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January 23, 2014

Graduate program working on community project

(Continued)

The first was to use the home as a private residence, Sorin said. The second idea was to convert the property into a bed and breakfast, as Cold Springs is a tourist town, Sorin said. The third and final plan was to contract the space as a venue for events for people and businesses to use, especially the many breweries and wineries in the area.

The students were also involved in a project at Johnson Hall State Historic Site in Johnstown. Patrick Dickerson said that the goal of the project was to update the educational lesson plans for children. The students were given the task of developing programming for the 18th century slave quarters, as much research had been done but there were few materials to show to children or other museum visitors, he said.

The CGP students then met with teachers in Johnstown to find out the requirements of an educational field trip, Dickerson said. After sorting through the research, the students focused on three slave stories and created activities around those narratives, he continued. One of those activities was to make a messenger bag, as one of the slaves was the messenger for Sir William Johnson.

“Working in the community gives students the chance to think through some of the issues nonprofits deal with and it gives the organization a terrific product at no cost,” Sorin said.

Sorin also spoke about the community stories project that was started in 1964. Every year since then students have been interviewing people from the communities of Cooperstown and Oneonta to “preserve traditional practices” that have been going away in our society, she said.

First year students conduct one-hour interviews with people from the Cooperstown area. Those interviews are recorded and sent to the New York State Historical Society Library and Walker, the professor who oversees this project, has digitized them as well.

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