Home - Upstate Institute - Upstate Institute News
Upstate Institute News

Latest Posts

Colleen Donlan ’18 researches access to local food; careers in farming

By Upstate Institute on July 28, 2017

Colleen Donlan, ’18, at the Hamilton office of the Partnership for Community Development.

This summer, I am working at the Partnership for Community Development (PCD) as an Upstate Institute Fellow. PCD is an economic development nonprofit which serves the Hamilton area. They work closely with the Village of Hamilton, the Town of Hamilton, and Colgate University to ensure sustainable community-oriented change, success for our small businesses, and economic vitality. PCD brings Hamilton together through community-based projects in many different ways.


Food access is a concern in Madison County, as it is in many rural areas. Some residents participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). However, these participants cannot use their benefits everywhere. Residents cannot redeem them at the Hamilton Farmer’s Market or at almost any farms in the county, even though there is a process to make this happen. So while we are surrounded by farms, which sell meat, vegetables, dairy, and other produce, community members still struggle to access local food. On the producer side of this issue, trying to accept SNAP is not easy. That is why, among other barriers, it is difficult for farmers to go through the process of accepting SNAP.


Read more

Kaitlin Abrams ’18 helps For the Good build community as they grow good food

By Upstate Institute on July 27, 2017

Kaitlin Abrams ‘18 with Summer Youth Employment Program workers at For the Good’s garden in Utica, NY

For the Good is a community organization based in the heart of Utica, NY. In 2002, C.E.O Cassandra Harris-Lockwood started the nonprofit with the intention of restoring Utica’s Community Action Agency. Since then the organization has grown to accommodate two community gardens opening in 2008, an independent newspaper, and various youth programming such as the Study Buddy Club.

Read more

Erin Burke ’18 develops children’s programming at the Oneida Community Mansion House

By Upstate Institute on July 24, 2017

Erin Burke at the Oneida Community Mansion House

This summer I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work as an intern at the Oneida Community Mansion House. The Oneida Community Mansion House (OCMH) is a non-profit historic house museum that shares the history of the Oneida Community. The Oneida Community was a socialist Utopian group that was active from 1848-1881. They are known for their social practices, which differed greatly from their contemporaries: the Community shared all property in common, believed that women and men were of comparable standing, all men and women in the Community were spouses to one another, and that men were responsible for preventing conception. OCMH also strives to use the story of the Oneida Community as a platform to discuss pressing social issues that still face audiences today. To accomplish this dual mission of sharing history and questioning modernity, OCMH offers guided tours, educational programs, and special events to the public.

Read more

Jacob Adams ’18 studies economic impact of agriculture on Madison County

By Upstate Institute on July 21, 2017

Jake Adams at Critz Farms in Cazenovia, New York

This summer I was granted the opportunity to intern for the Madison County branch of the Cornell Cooperative Extension as an Upstate Institute fellow for the Agricultural Economic Development program. Cooperative Extension’s role in the community is wide reaching, as there are several facets to the responsibilities of the different Madison County programs. The mission statement reads, “The Cornell Cooperative Extension educational system enables people to improve their lives and communities through partnerships that put experience and research knowledge to work.” Programs run include 4H, agribusiness outreach, and Open Farm Day. The Agricultural Economic Development office of the extension is vital to the agriculture market of Madison county by creating market opportunities for farmers and encouraging value-added enterprises. The secondary objective of the office is to maintain a sizeable arable land base in the county to encourage future economic growth in the agricultural sector.

Read more

Susie Waltz ’18 produces campaign videos for Chenango United Way

By Upstate Institute on July 5, 2017

This summer I am lucky to have the opportunity to work as an intern for the Chenango United Way through the Upstate Institute Summer Field School. The United Way is a global nonprofit organization that works to strengthen communities in three areas: health, income, and education. The United Way in Norwich serves townships in Chenango County, fundraising and then reallocating donations to the most robust local nonprofits and programs. The United Way is unusual in that it does not serve one specific population or problem. Instead, the organization focuses on entire communities and addresses the ever-changing issues that a town or village may face within the three focus areas. Although it is most known for its work in fundraising, the United Way also helps organize community efforts to tackle big problems. By developing community impact teams for health, education and income, the United Way unifies the talent of community leaders to discuss and address area-specific issues. The United Way also works with other community groups, such as the Building a Healthy Community Coalition and the Housing Counsel Coalition, to work on issues like high rates of obesity, widespread substance abuse, persistent homelessness and insufficient affordable housing options. Rather than just giving money to different worthy causes, the United Way is an active participant in every step in long process of community improvement.

Read more

Victoria Rykaczewski ’19 works with Hudson Headwaters on health care issues in the Adirondacks

By Upstate Institute on July 1, 2017

As a Fellow with the Upstate Institute Field School this summer, I have had the opportunity to work with Hudson Headwaters Health Network on a number of community health initiatives addressing ongoing public health issues within the local community. Hudson Headwaters is a not-for-profit community healthcare system, comprised of 17 community health centers covering more than 5,000 square miles of the Adirondack North Country and Glens Falls region. For many communities in the region, Hudson Headwaters is the only medical provider serving this rural, medically underserved area, making it an important “safety-net” provider for the region. The founding mission of Hudson Headwaters is “to provide the best health care, and access to that care, for everyone in our communities.” In pursuit of this mission, Hudson Headwaters has continued to be a leader in rural healthcare systems, working with community partners to develop innovative public health programs that increase access to quality healthcare and meet the evolving needs of the local community. I have had the opportunity to work on a couple of these projects, focusing on expanding access to treatment, continuing community outreach and education, and developing relationships with community partners.

Read more