Cornell University's Sarah Coderre is taking Buffalo's high road

Cornell University's Sarah Coderre is taking Buffalo's high road

Sarah Coderre is in for a whirlwind communications introduction here at PUSH Green. As one of 17 Cornell University High Road Fellows, Coderre will work directly with People United for Sustainable Housing's - PUSH Buffalo - Communications Specialist, learning the “ins and outs” of PUSH Green's digital media strategy.

So, what’s Coderre’s story?

Well, for starters she is originally from Worcester, Mass. and is currently a sophomore at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations – a program that infuses business, government, law, industrial labor relations, and workforce development.

“What attracted me to the school was the fact that the program focused on a bunch of different areas – areas that I am extremely interested in learning more about,” stated Coderre. “Cornell’s ILR program does a great job of examining the way that people work together, which is why I jumped at the opportunity to possibly become a High Road Fellow.”

The University’s “High Road Runs Through the City” program, which began in 2008 by Dean Harry Katz and Professor Emeritus Lou Jean Fleron, is a service-learning and research-based fellowship program that connects students with non-profit organizations, government officials, and labor advocates throughout the city.

High Road partner organizations are focused on one thing, and one thing only: revitalizing Buffalo. Each of the businesses associated with the program are determined in tackling Rust Belt challenges like urban revitalization, quality job creation, the green economy, and small business development.

“Currently my fellows and I spend four days a week interning at various non-profits throughout Buffalo,” continued Coderre. “On Fridays, we come together to explore the city by going on tours and attending presentations and meetings.”

And, while those meetings, tours and presentations are great, for Coderre being a High Road Fellow and a PUSH Green Intern means a bit more than simply traveling around Buffalo.

“For me, PUSH Green and the High Road program is a journey of self discovery and learning,” she said. “I don’t know what I’ll end up pursuing career wise, but I want to explore the possibility of combining my passion for service with my leadership skills.”

On campus, Coderre works at Cornell University’s Public Service Center as a Center Program’s Specialist where she facilitates the connection between volunteers and community organizations. After working at the Center for more than a year, Coderre realized her passion for service and community relations.

“I was totally drawn to the idea of working in the community,” she continued. “PUSH Green is everything I could have asked for (and more) when it comes to working for a community-based organization.”

"Being new to Buffalo’s West Side, it was really cool for me to see the way PUSH resonates within the community. After taking a walking tour of their neighborhood Green Zone, I was amazed at the number of people my supervisor was able to greet by name. It was truly remarkable.”

But, what resonated the most for Coderre?

“It was the fact that PUSH encourages their community members to speak up for themselves; to identify and work, together, to fix neighborhood problems - problems pertaining to the green economy, jobs and energy efficiency,” stated Coderre. “Everyone knows what he or she wants to see in his or her community or neighborhood and PUSH’s work reflects this notion.”

“My goal for my time here this summer is to continue to live out the PUSH motto and empower local residents to make positive changes in their communities,” she said.

 Learn more about Coderre and her PUSH Green experiences, by checking out her weekly blog (check out a snippet below)- she posts every Friday! For more info about our awesome energy efficiency program, visit us online or give us a ring at 716-886-1780.  

By far the most interesting part of my week thus far has been learning more about my internship project. Inspired by some of the ideas proposed to me by my supervisors, my project is going to ‘push’ the envelope of my experiences (and also be pretty fun)! A summer that I anticipated being very much ILR (Industrial and Labor Relations) focused, seems to have taken an unexpected turn and thrown me into CALs.

I am going to be working as a Communications Intern for the summer, managing and producing content for PUSH Green’s various social media platforms (figuring out Twitter should be interesting...also, people use Google+ ?), as well as contributing to other aspects of our organization's outreach campaign.

Under that umbrella, my biggest project is going to be coordinating and producing interviews and video testimonials of individuals that have been impacted by the PUSH Green program.

Everything about this is exciting. I like to talk…a lot actually, and interviewing and writing will give me a great opportunity to play with words! I also think that it’s weird how things ended up like this; I knew there was a reason I decided to take Intro to Communications next semester.

(Snippet from Coderre’s "Week 2" blog post.)

About Cornell University’s “The High Road Runs Through the City Fellowship” program

The High Road Runs Through the City Fellowship program is Cornell University’s School of Industrial Labor Relations’ visible commitment to public and community service. Established in 2008 by Dean Harry Katz and Professor Emeritus Lou Jean Fleron, the program provides a way for ILR students to authentically connect their academic and service lives. Visit the School of Industrial and Labor Relations for more information about the school and their High Road Fellows program.

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