New program connects Cornellians with community members

A new program will kick off this academic year with a goal of connecting Cornellians with community members.

Brunch Buddies is designed after the college’s Lunch Buddies program, which connects Cornell students with elementary school students as mentors. The Brunch Buddies program, however, connects Cornell students with community members and their families. The program asks individuals or families to meet up with their Brunch Buddy once per block during the academic year. The idea is for students to have an opportunity to really spend time with people in the community.

“We know how successful the Cornell College Lunch Buddy program is and wanted to duplicate that with community members–offering all of us another avenue to reach out and make Cornell College students feel welcome and at home,” said Director of the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group Joe Jennison.

Brunch Buddies was an idea that surfaced a few years ago following a talk by Chaplain of the College Catherine Quehl-Engel about a meditation program she piloted with students, staff, and community members and the interactions shared during that programming.

Cole Library Consulting Librarian for Social Sciences Meghan Yamanishi discussed those community interactions with a student and several faculty and staff members, hoping to increase the number of those interactions in the future.

“It was just a pie-in-the-sky idea, but it stuck with me in my mental ‘somebody should do that’ file,” Yamanishi said. “Then, this spring when we were developing the Sustained Dialogue block calendar, I was reminded of it. The time seemed ripe when, a few days later, I happened to see Joe Jennison in the library. I talked to him about it, and he was enthusiastic; he suggested we put together a joint committee to see if we could do it.”

The program encourages pairs or groups to meet at local eating establishments, explore community parks, or attend a concert or lecture. 

Students and community members can apply by filling out a Google form.