By Elisabeth Costanzo Stewart

A standing-room-only crowd of campus and community members flocked to the second floor of the Old Science Building on Thursday, March 22, 2024, to celebrate the official unveiling of the Hornet Hope Center, SUNY Broome’s on-campus food pantry and clothing closet. The Center is comprised of two designated, stigma-free spaces full of fresh and non-perishable food, personal care products, household items, and clothing for babies, children, and adults. 

Dr. Carol Ross-Scott, Vice President for Student Development & Chief Diversity Officer, emceed the ceremony, which included a series of remarks from students, staff, and community partners. 

Special speakers included: 

  • Dr. Tony D. Hawkins – President of SUNY Broome
  • Jason Garnar – Broome County Executive
  • Pablo Colón – Executive Director of Avangrid Foundation and Director of Corporate Citizenship, Avangrid. 
  • Jason Garnar – Broome County Executive
  • Cathy Williams – Executive Director of SUNY Broome Foundation 
  • Dr. Virginia Shirley – Associate Professor of English
  • Hiba Khan and Elle Yatsuk – Student Representatives

The relocation and expansion of the Hornet Hope Center were made possible through a generous grant from the Avangrid Foundation, the primary philanthropic arm of NYSEG’s parent company, Avangrid, Inc. The Hornet Hope Center is the second major collaboration between SUNY Broome and Avangrid this year, following the Lineworker Training Program, which launched in January 2024. 

“Thankfully, our desire to provide a welcoming, respectful space full of fresh food, clothing, and care items is not a lone pursuit,” President Hawkins said. “We deeply appreciate the generous support of the Avangrid Foundation. Avangrid’s commitment to expanding our Hornet Hope Center reminds us all that they power our community with more than just electricity and gas.”

President Tony D. Hawkins and Pablo Colón, Executive Director of Avangrid Foundation and Director of Corporate Citizenship, Avangrid, jointly unveiled the Hornet Hope Center sign.
Photo Credit: Matt Ebbers

Spearheaded by Lorie Brewer, Supplemental Support Services Coordinator & Homeless Liaison, the Hornet Hope Center is staffed by a collection of employee and student volunteers, work-study students, interns, and alumni who cover shifts throughout the week. Dr. Talovic’s ADN 213 (Psychology of Nursing) students also rotate to provide coverage  as part of their community-based clinical experiences.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony concluded with the official dedication of the Hornet Hope Center to the memory of the late Deborah Hibbard, beloved counselor, professor, and mentor. While working in Counseling Services, Deb witnessed firsthand the impact of food insecurity within the campus community. Together with her partner, Dr. Virginia Shirley, Deb was committed to feeding those in need — first from her car, then from a closet in her office, and finally through an official campus food pantry.

SUNY Broome is forever grateful for Deb Hibbard’s earnest commitment to supporting the basic needs of our students.

Dr. Virginia Shirley accepted the dedication plaque on Hibbard’s behalf and assured all in attendance that Deb would be blown away by the continued mission and increased impact of the Hornet Hope Center.

Dr. Virginia Shirley accepts the dedication plaque in honor of Deborah Hibbard.
Photo Credit: Matt Ebbers

The Hornet Hope Center continually accepts food, clothing, personal hygiene, household items, and more. To schedule a drop-off or pick-up, please call 607-778-5449 or email

For more information, visit us online at The Hornet Hope Center.


Hornet Hope Center Ribbon Cutting

View photos from the Hornet Hope Center Ribbon Cutting!