Buffalo Co-Lab advances an equitable economy and democratic community, collaboratively integrating scholarly and practical understanding to strengthen civic action.
High Road Fellows
Before I only truly understood the High Road as it pertained to theory—what scholars or journalists had to say about change from the community. The High Road program offered me a practical, engaged learning experience where I could ask questions to the people making change in Buffalo.
I learned about the different ways I can actively advocate right now. Prior to the fellowship, I felt constricted in many ways due to my age. However, I now realize that my interactions with people are far more important than I give credit for.
This summer I have learned so much more about how to create a positive change in the world. Before my High Road experience, I feel that I had a great awareness of world problems but now I feel that I have a better understanding of world solutions.
I learned that one of the greatest keys to creating change is knowing the community that you're creating change for. The High Road programming helped prevent us from developing savior complexes when trying to create impact.
High Road has inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and interact with the people around me. Everyone has their own individual stories and we can learn from each other. It also made me fall in love with Buffalo.
I have learned the importance of reflection and connection. It is one thing to say that you care about High Road values but it is another to actively work to better communities and shared society for all.
I have taken for granted the knowledge of my community members on so many topics, but the High Road has shown me how much value exists in any person's neighborhood. I cannot wait to take this message with me in my professional and academic career.
Interacting with participants in trainings and meetings narrowed the gap between my efforts and the impact of my efforts. This is a valuable experience for anyone who feels a disconnect between their labor and the results of their labor.
Community engagement is everything. And that doesn't mean making decisions for others. It means listening to the communities most affected by policies, building coalitions, and supporting advocacy toward a common goal.
I ended my virtual Freshman year a bit frustrated in the lack of passion for things I care about among the few students I met. High Road flipped that around and introduced me to students who are extremely dedicated and interested in all things community engagement, research, and exploration.
Despite the constant doom-and-gloom of injustice and the apparent immobility of progress, the High Road has inspired me by seeing how organizations, activists, and, most importantly communities, persist and continue to fight tooth-and-nail against systemic forces of oppression.
The most inspiring lesson and my biggest takeaway is that learning is continuous. We never stop learning and expanding our ability to learn, but we restrict our willingness to learn. High Road has inspired me to actively seek new opportunities to learn, because there's always something more out there.
I learned the importance of organizations and people that can be megaphones for their communities. I hope I've grown as a researcher and a communicator so I can do that work in my own communities now and in the future.
High Road has reinforced my interest in labor and made me hopeful about my ability to find a role where I can influence public policy. High Road has absolutely made me much more of an optimist about both peoples willingness and ability to impact their communities for the better.
Meeting so many speakers passionate about in some way making an impact (whether that be through union organizing, police reform, or their many other interested) -- that energized me to take on my own challenges.
Before the fellowship, I had always wondered why we had to research while working directly with the community would better address the issue. However, after this summer, I realized that we research BECAUSE OF the community.
The principles of High Road Economic Development insist that public investment should result in equitably distributed economic growth. For this to occur, people must work on the ground and be in direct contact with individual community members.
There were many takeaways from this summer including the importance of consistently showing up for the people you work with. High Road taught me that I want to do more on-the-ground work with people, hearing their stories and working to change the city for the better.
I leave Buffalo inspired by the community leaders and activists working to leverage people power to fight against systemic injustices. While the challenges to create meaningful change seem insurmountable, they continue to persevere and hope and work to make a difference in their community.