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The College of Arts Sciences

Community Engagement

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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, offered each semester, 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.

CULTURA Ithaca also provides programming that focuses on civic engagement and education on subjects like finances, health, legal issues and more. CULTURA's downtown office, located in the Tompkins County Workers Center on the 2nd Floor of Autumn Leaves Used Bookstore on the Commons, acts as a resource center and gathering space for Latin@s and amig@s to come together and is the site of the Cafe con CULTURA coffee and Spanish conversation hour.

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

• For information about ¡CULTURA! Ithaca please contact Krystall Escobedo, Director of CULTURA,