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Strengthening College and Community Connections

Main Streety SUNY Cortland: Strengthening College and Community Connections

Main Street SUNY Cortland is a bold initiative consistent with a powerful trend in American higher education.

Colleges and universities are being called upon to assist the economic development of their surrounding communities while increasing the civic engagement of their students.

Main Street SUNY Cortland is a highly visible symbol of how the College’s administrators, faculty and students see themselves tied to the economic and civic well-being of the greater Cortland community.

Background

Over the last 10 years, SUNY Cortland has been moving toward even greater economic integration and civic engagement with the surrounding Cortland community. A major step in this direction came with a Housing and Urban Development grant in 1999 to develop a Community Outreach Partnership Center (COPC).

The three-year COPC project directed College resources — especially technical expertise and student involvement — to address needs identified by the community. Among COPC’s initial accomplishments were

    * establishment of the Cortland Counts community assets and needs assessment process
    * initiation of a children’s museum
    * consolidated housing plan
    * activities in support of the College’s Institute for Civic Engagement.

A second, two-year COPC New Directions project targeted the city’s East End neighborhood and included support for the East End Community Center run by the City of Cortland Youth Bureau.

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