Wendy Skinner is the recipient of this year’s Debra S. Newman ’02 Community Recognition Award, presented by The Cornell Tradition. The award honors individuals in the local community who have demonstrated a strong commitment to public service and leadership. Skinner is one of the early co-founders of Sustainable Tompkins and served as our first chair of the ST coordinating committee.

Skinner was recognized for her work as the founder and coordinator of SewGreen, a not-for-profit organization located in downtown Ithaca. SewGreen operates a reuse shop for sewing materials and provides sewing education to the community. Programs include a free teen apprenticeship program, jobs for lower-income youth and older workers, college internships, and sewing classes for all ages.

Among others, previous recipients of the award include Gay Nicholson, president of Sustainable Tompkins (2008); Mary Grainger, an active volunteer with a number of local human services organizations (2009); and Noel Desch, for his volunteer work with the Rotary Club of Ithaca, the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce, and other charitable groups (2004).

The Cornell Tradition is a fellowship program that recognizes and rewards outstanding students dedicated to work, service, and scholarship. Debra Newman was a Cornell Tradition fellow who exemplified these ideals. Newman died in an automobile accident in 2002. Shortly after, the Community Recognition Award was renamed in her memory.

Skinner’s nomination was reviewed by a committee of students, alumni, staff, and community members. The award also includes $1,000 to be designated as a charitable contribution to an organization of the recipient’s choice. Skinner announced that the award will go into a college internship fund at SewGreen.

For more information about The Cornell Tradition, visit www.commitment.cornell.edu or contact the office at 607-255-8595. For more about SewGreen, visit www.sewgreen.org or call 607-319-4106.