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High Road 2020: Place-Based Work from Any Place

While these past weeks have been difficult, the unprecedented challenge the Cornell and Buffalo communities are facing has led to an equally unprecedented and positive response by all.  In spite of the distance that separates us, whether it be six feet or six thousand miles, in many ways students and faculty are learning together collaboratively like never before, supported by staff working on campus and from home.

The High Road Fellowships has been bringing Cornell students to Buffalo, NY for the past eleven years—the twelfth year will be an exception. Instead of bringing the students to Buffalo, the Cornell ILR Buffalo Co-Lab will be modifying summer projects, panels, tours, activities so that it can bring Buffalo to its Fellows.

In keeping with social distancing to minimize the spread of novel coronavirus, in-person activities of Cornell University are suspended until mid-July at this time. No students will be getting on a bus or plane June 1st to head to the Queen City. Instead, 23 students will be teeing up their tech equipment to venture into their summer commitment remotely.

Students' projects are coordinated through the Partnership for the Public Good (PPG), a community-based think tank with over 300 richly networked partners. Organizations such as Cooperation Buffalo, Massachusetts Avenue Project, SEIU 1199, Ujima Company Inc., WNY Library Resource Council committed in November 2019 to hosting a Cornell student and developed projects. In light of the new work situation, Co-Lab staff has been communicating with each organization to modify and cluster what were previously individual projects. Transitioning the summer learning to groups will increase the student interactions, promote a sense of community, and alleviate the managerial burden of organizations conducting 1:1 virtual employment.

The virtual summer does not aim to be a long term replacement for future summers. Rather its intent is to provide students with some stability both economically, academically, and socially in these tumultuous times. The students, who were accepted mid-February, can still depend on earning a living wage stipend, adding meaningful capacity to a nonprofit, and the opportunity to probe Buffalo leaders with career questions.

Please welcome the 2020 High Road and Democracy Summer Fellows:

  • Ryan A Aguilar, ILR ’22, Dumont, NJ
  • Leo Cardoza, CALS ’22, Wantagh, NY
  • Ketchel Carey, ILR ’23, Boone, NC
  • Elijah Emery, ILR ’23, Yonkers, NY
  • James Granata, ILR ’22, Westtown, NY
  • Rachel Hidek, ILR ’21, Syracuse, NY
  • Daniel James, ILR ’22, Florence, SC
  • Aliyah Kilpatrick , ILR ’23, DeWitt, NY
  • Nathan Lamm, ILR ’22, Hamburg, NY
  • Melissa Lau, ILR ’23, Albertson, NY
  • Ivana Letayf Lazo de la Vega, ILR ’23, Coronado, CA
  • Eric Lee , ILR ’21, Seoul, Korea
  • Asher Lipman, Arts & Sciences ’23, Jericho, NY
  • Ashton O'Connor, CALS ’23, Boise, ID
  • Tyler Pearce, ILR ’22, Brooklyn, NY
  • Nate Reilly, Human Ecology ’23, Niagara Falls, NY
  • Jackson Ross-Pilkington, ILR ’21, Chatham, NY
  • Ethan Rubin, ILR ’23, New York, NY
  • Milena Saakyan, CALS ’22, Buffalo, NY
  • Joanna Sowa, ILR ’21, Garfield, NJ
  • Libby Willkomm, ILR ’23, West Bend, WI
  • Leanna Zilles, ILR ’21, Monticello, NY
  • Helen Zhou, Human Ecology '22,  Appleton, WI