February 4, 2019

An Internship Helps One Student Confront Injustice, From Long Island to Costa Rica

Wensley Bynoe

Internships make a difference in the lives of countless Adelphi students. For some, they do even more than that. They strengthen a student’s resolve to make a difference in the lives of others.

Wensley Bynoe, a senior in Adelphi’s Levermore Global Scholars (LGS) program, is one of those students whose internship led to a greater desire to help those who need it. As an intern this year at the New York State Division of Human Rights, he is working on investigations into discrimination that have opened his eyes to the wide range of injustices facing New Yorkers.

He has conducted interviews, observed a trial, and worked with both sides of cases being investigated by the Division of Human Rights, which aims to protect people in the areas of employment, education, credit and access to public spaces.

The internship isn’t the only eye-opening experience Bynoe has gained through the LGS program. He also traveled to Costa Rica with other Levermore scholars in January for a powerful experiential-learning opportunity offered through Adelphi’s partnership with the United Nations University for Peace. Study abroad and internships are both part of the program’s effort to prepare students to become global thinkers and leaders who can help bring about positive social change.

“LGS has instilled in me a steadfast desire to attempt to improve the world, and the program has fitted me with all the tools I need to succeed in this aim in a world that is increasingly complex, interconnected and global,” Bynoe said.

Wensley Bynoe

Wensley Bynoe in Copacabana, Bolivia, high above Lake Titicaca. He was born in the country’s capital, La Paz.

Bynoe—who has seen quite a bit of the world, having spent his childhood in Bolivia, India and Panama before moving to the United States in high school—is having an impact on the LGS program in return. His drive to give back has benefited everyone involved in it, says the program’s administrative director, Peter DeBartolo.

Bynoe has helped plan and manage various student-led service projects and social justice initiatives. He is working with another Levermore scholar and University Dining Services to develop a program to donate surplus prepackaged foods to local shelters. And Bynoe and another member of the program organized a fundraising drive to benefit Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2017.

“Through his interdisciplinary studies major and involvement in LGS, Wensley has developed a keen understanding of the many challenges that our society faces today,” DeBartolo said. “However, he isn’t satisfied with just studying the injustice. He also wants to do something about it. And whether on campus or in the local community, he actively takes steps to help build a better future.”

Bynoe’s trip to Costa Rica focused on a future that will hinge on the ability to mitigate the effects of climate change. The LGS group explored sustainability efforts in the country, visiting rain forests, coffee farms, beaches and communities, and meeting with organizations advocating sustainable development plans that are equitable and inclusive.

“We looked at many ways people are trying to make a better and stronger world,” Bynoe said. “We were also able to visit the Inter-American Court of Human Rights which, similar to my internship organization, is attempting to render justice and equitable solutions to incredibly difficult issues and cases.”

Activities like these help students expand and develop their social and global perspectives, DeBartolo said. “It also often gives them the chance to connect theory and practice, as they learn to add value to local and global projects advancing human rights, peace, sustainability and social justice,” he explained.

Bynoe will be graduating from Adelphi in May. He’s considering law school and graduate school, thinking he may pursue a career in the nonprofit world, international development or politics. Wherever he ends up, he wants to work to make the world a better place.


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