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Showcase honors student and faculty engagement projects

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Joe Schwartz
Student at Community Engagement
Jason Koski/University Photography
Graduate student Gaurav Inder Sing Toor discusses his project "Sustainable Orphanages for Orphaned Children and Local Communities" in Njoro, Kenya at the 2015 Community Engagement Showcase.

At the annual Community Engagement Showcase April 15, Susan Murphy ’73, Ph.D. ’94, vice president for student and academic services, spoke about Cornell’s longstanding commitment to public engagement with local, national and international communities.

She stressed the importance of service learning and building relationships across racial, geographical and class backgrounds. Referring to the students’ projects displayed in Duffield Hall atrium, Murphy said she hoped students will graduate with “deeper empathy" for the world around them than when they arrived at on the Hill, and that student work incorporating public engagement is the future of Cornell.

The address was followed by a ceremony for faculty and student project awards, co-sponsored by Engaged Learning + Research, the Public Service Center, the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives and the Community Learning and Service Partnership. Winning projects received $1,500 to support future community engagement initiatives; they were selected for their impact on the communities they serve, project sustainability and knowledge dissemination within the Cornell community and beyond.

This year, two Student Excellence in Community Engagement awards were handed out. The first was given to Rudy Gerson ’15 for his project "Employment Through the Arts: Re-entry Theatre Program." The program offers 16 eight-week sessions that provide opportunities for people who have been incarcerated to work individually and in groups to create short scenes and plays. The second award was given to graduate student Gaurav Inder Singh Toor for "Sustainable Orphanages for Orphaned Children and Local Communities" in Njoro, Kenya, in partnership with the Ananda Marga Mission. An honorable mention went to Pamela Chueh ’17 for her organization of RAW EXPO, a night that allowed creators across disciplines to celebrate, connect and collaborate with one another.

The George D. Levy Engaged Teaching and Research Award went to Mary Jo Dudley, director of the Cornell Farmworkers Program, for her work on the program’s summer internship. Through the internship, accepted students gain the opportunity to conduct research and educational outreach to address the needs of farmworkers in New York state. Internship research topics include examining farmworker perspectives on labor issues and surveying farmworker services and their usage.

The showcase also featured several student projects from the Clinton Global Initiative University Annual Meeting and gave grants totaling $10,000 to five outstanding projects. This year’s five winners were the Centre d’Education Inclusif, Communicate Indonesia, the Diaspora DO-Tank, Project Star: Celebrating Women, and Unearth the World Cornell.

The event concluded with a poem from A.T. Miller, associative provost for academic diversity.

Scott Goldberg ’16 is a student intern writer for the Cornell Chronicle.

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