Submitted by Dipesh Khati ’22, one of 30 students doing community-based research this summer as a Fellow in the Upstate Institute Summer Field School
This summer I worked with the Partnership for Community Development (PCD). the PCD is a not for profit organization that supports the economic and social development of Hamilton area. It was formally established on June 2, 1999. The mission of the organization is to create Hamilton as an economic, cultural, social and academic hub in Central New York. The PCD has been carrying out a number of activities to foster the local economy and improve the quality of life in the Hamilton area. They have received a number of grants to support local businesses. Fojo Beans, Ray Brothers, Zen Den Inc, Kriemhild Dairy Farms, and Good Nature Brewery are some of the local business that have received aid through the Hamilton PCD. Through these grants, the PCD has been revitalizing business in the Downtown Business District. Moreover, Hamilton PCD is also working on housing management to provide access to affordable and quality housing to the people of Hamilton area. My project was to help with the community incubator project, conducting surveys and researching the ways to make Hamilton Village Farmers’ Market experience better for both customers and vendors, and to research the programs PCD Community Incubator could organize to support entrepreneurs in and around Hamilton.
As I worked through the summer, I got to learn more about Partnership for Community Development (PCD). The Hamilton PCD has been working on a number of issues to help the Hamilton village and the surrounding communities. PCD has been working to start a community incubator in partnership with the Colgate Thought Into Action (TIA). The PCD has received a $625,000 grant to fund the business incubator for next five years. They have also been working to make Hamilton a carbon neutral, community driven model community by 2030. Furthermore, they have been working to provide affordable and qualitative housing to Hamiltonians. The Hamilton PCD has also been helping the Hamilton Village Farmers Market by collecting surveys to better understand the state of the Market and by forming Friends of the Market committee to help the Farmers’ Market.
As the summer intern for PCD my job was to survey the customer and vendors of the Farmers Market in order to improve Farmers’ Market experience of both customer and vendors. I collected data about the market experience through survey and analyzed them. I submitted a list of recommendations based on the surveys to improve the Farmers’ Market experience. Also, I researched the different programs that the Hamilton PCD incubator could organize in their Community Incubator space in 20 Utica Street. I worked with PCD Incubator Director Mary Galvez to closely study sister incubator communities to determine a set of programs to fit our goal as a community incubator.
As a first-year student in Colgate University, I wanted to have a real-life experience of working in a community than doing a typical academic research. I wanted to figure out what aspects of working in a real-world circumstance that I liked and that I didn’t like. I hope to become clearer what I wanted to pursue as a career through the field school. Plus, working for the communities around the Hamilton looked really interesting! I am inclined towards Economics as my primary major and wanted to use its ideas. Although the work I did for PCD wasn’t always purely economics, it had many elements of the principles I learned in economics courses. The internship helped me understand the multi-faceted nature of opinions on a single topic and how to work and address them. It was also interesting to see how deeply law and social well-being was embedded in economy. All in all the field school was an amazing experience working with a magnificent organization and fantastic group of people.