A student arrives with her family on West Campus for Move-In Day in 2018.

Student mentors, staff ready for Orientation 2019

Two Move-In Days – and new events to welcome and inform Cornell’s incoming Class of 2023, transfer students and their families – are highlights of Orientation Week 2019, Aug. 23-28.

Nearly 4,000 first-year and new transfer students will arrive on the Ithaca campus for a whirlwind of welcome receptions, tours and info sessions, picnics and block parties. And of course, the swim test.

“Orientation is such an exciting time at Cornell University,” said Vijay Pendakur, the Robert W. and Elizabeth C. Staley Dean of Students. “I am particularly impressed by the breadth of activities during this year’s Orientation, which speaks to the diversity of people and ideas that make up the Cornell community.”

President Martha E. Pollack will address students and families at New Student Convocation, Aug. 24 at 2 p.m. at Schoellkopf Field, with remarks by Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi and student leaders.

Move-in has been extended to a two-day process – Aug. 23 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Aug. 24 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. – to increase efficiency and ensure safety as the North Campus Residential Expansion construction project begins. Staff members and student volunteers will guide the arrivals on North and West campuses.

A Diversity and Inclusion Student Orientation and Parent Panel will be held Friday and Saturday to allow families moving in each day to participate. Providing an introduction to resources that build community and support student success, the panel is hosted by the Office of the Dean of Students and the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives.

More than 300 trained Orientation volunteers are ready to mentor and support new students as they transition to Cornell.

“Orientation volunteers are some of the first community members to welcome new students and families to campus, and they are a wonderful resource for getting questions answered,” said Peggy Arcadi, director of New Student Programs and adviser to the student-led Orientation Steering Committee. “They work closely with staff to imbue Cornell’s Orientation with our values, a focus on student well-being, and fun.”

Student and Campus Life and the Orientation Steering Committee have teamed with campus partners to host the second annual Welcome Picnic for new students, Aug. 26 on North Campus, with food from Cornell Catering and music by Cornell’s student jazz ensemble.

New events include the Big Red Welcome Fest on Ho Plaza, Aug. 23-24, with student performers, information booths and giveaways from campus partners; and One Cornell, Aug. 24 at 8:45 p.m. outdoors on North Campus, a massive meet-and-greet for new students and upper-level student volunteers. The Big Red Bear and the Big Red Pep and Marching bands will be there, and students will follow a trail of lights at 9:45 p.m. to the First-Year Festival, 10 p.m. to midnight in Barton Hall.

Transfer students, meanwhile, will enjoy their first Saturday night at Cornell mingling at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, with food and a jazz band.

Cornell Community Essentials, also debuting this year, invites all new students to engage as active members of Cornell’s caring community. Created by Title IX and Cornell Health staff, the program Aug. 26 and 27 introduces students to campus resources to help them thrive and succeed; offers a peer perspective on mental health and wellness; and shares information on community standards, the university’s expectations and how to create a respectful community culture.

Another first-time event will welcome new student veterans, hosted by the Cornell Undergraduate Veteran Association, with remarks by Provost Michael Kotlikoff.

All new students will take part in the Intergroup Dialogue Project, intended to help them learn to communicate and collaborate across difference. First offered as an Orientation requirement in 2018, the 2½-hour program features small group sessions led by trained facilitators, and encourages students to help make Cornell a more open and supportive community.

Additional diversity and inclusion programs, offered twice during Orientation (Aug. 25 and 28), include the First-Generation Student Social, connecting new first-generation students with staff and student mentors; and Queer Connections, an introduction to all things LGBTQ+ on campus, giving new students a chance to connect with one another and with upper-level peers.

Other events designed to welcome incoming Cornellians include a Shabbat Dinner; the Latino Living Center’s Bienvenidos BBQ, with student groups sharing ways to get involved on campus; and the APID/A (Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi/American) Block Party.

Student Disability Services and Cornell Health are among the units hosting open houses for new students and families.

Media Contact

Abby Butler