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Magrath Community Engagement Award Spotlight: Cornell University

In recognition of their extraordinary community outreach initiatives, four APLU member institutions have been selected as regional recipients of the 2019 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award. As regional winners, Colorado State University, Cornell University, University of Louisville, and Purdue University will represent and compete for the national C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award, which will be announced during the APLU Annual Meeting November 10-12 in San Diego, California. In this post, APLU spotlights Cornell University’s work to support migrant workers.

Agriculture is a major economic driver in New York State, and the industry relies on tens of thousands of immigrant farmworkers. Since 1966, the Cornell Farmworker Program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) has provided statewide leadership, supporting migrant farmworkers in housing improvements, health pesticide training, and education.

Identifying priorities through participatory research, faculty, staff, and students collaborate with farmworkers to build capacity to fulfill aspirations, strengthen collective efficacy, and address challenges. Today, Cornell’s support of farmworkers has grown to include CALS, the SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell Law School and 24 community partners.

More than 300 students participate annually to support thousands of farmworkers and farmworker-focused organizations. Programming includes the Farmworker Legal Assistance Clinic, one of the country’s only law-school based, farmworker-focused clinics; the Low-Income Taxpayer Program, a first-of-its-kind interprofessional course series through which accounting and law students assist farmworkers and other low-income workers with tax returns; hands-on student-farmworker workshops; development of training materials and activities; and research that has resulted in seven scholarly publications and dozens of policy papers and practitioner publications. Cornell is regularly consulted on program design as well as on federal, state and local farmworker policy.

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