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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.