WVBR: One of Cornell's 1,000+ Clubs (and Arguably its Best)!

Welcome back! Today marked the beginning of the first full week of classes for the spring semester (we started classes last Wednesday!. Here in Ithaca, we’re battling some brutally cold weather, but sophomore Charles stays warm working as a DJ on WVBR, “Ithaca’s Real Rock Radio.” Check out what he has to say about finding your niche outside of the classroom!

By: Charles Cotton ’19

When I arrived in Ithaca as a freshman, I immediately knew that I wanted to get involved with as many student organizations as I could. One of the greatest things about Cornell (up there with the beautiful campus and the delicious food) is just how many opportunities there are for students to pursue, no matter their interests and hobbies. Cornell has over 1,000 student clubs and organizations, and there truly is one for everyone – whether it’s the Bowling Club, the Rubik’s Cube Club or the Rock and Roll Club, just to name a few.

At the beginning of each semester, the university hosts an event called Clubfest – an all-day fair for organization leaders to promote their clubs and for students to find the ones that best align with their interests. These fairs are admittedly a bit hectic, and it’s not unusual for students to sign up for upwards of fifteen different dance groups, club sports teams, service organizations, and on and on. While most students won’t stay involved with every group they sign up for, they are usually involved with at least one or two that they really enjoy.

For me, the decision to join the Cornell Media Guild has been one of the best I’ve made since I arrived on campus. The Guild is composed of three separate groups: WVBR, an FM radio station; CornellRadio.com, a more freeform online radio station; and Electric Buffalo Records, Cornell’s first-ever student-run record label. While the Guild is independent from the university, each of its three groups are run exclusively by Cornell students.

Of the three, I am most involved with WVBR, serving as a late-night DJ on the station. Being a part of WVBR is truly one of the coolest things I think you can do at Cornell. The station is a rock station – its tagline is “Ithaca’s real rock radio” – and it is broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 93.5 FM and can be heard across much of central New York. We broadcast out of a brand new studio right in the heart of Collegetown, and it’s just a ten-or-so-minute walk from campus.

I host a show with a friend of mine from freshman year, and we are on every other Friday night at 11PM. We play some classic rock, some blues, and some soul, and we take requests from real life callers in and around Ithaca! Every time I’m on, my Cornell friends always make a point of tuning in, and friends and family back home often listen in via the station’s website as well. Having the opportunity to play the music that I love for two hours and talk to a live audience about it is really unique and something I didn’t want to pass up during my college years.

Getting involved is really easy as well. Once you sign up, you go through some quick training to familiarize yourself with the DJ software, the station’s equipment, and some FCC regulations, and you can be on the air within two or three weeks. Being a part of WVBR has also introduced me to some of my closest friends in my first year and half here.

Although Cornell has so many great clubs out there, joining the Cornell Media Guild – specifically WVBR – is something I can’t imagine anyone regretting.

Happy Holidays!

The Arts & Sciences Ambassadors would like to wish you all happy holidays! We at the blog will be taking some time off to catch up with friends and family. Good luck to all seniors finishing up their college applications – we’ll see you back here in January!

Spotlight on: North Campus

This week, Ellie Schmucker ’19 describes her love for North Campus, which houses all Cornell freshman. North Campus provides a unique community where first-year students live and learn together. Ellie’s message to freshman and incoming Cornellians is clear: don’t take your experience on North Campus for granted!

By: Ellie Schmucker ’19

Looking back on freshman year, many of my favorite memories occurred right where it all began: North Campus. Every Cornell freshman lives on North, which creates the unique concentration of a couple thousand teens looking for new friends while kicking off their college career. Although many upperclassmen now prefer the allure of West Campus or Collegetown, I often think back on all the friends I made by living on North. Many people form a tight group of friends on their dorm floor; while I met many of my friends through different classes and activities, we were able to maintain these friendships because we all lived together on North.

Hanging out with friends

Here I am (bottom center) hanging out with friends in Clara Dickson Hall!

I lived in Mews Hall with my awesome freshman roomie – shout out to Shelly! Mews, along with Court-Kay-Bauer are the newest dorms on North; it boasts air conditioning and brightly painted hallway walls. Even though I lived in Mews, I had friends in the Low Rises which, although infamous for their 60s architecture, foster a tight-knit community. I had friends in massive Dickson, social Donlon, and surprisingly my favorite: Balch Hall, the all-women’s residence hall. Although many are initially wary of the all-female aspect of Balch, its gothic architecture and homey lounges won my heart.

Not only does North allow one to hang out in various dorms, it also affords three dining halls which are ideal for large group meals. From made-to-order omelets (and fried eggs which are basically a secret) every morning in Appel to the Mongo Grill in RPCC to the sandwich bar in Risley, North dining is something to be remembered. Of course, one cannot forget late night Bear Necessities (affectionately nicknamed “Nasties”) runs. My favorite indulgences are their mozzarella sticks and buffalo chicken wings – talk about comfort food! Although I enjoy living on West Campus this year as a sophomore, I’m definitely looking forward to moving into an apartment right off North next year.

Cornell Dining: 29 Eateries and Endless Options

This week, junior Dylan Van Duyne discusses part of the reason he loves Cornell so much: the food. For those of you who are visiting campus and feeling a bit overwhelmed by the variety of options for finding a meal or a snack on campus, here are 10 recommendations for the best items and the best places to eat!

By: Dylan Van Duyne ’18

Cornell University was recently ranked #3 in the country by the Princeton Review for college dining, and with 29 on-campus eateries, there is unbeatable quality and diversity of food on campus. Here are just some of my recommendations:

  1. Open Face Salmon Club and the Tofu Sandwich from Café JennieCafé Jennie, located at the top level of the Cornell Store, has some of the best ambiance on campus. It’s home to an affordable and delicious salmon sandwich (which is certainly hard to find anywhere else on campus!), and its new tofu sandwich addition is a solid vegetarian option as well.

    Café Jennie

    Café Jennie

  2. Salad and Pasta from Atrium Café: Prepare for leftovers! Atrium Café, located in Sage Hall, offers one of the best deals on campus. You’re sure to be very full after you’re done with either of these meals!
  3. Chicken Panini from Goldie’s Café: This sandwich has it all: pesto, grilled chicken, mozzarella cheese, and roasted tomato on crispy warm Panini. Yum!
  4. Pollo Loco from Cornell Dairy BarIf you’re out by the Dairy Bar, consider picking up this sandwich along you’re your ice cream! It’s got chicken, cheese, chipotle garlic aioli, and cole slaw on ciabatta bread.
  5. Chicken Quesadilla from Trillium CaféIn what is undoubtedly the busiest café on campus, the quesadilla line is one of the shorter waits. Trillium is located in Kennedy Hall, just below one of the newly opened eHub collaborative spaces.
  6. Panera Mac & Cheese from Libe CaféFor all of the students spending late nights in Olin Library, especially during finals, the recent addition of the mac and cheese has been a real game changer.
  7. Egg Sandwich from Temple of ZeusTemple of Zeus offers the best egg sandwich I’ve ever had, hands down! This space, located in newly finished Klarman Hall, is a great spot to camp out and study while enjoying a meal with friends.

    Temple of Zeus

    Temple of Zeus

  8. Fresh Fruit Smoothie from Mac’s CaféMac’s Café in the Statler Hotel makes the best smoothies on campus by far!
  9. Sunday Brunch at Robert Purcell Community Center (RPCC)Dim sum + pancake bar + breakfast sandwiches = everything a freshman (or a nostalgic upperclassman) could ever wish for from a brunch. If you’re on campus visiting and want to experience a dining hall over the weekend, I suggest you get there early to beat the rush for the dim sum line!
  10. Taco Tuesday at Flora Rose HouseIf you’re on West Campus exploring upperclassmen housing, try Rose House’s Taco Tuesday offerings – it’s the best dinner option for anyone on West Campus!

How I Came to Love Cornell

Here in Ithaca, we’ve just finished classes for the semester and are hard at work studying for final exams. For high school seniors interested in Cornell, however, December means something a bit different. While some are waiting to hear back about their early decision applications, many other seniors are polishing their own applications to submit for the January 2nd regular decision deadline. Here at the Ambassadors blog, we’re focusing on why we love being at Cornell so much. Enjoy sophomore Mitchell Lee’s piece this week – and good luck to those of you applying to Cornell this year!

By: Mitchell Lee ’19

My current roommate and I (right) celebrate the first snow of the season.

My current roommate (left) and I celebrate the first snow of the season.

When I was accepted to Cornell, my emotions were running wild. I felt a mixture of excitement, happiness, apprehension, and anxiety – basically any and all emotions. I felt this all the way up until I arrived on campus last year. All my rampant emotions have relaxed, except for one now ever-present feeling: love. From the rigorous yet rewarding classes to the amazing people, I have come to love everything about Cornell. There is so much that I can write about, but I really wish to emphasize a few aspects that I find truly amazing about Cornell.

Here's a picture of the lab I work in!

Here’s a picture of the lab I work in!

One of first things I fell in love with is Cornell’s prodigious academics. There are so many different classes that cover a wide variety of topics, and the classes that I have taken are very stimulating. For example, I took a small freshman writing seminar entitled Magic in Arthurian Legend, and although it was a class designed to improve my writing, the content was fascinating. I enjoyed learning about something completely new to me. Larger lectures can be awesome as well; l really enjoy GOVT 1818: Introduction to International Relations, a class I’m taking this semester, and I loved BIOEE 1610: Introduction to Ecology & the Environment, a class I took last year. No matter the type of class or the style, my classes have been impressive and rewarding.

Here I am (far left) with my co-workers this past summer!

Here I am (far left) with my co-workers this past summer!

Not only are my classes interesting but they’re applicable as well. As a biology and government double major, my academics have a lot of real-world applications.. GOVT 1818 and BIOEE1610 have both enabled me to think critically and assess problems inside and outside the classroom. From BIOEE 1610, for example, I gained basic knowledge and analytical skills that I applied to my job this past summer as a field technician at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire. Currently on campus, I work with an ecology and evolutionary biology professor doing both lab work and field work.

Cornell’s academics are amazing in their own right, but another aspect I love about this university is the dedication to sustainability and environmentalism. Originally, when I arrived last year, I did not know what I wanted to study or what clubs I wanted to join. Cornell, however, exposed me to so many different clubs on campus, through which I fell in love with sustainability. While I cared about the subject in high school, I’ve now developed a complete passion for it. I am honored to work with so many like-minded individuals to advance our mission of sustainability on campus. I love how Cornell has allowed me to explore my passions and supported me as I found one that I want to make a career out of.

Posing with a couple of friends I made on the floor of my freshman dorm:)

Posing with just a couple of friends I made on the floor of my freshman dorm:)

The best parts of Cornell for me, however, are the people I meet and the community we create. The first semester of freshman year, I was nervous that I wouldn’t make friends in a place so far away from my hometown. That fear was totally unfounded! We are so diverse that there is a group for everyone, and I have definitely found my group. My friends have helped me grow personally, and they support me in all my endeavors. I know that if I’m having a hard time, I have them to fall back on. I know that I can banter with them and talk about anything. I know that I can ask for help when I need it. I know that in ten years, I can call them and it will be like nothing has changed. They are the reason why I love Cornell so much, why I have so much Big Red pride, and why I know I’m going to cry when we go separate ways after graduation. Together all Cornellians, students, faculty, and staff work to bring out the best in all of us. We grow together and support each other. I could not love this school more.

Celebrating the Cornell Community's Passion for Learning

One word sums up this post and its author’s message about Cornell’s intellectually diverse community: passionate. In this last November post, junior Carlee Moses describes how the spirit of interdisciplinary inquiry first drew her to Cornell. Enjoy!

By: Carlee Moses ’18

The first time I ventured down Libe Slope I took this picture. The sun was just hitting the Slope in the most amazing way!

I took this picture the first time I ventured down Libe Slope. The sun was just hitting the Slope in the most amazing way!

To me, the spirit of Cornell is defined by the diverse and varied passions of its students, faculty, and staff. When I first arrived at Cornell a little over two years ago, I was so impressed and intrigued by the conversations I overheard as I wandered around campus. I remember people were discussing American politics, the human body system, books and articles they had recently encountered, foreign affairs, research studies they had either read about or participated in, the future of our planet Earth, and the scientific reasoning behind how Tums help to better stomach ailments. As a self-proclaimed Tums addict, overhearing that specific conversation was truly life-changing. Cornellians do what they love and love what they do, and they are always willing to share their particular academic passion with others.

The spirit of Cornell has definitely shaped my own college experience. In my classes, my peers always bring a diverse range of academic backgrounds to class discussions. Through this, I am able to gain new and different perspectives on class material. For example, in Politics of Public Policy last semester, Professor Michener often had us break into groups and discuss specific policies or policy areas. One day, she asked us to brainstorm a policy that we believed would better the American prison system. One of my group members, a student in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR), had worked on a project that created a plan to put former prisoners to work in environmentally friendly businesses. She shared with us her plan, and the knowledge she had learned in ILR. Because of her different academic background and viewpoint, she was able to provide me with a different perspective and a new idea. In my personal life, my friends also represent a varied range of passions: from the social sciences to the physical sciences, American studies to Near Eastern Studies, Hotel Administration to Urban Planning, Architecture to Industrial and Labor Relations, and economics to Earth science and sustainability, each of the friends I have made at Cornell has their own unique passion. The commonality is that each of my friends, and every person in the larger Cornell community, is equally passionate.

My friends and I took a break from finals studying to watch the sunset on a warm December evening.

My friends and I took a break from finals studying one year to watch the sunset on a warm December evening.

As a current junior, Cornell has pushed me to strengthen my passions, and also discover new ones. When I arrived on campus in August 2014, I knew that I loved history – specifically, American history. I need to dive deeper than the textbook synopsis versions of historical events. I want to know the stories behind the people I study. Who and what made these people who they were? It wasn’t until I met one of my now closest friends here at Cornell, a Near Eastern Studies major, that I decided to take my studies outside of the Western world, and enrolled in a course on Iran. This course made me want to know more about the Middle East, encouraging me to pursue more classes in the Near Eastern Studies department, and igniting within me a new passion.

When I sit in some of my favorite places on campus, I still can’t help but listen in to the conversations I overhear. It’s been more than two years since I arrived at Cornell, and my peers continue to blow me away. This spirit of Cornell – the diverse and deep passions of the Cornell community and the drive to pursue them – initially drew me here, and it’s what has made my college experience so absolutely transformative.

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.

The Spirit of Camaraderie

This week, junior Chelsea Sincox writes about the spirit of the Big Red and her experience as a member of the varsity women’s volleyball team. Let’s Go Red!

By: Chelsea Sincox ’18

The month of November is a month of transition. The beautiful leaves that have covered Ithaca for the past couple months are falling, littering the ground that might soon be covered in snow. With fall coming to a close, so too does the season of fall sports. Field hockey, soccer, football, and others are all closing their seasons out, and those players transition into their off time.

As a member of the women’s volleyball team, a fall sport, I too will transition to being out-of-season in a few short weeks. Sidelined for now, I and other fall athletes join the rest of the student body in cheering on the winter and spring sports: we become Big Red fans. We move from the court or field into the stands to cheer on the rest of the Big Red family, united under one name and one common goal.

Here I am with some of my teammates - I'm the one in the middle!

Here I am posing with some of my teammates – I’m the one in the middle!

Here at Cornell, the school demands that athletes truly embody fulfilling their title as STUDENT-athletes, and I think that’s what is most exciting about supporting Big Red Athletics. Going to a rambunctious hockey game, a thrilling swim meet, or a fast-paced basketball game, you might get to cheer on a fellow member of a group project, a lab partner, or a friend. For athletes, we share the gym and the weight room, in addition to the classroom.

Though my sport is only in season for a few short months in the year, the training never really stops. I love supporting other members of the Big Red family in the spirit of reciprocity, contribution, and community – but also because it’s just plain fun! #LGR

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.

Spotlight on ENGL 2810 (and 3830, 3840, 4800, 4801, etc etc): Creative Writing at Cornell

Happy Halloween! In our last post for October, senior Anna Ravenelle discusses her experiences with the creative writing program within the English department. For her and for many others, creative writing classes provide an opportunity to explore the arts while earning credit and getting feedback from esteemed authors and poets.

By: Anna Ravenelle ’17

As an English major, I’ve known for a long time that I’ve wanted to work in the publishing field or even write professionally. At Cornell, I’ve channeled that into a course-load full of English classes, but most prominently, as many creative writing courses as possible. Arts and Sciences offers three levels of creative writing courses: the introductory class, a 2000-level, instructs in both narrative and verse writing, while intermediate (3000-level) and advanced (4000-level) courses split off into two tracks for aspiring novelists and poets. Even if you’re just curious about writing creatively, however, taking ENGL 2810 can still be a great addition to a semester’s schedule—once you finish up those First-year Writing Seminar requirements!

Just because it's a creative writing course doesn't mean you don't read, too! Check out some of the books I've had to read for my classes over the years.

Just because it’s a creative writing course doesn’t mean you don’t read, too! Check out some of the books I’ve had to read for my classes over the years.

Each section of creative writing differs depending not only on the instructor, but on your fellow classmates. The courses are set up in a seminar format where you have an assigned workshop day where your work will be discussed by the rest of the class. Each new story or poem from a classmate brings something new to the table and, because of this, I often find myself learning just as much about writing from my fellow classmates’ collective knowledge as I do from my professor.

Which professor instructs your section can also make the class an entirely different experience – some professors give broad, open-ended prompts (or no prompts at all!) while others give more specific ones to inspire your writing. No matter, the entire creative writing faculty are well-respected and published in the field and can help shape your writing, whether you’re taking the class to complete an elective requirement or writing to reach your career goals.

Beyond teaching writing semantics, creative writing workshops also foster important, resumé-worthy skills: how to give (and take) constructive feedback, how to make your voice heard in a group conversation, and how to adjust to a shifting workload—some nights a classmate’s story will be six pages, while others’ stories will be three times that length. Most importantly for me, though, creative writing classes can offer an outlet for creative energies that many students (like myself) find difficult to make time for otherwise. When you have two prelims the next week, it can be hard justifying taking the time to paint or play music, but writing for class can have the same cathartic effect while also helping cross something off your to-do list.