Category Archives: Life in Ithaca

Finding Science in the Arts

This week, junior Kasey Han discusses how the depth and breadth of Arts & Sciences have allowed her to pursue unique opportunities as a College Scholar studying Developmental Circus Arts.

By: Kasey Han ’18, Biology and College Scholar double major

Life’s way better upside down!

Here’s a real piece of advice I’ve received: “Do a handstand before your exam.” Even if seeing me doing a handstand outside my prelim (Cornell’s version of midterms) warrants a few incredulous stares, the suggestion holds merit. While I’m upside down, blood flows with gravity down towards my head, bringing with it the oxygen, glucose, and nutrients my brain needs to function optimally during an exam.

This is merely one example of the many connections I form as part of my College Scholar project. Housed in the College of Arts & Sciences, the College Scholar program allows students to create an interdisciplinary major in an area of interest, design their own curriculum, and occasionally feed on chocolate-covered strawberries. As a College Scholar, I study how Circus Arts may be used as a form of therapy for children with neuropsychiatric disorders. Circus Arts is viewed through a range of academic lenses, but I am primarily interested in the physiological and psychological underpinnings of engaging in circus. The science of the art, if you will.

In circus, we lift each other up!

As part of my independent major, I choose classes that relate to my field from amongst Arts and Sciences’ 2,400 courses on offer each year. This past fall, I took Brain Control of Movement, taught by my favorite professor: Jesse Goldberg. In his class, we took an in-depth look at the neural circuits underlying movement and motor learning, and how dysfunctions of the circuit can lead to diseases like Parkinson’s, cerebellar ataxia, and basal ganglia disorders. Applying my newfound knowledge on the brain’s motor circuits, I can better understand how Circus Arts play a role in reinforcement and supervised learning and may ameliorate symptoms of physical disabilities.

This spring, I am currently enrolled in Adult Psychopathology, taught by the amazing professor and clinical psychologist Harry Segal. After blowing my mind with his unique take on Freud’s psychodynamic theory, he lectures on the etiology and treatment of everything from depression to schizophrenia. With his course, I have a greater grasp of various disabilities and how Circus Arts may be integrated into current treatments. These and many more courses give me the information, as well as the critical thinking skills, to direct how I train in and teach circus at Ithaca’s local circus school, Circus Culture.

Probably the greatest thing about Arts & Sciences is that my mashing of science with art isn’t that uncommon. It’s not the exception to the rule—it is the rule. It’s in the name! Without preaching too much, this is the beauty of the liberal arts degree. The arts and the sciences do not go simply hand-in-hand: there is art in science just as I study the science behind the arts.

Spirit Off-Campus: Cornell in Ithaca

Happy almost Thanksgiving! In the spirit of the holiday, sophomore Julia Curley discusses why she is so grateful for the spirit of interconnectedness that links Cornell with the greater community in Ithaca, NY.

By: Julia Curley ’19

Cornell spirit extends beyond our campus. It reaches wider than the homecoming football game; it touches more than students, staff, faculty, and alumni. Our spirit branches out into Ithaca’s heart and is an integral part of the community. When I introduced myself to a class of second graders as their new volunteer student teacher and a Cornell student, their faces lit up. The teacher, anticipating their excitement, said, “If you also have a connection with Cornell, sign ‘same’.” The little group of seven- and eight-year-olds reached out to me, each with their own attachment to the University.

The Cornell Daily Sun office in the Ithaca Commons.

The Cornell Daily Sun office in the Ithaca Commons.

Through outreach—tutoring, participating in sorority philanthropy, and working at Mighty Yoga in the Ithaca Commons—I can see Cornell’s off-campus engagement each day. Ithaca itself is a uniquely friendly place, one unlike any other I’ve ever experienced. The community is incredibly welcoming; Ithaca Commons, in particular, provides an off-campus social heart for Cornell life. Much like how Cornell’s Ho Plaza blocks off cars for students walking to class, Ithaca Commons centers on a pedestrian-only avenue, flanked by shops and restaurants. I found Mighty Yoga in the Commons my freshman year at Cornell, and I started working there this fall. Rather than silently meditating on our matts, Mighty yogis tend to chat before class begins. During this time, I met two women with ties back to Cornell. We all got to know each other as regulars at the studio. One of the women, I learned, graduated from Cornell a few years ago. She met her fiancé at Cornell and after they graduated, they decided to stay in Ithaca. Her Cornell experience, like mine, centered not just in her studies and the campus, but in the wider Ithaca community. The other woman and I met in one of my English classes this semester, where she serves as the teacher’s assistant (TA). We recognized each other again when she rolled out her matt next to mine at a Monday morning class.

Cornell spirit weaves its way into all spaces of my Ithaca life. Over and over again, I realize the power of our Cornell ties to bring us together in unlikely spaces. As I walk through Ithaca Commons on my way to a yoga class, I pass a Cornell Apparel store and the Cornell Daily Sun office, where I write and edit pieces for our school newspaper. The Cornell experience stretches beyond the bounds of classrooms, campus, and college town. The spirit won’t leave us even long after we graduate.

Embracing the Spirit of Cornell

Happy November! This month, we’re focusing on the “spirit of Cornell” and what that means to our Ambassadors. Sophomore Meredith Chagares starts us off with a post describing the supportive and diverse nature of Cornell and the greater Ithaca community! 

By: Meredith Chagares ’19

Here I am posing with my younger sister by the statue of Ezra Cornell on the edge of the Arts Quad!

Here I am posing with my younger sister by the statue of Ezra Cornell on the edge of the Arts Quad!

I hail from a fairly small town in northern New Jersey. Despite its proximity to New York City, my town is very homogenous. Though it was a safe and nurturing community in which to be raised, by my senior year of high school I was more than ready to move on to live in a different type of community.

Coming to Cornell as a freshman last fall, I knew that I was going to have a transformative, once-in-a-lifetime experience. The most surprising and exciting thing for me since arriving here has been the palpable spirit that engulfs both Cornell and Ithaca. Because the school and the city work so hard to create a unique, inviting community, there is a large emphasis on collaboration and support. This spirit has definitely had an effect on me!

As a member of the varsity fencing team, I cheer on my teammates and avidly attend other sports’ athletic events as well. On the strip when I am fencing, I can feel the support of my friends and the school behind me, which is exhilarating. One of my favorite examples of the spirit of the Big Red is when the hockey team plays Harvard and Cornell students (called the “Lynah Faithful”) bring fish to throw on the ice. It is this excitement and pride that helps to define Cornell for me.

One of my biggest sources of support on campus is my fencing team  - I'm on the left in the bottom row!

One of my biggest sources of support on campus is my fencing team  – I’m on the left in the bottom row!

There are other examples of this school spirit as well. For example, during finals, the libraries offer coloring books to students to help them de-stress. Various a cappella groups sing for the freshmen on North Campus as they arrive home from their prelims. Even when I simply walk across the Arts Quad, the spirit of Cornell as a supportive institution is unmistakable.

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A view of Olin Library, Uris Library, and McGraw Clocktower lit up at night.

The spirit of Cornell extends beyond the edge of campus. The local Ithacans display a similar spirit during their annual Apple Festival and Chili Fest, and through various other fun opportunities to experience the local food, arts and crafts, music, and parks, among others. Just as the students enjoy frequenting local Ithaca businesses and getting to know the area, Ithacans are often seen at our hockey games, community lectures, and events on campus as well.

But perhaps the people best define the spirit of Cornell. When I arrived as a freshman, I had the pleasure of meeting so many new people in my orientation group, my residence hall, and my sports team. That brings me to give a big shout-out to the Cornellians – like the orientation leaders and resident advisors on North Campus – who put together the events designed to allow newcomers to both meet each other and become integrated into the Cornell community. I have enjoyed meeting people different from me in just about every way – people with different talents and interests who come from different cities, states, countries, and continents. Learning from other people here has helped me broaden my horizons, see things from a different perspective, and appreciate my neighbors.

The spirit of Cornell is palpable. This spirit is something that connects everyone to the school, and what keeps the alumni coming back every year. The spirit of Cornell is something completely unique and something all Cornellians will experience, enjoy, and cherish.

A view of Goldwin Smith Hall from the other side of the Arts Quad

A view of Goldwin Smith Hall from the other side of the Arts Quad.

When the Summer Ending is Just the Beginning: "Coming Home" to Cornell

The last member of our Arts & Sciences Ambassadors E-board is Kasey Han ’18. After spending most of her summer conducting molecular and cellular neuroscience research at Stanford University, Kasey returned to campus early for training to be a Student Assistant on West Campus. It’s fitting that Kasey’s post closes out our September collection just after Homecoming Weekend here in Ithaca – her post strongly emphasizes how it feels to leave summer behind and “return home” to Cornell!

By: Kasey Han ’18, Recruitment Co-Coordinator

Niagara Falls

Here I am (second from left) with three other members of the Cook House staff on our annual trip to Niagara Falls!

Returning to campus this year, I felt like a kindergartener excited for their first day of school all over again. This August, I started a new position as a Student Assistant in West Campus’s Alice H. Cook House. Amid all of the prelims and problem sets looming just weeks away, I was thrilled to step foot back onto transiently sunny Ithacan soil.

Three weeks before classes began, I moved into my new dorm room. I strung up my twinkly lights and laid down my fuzzy rug. I plastered feel-good posters and important event flyers around the building. As an SA (another name for Resident Advisor) my goal this year is to make my residents feel as welcome and at home as possible.

Cook Community Engagement Course

House Professor Shorna Allred leads a discussion with Cook residents as a part of the Cook Community Engagement Course.

West Campus is a truly unique place to live, in that each of the five residence halls is a hub for both living and learning. Like the four Harry Potter houses, each student has a home base that emphasizes both intellectual and social engagement. Through a variety of programs, we connect our residents with professors and community leaders that work in fields of their interest, as well as with their neighbors to build community and a sense of “home.”

After an early August move-in, our training schedule was a whirlwind of fun. The first half consisted of staff bonding and Cook House missions. We rented out a massive house off campus and spent time discussing our vision for Cook House, strategizing how to engage residents in a living-learning community, and all around becoming better leaders. Once the sun set, we broke out the card games, challenging each other in Mafia and Taboo. By the end of our retreat, it was clear that we Cook House staff had formed our own family and that the rest of the year would only get better.

welcome back cake

When the West Campus Dining Halls opened back up, we got to enjoy this delicious “Welcome Back” cake!

The second half of training explored handling common and uncommon situations that may arise when you work in the same place that you live. We discussed everything from roommate conflicts and academic stress to bias, sexual assault, and mental health. While each day was necessarily emotionally and mentally heavy, I felt much better equipped by the end to look after my residents and assume a leadership position.

Regardless of what we study and how we spend our free time, every Cornellian is excited for the start of a new year. We may have reservations about leaving behind our easy summer routines, but the underlying emotion is always eager anticipation for what the next year at Cornell holds in store. I think this universality is because, no matter where we come from, coming back to Cornell means returning home.

West Campus

A view of West Campus from Libe Slope.

Checking Off #31 on the List of 161 Things to Do at Cornell: How I Spent my Summer in Ithaca

Welcome back! Here at the Arts & Sciences Ambassadors, we’re easing back into the swing of the fall semester. What with the warm weather and the long weekend, though, we can’t quite shake off the feel of the summer, and so we’ve chosen to devote our first blog posts to that very topic: what did we do this summer? Throughout September, we will be posting blogs written by the four members of our executive board. I start us off this month with a nostalgic look back at my summer spent here in Ithaca.

By: Emma Korolik ’17, Recruitment Co-Coordinator and Media Manager

When my friend Bridget (on the right) visited from home, I knew I had to take her birdwatching at Cornell's Lab of Ornithology.

When my friend Bridget (on the right) visited from home, I knew I had to take her birdwatching at Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology.

This past summer, I went hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting, and running, explored an herb garden and went bird watching, attended free outdoor concerts, watched a meteor shower in the middle of the night, sang karaoke for the first time, finally figured out how to throw a Frisbee, took a summer class, started my honors thesis, and made new friends from across the country and around the world – all while (and mainly because of my position) serving as a resident advisor (RA) for college students staying at Cornell for the summer months like me. Anyone who has stayed a summer at Cornell is quick to tell their friends to do the same (it’s even on the official list of 161 Things to Do at Cornell), and now I’m doing my part by telling all of you!

Sarah Gaylord '18 and I pose in our kayak before paddling out to Cayuga Lake.

Sarah Gaylord (right, CALS ’18) and I pose in our kayak before paddling out to Cayuga Lake. Photo credits: Kim Anderson.

Ithaca is on full display in the summer –flowers are blooming, the local wildlife bravely explore campus, and this summer, a whole new species of college student – the Pokemon trainer – has stayed out all day (and sometimes all night!). For those of us less interested in catching a Pikachu on the Arts Quad, there are over 150 waterfalls within 10 square miles around Ithaca, and countless state parks that are open to the public for hiking and swimming during the warm summer months. For our retreat at the end of RA training in May, for example, the other RAs and I took advantage of the multitude of outdoor activities on offer around Ithaca and went kayaking on Cayuga Lake.

Serving as a resident advisor was both challenging and rewarding – and not just because I got to go kayaking for free! As Summer Sessions RAs, my coworkers and I served as peer advisors, mediators, rules enforcers, friends, and community builders in Flora Rose House and Hans Bethe House on West Campus from June through mid-August. While for most students, the residence halls served as a place to relax, Rose and Bethe Houses were our places of work; our bedrooms could double as an office at any time of day or night. Yet, being an RA was also a blast – I was able to meet so many new people, especially through our scheduled series of programs, which were specifically designed to foster that sense of community.

(L to R) Sarah Gaylord '18, Alyssa Elezye '17, and I pose with homemade props during our "Harry Potter" party on July 31st.

(L to R) Sarah Gaylord (CALS ’18), Alyssa Elezye (CALS ’17), and I pose with homemade props during our “Harry Potter” party on July 31st. Photo credits: Catherine Wei (CALS ’18).

Some of the programs we created this summer were more passive, like watching the Olympics Opening Ceremony and celebrating J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter’s birthday with a Harry Potter party and movie screening, but some were more active – like running a 5K through the Cornell Plantations, hiking and swimming in Buttermilk Falls State Park, and whitewater rafting in Watertown, NY, on the Black River.

Arguably the best boat to float down the Black River - I'm at the top, second from the left!

Arguably the best boat to float down the Black River – I’m at the top, second from the left!

Not only did these programs foster community just among the residents, however; by supporting the other RAs and attending their programs, I gained a new set of friends myself. Because RAs are asked to do and be so much for their residents, it makes sense that the people I worked with were all incredibly caring, intelligent, and interesting individuals. Yet, I didn’t expect to find a group so willing to binge watch Netflix’s Stranger Things during a thunderstorm, try power lifting at the gym, introduce me to salsa dancing at Agava, sing “Alexander Hamilton” at karaoke, play ridiculous games of Quelf (look it up!), or eat endless amounts of Indian food at Mehak. I’m lucky to have had the time to explore Ithaca this summer, but I feel even luckier to have found such a phenomenal group of people with which to share those experiences. It may sound cheesy, but even though my job as an RA is now over, I know the friendships I’ve made will remain strong long after the weather inevitably turns cold.

The whole Summer Sessions team after an intense night of karaoke!

The whole Summer Sessions team after an intense night of karaoke! Photo credits: Emily Schnier.

Spotlight on the Summer: Opportunities to Work around Ithaca

Being a student here definitely has its perks – one of the reasons that students choose to attend Cornell is the wealth of opportunities available to us during the school year, during school breaks, and even after we graduate! In our last April post here at the blog, junior Julia Montejo discusses the variety of ways in which she was able to give back to Cornell and the surrounding community through her multiple jobs last summer.

By: Julia Montejo ’17

When I first arrived on campus, I constantly heard about how amazing the summer in Ithaca was. I decided to give it a try last summer, but it came with a huge change of pace: working instead of studying! As a dedicated student with many extracurricular commitments, I love to keep busy. To fill my summer days, I worked at two summer camps, one part time job, and a volunteer position. They were staggered throughout the summer, and made for one of the best summers I’ve ever had.

11856527_1214113771947906_7066314112626275157_oIn June, after visiting in Florida for a month, I came back to Ithaca to begin my job at the Cornell Undergraduate Admissions Office. As a student employee, I spent my mornings setting up, speaking at, and breaking down information sessions for prospective students. I loved meeting the admissions officers and other staff while interacting with students from around the world. Because Cornell visits are really popular during the summer, we had sessions with more than 750 visitors. It was so exciting to be able to share my Cornell experience with so many people. I also became an expert restaurant and campus eatery recommender! I loved being able to suggest places to eat both on and off campus to visiting families.

During June, I also continued my volunteering commitment at Finger Lakes Juvenile Residential Center, a detention center for young men in Ithaca’s next-door town, Lansing. I worked as a volunteer debate coach and helped young men develop their advocacy and public speaking skills.

Some friends and I pose in front of Cascadilla Falls.

Some friends and I pose in front of Cascadilla Falls.

During early July, I worked at the Ithaca Shakespeare Company’s Kids’ Shakespeare Summer Camp. As an actor and passionate student of literature, I had a great time great time working with children for a week, developing their acting skills while teaching about Shakespeare. We prepared all the kids to perform at the Ithaca Shakespeare Festival, where they did a short compilation of texts incorporating many Shakespearean works. It was an amazing experience to meet families throughout Ithaca and to share my passion for acting with younger children.

11793374_10207437398919006_279559027_nAt the conclusion of the summer, during the first week of August, I worked as a camp counselor for the Cornell International Summer Debate Camp. To say that it was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had during my time as a Cornell student would be an understatement. I was both a residence hall mentor and a teaching assistant for the camp, where I worked with debating experts to develop teaching modules and created fun activities to do in the evenings with the students. Students from all over the world, including China, Canada, the UAE, and Mexico, came to camp, in addition to students from across the United States.

I learned so much from my students and I was able to help them grow as well. I loved being able to share the most important activity from my upbringing as a high school student, debate, with students from around the world.

Jobs and internships are a huge part of the college experience, and mine have been made possible by living in the wonderful City of Ithaca and by being a Cornell student. Once summer came to a close, I was able to continue volunteering at Finger Lakes Residential Center, and I’m still a student employee at the admissions office. I’m so fortunate to be able to continue engaging in what I love during my time as a student and during the summers.

Cornell University: A Home Away From Home

We’ve made it to April! While it’s currently snowing here in Ithaca, we’re sure spring is just around the corner, as is National College Decision Day (on May 1st). For those students who are struggling to decide between Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences and other institutions (or those high school students wishing that they will be in this position a year or two from now), we here at the Ambassadors blog have decided to showcase the reasons why our Ambassadors decided to join the Big Red. Sophomore Dylan Van Duyne starts us off with a post about how he was excited by Cornell’s location and its stellar academics. Check out other relevant blog posts and outside sources by clicking on the blue hyperlinks!

By: Dylan Van Duyne ’18

April: a month defined by April Fool’s Day, Tax Day, Earth Day, lots of rain showers, and, of course, the college decision process. For some of you, this will be the month that you choose Cornell University as your home for your next four years. As May 1st nears and you approach decision day, know that choosing Cornell was the greatest decision of my life. Personally, I chose Cornell because of the location, the academics, and the welcoming community.

Clocktower view

The view of Cayuga Lake and the Arts Quad from the top of McGraw Clocktower.

One of the largest appeals of Cornell is undoubtedly the location: Ithaca has been ranked the #2 college town in the United States by the American Institute of Economic Research, and there’s a rumor that we’ve got more restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the United States. I grew up outside Philadelphia, so I wanted to go to a school that wasn’t too close to home but wasn’t too far away either. Cornell is just a three-and-a-half-hour drive away from home (and a four-hour bus ride from New York City!), which was perfect for me.

Watkins Glen

One of the many waterfalls at Watkins Glen State Park

In addition to being a Cornell student, though, I’m also lucky to be a resident of Ithaca, one of most exciting places to live with an unlimited amount of things to do. There are so many amazing places to eat, and there are numerous events held throughout the year, such as Apple Fest and Chili Fest, that bring huge crowds to the downtown Ithaca Commons. Ithaca is also home to countless gorges and several state parks, providing endless possibilities for outdoor adventures (check out my blog post from October about how “Ithaca is Gorges!”). Buttermilk Falls State Park, Robert Treman State Park, and Taughannock Falls State Park are just a few of the local favorites. I recently traveled to Watkins Glen, a park with a 2.4-mile gorge trail that winds over and under the spray of waterfalls

Sunset

A Cornell sunset over Libe Slope

Climbing 161 steps up the iconic 173 foot McGraw Clocktower will give any student a breathtaking view overlooking all of Ithaca, spanning out across the 37.9 mile Cayuga Lake. Right off of Cayuga Lake, one of New York’s many Finger lakes, is the Ithaca Farmers’ Market, a quaint little getaway on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, just one of the may outdoor wonders that Ithaca has to offer. Ithaca also has some of the most astounding sunsets you will ever see, and a walk back from the library at night will leave you awestruck at cotton candy skies

Farmers Market

Nicholas Karavolias ’18, Rana Suleiman ’17, and I enjoy the Ithaca Farmers Market.

In addition to the amazing location, Cornell University is truly an institution for “any person, any study.” I came into Cornell as a prospective Biology and Spanish double major, but my only true certainty from an academic standpoint was that I wanted to be a doctor. However, halfway through my freshman year I decided I didn’t want to be a Biology major anymore, and in the beginning of my sophomore year I declared my Spanish major. In addition to my Spanish major, I am now pursuing minors in Global Health and Psychology. One of the greatest assets of the College of Arts and Sciences is that you don’t have to declare your major right away – you have two years to decide what you would like to major in. My message to prospective students is this: don’t panic if you don’t know exactly what you want to do or who you want to be. Within the College of Arts and Sciences, you will enjoy a holistic undergraduate education, enjoying distribution requirements that allow you to become a more well-rounded intellectual. With this comes the opportunity to explore and find your academic passion. I’m certain that within the College of Arts and Sciences you will take a class, whether it be through your Freshman Writing Seminar or through a language requirement or through a historical breadth requirement, that will end up teaching you a lot about yourself as a student and a growing intellectual.

Fencing tournament support

Toti Lee-Shapiro ’18, Jack Jones ’18, and I support Julia Telischi ’18 and her teammates at her fencing tournament.

Thinking back on my senior year of high school, I know I made the right decision in picking Cornell; here, the motto “any person, any study” is in fact a reality, and within the College of Arts and Sciences in specific, I found a welcoming home.

And as a final side note – if you’re worried about “fitting in” at Cornell, please use my freshman experience as an example. The friends I made when I first arrived at Cornell’s campus are still some of my closest friends today (and are pictured in the final picture). Choose Big Red, and I’m sure it will be one of the best decisions of your life!

Why I Love Cornell: The Magic of the Arts Quad

Welcome back! As our Ithaca campus comes alive again for the spring semester, we here at the Arts & Sciences blog will begin posting weekly material once again. Good luck to all the seniors who recently submitted applications – as you wait for college decisions, enjoy senior Maddy Finkelstein’s post about the beauty of Cornell’s campus – even in the winter! 

By: Maddy Finkelstein ’16

As the new semester begins, I’m reminded again and again of how picturesque Cornell’s campus is.

As a Government and French double major, I basically live on the Arts Quad. I eat my meals at Temple of Zeus in Goldwin Smith, I spend hours in the stacks of Olin Library, and I’m constantly visiting my advisors in White Hall and Morrill Hall – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Cornell is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, but it’s not just about the aesthetic beauty of the physical buildings themselves. For me, it’s the sense of history that accompanies it. I love walking on a campus that I know has been here for one hundred and fifty years. It makes me take pride in my university especially when it comes to the Arts Quad, which housed Cornell’s first buildings back in the 19th century.

Arts Quad

A snowy view up Libe Slope at McGraw Hall and Morrill Hall overlooking the Arts Quad.

While the new buildings like Arts and Sciences’ own Klarman Hall are nice, there’s just something magical about having class in McGraw Hall and imagining what it was like to be sitting in that same classroom a century ago.

At the end of the day, getting to leave my own small mark on the large history of Cornell is worth the sometimes-unpredictable weather and the hours spent in the library. Just one glimpse out the windows of Olin’s 7th floor reminds me how lucky I am to go to such a beautiful school.

"Ithaca is Gorges" in October

Hey everyone! The Arts and Sciences Ambassadors will be adding new content to our blog at the beginning of each week throughout the school year. Each month will feature blog posts that center loosely on a theme related to that time of year. As we settle into our semester, we thought a nice theme for October would be “Campus and Community Activities.” For this week’s post, check out what sophomore Dylan Van Duyne has to say about outdoor activities around Cornell and Ithaca!

By: Dylan Van Duyne ’18

Dylan Van Duyne '18 (me!), Kelly Albanir '15 and their team of freshman students during POST (pre-orientation service trips) enjoy Ithaca Falls

Dylan Van Duyne ’18 (me!), Kelly Albanir ’15 and our POST (pre-orientation service trips) team pose against the backdrop of Ithaca Falls.

The arrival of October means that fall is finally here! One of the most beautiful times of the year in Ithaca is definitely the fall, when you can take an enjoyable walk by North Campus (where all the freshmen live) around Beebe Lake or take a stroll downtown through the Ithaca Commons and enjoy the brisk, clean air.

“Ithaca is Gorges”

Any Cornell student or Ithaca resident has certainly seen a t-shirt (or owns one – or several) around campus or town with the phrase: “Ithaca is Gorges.” This phrase, which is horribly overused but totally accurate, really shines in the month of October, as the leaves on the trees start to change color. The gorges on and off campus are a popular destination for students year-round, but they’re extra beautiful at this time of the year.

A friend visiting campus and I stand on a familiar message by Ithaca Falls.

A friend visiting campus and I stand on a familiar message by Ithaca Falls.

Personally, one of my favorites is Ithaca Falls, a gorge accessible behind West Campus. This spot is the perfect place to enjoy a great overlook of the area – I recently took one of my high school friends there when he visited campus, and he loved it! As the days become shorter in Ithaca, I would highly recommend taking a moment to watch the beautiful sunset from one of the many gorges near campus.

Off Campus Spotlight: Taughannock Falls State Park

A couple weekends ago, I traveled about 20 minutes off campus to Taughannock (Tuh-GAN-ick) Falls State Park. The park features a lower trail that is about a one-mile flat hike, which ends with an iconic view of the Falls.

Aubrey Hiebert '18 and I enjoy a trip to Taughannock Falls State Park.

Aubrey Hiebert ’18 and I enjoy a trip to Taughannock Falls State Park.

Besides Taughannock Falls, Buttermilk Falls and Treman State Park are other awesome off-campus areas to visit with family or friends, walk around and enjoy the scenery.

Enjoy the Beauty of Cornell’s Campus

You never have to go far to find a spot that’s “gorges.” Here on Cornell’s campus there are numerous places that highlight the beauty of this time of year. Lying on the slope at night overlooking West Campus is one of my favorite things to do. At night, West Campus looks a lot like Hogwarts from Harry Potter, and the sunset over Cayuga Lake provides a perfect picture opportunity.

The Arts Quad is another popular spot to take a nap or just hang out with friends on a sunny day. With a flannel and hot apple cider in hand, you can lie down on the Quad and listen to the Alma Mater playing from the chimes in McGraw Clock tower. This is my favorite time to live in Ithaca and be a part of the campus community – just walking around Cornell reminds me every day of how lucky I am to live in such a special place.

An October sunset over West Campus

An October sunset over West Campus

CUEMS: Learning for Life

CUEMS Members at Club Fest, Fall 2014

CUEMS Members at Club Fest, Fall 2014

by Ari Bernstein ’15

During my first few weeks on campus as a freshman in the fall semester of 2012, I was both amazed and overwhelmed by the abundance of extra-curricular opportunities that Cornell provides its students. I attended Club Fest, in hopes of discovering a few clubs that resonated with my interests, yet walked away with more than twenty. As a pre-med student interested in the scientific world as well as interpersonal connections, patient care, and moral reasoning, I was particularly interested in activities that would allow me to interact with people in their times of need and contribute to the welfare of Cornell’s student and faculty population. Likewise, I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone, gain valuable leadership experience, and obtain a skillset that would be useful in all facets of life. Something clicked for me when I attended that first information session for Cornell University Emergency Medical Service (CUEMS) as a new student on a big campus in the middle of an RPCC auditorium.

CUEMS is a completely student-run, Basic Life Support emergency response agency consisting of certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). Its members respond to 9-1-1 medical and traumatic emergency calls on the Cornell campus, operating 24/7 throughout the academic year and part time over the summer months. Additionally, the squad contains many American Heart Association certified CPR instructors, and offers countless CPR, first-aid, and alcohol awareness courses all across campus. I learned all about the squad in that information session, and decided to apply despite having absolutely no emergency medical experience, or knowledge of that particular world. This turned out to be one of the best decision that I would make as an undergraduate.

One of two CUEMS response vehicles.

During first semester, I acquired a substantial amount of clinical and interpersonal skills. I needed to be able to work efficiently with a team of student EMTs to maximize the quality of patient care while at the same time communicating openly and appropriately. I had to understand and utilize different styles of body posture, voice tone and volume, and eye contact to establish short-term relationships built on trust and professionalism. I was able to harness a sense of confidence in my clinical and operational skills through hours of practice and simulation.

CUEMS at Slope Day 2014.

CUEMS at Slope Day 2014.

The most incredible thing that our squad offers its members, aside from the clinical role that we serve on campus, is a strong opportunity for mentorship. The upperclassmen on CUEMS give up tremendous amounts of time to demonstrate and share their knowledge and skills with the new and incoming members. Within our squad, there is a universal understanding that teamwork is most effective when all members of a team are on the same page and possess confidence in their abilities, and through the mentorship roles, these upperclassmen ensure that all members of each team are extremely well-prepared to adapt to any given emergency situation. The new members benefit by learning the importance of a good and strong mentor, one who helps you reach your ultimate potential. I am fortunate to spend a lot of time with such an intellectually stimulating, responsible, and caring group of students and look forward to all that I will learn from them in my final year on campus as a senior.

New CUEMS members becoming CPR certified.

New CUEMS members becoming CPR certified.

From spending time on shift during the Slope Day concert and festivities to serving as a “New Member Buddy” (The name we give to current squad members who mentor assigned new members) helping newer members master their skills, I have learned the importance of giving back to the Cornell community and the real truth in the phrase, “you will only get out of it what you put into it.” While I have put in lots of time into CUEMS, I am excited and fueled by my desire to give and learn more.