away, all under the watchful eye of Rebecca Burd ’20, a student in the Common Ground freshman writing seminar at Cornell taught by Darlene Evans, senior lecturer and director of writing outreach for the John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines.

Every Tuesday and Thursday this spring, students in Evans’ seminar meet for class, where they read and write about various texts related to education, including “School: The Story of American Public Education,” “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education” and “Education Is Politics.” Then they climb into a van to head to Boynton, where they work with their middle school partners on writing and reading skills.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Engaged Graduate Student Grants fund 16 Ph.D. students

Sixteen Cornell doctoral students will collaborate with community partners from Ithaca to India on research projects supported by 2017 Engaged Graduate Student Grants. The cohort includes doctoral students from Cornell Ithaca and Cornell Tech in 12 fields of study.

The grants support and enhance partnerships while providing opportunities for Cornell doctoral students in all fields of study to conduct critical research and scholarship relevant to their doctoral dissertations. Applications for the 2018 grants will be announced in the fall.

Read the article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Engineer Max Zhang awarded Engaged Scholar Prize

Max ZhangMax Zhang, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, who has devoted his career to the development of sustainable communities, is the recipient of Cornell’s second annual Engaged Scholar Prize, Vice Provost Judith Appleton announced April 6.

Administered by the Office of Engagement Initiatives in support of Engaged Cornell, the annual award recognizes a faculty member who inspires others with innovative integration of teaching, learning and research involving public or community-based partnerships. The award review committee comprises undergraduates, graduate students and faculty.

Read the full story in the Cornell Chronicle.

College students spend spring break building urban farm

Cornell student works on urban farmWhile many of their friends are off at the beach or elsewhere kicking back this week, a group of Cornell University students is spending their spring break sleeping on a church floor, waking up at dawn, and getting their hands dirty. And they’re enjoying it.

“This is fun for me, I think being able not only to do things you enjoy doing but helping other people and working alongside the community is what’s most important,” said Georgia Grzyawacz, a Cornell freshman.

The program is called Alternative Breaks, and each spring hundreds of Cornell students participate, working on projects all across the country that address issues of social justice.

Read the full story on the Fox 5 website.

Students share tales of global climate change on Capitol Hill

Students outside the U.S. CapitolAfter traveling through Vietnam’s Mekong Delta in January, examining climate change through the lens of another country, four Cornell students toured the halls of Congress in late March to tell legislators all about it.

“Society is facing huge problems with a changing climate, and it’s important to remind representatives that their actions not only affect Americans and the world today, but these actions can have long-lasting implications for future generations,” said Kerry Mullins ’18, one of the students on the trip.

Ten Cornell students – led by Thúy Tranviet, senior lecturer in Asian studies, and Michael Hoffmann, executive director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions – toured Vietnam Jan. 3-18, as part of an interdisciplinary course, Climate Change Awareness and Service Learning in the Mekong Delta. On March 27-28, four students met in Washington, D.C., with a congressman, as well as legislative aides for representatives and senators, to offer their climate change observations. The Washington trip was developed by Hoffmann and funded by Engaged Cornell.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

George Ferrari to give Community Engagement Showcase keynote, April 24

George FerrariGeorge Ferrari, CEO, Community Foundation of Tompkins County, will be the keynote speaker at the Community Engagement Showcase 2017. The event, which celebrates outstanding local and global community-engaged projects, will be held Monday, April 24, 5 to 7 p.m., in the Willard Straight Hall Memorial Room.

Ferrari has served as the chief executive officer of the Community Foundation of Tompkins County since August 2005. He has been a committed and active participant in the Tompkins County community since 1980 with a special focus on nonprofit organizations that combine alleviating individual suffering and injustice with working for societal change. Previously he served as the executive director of Catholic Charities of Tompkins and Tioga Counties and worked with families in crisis as the Suicide Prevention and Crisis Service’s crisis line manager. Ferrari was the founding executive director of AIDS WORK of Tompkins County. He has also served in positions with Head Start, a federal family development anti-poverty program, as well as in residence life at Cornell University.


Cornell Prison Education Program aims to help inmates find a path out of recidivism

At this time last year, New York state correctional facilities housed 77,227 inmates, resulting in an annual cost of $60,076 – shouldered by taxpayers – per inmate.

Thirty-six percent of the prisoners do not have a high school diploma, compared with 19 percent of those in the general population, and around 40 percent of those released from prison return within three years of getting out – largely due to parole violations.

Some state lawmakers – including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo – prison reform advocates and educators, such as those with the Cornell Prison Education Program, see education as a path away from the revolving door of incarceration. It has the added benefit of making communities safer and healthier, while decreasing the cost of operating the prison system as it currently exists.

Read the full article in Tompkins Weekly.

‘Servant-leader’ role suits Weber-Shirk, AguaClara program

Monroe Weber-Shirk is the founder and director of the AguaClara program at Cornell, which has brought clean drinking water to approximately 65,000 people in Honduras over the last decade.

But his title does not mean that Weber-Shirk is calling all the shots. Far from it.

The current model for the highly successful service-learning program has evolved over the last few years, and his role has become more “suggester-in-chief” than head honcho. Much of the heavy lifting involved in the smooth operation of AguaClara falls on the students themselves, especially the three “team leads,” who oversee the group of around 60 students.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

AguaClara opens its 14th Honduras plant, debuts micro system

AguaClara was conceived more than a dozen years ago with the idea of providing clear, potable water to people in rural Honduras.

And with the opening in January of its 14th plant – AguaClara’s biggest yet, in the town of Las Vegas – the project now serves more than 65,000 people in a country of more than 8 million, half of whom have limited access to clean water. Yet, due in part to what AguaClara program director Monroe Weber-Shirk calls the “economy of scale,” providing clean water to residents in the country’s smallest villages was simply not feasible.

That is, until now. AguaClara’s latest innovation is a free-standing, 1 liter-per-second (1L/s) water treatment system, developed and tested last year in the program’s Hollister Hall lab.

Read the full story in the Cornell Chronicle.

Engaged Cornell Hub Open House, March 29

When: Engaged Cornell HubWednesday, March 29, 2017 at 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Where: 3rd Floor, Kennedy Hall

Come by and check out the Engaged Cornell Hub, the new home to Cornell Commitment, Community Learning and Service Partnership (CLASP), Cornell Prison Education Program, Cornell Public Service Center, Education Minor, New York Agricultural Outreach and Education, the Office of Engagement Initiatives and the Office of Undergraduate Research.

This will be a casual gathering with students, faculty, staff, and community members. Refreshments served.


This Invention Lets Rural Hondurans Clean Their Water—And Own the Treatment Plants

aguaclara studentsDoña Reina remembers the water that ran from the faucet at her home in rural Honduras. It was yellowish, opaque, she said in Spanish, and “y sucia,which means dirty. Then, in 2008, her small village of Tamara received its first water treatment plant, a gravity-fed system made of locally sourced materials that was designed by engineering students in the U.S. Today, Reina’s water is clean enough to drink from the tap.

The students were part of a Cornell University program called AguaClara, which focuses on treating water affordably in infrastructure-poor communities, and without using electricity. Since 2005, AguaClara, which means clear water, has helped complete 14 plants in partnership with Hondurans who planned and built the structures. Now locals own and operate these plants, which serve about 65,000 people.

Read the full article in Yes! Magazine.

Cornell Tech students help domestic abuse victims

The New York City Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence challenged a team of Cornell Tech master’s students with the following question: How might we create a mobile application that provides comprehensive and multidisciplinary information, tools and resources for domestic violence survivors while also protecting their safety and privacy?

Watch the video on YouTube.

Climate change in Vietnam spurs students to speak up

Ten Cornell students spent two weeks of their winter break on a journey through Vietnam, listening to farmers and community members, and seeing the effects of climate change firsthand.

The trip was part of an interdisciplinary course, “Climate Change Awareness and Service Learning in the Mekong Delta,” led by Michael Hoffmann and Thúy Tranviet. In the fall, the students took classes that introduced them to global climate change and Vietnamese language, culture and history.

From Jan. 3-18 the group traveled throughout the Mekong Delta, attending lectures from experts at Can Tho and Ton Duc Thang universities, and engaging in service learning activities in the local communities.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Applications open for Community Engagement Showcase 2017

Students can now apply to present and receive monetary awards at the Community Engagement Showcase 2017. The application deadline is March 13.

The annual Community Engagement Showcase celebrates outstanding local and global community-engaged projects. In addition to poster presentations and awards, the event provides space for students, faculty, staff, and community partners to network and foster future connections.

This year’s event: Monday, April 24, 2017 | 5 to 7 p.m. | Memorial Room, Willard Straight Hall

Learn more.

International collaboration results in play about borders

When you’re creating a play about the shared experiences of people encountering borders, 7,837 miles between the collaborators is nothing – at least for Debra Castillo, who’s been co-teaching (with Anindita Banerjee) the Bodies at the Border distance learning class for years.

For Castillo, the solution to having writers and actors on separate continents was simple: hold meetings and rehearsals via Skype. The international collaboration includes academics and artists with diverse cultural heritages across Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and South America, and is supported by the College of Arts and Sciences and Jadavpur University in Kolkata, India.

The result is “Root Map,” which had its inaugural performance Jan. 27 in Kolkata, to be followed by performances March 2 in Ithaca and March 4 in El Paso, Texas.

Read the full story in the Cornell Chronicle.

CU Winds completes tour of Haiti, Dominican Republic

concertFifty student musicians in the Cornell Wind Symphony (CU Winds) traveled to Haiti and the Dominican Republic Jan. 10-17 for a service-learning concert tour that was “genuinely transformative,” said James Spinazzola, director of wind ensembles.

“Our students collaborated with 150 student and professional musicians in four concerts, built institutional relationships that are already leading to related projects, and demonstrated the power of music as a vehicle for global awareness and cultural exchange,” he said.

Amanda Barrett Wittman, associate director of community-engaged curricula and strategy in the Office of Engagement Initiatives, traveled with the group and provided learning support, including preparing students for “going to a place you may have a lot of assumptions about, and comparing that to the reality you see there.”

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.