Community Engagement

Engaged Latina/o Studies

The Latina/o Studies Program (LSP), with support from Engaged Cornell, has consolidated our curriculum with explicit pathways to engaged learning and research and has enhanced existing collaborations and created new partnerships that benefit students, community partners and communities far and wide. We focus on an experiential education approach that links academic learning with meaningful activities in collaboration with numerous communities, promoting personal growth, social awareness, leadership development and responsibility.

We work with multiple communities and have deep existing ties locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Critical reflection on these experiences occurs at many levels and with a rich variety of outcomes. Many of our students are inspired by our engaged learning courses to write a senior thesis or other senior projects informed by these courses; likewise, our graduate students write professionally about the intersections of academia and activism. 

Conceived as a service-learning course, Cultures and Communities – LSP 2300/4300 focuses on targeted, engaged research and arts work with Latino/a culture-related organizations in Tompkins County, such as ¡CULTURA!, No más lágrimas and the Latino Civic Association.  Students learn while participating in meaningful activities that enhance arts and culture partnerships. Professor Debra Castillo, faculty instructor, provide guidelines and resources for students to work within existing projects or to develop their own ideas, while community partners provide networks and planning assistance.  Students develop a comprehensive learning portfolio of their semester’s work. This course has a variable credit option, 1-3 credit hours, depending on level of commitment.

Here's a glimpse of engaged learning courses at Cornell relating to Latina/o Studies, Immigration, Education, and Migrant Farmworkers.

¡CULTURA! The CULTURA Ithaca program aims to provide and strives to foster and share Latina/o & Latin American culture with the Tompkins County community through free and low-cost arts and education experiences.  With the leadership of Professor Debra Castillo, community members and students bring events into the community and build connections to its exciting and diverse Latino roots that explore different Latina/o cultures through storytelling, music, dance, art, theater and more.

Latino Heritage Month, the anniversary of the independence of several Latin American countries, is celebrated between September 15 and October 15. This year, in celebration of Latino Heritage Month, there will be an array of events from dance and music, an art exhibit, to the Cine con Cultura film festival. 

Bien acompañada: A Latinx Community Zine project began at a October 18, 2018 bookmaking workshop hosted by Prof Ella Diaz, with participation of Helena Viramontes (distinguished author and former collaborator on Chismearte) and invited guest Stephanie Sauer (founder of Abolha Editora). Students in Professor Diaz’s class were introduced to artisanal bookmaking as resistance in Latinx and Black communities, and were invited to collaborate with “Bien acompañada.”  Krystall Escobedo, Director of CULTURA will introduce collaborators to the zine collection at the downtown Ithaca Workers Center.

Bien acompañada: A Latinx Community Zine mission statement: A space by mujeres where we talk about the intricacies of existing as Latinx. We aim to raise all brown, queer, fat, femme, poor & other oppressed voices of la diaspora and honor our stories through art. We have too many feels so we make art.

Over the course of three semesters, beginning Fall 2018, collaborators on the zine project will release three issues.

For related stories regarding the Latinx zine project and ¡CULTURA! Ithaca visit:    
Zine project features voices in the Latinx community
LSP/LSSO welcomes the new Director of the ¡CULTURA! Ithaca program

For information about Engaged Latina/o Studies at Cornell please contact Professor Debra Castillo,

For information about ¡CULTURA! Ithaca please contact Enrique Gonzalez-Conty,