Cornell Awarded for Work with Farmworkers
On November 10th, Cornell University was awarded the C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award for its ongoing work with farmworkers in New York State. This award, complete with a $20,000 grant, was delivered at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ (APLU) annual meeting in San Diego.
President Martha Pollack accepted the award, highlighting the collaborative efforts that support the farmworker programs.
“Cornell is both honored to accept this award and grateful to the hundreds of individuals who have contributed to our farmworker programs – from community partners to students, faculty and staff,” she said, according to the Cornell Chronicle. “The prize will be put to good use to advance university-farmworker engagement across the country.”
Cornell’s long history of working with farmworkers is one of the ways they live up to their land grant mission. For over 50 years, the university has provided legal, educational, and outreach support to the large and often invisible community of farmworkers in New York State. Farmworkers are essential for the continued success of the agricultural industry within the state. Supporting these workers is an important way that Cornell also helps to maintain farming in New York State as a whole.
Of the 55,000 agricultural laborers working in NYS, 11,000 of them are immigrants. This population is especially vulnerable, and suffers from underrepresentation, isolation, and exploitation. Various Cornell programs are dedicated to aiding this marginalized population with everything from medical care, to legal and immigration advice.
“To be able to connect with communities that are so hidden and out of reach is an important part of the Cornell programs’ missions and pedagogy,” Lyons said.
In addition to the Legal Assistance Clinic, other important programing exists in facilities across campus. Notably, the Cornell Farmworkers Program, which is located in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The Cornell Farmworkers Program was started in 1966 by a group of student activists who proposed the program to the Faculty Senate. Today, it continues under Mary Jo Dudley along with a strong body of student volunteers. The organization provides various support to 1,200 farmworkers all over New York State.