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Emmet Reilly

Meet Emmet Reilly

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
College: College of Agriculture and Life Science
Major: Information Science
Year: 2021
Affiliations: Sigma Phi

Earlier this year, rising senior, Emmet Reilly developed a non-profit along with college students from other university's across the country to help close the gap in food insecurity during the pandemic. Read more about Emmet, his work with FarmLink, and his Cornell experience below. 

"During my time at Cornell I have seen myself become more positive, more open to growth, and more empathetic towards myself and others. Like many Cornell students, I've found myself forced to learn how to manage my time better, yet I've also developed ways to schedule my life more around what makes me happy - which these days usually involves friends, family, and good food.

The FarmLink Project is a not-for-profit grassroots movement that connects farms with food banks to feed thousands in need while supporting essential jobs. We fundraise externally to acquire surplus produce from farms and suppliers and pay transportation costs to deliver fresh food to food banks in need. In just three months, and over 100 volunteers later, Farmlink has donated over 5,000,000 pounds of food to food banks in over 25 states.

Studying at Cornell - an institution founded on the principles of 'any person any study' - has given me the clarity, motivation, and education necessary to feel like I can help enact change for the better in the world. I have personally developed relationships with people that have a diverse range of life experiences, which have helped me develop a deeper understanding of my place within the world and my privilege. The acknowledgment of this privilege, coupled with what I learn in my classes, has instilled a desire to learn and be open to helping others with all that I have been given. I believe these factors, among many others, drew me to help with Farmlink and has motivated many of my life decisions thus far.

I’ve learned two very important lessons throughout my time with Farmlink. First, nobody can change the world alone. It takes a shared mission amongst many likeminded people to enact change for the better. For Farmlink, it all started with just a few friends and the mission of linking one farm with one food bank. Now, with the help of over 100 college and high school volunteers, Farmlink has delivered over 5,000,000 pounds of food across 29 states. The work accomplished by everyone at Farmlink may not have happened if it remained this small initial group of friends. Second, the power of college students and the youth is something that should not be underestimated. I believe, as college students, we are in many ways a strong but underestimated voice in society, and as Cornelians, we have the opportunity to enact change amongst our community, which could set an example for the world at large. I hope to bring these two sentiments back with me to Cornell to inspire others to help make a change on our campus that can last much longer after the class of 2021 has graduated.

My sophomore summer I received acceptance into Life Changing Labs, a summer incubator on Cornell’s campus. During my summer, I worked on my first startup, InServe, a platform that connects student volunteers to community service opportunities around them based on their interests and location. Aside from getting to experience Cornell during the summertime, which gave me a new appreciation for the campus, it was through this program that I got to experience the joy of using the resources Cornell provides and my education for good. Cornell provided me with a platform and a support system to take risks with my own endeavors, and I will never forget the lessons I learned, the sleepless nights, and the people I met.

One of the great things about Cornell is that it is a place that prides itself on its diversity of education. Walking from one end of campus to the other, you will find yourself happening upon multiple quads that each distinctly have their own aura, disciplines, and fields of study.

Additionally, you can be in a room with 5 of your friends, and each person is studying something completely different. It is this opportunity to learn a diverse set of subjects from the best faculty in the world and the transparency into all the various fields offered that have inspired me throughout my Cornell experience.In my second semester sophomore year, I decided to change majors to Information Science, even though I wasn’t sure if I would graduate in time. Yet, because of my awareness of what Cornell has to offer, I found the courage to study something I felt passionate about, which I don’t think is always the case.

Looking back to my first day at Cornell, I would tell myself: Don’t be afraid to start being true to yourself. As scary as it may seem, the second you stop trying to be someone you're not is the second that you let the world accept you for who you are. From my experience, I think Cornell is a place that embraces individuality. Yet, to be accepted, you have to take the vulnerable leap of faith that is being true to yourself, regardless of the fear of being judged by others. Everybody can find their home at Cornell irrespective of their differences, and if I knew this at the beginning of my Cornell journey, it would have saved me a lot of confusion.