RYAN LOMBARDI: Good afternoon, and welcome. Very pleased to be with you today. My name is Ryan Lombardi. I serve as the Vice President for Student and Campus Life here at Cornell University.
It's 3:30 PM on Wednesday, August 4th. Coming to you from a beautiful day in Ithaca, New York, our beautiful campus here at Cornell. It's really spectacular outside. Doesn't even quite feel like summer. It's more like a late summer, early fall day. It's really beautiful.
So glad that you've tuned in with us today for this forum where we hope to share a lot of information about the upcoming academic year. Really hope that it's helpful and informative. Appreciate everybody that signed up and all of the questions that you sent to us ahead of time.
I get to serve as your host for the event today, but I'm joined by a number of my colleagues that I'll introduce in a moment. Before we jump into that, I mentioned my title is Vice President for Student and Campus Life. And so what that means is that my responsibility at Cornell is to oversee a lot of our efforts to support the student experience outside of the classroom.
This entails our experiences in the residence halls, in our dining halls, experiences with recreation, physical education, varsity athletics, our Cornell Health support team that helps with mental health, medical services, all of our student programming efforts, campus activities, new student programs as you prepare for orientation, Greek life, the Einhorn Center for Community Engagement, our Dean of Students Office, including our Care and Crisis services, our Identity and Cultural Support Center, student empowerment, student conduct. So many, many areas. Certainly, also Cornell Career Services as you move your way through the Cornell experience.
So I'm joined by a number of my colleagues from Student and Campus Life and also some colleagues from outside of the division who are also key partners in student success here at Cornell. If you're a new student, and I'll find out if you are in just a minute when we do a poll, we'll get to know each other quite well over the coming years. And if you're a continuing student, very much look forward to welcoming you back to campus real soon.
So some of you have probably been to one of our forums before. And if that's the case, then you know how this will go. But for those who haven't, I'll share a little bit about how we're going to spend our time together today.
Of course, you get to start by hearing from me as I'll begin with some introductory comments and also answer a few of the questions that were sent in ahead of time that were really high on people's minds. I will make note that we're recording today's forum, so if you miss anything as we're going through, you don't have to take copious notes. We'll be posting that on the website. We'll post a lot of links as we're going through today in the chat function so you can see this. We'll post, for example, the link of where this recording will be posted on our COVID.Cornell.edu website, hopefully just in the next couple of days.
I'll introduce my colleagues and then they will share some information one by one about the student experience and about how they will support you during your time at Cornell. And that's the way we'll work through this forum today. So before we jump in, a little bit I do want to get a sense of who has tuned in today because we have several thousand people who have joined us. And we realize that it might be people who are joining the community for the first time, or returning students, parents and family members, et cetera, et cetera. So our support folks are going to put up a poll here on the screen. If you would please complete this, we'll just pause for a minute while you select how you're best affiliated with Cornell. And we'll come back and see who's tuned in today.
All right, let's see who we have joining us today. Let's see what the results are. OK, so about 25% new students on here. Welcome to Cornell. Very excited to have you.
8% returning students. A lot of parents and/or family members of both new and returning students. Great for you. Great to have you back with us again for returning students. And to parents and family of new students, we're also thrilled to be a part of this journey with you ahead and look forward to getting to know you a lot better in the years ahead.
So the panelists that I am joined with they are super dedicated to the student experience and also people that you get to really well. And also, they were with me last year as we were preparing to open during the pandemic. We're still opening during a pandemic, although at a different point. We'll talk about that a lot today. And we had to do these quite often last year. We haven't done them quite as often, but we're looking forward to sharing as much information as possible.
If you've received emails from me recently, both myself and the Provost sent out a message the other day with some changes about the fall semester. We'll go over those in detail. But I do want to emphasize that our plan is to continue to move forward with a full in-person academic and residential experience this fall. Of course, conditions are changing with the country quite substantially every day. And we're keeping a close eye on that. But we're deeply dedicated to making this happen this fall.
Of course, changes are always possible. If anything, we've learned over the last 18 to 20 months is that this pandemic keeps throwing us curve balls. We do all we can to support you and to support the Cornell experience during those. So we do ask for your continued flexibility if changes come after this webinar today. But we're going to try to keep pushing forward as close-- as much as we can.
My colleagues and I work closely with students every single day, and we love it. We're dedicated to it. We wake up in the morning eager to do so. But we're always learning new ways to do our work and the best ways to support and serve our students.
We learned a lot over the last year. We learn a lot every year, of course. But a few things that we've continued to understand is that the residential experience and being a part of a residential campus like Cornell is really foundational to an excellent, well-rounded, holistic education. We know that mental health is more important than ever. And what we're going to be working to continue to innovate in this space, combining not only our traditional approach to clinical services but also looking at ways to support students virtually as we continue as well for those who might appreciate that opportunity.
But we also know that some of the things we've learned over the last year or two have been positive changes. We know that for some of our services and activities that some of these virtual opportunities can be really helpful. Career services, greater access to employers in the future via virtual methods. So we're really thinking about how we can expand opportunities for students in that regard.
But we know that students have been impacted for the long term and that first and second year students have been through a lot. Those of you who are rising, just coming into college right now have been through an awful lot in the late years of your high school. And we're really looking forward to having the most robust experience for you this fall at Cornell as possible.
I'll have a few more things to say, but first I just want to introduce my panelists. I mentioned them several times. I'm going to introduce them one by one and just let them say hi very briefly. They'll be back with us a little bit later in the forum to share some additional thoughts.
So I'm going to introduce my colleagues in speaking order. First, I want to introduce Sharon McMullen, who is an assistant vice president in Student Campus Life focused on our health and well being efforts. Sharon?
SHARON MCMULLEN: Thanks, Ryan. I'm delighted to be here. Welcome, everyone. I'll be back in a few minutes to share some information about health and well being.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks, Sharon. Next, I'd like to introduce Pat Wynn, who is also an assistant vise president at Student Campus Life, who oversees housing and dining and a lot of our other support services.
PAT WYNN: Hi, everyone. So nice to see you. I'm sure that I spoke to some of you that are returning. And to our new students, welcome. And we're just so happy to have you.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks, Pat. Next, I would like to introduce Jenny Loeffelman, another AVP in Student Campus Life, who focuses on a lot of our programming efforts and ways to help students get engaged through campus activities, in Greek life, and a number of other areas. Jenny?
JENNY LOEFFELMAN: Hi, Ryan. Good to see everyone. I'm excited to talk with you about orientation and all of our back-to-campus events.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks so much, Jenny. Next, I want to introduce my colleague, Amy Godert, who is the Director of the Learning Strategy Center and also the Executive Director of Academic Student Success Programs. While Dr. Godert is not a member of the Student Campus Life team, she's a close partner of ours, and we're always thrilled to have her with us.
AMY GODERT: Hi, everyone. I'm excited to be here again, and I'm looking forward to sharing a few things about the academic experience and some tips for the upcoming academic year.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks so much, Amy. And last but certainly not least, and the person who will close us out today at the end of this forum, is my close colleague, Marla Love, who is the Robert W. and Elizabeth C. Staley Dean of Students here at Cornell.
MARLA LOVE: Hi, so glad to be here with you. Can't wait to chat with you later.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks so much, Marla. All right, so I'm going to just give a few updates and clarifications on some of the information we shared recently in the email that I referenced that came out about our public health approach to the fall semester. I just want to walk through a couple of these points before I turn it over to my colleagues. So I want to make sure that I'm as clear as possible, I'll take my time and look at my notes as we go through here.
So I want to first emphasize that we are taking some additional steps that a couple of months ago we didn't think would be necessary. But because of the emergence of the Delta variant, we think these are really important because of our commitment to having the in-person academic and residential experience. A key contributor to this is the fact that we have a very high vaccination rate on campus among faculty, staff, and students. And that continues to climb as more and more students input their vaccination materials. And my colleague Sharon will talk about that in a minute.
We didn't make this decision to mandate the vaccine lightly, but we thought it was incredibly important. We felt that that was the only way we were going to be able to have a fully residential and in-person experience this year. So barring specific exemptions that had to be requested already, students must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend Cornell. I want to be clear that students who ultimately refuse to do so will be dis-enrolled from the institution.
And so while our vaccination rate is very good, and again, Sharon will share this, we expect it to get better over these coming weeks. We know that some of you, because of maybe where you're living right now and accessibility to vaccines, haven't been able to get that. And we're prepared to support you as soon as you get here with those. But I do want to just emphasize that very strongly.
If you're curious about our vaccination rates, continue to keep an eye on the COVID dashboard that we have on our website, which we'll drop the link in the chat. Again, Sharon will explain a little bit more about uploading your vaccine information if you haven't done that. But please make sure to get this done as soon as possible so we're fully prepared for the start of this semester. Again, the link, if you've forgotten how to do that, will be dropped into the chat right here.
Now, I mentioned that some of the things we've had to do we didn't expect. We're all super frustrated to see the numbers continuing to increase, the number of infections increase as a result of the Delta variant. Quite concerning, obviously. And as I mentioned earlier, the pandemic continues to throw us curve balls. We're doing all we can to monitor and make the adjustments we need.
But there are two important modifications that we, unfortunately, had to make here very recently for the start of the semester to make sure that we understand virus prevalence as we kick off the start of the semester. So the first one was masks. And that was that we reinstituted an indoor mask mandate. So that means that when you're inside one of Cornell's buildings, you need to have a mask on regardless of whether you're vaccinated or not.
I'm fully vaccinated. I've got my mask right here on the desk. Every time I walk out of my private office here, I put that thing on.
It's not ideal. We understand that people are tired of masks, but it's really important that we continue to wear them. This means academic buildings, classrooms, libraries, gyms, rec centers, et cetera, even residence hall common spaces. And we hope that this isn't going to be a permanent situation, but we do think it's important as we have many people traveling from all over the world in those first few weeks to understand and minimize any spread that might be picked up as a result of traveling.
And remember, even if you want to wear a mask more often than just indoors, while you're outside, everybody has personal preferences in this regard. So you should not feel awkward about doing that. You should not feel uncomfortable doing that. Do whatever you are comfortable with outside of the requirements that Cornell has. Again, we hope this to be a short-term measure. And frankly, we think it's a pretty small measure to have to take to be able to do all the other things that we want.
Of course, you won't wear a mask when you're eating. And we will have densified dining. Pat will talk a little bit about our dining offerings coming up soon. You also won't be masked up when you're in your private spaces, just as I'm not right now in my private office, as I mentioned. So again, not what we want-- where we want to be, but we do think it's the best way to make sure that our semester gets off on a good start and hopefully continues well also.
The next change that we've made is around testing. And we also announced this in our email. It had always been our intention to require testing of any unvaccinated students, those, in other words, that have been received exemptions from vaccination, who have had approved exemptions. And those people will be tested for the duration of their time here multiple times per week.
But yesterday, we announced that initially we also do plan to test vaccinated students, albeit we will test less frequently, probably just once a week. And we hope that it's only going to be for an initial period of time. The idea here is that we want to make sure, because we know that the Delta variant can be-- that you can get infected with the Delta variant if you're vaccinated. Of course, the good news is people aren't getting nearly as sick and very, very little low levels of fatalities from those infections. But it can-- there is indication that it can be spread. And so we want to make sure that if anyone who is vaccinated has the virus that we can get that isolated and out of the system very quickly so, again, that we can have as normal a semester as possible.
Again, it's our intent not to do this for very long. But we will have to do that. And it will-- you should know, students, this is going to be the case first for faculty and staff as well. So as a vaccinated staff member, I will be in that same boat getting my test once a week here at the start of this semester.
Again, both of these things we're intending to be temporary. We hope that's the case. But we'll monitor it. We've always been monitoring things very frequently. And we'll do what the data tells us is going to keep our campus as safe as possible and also ensure that we can continue to have our in-person classes, our group and social activity, clubs, athletics, all the things that are so vital to the college experience.
We're also going to ask for parents, and you'll hear-- we are going to allow visitors. It is our plan to allow visitors to campus. You'll hear from a couple of my colleagues about this. But we're going to ask parents similarly to be very thoughtful about wearing masks when they're in our buildings this fall, whether that's for orientation, for move in. Whether you're vaccinated or not, just same policies for students, faculty, and staff, parents, we're treating you the same way. So please be mindful of that when you're interacting with our team.
We will again set up isolation and quarantine space. So for students that do end up testing positive for COVID, we will have isolation space to support those students while they're in mandatory isolation. We don't dictate that. It's important that I remind you of that. That's dictated by the County Health Department. Isolation orders are orders of that department.
And we will be offering space on campus for that. We're using a residence hall this year. It's Balch Hall. We've taken it offline. It wasn't going to be used as a residence hall this year because we're getting prepared to renovate that building. That will be our isolation space for this coming year.
I'm making a point of this because those of you who are returning students might know that last year we used the Statler Hotel, which is our on-campus hotel. It happens to be a four-star hotel. Balch Hall is going to be a different experience for isolation than the Statler Hotel was, so I do need to make you aware of that. We're going to provide food. We're going to do all we can to make that as comfortable as possible. But because our local hotels, our own hotel, are open and operating again for travelers and business, probably some parents on this Zoom have booked rooms at the Statler during move in and other times of the fall, it's not available for the purposes of isolation this year as it was last year.
I'll just say a couple of quick more things before I hand it off to my colleagues here. And these are, again, based on the questions that were sent in advance. I know a lot of questions and concerns around financial aid. And I talked to my colleagues in Financial Aid earlier. And they asked me to acknowledge and appreciate, extend appreciation for your patience.
I know that some of you are still waiting on your financial aid package. They're working very diligently to complete those reviews. Please be sure to continue to monitor your Student Center to-do list for any missing information that they might need. Or if they have all of that, be sure to check in with them. You can email them or you can book an online appointment via the Corneal Chatter app.
Finally, I know that bills are due very soon. And so if you are an aided student and you're still awaiting the results of your aid package and this bill is looming, please know that the Financial Aid Office has already communicated with the Billing Office, the Bursar's Office, to make sure that you're not assessed any penalty for being late on payment or anything like that because they acknowledge that the backlog is creating that tension. So I just wanted to say that and extend that on behalf of my colleagues in Financial Aid.
And finally, I do know we received some questions about the swim test, Cornell's historical swim test. You should know that our rec service's and PE team will continue to administer the swim test this fall, although the requirement for the swim test as a graduation requirement is continuing to be paused, at least for the fall semester. But they will offer that. So if you want to just go ahead and get that knocked out once you get here, that will be an opportunity to get that done shortly after you come to campus.
So those were some of the top general questions. My colleagues will answer a number of your other questions, but I wanted to capture those before we get started. So I'm going to hand off first to my colleague, Sharon McMullen, who's going to speak a little bit more in detail about our public health requirements, vaccination, and a lot of good information around health and well-being at Cornell.
SHARON MCMULLEN: Great. Thank you, Ryan. Well, hello again, everyone. I'm Sharon McMullen, Assistant Vice President of Student and Campus Life for Health and Well Being. Super happy to be here with you today. Welcome to Cornell.
So I'd like to share some additional information to build on what Ryan shared earlier on pandemic-related public health measures. We continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic very closely and to adjust our approach as indicated by the data and the evolving science. As we have done through the pandemic, we will continue surveillance testing to find cases early, case isolation to reduce spread, and contact tracing to identify those at risk of exposure. Supplemental testing will continue to be easily accessible to those people who desire more frequent testing. Late last week, as Ryan mentioned, in response to the evolving Delta variant, we adjusted our indoor masking requirement to include all people in any Cornell building regardless of their vaccination status.
So a few words about the Delta variant, which, as many who are following pandemic news closely will be aware, it has created a pivotal moment, to paraphrase CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. Delta's increased transmissibility makes it a game changer. People who are vaccinated can be infected, and importantly, seem to be able to transmit it to others, such as those who are more vulnerable as they are not yet vaccinated. There are children, for whom there isn't yet a vaccine approved. And people who are vulnerable include the immunocompromised. So this makes it a game changer.
Now, I want to say that this doesn't mean that COVID vaccines aren't effective. They are for preventing severe illness and death. And that's why the vast majority of COVID-related deaths are in unvaccinated people. Delta is the predominant strain of COVID in the US at the moment. And while vaccinated people are getting infected, they are far less likely to die of it than people who are unvaccinated. This is a major reason why even vaccinated people are required to wear masks indoors at Cornell.
COVID vaccine continues to be the key to preventing severe COVID-19 illness and death and the best means we have of bringing this pandemic to a close. As such, all students are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before arriving to campus. The deadline for submitting proof of vaccination is Monday, August 16.
But please don't wait until then to submit your proof of vaccination. We need to plan for arrival testing and vaccination if needed. So please, please get that information in now. You need to submit documentation through the COVID vaccine registry daily check. And I know that link is going up into the chat now.
Plenty of students have specific questions about their particular situation. For example, is it acceptable to complete a series of vaccine with two different brands? Or which type of vaccine meets the requirement? And for those type of questions, please go to our COVID support page. It has answers to those questions and many more.
Now I will share with you that enforcement measures for the requirement will start on Tuesday, August 17. And these include being blocked from certain campus buildings, and importantly, barred from adding or dropping classes. These are really inconvenient for students. So please don't put yourself in this position. Get your documentation in as soon as you can.
And students who aren't compliant by early September will lose access to Canvas. This is Cornell's digital platform for academic assignments. Again, very disruptive. And students will be dis-enrolled, as Vice President Lombardi mentioned a few moments ago, if they are not compliant with the requirement just weeks after that, by almost the end of September.
Now of course, students may become compliant with the requirement through New York state permitted medical and religious exemptions, although this typically applies to a tiny fraction of our student body. And we expect that to continue. Currently, more than 89% of our incoming undergrads have complied with the vaccine requirement.
Those who have not have received at least two messages in the past two weeks instructing them how to submit their current vaccination status and plan. And there is a message going out today and tomorrow in a rolling fashion. Some of you may have received it already. Some of you will get it tomorrow. And that includes links to schedule a vaccination if needed on arrival.
And because we understand that there are some students who may not have access to vaccine at this time, we will, of course, provide it as soon as students arrive in combination with required testing. Again, more information will be coming to you directly for those students that it applies to through specific messages. And you can actually go to our COVID vaccination page, link to pop up in the-- there it is in the chat for that specific information. So that's the COVID vaccine requirement.
Recall that Cornell also requires proof of vaccination for other vaccine-preventable diseases. And that must be submitted to the Cornell Health Secure Portal. More information can be found in the coming link. And one reminder for our students who are speaking English as a non-primary language, please do translate your documents before submitting them.
OK, so I'd like to say a few words about mental health. Those of you who have been with us before and for students who are new to Cornell, we take a campus-wide approach to promoting student mental health and well being to help students develop the skills to navigate inherent challenges in college life and beyond. The pandemic has placed an increased strain on everyone. And we've been planning for the return of students who may need a little extra support.
To that end, we're putting the finishing touches on a new website to help students connect the dots around campus-wide mental health supporting resources. And that will launch in a few weeks. You'll get plenty of messages around that. We're also partnering with local and national resources to bolster the clinical care offered by our wonderful counseling and psychiatric services, also known as CAPS.
If I have enough time, I think I do, I'd like to give you a quick update on the implementation of the Mental Health Review Report of 2020. Now, this was the product of a robust, year-long internal and external review of student mental health at Cornell. And it was charged by President Pollack in 2018. That process resulted in 130 actionable recommendations to enhance student mental health and well being at Cornell in three important areas. They include the academic environment, campus community, and clinical services. And while clinical services on college campuses get a lot of attention, our review made it very clear that academics and the campus climate make significant contributions to students' mental health and well being.
One of the strengths of the structure that we've created around the implementation of the report includes an executive Accountability Committee that's co-sponsored not only by Vice President Lombardi and myself but also two academic leaders, Dr. Lisa Nishii, who's Dean of Undergraduate Education, and Dr. Kathryn Boor, Dean of the Graduate School. This provides amazing entry into the academic side of Cornell and opportunity to promote student mental health and well-being in academic endeavors. It's an example of upstream efforts that can be so impactful. And it has been met with great enthusiasm among faculty. Last semester, eight working groups and committees were formed to address 35 of those 130 recommendations with another 20 recommendations being initiated.
And finally, maybe I'll just say a few words about Student Disability Services, also known as SDS. This is a department in Cornell Health which seeks to create access and opportunity for disabled students to participate in the Cornell experience. Please check out their website where you can register for accommodations, report an access barrier, and request accessible course materials. It also has a terrific frequently asked questions section.
So that's it for me. Again, welcome to Cornell. Best wishes for a happy, healthy, fun and productive fall semester. And back to you, Ryan.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Great. Thanks so much, Sharon. Lots of good information there. Lots of detail about the fall and about health and well being at Cornell. Next, I'm going to turn to my colleague, Pat Wynn, who's going to touch very briefly on move in, but, I think, more importantly talk a bit about the residential experience and the campus dining experience. Pat, it's all yours.
PAT WYNN: Hi, everyone. So Pat Wynn, Assistant Vice President Student and Campus Life. I'm responsible for housing and dining on the campus in addition to the Cornell store and some other things.
So let's talk a little bit about move in. All undergraduate students living in campus housing will receive very specific, very detailed arrival and move-in instructions starting this afternoon. Some of you may have already received this email from Cornell Housing. I'm encouraging you to review the information very carefully so you'll know what to expect on your move in day.
Please note, it may take several hours to deliver emails to the 6,000 plus students receiving it. But you all will receive this personalized information. We're trying to make this semester's move in and welcome experience as robust as we can. And we hope everyone will take advantage of the opportunities to reach out, meet your neighbors in our residents of common areas, in the dining rooms, and in the beautiful outdoor spaces that we have here on campus.
As far as room changes are concerned, it's important for you to know that we are really, really full this fall. Our housing team always does its best to accommodate requests for room changes, whether a student hopes for a different room type or a different residence hall. But please understand that as of this moment, every bed is full.
So we've had to do several things that we would not normally do. And one of those is to place students in temporary converted lounge space at the start of this year. Our priority is going to be moving these students to permanent space as beds become available. So go ahead and request a room change if you want to or need to, but please understand that it will take some time to process and to have that move happen. As Sharon mentioned about vaccinations, unvaccinated students are subject to a test immediately upon arrival and will be scheduled for a vaccination as soon as possible. Students who arrive with one of a two shot vaccine series or who received a vaccine that isn't on Cornell's list of WHO or FDA-approved vaccines should really consult with Cornell Health.
We have some exciting new dining opportunities to offer to our students this semester. We're very, very excited about Cornell Dining. We're opening the brand-new Crossings Cafe in Toni Morrison hall on North Campus. We'll be featuring breakfast sandwiches, grilled paninis, smoothies, and fresh, plant-forward bowls.
We're also opening Mann Cafe in the Mann Library on the ad quad. And many of you returning students have probably used this facility many times. They have wonderful wraps and burritos. And we are going to continue those traditions and actually add in some creative vegan options as well and continue with their wonderful Copper Horse coffee. Morrison Dining itself is not opening until January. But during the course of this semester, we're going to take the opportunity to preview some of what you can expect there from handmade pasta to pizza to our kosher and halal stations.
I did receive a few questions up front. And I want to run through those with you right now. So one of the questions was, are there any special actions needed for international parents coming during on campus move-in days. As noted already, all visitors to campus are required to wear a mask when indoors regardless of vaccination status. Unvaccinated visitors should also maintain physical distancing whenever possible whether indoors or out.
Cornell is not offering or requiring testing or vaccinations for visiting family members, but please be sure to follow the travel requirements of any state where you arrive or you were to travel through. Visitors who would like to be tested while in Ithaca may register for the Kaluga Help Sampling Site at the Ithaca Mall or visit the Well Now Urgent Care Clinic in Ithaca's southwest quadrant. There is a fee for these tests that may be covered or reimbursed by health insurance or not. Self-administered rapid tests are also available at local pharmacies.
Visitors who would like to be vaccinated while in Ithaca can check vaccines.gov for availability, including at several local pharmacies. If you'll only be visiting in Ithaca for a few days, you should look for the single shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine. There is a fee for vaccines that may be covered or reimbursed by health insurance.
Another question was, how is the procedure if I want to order Amazon packages to be sent to the dorm? So it's important that you provide your full name and net idea and address the package as specified for each residence hall. You must use the full name of the residence hall, keeping in mind that, for example, we have students living on McGraw Place but there is also a McGraw Hall. And for some buildings, the community center address is also specified.
Please remember that there are huge numbers of packages arriving immediately before and during move in. And depending on when your package arrives on campus, it may not be immediately available to pick up. We are suggesting that you use our shipping and storage partner, Big Red Shipping and Storage, their pre-arrival service. Their website is bigredprearrival.com. Packages that you ship through Big Red by August 10th will be in your room when you arrive.
Another question was, will there be place for parking on the 20th? Yes, but you must follow your specific arrival directions that will be in your personalized emails. There's very limited space right now outside residence halls, so we're directing students and families to park in other areas as they move in their items for their semester. You'll be directed to where families can park after dropping off your luggage at your residence hall.
Can parents help their kids move in? Yes. At this time, all students, staff, and visitors will be required to wear masks at all times when indoors. Vaccinated students in their own rooms may remove their masks. We ask visitors to keep their masks on in student rooms, and especially if there are members of the family that are not closely aligned with those students, such as roommates and their families.
Another question was I understand that residence halls will be open for help from family. Will other campus buildings be open? Most campus buildings are open to the public at this time, including Cornell Dining, cafes, and residential dining rooms. All students, staff, and visitors must wear masks indoors except when seated to eat and drink.
Is there a limit to how much luggage we can bring? No. We're not as tightly limited as we were last fall, but we do encourage you to pack judiciously. The less you arrive with, the quicker your move in will be. We do suggest bringing at least one set of bed linens and towels with you and consider shipping more linens, heavy comforters, and fall or winter clothes to arrive later.
And lastly, will the residents dining halls go back to the way they were pre-COVID? So many aspects of our residential dining rooms made great strides back towards typical over the spring semester, including expanding the number and variety of menu offerings. Much more has returned to normal this summer with guests able to sit together and self-service at most of our stations.
This fall, we'll have far more variety. We'll be able to go back to offering special events that make the most of our chef's culinary talents and creativity, like our Hogwarts night at Risley. So thank you all. We're looking forward to seeing you. And I'll turn this back over to Ryan.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks so much, Pat. I'll make sure to put that Hogwarts night on my calendar right now so I don't miss it.
PAT WYNN: Exactly.
RYAN LOMBARDI: All right, next up, we're going to keep rolling. And I know-- I just want to let everybody know as we go through here, we will keep going until we're done. I know that we advertised this, I think, as 3:30 to 4:30. It's likely to go over that for a bit. But again, lots of good information, so we'll just keep chugging along here.
Next up is Jenny Loeffelman, who is going to share with you all of the amazing programs and activities we've got planned in the coming weeks and months. And you will just be amazed at how much fun is going to be happening on campus. Jenny, you want to share some of these details?
JENNY LOEFFELMAN: Thanks so much, Ryan. And Thanks again for everybody for tuning in today. I'm going to share a lot, so I'm going to ask that all the links that you have in the chat, definitely click on them, flag them, do whatever you need to do because we have a lot of information, a lot of events coming up. And we'll be sending this out to students too once we have some final details prepared.
But I want to begin and talk to you a little bit about the first year experience. And a lot of the first year experience this year is also going to include second-year students, so we're excited that our teams have been working very hard specifically on the first event of the year, which will be convocation. We've heard from so many of you that belonging and connection for students is at the top of your minds.
Traditionally, the president's convocation happens with first-year students and their parents. But due to larger move in period and a longer multiple days of move in, this year it will just be for students. We will live stream it for parents and families. And we will also be including second-year students.
So that event will be on Wednesday, August 25th at 4:00 PM Eastern time. We'll put the live stream link here for all the families who'd like to join that program remotely. After convocation, students will enjoy a sunset picnic before returning back to the football stadium for a big concert. So we're really hoping convocation is a big welcome, and then time for camaraderie and community with one another, and then some fun that night that will wrap up in plenty of time for the first day of classes to start the next day.
We've got a lot of new initiatives this year for orientation, specifically for both undergraduate and family orientation. Family orientation will take place on August 19th, 20th, and 21st. The program will be repeated every day so that students and families are able to participate regardless of the students move-in date. The program includes everything from open houses and drop in programming for families to exciting events such as the big Red Welcome Festival on Hope Plaza, featuring different campus resources, giveaways, and music. The full schedule can be found on the family orientation website. So please plan to join us on one of those three days, families.
New student orientation, so for first-year students and transfer students, will be from August 21st through 25th and will include both required and optional university and college or school based programs. There will also be plenty of opportunities for new students to explore their interests and meet new people. The student-led Orientation Steering Committee have been planning great evening programs, including a First Night Festival, field days, outdoor movies, just to name a few. The full orientation schedule went live today. All first-year and transfer students, you should have that in your email box. But it can also be found on this website here that we'll put in the chat now.
In addition to orientation programming, new students will also be paired with an orientation leader, which is an upper level trained student mentor who will help meet you as new students individually in small groups several times during orientation. Orientation leaders should start to contact all new students starting this next week. Our Community at Cornell program is already underway for our new and incoming students and is designed to help new students communicate and collaborate across difference, learn from others lived experiences, and allow them to actively contribute to making Cornell a more open and supportive community and better prepare for the future. This program is broken up into two parts, including a short reading and written reflection that's due actually this Friday, August 6th, and then sessions that will be held from August 7th to 22nd. Incoming new students can learn more about this program through the campus website.
Our Campus Activities Office is very busy planning programming for the first 30 days. The first 30 days is a complete schedule of different things that happen on campus. And that link is in the chat now. Included in the first 30 days this fall, we've designed intentional events for new students who entered Cornell in the fall of 2020. We know your first year with us was not what you imagined that it may have looked like, so we would like to re-welcome you. Whether you were on campus or studying away, you're part of the Cornell family.
There will be a series of in-person events, socials, activities just for your class, this class of 2024 this year. We hope these events will give you the opportunity to connect in person with your fellow peers and make new memories, meet new people, and have fun. This schedule has launched. There are a lot of dates and times that are still being filled in, but there is a link to this schedule for the re-welcome Cornell that's live also today.
Everything from the first 30 days have different events like movies on the quad, Club Fest, which is our annual event where over 1,000 student organizations are present to welcome students into those organizations. That event is scheduled. You can find it in Campus Groups. And if you're looking to get involved or trying to navigate all of our organizations, Campus Groups is the place to do that. It is an online, wonderful resource for students to navigate not only what's going on campus but all the different clubs and activities to get involved in.
We do plan to open all gyms and fitness centers in addition to offering over 50 group fitness classes a week. The new Morrison Fitness Center, which I just was very lucky to tour this past week, will also be open with Cornell's largest weightlifting section and selection of cardio equipment at Cornell. Check the rec website for hours and additional information for fitness centers and all the recreational opportunities. And we'll put that in the chat here.
Sports club activity will also resume as normal for the 2021-22 academic year. Changes to guidelines are subject to change based on health and safety policies. But I will put the link here for all of our sports clubs. Intramural is included there.
We did get a lot of questions about other activities on campus. I'd like to just briefly inform you about sororities and fraternities. They are preparing for in-person operations for the fall, beginning with programs and trainings for sorority and fraternity student leaders. Move in for our chapters with houses will look more typical.
Similar to what Pat was saying, definitely masks indoors for guests and residents. The majority of our houses are privately owned and should communicate move in dates and rules to the residents. Our University-owned houses will work with residents to prepare their own move in schedules for the semester.
As far as sorority and fraternity recruitment goes, fall semester is really for upperclassmen and transfer students. And several of our organizations will be recruiting sophomore students in the fall. Recruitment for first-year students takes place in February. There is a large amount of programming and tabling that takes place during orientation for new students interested in joining a sorority or fraternity. And there will be different information sessions both for parents and undergraduate students also during orientation. Great links will be posted here about the sorority and fraternity life programming.
I'm excited to let you all know on July 1st we launched the new David M. Einhorn Center for Community Engagement. That brings together many ways for students to get involved in the community into one location. And we look forward to getting you involved in meaningful ways in the local community during your time at Cornell. We're planning to return to in-person service and volunteer opportunities this fall. There are many options for you to learn more about opportunities to get involved, including at the Big Red Welcome that I mentioned for family orientation, a welcome open house in the Kennedy Hall, which is where the David M. Einhorn Center is located, and many different ways via this website that we're listing here, which is the OEI website as well as the Public Service Center website.
I think that's it. There is a lot going on. As I mentioned, we will send more to you throughout these next coming weeks via campus activities newsletters and orientation updates and parent and family communications. But again, we're excited to have you back. We're excited to plan as many events as we can to help you gain a better sense of involvement and belonging on campus as you return this fall. I'll kick it back to you, Ryan.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks so much, Jenny. People are going to have very, very full calendars at the start of the semester. So we appreciate all the work that your teams have been doing to put those together. Folks, I can't encourage enough getting out and meeting other members of your class, class of '25 for new students. Of course, a lot of the class for '24 events that Jenny mentioned really will contribute to your sense of belonging, as she spoke about.
Next, we're going to turn it over to Amy Godert. Amy is going to talk a little bit about the Learning Strategy Center and some resources they have, but also in general some academic success tips. And Amy always has great insight for us. So why don't you go ahead, Amy?
AMY GODERT: Great. Thank you so much, Ryan. And I want to offer my congratulations again to all of our new students and for our returning students. Welcome back. As VP Lombardi mentioned, I work with our Learning Strategy Center here at Cornell. And our work in the Learning Strategy Center, LSC, is really about the academic experience that you're going to have and supporting you in some of the endeavors that you're going to be engaging in throughout your time here at Cornell.
So as we all know, we're very much aware of the fact that we're still kind of operating in a pandemic. And it continues to throw us some curve balls. For our new students just starting college, what this might mean is that you've experienced some disruption to maybe the last year and a half of your high school experience. And maybe this makes you feel a little bit like you're not as prepared as you might normally feel. And of course, our continuing students, you've heard that you've also been through a few disruptions too.
And no matter what you've experienced during the pandemic, I wanted to just emphasize that there are a lot of supports here for you at Cornell. And I'm going to give you a few ideas on how to start your fall semester strong. And whether you're a new student, a transfer student, or a returning student, hopefully some of these will resonate with you.
So the tips that I'm going to share with you are actually coming from a variety of places. A lot of it is things that we've been working with students on over the years, and some of it is coming from our summer programs that we worked with. We got some feedback from students who were here this summer. What are some things you'd want to share with students who are coming here in the fall? And so I'm going to summarize all of that and I'm going to share that here with you.
So the first thing that I wanted to offer-- there's two big points I'm going to make here. And the first one is how do you start your semester strong. First thing, organization.
Calendars. You heard all those great events that you can participate in. Calendars are going to be really important. I'm going to talk more about that.
And of course, getting information, having as much information as you can. I'm going to focus my thoughts here on the academic context and the courses that you're going to be in. And so when you're thinking about that, in your courses, one of the most important places that you're going to be getting information is going to be your syllabus. So I encourage you to go and find your syllabus when classes are starting.
Sometimes they're available on Canvas in the few days before classes start. And you heard mention how important Canvas is for the courses that you're going to be in. Log on to Canvas and see if you can find your syllabus before classes start. You can also sometimes find them on the course roster. They have information for your classes on due dates, they have what you're going to learn and cover in those courses, they have academic policies that you're going to want to be familiar with. So when you get your syllabus, I'm going to encourage you not just to skim it over but to read it really carefully.
When you get all of your syllabi, collect them all and then start making calendars. Being organized is going to be really critical in terms of time management for your semester. So when you have all of your syllabi, get a semester calendar started where you map out all of the important due dates that you have. What are the projects that are coming up? What are the big assignments that you have? When do you have prelims?
And for those of you who don't know what a prelim is, it's what Cornell calls a test or exam. So those are really important for you to prepare for. Having things mapped out on a semester calendar is going to be really helpful as you try and identify crunch times and also as you plan how you're going to get all of the things done that you need to get done. When do you need to start those projects or assignments or studying for those upcoming prelims?
We also hear a lot from our students about not just a semester calendar but daily and weekly calendars. And I'm going to encourage you, as you look at mapping out your time throughout a week or a day, to find pockets of time to get work done during the day. That hour or two that maybe you have in between classes, spend that getting some of your homework done or maybe reviewing notes or taking notes or getting some emails done. So find those key pockets of time so that way you can reserve time later in the day for other engaging activities that we heard Jenny talk about and also that you need to do like eating, sleeping, socializing. Those things you need to make time for, so develop a plan for mapping out your semester, your days, and your weeks.
The second key point that I want to make, and I think Ryan mentioned this just before, is the idea of connections and how important those connections are. I want to encourage you to connect early and often with a variety of people. I'm going to talk a little bit more about the academics and the courses, but there's a lot of people here that you should be making connections with. This includes your peers and instructors, advisors, the people in your colleges who work with you on selecting courses and if you have questions about things. Residential staff are critical. Librarians, student orgs, identity groups, religious groups, people in Cornell Health, so many places to connect to.
These are going to be really important for you if and when you encounter a challenge or a struggle. And when you do encounter a challenge or a struggle, reach out to those groups of people. Because successful people, students included, professionals included, ask for help when they need it. So I'm going to encourage you to seek help early and often and even before you think you might need it.
And why is this important? You're here at Cornell to meet new people and learn new things. And when you're learning new things, inevitably you're going to get confused sometimes and occasionally make some mistakes. That's totally normal and expected when you're learning all of these new things. What's important is that you learn from those mistakes and keep practicing, knowing that with practice you can get better at things and you will eventually master them. And this is what we call growth mindset. And I encourage you to keep that in mind as you're going through your classes.
So I want to identify some ways you can get support in the academic context and in the courses that you're going to be taking. So the first thing that I want to mention that's really important is go to office hours. These are times that your instructors have set aside for you. They're regularly scheduled throughout the week to go ask questions and even sometimes just to chat. If you have a conflict, don't be afraid about emailing to say, I have scheduling conflicts. Can we find a different time to meet?
Oftentimes, you'll have other people associated with the course that will have office hours teaching assistants, for example, also called TAs. They're graduate students who also work with courses to help teach and help students learn. I know a lot of students are sometimes hesitant to go to office hours because they don't want to bother people, but the instructors are there to help you learn. It's sometimes helpful to go with a friend, so I encourage you to reach out and connect with other people so that way you can go to with someone else to some of these office hours.
The second thing I want to mention related to getting support in courses is the Learning Strategy Center where I work. So in the LSC, we offer tutoring and we also offer supplemental courses in some of the large intro courses that are here at Cornell in chemistry, biology, physics, math, and economics. We offer tutoring in some other areas as well. Take a look at the LSC web page, which the link was put into the chat prior to this.
See what it is that we offer. There's a lot of supports that we have that I'm encouraging you to take advantage of. And you can read more about them on our web page.
I would also say that your advisor will have information, potentially, about what your college might offer. So in the math department, for example, there's a Math Support Center. Engineering, if you're an engineering student, there is the Engineering Learning Initiatives and they have academic excellence workshops. Reach out and see what supports your college or certain departments might have. You want to take advantage of those early and often.
The third thing that I want to mention are your peers. They are a critical resource for success in your classes. First day of class, turn to the person next to you and ask them for their contact information so that way, if you need to miss class or something comes up or you have a question, you can reach out to them and get some information from them.
I would also encourage you to sign up for study partners. The LSC last year matched thousands of students in our Study Partner Matching Program. I'm going to encourage you to sign up for that. It's great for working through challenging and complex material that you're covering in your courses and also just for meeting new people that you might not have known before.
So I just want to wrap up by saying a couple of things. Develop a plan. Make sure you organize your information. Get your syllabi and map out your calendars. And ask for help when you need it. And even ask before you think you might need it, because the earlier you reach out, the easier it's going to be.
Develop and use the connections and supports that you have available to you. And remember that you have the tools and the resources that you need in order to be successful here. It's up to you to reach out and to take advantage of those things. You have a community of support, so ask for help when you need it. So thank you so much and I'm going to turn it back over to you, Ryan.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks so much, Amy. Great advice. You all, if you listen to some of the guidance that Amy provided there, you will be much more successful in your Cornell experience so I encourage you to take it seriously.
I want to share a couple of important reminders and key dates here before we have our last speaker, our Dean of Students, speak with you to wrap us up. Just a few key reminders. Remember the fall checklist, which you just-- which just launched today just a couple of hours ago. It's due-- you need to complete that by August 10th. Make sure you do that.
You heard Sharon talk about making sure that your vaccination, proof of vaccination status, is ready by August 16th. New family and parent orientation, August 19th through the 21st. New student orientation, August 21st to the 25th. Convocation, and parents and families please join us virtually, August 25th. Classes start on the 26th.
Mark your calendars for homecoming and family weekend, two great weekends, early in the term that we know you will enjoy, the 17th through the 19th September and then the 29th and 30th of October. And I will look forward to meeting many of you in person there if I don't get the chance to do so during move in. Parents, you'll be hearing a lot more from us this year as we expand our parent programming efforts. Well in addition to parents programming, the communication that you'll receive from us, many of you already have begun receiving emails from us as you must have in order to be here today and be aware of this. So we'll continue to do that as much as we can.
We're going to close today by hearing from our Dean of Students with advice that only a Dean of Students can provide. And I encourage you to take this to heart too. I will just say on my behalf, thank you all so much for tuning in today. And I'm really honored to have this off to my colleague, Marla Love, who will wrap this up. I look forward to seeing you all at move in. And now, over to you, Marla.
MARLA LOVE: Thanks, Ryan. It's wonderful to join you this afternoon. Today's forum feels like a timestamp or a marker that we are settling in for the beginning of our 21-22 academic year journey with you and your families.
Students, let me speak directly to you. We are excited to partner with you in one of the most exciting and important experiences of your life. You are the heart of what we do in Student and Campus Life. As Dean of Students, I am on your team as you chart out this semester and embrace all that comes with your experiences outside of the classroom.
We know you've endured one of the most difficult years of your lifetime with the COVID-19 pandemic. In our continued global fight against racism, injustice and hate, we continue to face significant challenges. So as we enter a new normal and adjust to new ways of being after a period of social disconnection and virtual community, I hope you'll be kind to yourself and embrace the vulnerability that comes with new experiences and uncertainties of a new semester.
I look forward to opportunities for us to support each other and build community. We are committed to facilitating a campus environment in which students feel authentic belonging and a connection with Cornell. Connections through student organizations, and public service engagement, student activities, or in your residence hall, or in our cultural and student empowerment centers enhance the classroom experience and make possible the flourishing of passion and purpose. All of campus life is educational, even moments outside the classroom.
We hope you come to campus ready to invest in the things you love, enhance our community with your unique contributions, and take the leap to try new things and build new relationships. As you manage friendships, break through difficult challenges, accomplish goals, or learn from mistakes, you are gaining new insight into who you are and who you are becoming. All of these experiences are part of your Cornell education. And I hope you will let the Cornell experience transform you.
Our student life professionals are here to partner with you as you build your life within our, and for our first-year students now your, community. Inevitably, there will be challenges along the way. We are here for you in those moments as well.
There's no doubt that you belong at Cornell. You're not alone here. We know things will get better, and we are poised to support you as you navigate forward towards your goals. Don't go it alone. Seek us out. Leverage our expertise and trust our commitment to your experience.
Families, I invite you to partner with us as well. You play an important role in supporting and cheering on your students and offering space for reflection and processing as they steer this new phase of adulthood. I speak for my colleagues in this forum and around campus when I say we look forward to assisting you in finding success, joy, and meaning in this journey and dealing with the surprises along-- truly a transformative time as you succeed and fail forward.
Big Red stands with you. I want to thank you so much for joining us. We look forward to seeing you on campus in a few weeks. Take care.
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Listen as Vice President for Student & Campus Life, Ryan Lombardi, and additional Cornell leadership share important updates and tips to help students and parents plan for the fall 2021 semester on campus.