While the Class of 2020 settled in to campus on Move-In Day, first-year Sloan Program in Health Administration graduate students sped around campus, completing challenges and surmounting obstacles during the program’s second annual Ezra’s Amazing Race orientation event.
Inspired by the CBS reality show, the daylong Cornell version featured 34 first-year students grouped in teams and given clues to find campus landmarks. At each location, they faced either “detours,” where groups completed challenges, or “roadblocks,” in which one teammate attempted a task alone, before unlocking their next clue. Along the way, students gathered at “pit stops” for team-building activities led by the Cornell Team and Leadership Center.
One leg of the race brought students to the Sesquicentennial Commemorative Grove to memorize the alma mater, followed by a roadblock requiring competitors to replicate a table setting at the Statler Hotel. At a “Tombs or Tomes” detour, teams chose between finding the stained glass window in Sage Chapel memorializing civil rights workers, including Michael Schwerner ’61, killed by the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi, or locating a signed copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s ’44 “Slaughterhouse-Five” in the A.D. White Library.
Adam Shelepak ’17, who is enrolled in Sloan’s five-year accelerated B.S./MHA degree program, said the race provided “an interesting crash course in Cornell history.” “We [were] able to explore the campus, the traditions and the other parts of Cornell that make it such a great place. I am sure this was especially true for those students who did not do their undergraduate work at Cornell,” Shelepak added.
Organized by Sloan lecturer Marty Sherman ’73, MPS ’75, the challenge offered participants a deeper connection to Cornell’s culture and history. “We wanted them to fall in love with the campus and Cornell in the way that we had, and hopefully after graduation they’ll want to remain connected with the university both with their time and talent,” Sherman said.
Prior to the race, Corey Earle ’07, a visiting lecturer in the American Studies Program, briefed participants on Cornell history, explaining the background for the university’s motto – “I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study” – and discussing Cornell’s influence over the last 150 years. Trustee Ezra Cornell ’70 also spoke on the legacy of the university’s founder.
With Ezra’s Amazing Race, Sherman continues her history of giving back to Cornell. Since graduating, she has served on numerous Reunion committees and serves on the Sloan Alumni Association. In recognition of her service to the university, she received a 2016 Frank H.T. Rhodes Exemplary Alumni Service Award.
Founded in 1955, the Sloan Program in Health Administration is a two-year master’s program offered in the College of Human Ecology that trains students for careers in health care management, policy, public health and related fields.
Tyler Alicea ’16, MPS ’17 is a student writer for the College of Human Ecology.