Cornell students give back this holiday season
By Laura Gallup

This year in between Thanksgiving, prelims, homework, finals and packing up for winter break — Cornell students found time to give back.

Students from Cornell Hunger Relief (CHR,) an organization supported by the Einhorn Center for Community Engagement, recently teamed up with Chef Eric Symcak from Cornell’s Statler Hotel for the Statler Hotel’s ‘Great Chicken Dinner Give-Away’. Students, faculty and staff prepped, cooked, packaged and shipped out meals for 100 local families. To identify families in need, they worked with community partners at the Friendship Donations Network, Loaves and Fishes, Salvation Army, Foodbank of the Southern Tier and No Mas Lagrimas.

Co-Presidents of CHR Cat Diao ’24, a public policy major, and Kayla Hsu ’24, a nutritional sciences major, both said that their classwork has translated to and inspired the work they’ve done with CHR.

“As a nutritional sciences major, you learn in the classroom about specific types of proteins and carbohydrates that will support a healthy lifestyle, but it’s so hard to achieve that when you don’t have consistent access to food,” said Hsu.

They both also noted how being a part of CHR has allowed them to get off campus and truly feel like a part of the Ithaca community, giving them a purpose beyond homework and exams.

“At Cornell, I think it’s almost a duty to give back to the community — this principle of reciprocity,” Diao said. “I think being at Cornell comes with a lot of privilege and a lot of resources, and I want to use that to benefit the community in the best way that we can. We’re guests in their homes for a significant part of the year, and they give so much to us.”

Read more about students serving the Cornell campus and Ithaca communities on the Student and Campus Life website.