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Daniel Handler ’18 helps support New York State Hops industry

By ramann on June 23, 2016
This post was written by Daniel Handler  ’18
Daniel Handler '18 at a local Hopyard

Daniel Handler ’18 at a local Hopyard

New York State was once known as the most important producer of hops, the plant that is used to flavor beer by affecting its bitterness. By the mid19th century, New York State had achieved national leadership in hops production, containing over 40,000 acres of hopyards. The bulk of this production occurred in only several Central New York counties, including Madison, Otsego, Oneida, and Schoharie Counties. These counties produced millions of pounds of hops for both domestic and international markets, and created a culture of hop growing in Central New York. However, by the early 20th century the New York State hops industry was all but destroyed. Several hard-hitting pest and disease outbreaks in the beginning of the 20th century caused hop production values to rapidly decline. Combined with an increase in competition with new hop growers in the Pacific Northwest and the enactment of Prohibition, the New York State hops industry was unable to recover, and almost completely disappeared. Read more


Austin Anderson ’17 works with Madison County Rural Health Council

By Chris Henke on June 22, 2016
This post was written by Austin Anderson ’17

In the everyday pressures and demanding schedules we all face, we tend to take for granted some of the most important aspects of our lives, like access to a safe and healthy environment. The Madison County Rural Health Council (MCRHC) works to provide this essential service. The organization is dedicated to improving the health of Madison County residents through fostering links between healthcare providers, raising awareness about health issues, and increasing access to healthcare and healthy opportunities for the public. Founded only three years ago, the MCRHC developed and published a Community Health Assessment (CHA)/Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) in 2013. The organization also initiated a Live Well Committee in Madison County to implement programs designed to increase the availability of nutritious food sources and inspire higher levels of physical activity.

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Exploring Food and Community: #colgatefoodtrip

By Chris Henke on May 26, 2016

Since joining the Upstate Institute as faculty director (nearly one year ago already!), I’ve really enjoyed chances to bring together my interests in food and community with the local goals and needs of our Upstate community. Our Summer Field School, which is just about to kick into gear for the 2016 season, features several projects centered around food in our region, including collaborations with the Partnership for Community Development, Madison County’s Planning Department, and Cooperative Extension’s Agricultural Economic Development program. You will be able to read more about these projects right here, as students will be posting about their work later this summer!

This week, however, I’m packing my bags, preparing to leave Upstate, NY for eleven days on a trip with six other Colgate faculty, to explore issues of food, community, and culture in three Midwestern U.S. cities—St Louis, Chicago, and Detroit.

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Godwin publishes book on the symbolism of Freemasonry in Upstate New York

By Upstate Institute on May 26, 2016

SymbolsJoscelyn Godwin and coauthor Christian Goodwillie (Hamilton College) have just published Symbols in the Wilderness: Early Masonic Survivals in Upstate New York. The title was published by Richard W. Couper Press, with funding from the Upstate Institute.

Freemasonry played a vital role in the social development of New York State. Its Lodges provided a trusted place for newcomers to meet and for friendships and business partnerships to develop, free from political, professional, and sectarian differences. During its explosive growth from 1790 to the end of the 1820s Masonic brethren produced iconic architecture, as well as extraordinary examples of folk art, expressed in large symbolic paintings (“tracing boards”), murals, textiles, and graphics. Most of these have remained entirely unknown outside the Upstate Lodges that, against all hazards, have preserved them. Their symbolism seems mysterious and confusing to outsiders, but once explained, it gives insight into a period and place unique in American history.

Joscelyn Godwin is Professor of Music at Colgate University. He previously published The Spirit House, or Brown’s Free Hall, in Georgetown, New York with the Upstate Institute. Symbols in the Wilderness is available for purchase at Couper Press.


Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program Featured on Local TV

By Chris Henke on May 18, 2016

Reporter Sean Martinelli from WUTR in Utica recently visited campus to speak with students and faculty about Colgate’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, featuring VITA in a piece that aired on WUTR earlier this month.  The VITA program provides residents of Chenango and Madison counties with free help preparing their federal income taxes.  Led by Professor of Economics Nicole Simpson, VITA trains Colgate students in the nuts-and-bolts of filing tax returns, paying special attention to the Earned Income Tax Credit that is available for many low-income residents.  Tax refunds from VITA-prepared returns bring more than $1 million back to our region each year.  The VITA story includes details about a recent gift of $30,000 from NBT Bank that will help to support the program and keep it running for the next three years.  The Upstate Institute thanks NBT Bank and WUTR for their support of VITA, as well as the students and community partners that put in many hours of work to run the program each year.


Two Students recognized with Upstate Institute Awards

By Chris Henke on April 29, 2016

At Colgate’s annual Awards Convocation, held earlier this week, The Upstate Institute recognized two students in the Class of 2016, Jennifer (Jenn) Dias and Kayleigh Bhangdia, for their outstanding work as fellows in the Summer Field School program.

Jennifer Dias '16 (left) and Kayleigh Bhangdia '16, winners of the 2016 Upstate Institute Awards

Jennifer Dias ’16 (left) and Kayleigh Bhangdia ’16, winners of the 2016 Upstate Institute Awards

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Local Organizations Share Their Perspectives on Community Service

By Chris Henke on April 7, 2016

Colgate’s Konosioni student honor society hosted a panel discussion today on the topic of, “What is Service in Madison County?”  The panel featured representatives from seven local non-profit organizations focused on community service, including Community Bikes, Friends of Rogers, Food Bank of CNY, Hamilton Food Cupboard, Fiver Children’s Foundation, Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, and Community Action Partnership.  Konosioni member Chris Noda ’16 moderated the panel, which included discussion of both how service benefits those in our community facing challenges and needs, but also provides new understandings and connections for those who give of their time and other resources.

Representatives from seven local community service organizations share their perspectives on the value of service.

Representatives from seven local community service organizations share their perspectives on the value of service.

Each of these community organizations are also featured in the MadisonCountyGives.org website, providing an opportunity to provide financial support for these causes.  So far this year Konosioni has helped to raise more than $40,000 for these seven organizations; please visit the website and consider a contribution of your own!

You can also support Konosioni’s efforts by attending their annual charity auction, held starting at 8pm on Friday, April 8, in the Hall of Presidents.


Upstate Funded Project on Drone Warfare at Palace Theater March 21

By Upstate Institute on February 25, 2016

Jacob Mundy, Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, and Valerie Morkevicius, Assistant Professor of Political Science, will hold a public symposium at the Palace Theater in Hamilton on March 21, 2016 at 4:30 pm. “Drone Warfare and the Implication for Upstate New York” will include participants Daniel R. Brunstetter, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of California at Irvine; Charles J Dunlap, Professor of the Practice of Law and Executive Director, Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, Duke School of Law; and Nicholas Rostow, Charles Evans Hughes Visiting Chair of Government and Jurisprudence, Colgate University. Harry Murray, Professor of Sociology, Nazareth University and member of Upstate Drone Action, will respond.

The federal government’s desire to increased the range and precision of counterterrorism targeting programs with drones means that drones are often operated from bases inside the United States, including Hancock Air Force Base near Syracuse. While there is already a rich debate over the effects of drone warfare on the areas it targets, the implications of drone warfare for communities that host such programs is poorly understood. The participants in this symposium will collectively explore the significant yet unexplored consequences of drone warfare on those who are exposed to it and those who wage it.


Scenes from the “Local Food Cultures” Series

By Chris Henke on September 30, 2015

On September 17 and 18 the Upstate Institute (in partnership with Colgate’s Lampert Institute) sponsored a two day series of events on the topic of, “Local Food Cultures: Traditions and Futures.”  Each of the events in the series was very well attended by our campus community as well as by our neighbors interested in the topics of food, politics, culture, and environment.  If you couldn’t join us, click below for some highlights from the events.

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Three Faculty Awarded Course Development Grants

By Upstate Institute on September 29, 2015

Janel Benson of Sociology and Anthropology, Jessica Graybill of Geography (“Urban Geography”), and Tim McCay of Biology (“Applied Natural Resource Conservation”) were recently awarded course development grants through the Upstate Institute.

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