Cornell Botanic Gardens.

(Virtual) Things to Do, March 20-27

NOTE: During this challenging time of social distancing and a university interrupted by the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Chronicle is offering a virtual Things to Do selection of events and ideas that offer a variety of opportunities for engaging with Cornell resources and programming. Please see the University Events Calendar or individual event listings (at the links below) for updates and cancellations.

Cornell History Happy Hour

The popular course on Cornell history, The First American University (AMST 2001), is taught by Corey Ryan Earle ’07 and explores Cornell’s identity and unique role as a coeducational, nonsectarian land-grant institution with a broad curriculum and diverse student body.

After Theodore Zinck, a popular Ithaca saloon owner, died in 1903, a series of bars in and around Collegetown adopted his name over the years through the 1960s (pictured: Zinck’s on Aurora Street in Ithaca). As students in the AMST 2001 class learn, Cornellians began commemorating the spirit of Zinck’s night once a year, in what has become a tradition of coming together to enjoy camaraderie and refreshments.

Each spring semester, hundreds of Cornell students gather on Monday nights to learn about Cornell history, traditions and lore through this course.

In an effort to continue the thriving sense of community and Cornell spirit the course fosters, Earle plans to host the course temporarily as a webinar for up to 1,000 participants, and is inviting members of the Cornell community to join in the fun through this webinar as a virtual Cornell History Happy Hour each Monday night until classes resume. Come learn about historic campus happenings, share Cornell trivia and ask questions.

Register here for the next Cornell History Happy Hour, scheduled for March 23 at 7:30 p.m.

Cornell Wellness offerings 

Cornell Wellness is offering weekly workouts, meditations and more for the Cornell community during these times of change, fostering both physical wellness and community connections.

For example, Keri Johnson, a wellness and fitness specialist, offers a recorded 10-minute guided relaxation via Zoom and, on March 25 from noon to 12:30 on Facebook, she will go over workspace basics, from adjusting to a new environment to stretches you can do at your desk or at home to relieve tension and stress throughout the day.

Cornell Library’s deep well of online content

Cornell University Library maintains numerous online exhibits, recordings of book talks, and digital collections found here and here.

The library also offers an online guide to introduce faculty to library resources to support remote teaching and maintains this guide for all Cornellians about how to use the library’s resources and services from nearly anywhere off campus.

Discover birds from home

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a wealth of online links – including their ever-popular live cams – that can make these next few weeks a bit easier, courtesy of birds.

“Birds can be beacons of hope,” says Lab of Ornithology Director John W. Fitzpatrick at the top of a message posted on the site. “They enliven our days, brighten the trees, serenade in our backyards and city parks, and bestow us with so much joy and hope, all bundled together in feathers and lively personalities.”

The site also offers links for teachers looking for remote class ideas; parents looking for games and activities for kids; and casual bird watchers and travelers suddenly not able to stray far from home.

Museums offer online options

Area museums, including Cornell’s Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, the Paleontological Research Institution’s Museum of the Earth and the Cayuga Nature Center are temporarily closed and events are canceled due to the coronavirus precautions. In the meantime, explore the Johnson Museum’s bevy of online collections and PRI’s science education resources.

Online training resources for staff

Cornell staff are reminded that there are numerous online training resources that can be of support through this period of uncertainty and rapid change.

These include: Supervising@Cornell’s free online courses; eCornell’s free on-demand offerings; LinkedIn Learning, a free online tool offering 2,500 detailed courses with more than 80,000 instructional videos; and SkillSoft’s thousands of free online courses, books and short videos.

Botanic Gardens grounds available 

There is at least one non-virtual resource available: Cornell Botanic Gardens. Although facilities are closed and events are canceled until further notice, because nature, gardens and the outdoors are crucially important to physical and emotional well-being, the grounds remain available to the public – though visitors are asked to keep in mind all measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Cornell Botanic Gardens staff expect visitors to the gardens to maintain and respect the required “social distance” of six feet and the limit of 10 people per group, stress that dog leashing ordinances remain in effect (and are particularly important at this time) and ask that any visitors please refrain from interacting directly with gardens staff.

Please note that the F.R. Newman Arboretum gates and lower Cascadilla Gorge trails remain closed until further notice.

Media Contact

Rebecca Valli