Resource fair connects Cornell with local community

Jennifer Jensen and Amy LeViere
Chris Kitchen/University Photography
Jennifer Jensen, communications and outreach coordinator of Cornell's Community and Regional Development Institute (CaRDI), right, talks to Amy LeViere, donor services officer at the Community Foundation of Tompkins County at the Cornell Resource Fair.

On a chilly Friday morning Oct. 30, representatives from more than a dozen of Cornell’s departments and offices assembled at The Space @ Greenstar for the second Cornell Resource Fair, where area residents who work for and with local government, K-12 and not-for-profits were invited to learn about the university’s outreach programs.

Educators, local businesses people, veterans, scholars and community organizers engaged with staff from a wide range of departments, including the Public Service Center, the Local Roads Program, Mann Library, Cornell Design Connect, the Cornell Center for Materials Research and the Cornell Farmworker Program. About 60 people attended.

The diversity of participating organizations reflected the many levels of Cornell-Ithaca engagement, said Susan Riley of Cornell’s Office of Community Relations, a co-organizer of the event.

Chris Kai-Jones, student engagement coordinator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County (CCETC), which co-sponsored the fair, stressed the organization’s involvement in the county’s efforts to achieve its strategic goals. CCETC’s participation is a reiteration of extension’s mission to “connect educators on campus with the larger Tompkins community and to augment and strengthen the relationship,” he said.

Other participants included The Cornell Commitment, which provides volunteering, leadership and paid work opportunities that involve engagement with the local community for Cornell students, and the Cornell STEP program, which offers tutoring, planning, preparation and advising services to underrepresented and disadvantaged students from the Ithaca City School District pursuing careers in STEM fields.

Members of the Department of Astronomy informed visitors about opportunities for young and adult space enthusiasts. One of the most popular booths belonged to the Cornell Center for Engaged Learning + Research, which highlighted some of its recently developed engagement programs.

As the day advanced, it became clear that guests were not the only ones benefiting from the gathering. Throughout the fair, presenters engaged in a lively exchange among each other. The fair provided an opportunity for professionals employed at different institutions within Cornell’s structure to introduce themselves to each other and to consider potential cooperation.

The first Cornell Resource Fair was held in 2012, and Riley and others expressed hope of making it an annual event. The fair was held in cooperation with TST BOCES, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, and the Community and Regional Development Institute.

Giorgi Tsintsadze '17 is a writer intern for the Cornell Chronicle.

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