Winnie Ho ’19 has been named the recipient of the Campus-Community Leadership Award for her voice and activism in a wide spread of local issues, including mental health, the opioid epidemic and Ithaca’s homelessness crisis.
The annual award commends a graduating senior every year for their “leadership and innovation” in local philanthropic initiatives, according to the award website. The award was presented by the Office of Community Relations.
“It was such an honor receiving the award,” Ho told The Sun in a message, crediting Katharine Celentano, state policy coordinator for the New York Drug Policy Alliance, and her supervisors in the Office of Engagement Initiatives for their role in her receiving the award.
Ho has previously participated and organized multiple activism events, which range from fundraising for the local homeless citizens to raising awareness for suicide prevention.
This February, as a polar vortex threatened the safety and lives of Ithaca’s homeless population, Ho worked around fundraising regulations to raise thousands of dollars in Venmo donations towards Ithaca Homeless Crisis, a service team working to provide aid and shelter for homeless Ithacans.
The issues that Ho worked on extend beyond just homelessness. In June, she contributed to running a fundraiser in response to the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance border policy, exceeding the fundraiser’s goals despite theft of hundreds of donated dollars from the fundraiser table.
In March 2018, Ho was one of the organizers of a panel discussing the opioid epidemic’s impacts in Ithaca and a workshop on administering Naloxone, an opioid overdose treatment medication. Last February, Ho also organized a fundraiser through Alpha Phi Omega — a co-ed service fraternity of which she is president — in the name of suicide awareness and prevention.
In addition to APO, Ho is also an ambassador for Engaged Cornell and president of Medlife Cornell, a chapter of an international service organization dedicated to alleviating poverty.
“The organizations in Ithaca have such a deep and committed passion to serve this community and beyond and it was such a privilege to learn from them,” Ho said.
In her time at Cornell, Ho studied biological sciences and sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences. After graduating, she will work as a research assistant at Harvard Medical School with her long-term sights set on medicine or public policy, according to a University press release.
“I would highly encourage all current and incoming students to pay attention to the issues going on in Ithaca and to remember that we are guests here and have an obligation to use our resources to give back to this wonderful town,” Ho said.