Cornell University

April 23 2014

Energizing Buffalo’s Economy

Twenty High Road students will be part of inaugural Open Buffalo year

Summer is approaching, and with that comes another round of ILR students participating in Buffalo's economic revitalization.

Through ILR's High Road Fellowships, 20 students will be connected to the Queen City’s Partnership for the Public Good and one of its 140-plus organizations.

Sixty-seven students have received fellowships since 2009 through the High Road program. During June and July, students work at community-based, non-profit organizations that align with their interests.

"High Road is a way to combine professionally fulfilling, serious work in urban redevelopment while tackling inequality," said Megan Connelly, associate director of the ILR program.

Cornell ILR is part of the 13-organization Open Buffalo initiative receiving a $1.9 million grant from the Open Society Foundation to advance justice, equity and democratic practice in local communities.

High Road Director Lou Jean Fleron, who is also co-director of the Partnership for the Public Good, served as director of the Open Buffalo planning process. Open Buffalo's grant petition included a letter of support from ILR Dean Harry Katz.

Receiving the grant "is a great victory for all of Buffalo and for the hundreds of people who worked to create the Open Buffalo plan," said Fleron, ILR Extension emeritus faculty.

Open Buffalo plans to address:

  • restorative justice, including work in schools and the criminal justice system,
  • economic development that benefits the community,
  • worker equity addressing poverty, inequity and worker training needs.

ILR students in the High Road Fellowships program each receive a $3,000 stipend and work Monday through Thursday in non-profit organizations; they meet on Fridays in the downtown Buffalo office for workshops, guest lectures, roundtable discussions and Buffalo walking tours.

David Huang '14 said his High Road summer changed his perspective. "The High Road program and its partners are part of this drive to continually improve and fight for social justice through innovative thinking and collaboration. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have been involved as a student intern."