Around Cornell

News directly from Cornell's colleges and centers

Summer Wellbeing Adventure returns, new photo contest unveiled

Summer has officially arrived in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, where bright blooms add bursts of color to the cityscape. With longer days ahead, there’s no better time to explore all the area has to offer. For those seeking restoration and rejuvenation this season, Cornell is providing the perfect opportunity.

Beginning July 15 to August 5, staff, faculty, students and retirees are invited to embark on a three-week journey focused on their wellbeing. The Summer Wellbeing Adventure & Photo Contest is returning for its second year, with registration now live. The program offers numerous opportunities to engage in on- and off-campus activities, events and ideas. This year, participants will even have the chance for their photographs to be displayed around Cornell’s campus.

The adventure, launched last year, saw significant participation from hundreds of Cornell employees who dedicated four weeks to enhancing their wellbeing through outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking around the gorges, sharing summer recipes and connecting with colleagues via Microsoft Teams Viva Engage.

This year, the program has expanded to include students and retirees and features updated content and additional chances to win weekly prizes.

Michelle Wescott, director of Instructional Design at eCornell, participated in last year’s programming and shared her enthusiasm for this year’s offerings. As a remote employee, Wescott appreciated the many opportunities to engage with colleagues and discover new ways to connect and recharge.

“The program gave me lasting friendships with several colleagues and helped me find an accountability partner to keep my wellness efforts going yearlong,” Wescott said. “The themed weeks allowed me to focus on different aspects of wellness beyond exercise and getting outdoors. My favorite week was “chill week,” where I embraced the theme by chilling out with different kinds of tea. I increased my relaxation and found new favorite teas!”

Upon registration, participants will receive weekly emails featuring suggested activities, opportunities and resources and are encouraged to explore, share and photograph their experiences. The three-week program aligns with the principles of the Okanagan Charter and Cornell’s commitment to being a health-promoting campus, focusing each week on a specific theme:

  • Week 1: Places
  • Week 2: Planet
  • Week 3: People

Michelle Artibee, director of Workforce Wellbeing at Cornell, hopes participants will find the Summer Wellbeing Adventure an opportunity to dedicate time for themselves to prioritize their wellbeing and discover what brings them joy both in and out of the workplace.

“Folks may choose to explore and restore by themselves or with their colleagues, fellow students or the community,” Artibee said, further explaining the adventure’s open and non-prescriptive approach. “We encourage everyone to engage in ways they find meaningful, restorative and energizing. For some Cornellians, this is actually their busiest time at work or within their academic program. Others are navigating challenging life situations or caregiving responsibilities. We want folks to engage in ways that align with their interests, needs and personal capacity without any pressure or external definitions of what wellbeing should mean to them.” 

Additionally, participants have the opportunity to enter a photo contest, where winning entries will be displayed on banners that will hang from select light posts across Cornell’s Ithaca campus this fall. Photo entries reflecting the themes of people, places and planet will be reviewed by a committee and a select array of winning photos will be turned into banners.

“We are excited to receive photos showcasing employees and students engaging in their work environments on any Cornell campus and communities worldwide in ways that reflect and support health promotion and wellbeing,” Artibee added. “Winning photos will be turned into banners, representing a broad range of our amazing employees, retirees and students engaged in activities they find meaningful.”

This year’s program offers a unique opportunity to contribute to Cornell’s commitment to creating and sustaining a culture of wellbeing while also allowing participants to leave their memories and captured moments imprinted across campus.

“I’m looking forward to connecting with others again, exploring and embracing this year’s themes,” Wescott said. “Last year, most of my team participated. I think it’s incredibly fun and fulfilling, and I love connecting with others pursuing the same goals. It really encourages me to think outside the typical wellness box.”

This program is co-sponsored by Cornell Human Resources, Student & Campus Life, Skorton Center for Health Initiatives and Cornell Recreation Connection.

Media Contact

Media Relations Office