How Might We…

How might we as a campus community engage with existing efforts to support health, wellness, and environmental justice in Newburgh?

How might we partner with the community to learn and contribute through a co-creative process?

This initiative is part of our vision and mission to dissolve hierarchies and barriers between students and employees, between an institution of higher learning and the surrounding communities, so that we may learn from each other and support each other in these times of rapid change and challenges.

Since 2021, we have engaged with Newburgh City Council members, Newburgh Urban Farm Initiative (NUFI) directors, the Environmental Ambassadors, My Brother’s / Sister’s Keeper organizations, the multi-site PFAS study (through U Albany), the Arts & Culture Council, Art and Anthropology/Newburgh Creates, Family and Community Engagement (FACES), and Blacc Vanilla Community Foundation’s green energy apprenticeship program. 

We are writing grants and planning activities that involve Newburgh K-12 students and community members and SUNY New Paltz students and faculty. STREAM collaborations are in the works with Newburgh Creates, Blacc Vanilla Foundation, and other community champions.

🗓 Symposium

Our Newburgh Learning Journey

Blacc Vanilla Cafe Strategy gathering, 4/8/2024

Mr. Edward Lawson invites you to a Youth Leadership at the Heart of Our Community strategy session with the Health, Wellness & Environmental Justice Collective, Newburgh residents, and Eddy at New Paltz. Youth partners warmly invited.

Blacc Vanilla Cafe Community System Drawing session – “Hacking” the Spencer Vision Grant 1/29/2024

In this gathering of community leaders and SUNY New Paltz faculty and students at Blacc Vanilla Cafe, we went through an experiential process of asset mapping and future visioning for the Newburgh Community with a focus on equity in education. From there, we wrote a grant with more than 18 collaborators entitled “Youth Leadership at the Heart of Our Community” as defined by community leaders.

Blacc Vanilla Cafe Community Meeting – “Hacking” the Spencer Vision Grant 1/29/2024

A meeting with youth and community leaders with a focus on equity in education.

“Hacking” the NIH Grant: Research-to-Action: Assessing and Addressing Community Exposures to Environmental Contaminants, 6/5/2023

As part of the Sustainability Faculty Fellows Summer Retreat focusing on Environmental Justice, we met at Blacc Vanilla Cafe with a coalition of Newburgh community leaders and UAlbany colleagues to collaboratively hack the NIH grant Research-to-Action: Assessing and Addressing Community Exposures to Environmental Contaminants

Getting ready for the first Habitat for Artists placement

On May 30th, 2023, a group of Eddy folks cleaned up the yard space of Newburgh Creates to get it ready for the first Habitat for Artists shed, which will be erected with Newburgh youth.

A series of meetings with community leaders at Blacc Vanilla Cafe

In this ongoing series of gatherings generously hosted by Blacc Vanilla Cafe and led by Ed Lawson, we are connecting community leaders and developing a common vision and projects centered on Health, Wellness and Environmental Justice in Newburgh. Please reach out if you would like to join an upcoming meeting.

Eddy meets at Newburgh Urban Farm and Food Initiative, located in Downing Park, 2/27/2023

Planning Meeting at Newburgh Creates, 1/3/2023

Eddy members met at Jason Otero’s Newburgh Creates maker space to brainstorm and make plans for 2023 collaborations.

Jason Otero, Emilie Houssart, Jennifer Poroye, Andrea Frank, Sarah Wyman, Emily Puthoff and Michael Asbill at Newburgh Creates/Art and Anthropology

SUMMER 2022 Farmer’s Market Tabling 

Tuesdays Orange County Health Department Farmer’s Market  
Biweekly Farmer’s Market  
Tables are reserved at the farmer’s markets.  Information about the study will be distributed at the markets. Community partners are encouraged to join us to provide additional information regarding health, wellness, and environmental justice in the community.  If you are interested in tabling, please reach out to us. 

September 22, 5-7 pm, The Climate Act: Newburgh and You

A conversation about creative change with Ed Lawson, Melissa Everett, Cynthia Nikitin, and Newburgh Climate and Social Justice Leaders. Blacc Vanilla Cafe, 197 South St., Newburgh.

August 18th, 3 pm, Tenant meeting with Councilperson Ramona Monteverde, 111 Broadway

August 16th, 4 pm Walking Tour

Meet up with Councilperson Bob Sklarz and Dr. Erin Bell to talk and listen with the residents of Ward 3. Meet in the Armory parking lot (321 S. William St.)

July 19th, 6 pm MSS PFAS Health Study Community Advisory Panel

July 9th and July 16th, 9-12 PM Tabling at the Armory. 

July 13th and 14th ATSDR Results Reporting

The ATSDR is holding a meeting in Newburgh to discuss the results of their PFAS Exposure Assessment. UAlbany and the NYSDOH plan to attend these presentations to promote the Multi-Site PFAS Health Study. More information can be found here.
The UAlbany team will be tabling at these meetings on July 13th and 14th. On July 14th, they also plan a walking tour in Ward 2 between the ATSDR sessions, 2-5 pm. 

June 14th Site Visit and Conversation with Community Leaders

Eddy u.lab team members spent an afternoon visiting Newburgh streams, other potent sites, and the Downing Park Urban Farm. Then they learned from several amazing Newburgh community leaders at Blacc Vanilla Cafe over coffee.

JUNE 4th Newburgh Illuminated   

The MSS PFAS Health Study hosted a table at the event.

May 21st Health, Wellness, and PFAS Informational Fair

Newburgh Free Library Courtyard 
Time: 1-4 pm  
Tabling events providing information for the study and from local organizations regarding environmental exposures, health, and wellness, along with kid’s activities and on-site study enrollment. 

The following organizations are partnering with us at the event: Newburgh Clean Water Project, River Keeper, Orange County Department of Health, City of Newburgh Water Department, NAACP Environmental Working Group, Eddy at New Paltz, Environmental Advocates, Sustainable Hudson Valley, and Newburgh Urban Farm and Food.
Download Event Flyer

April 30th Health, Wellness, and Environmental Justice Walking Tour 

Time: 12:30-4:00 pm 
Gather and prepare before our walk in the church parking lot of The Cathedral located at 131 Broadway at 12:30 pm.  We will distribute materials and plan to walk at 1 pm to visit businesses and residences along the Broadway/Liberty area. 

Wed, April 27, 8:30 – 5:00 pm: Sustainability and Environmental Justice for Underrepresented Communities: A Symposium on Health, Wellness & Healing

50-75 Newburgh students and an exciting lineup of speakers will be on campus on April 27th to listen, educate and explore the urgent community issue of water contamination in Newburgh. It’s vital that SUNY faculty and students are present to welcome our neighbors and engage in the events. With breakfast, lunch, and ice cream social! Please attend, and please bring your students.

Saturday April 2, 2022

10 – 2pm: u.lab 2x 3D Mapping in Newburgh with u.lab team.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Walking tour of Broadway and Ward 1 to hang posters and meet with residents.  We hope to have time at Varick Homes and Fogarty as well. 
Meet at the Library at 12:30 to coordinate and walk from 1:00-3:30 pm
Note*  We anticipate scheduling walking tours for Ward 2 beginning in May and we will coordinate with Councilperson Monteverde as we move forward.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Walking tour of Ward 1 to share, listen and provide information regarding Health, Wellness and Environmental Justice and PFAS in Newburgh.

We congregated at Newburgh Free Library. Groups walked different streets to share materials door to door and connect with community members and congregated at Blacc Vanilla Café at the end of the day.

Materials distributed:

Prepared by Dr. Erin Bell, University at Albany, and team…

  1. A Multi-Site PFAS Health Study fact sheet (English, Spanish and Haitian Creole).
  2. A recruitment poster announcing the arrival of the MSS PFAS Health Study (also available in Spanish and Haitian Creole) to display in businesses.
  3. A social media toolkit with hashtags, links to videos and suggested language for tweets, Instagram etc. 

Core People