Cornell University

July 16 2010

High Road

ILR students revitalizing Buffalo economy this summer

Through "The High Road Runs Through the City," 10 ILR students are working with non-profit groups, government, businesses and labor advocates for a summer of service learning and action research.

The groups are part of the Partnership for the Public Good, a civic group of more than 75 organizations promoting more equitable and sustainable economic development in the Buffalo metro area.

Once a major automobile and steel production center, Buffalo suffers from some classic Rust Belt challenges, said Lou Jean Fleron, who directs the program.

But, she said, it also boasts an array of grassroots and community groups doing innovative work – "whether developing green affordable housing, starting a cooperatively-owned garden store in an impoverished neighborhood or helping refugees from political persecution in Burma start new lives."

"High Road Summer Fellows bring creative enthusiasm to grassroots organizations which are transforming urban life in Buffalo," Fleron said in an interview. "These ILR students not only learn about economic development, they roll up their sleeves and contribute directly to a better economy in Western New York."

Summer fellows include ILR sophomores, juniors, seniors and a graduate student.

During June and July, each student works 35-hour weeks Monday through Thursday with a partner organization.

On Fridays, they meet as a group in the Buffalo ILR offices for activities such as forums with guest experts on local economic development issues and walking tours of Buffalo neighborhoods.

High Road partners and student fellows are:

  • Clean Air Coalition of Western New York - Julia Burgdorf
  • Coalition for Economic Justice - Thomas Barnes
  • Hispanics United of Buffalo - J.C. Tretter
  • International Institute of Buffalo - Annie Finn and Kwan Park
  • Partnership for the Public Good - Elaina Mulé and Zach Smith
  • People United for Sustainable Housing - Sam Bordia
  • Urban Roots Community Garden Center - Aaron Klein
  • Western New York Apollo Alliance - Mike Dolce