SPEAKER 1: The Office of New Student Programs welcomes you to the Cornell Family Orientation Video Information Series. We've created this video series to provide information and connect you to the services, programming, and support available to Cornell students.
In each installment, we will introduce you to the Cornell University staff and administrators who work closely with students. You will also hear student voices that will give you a closer look at the Cornell student experience.
At the conclusion of each video, you will find contact information so that you can follow up as needed. You are also welcome to reach out to the staff in New Student Programs.
Getting involved, making friends, and finding community are an important part of the college experience that contributes to a student's sense of belonging and well-being at Cornell. In this video about developing community, you will learn about some of the cocurricular opportunities offered through campus activities and the Office of the Dean of Students. You will also hear from students about how they found their place at Cornell.
JENNY LOEFFELMAN: Hello, Cornell parents and families. Thank you so much for joining us for the Campus and Community Engagement session within Family Orientation. My name's Jenny Loeffelman, and I'm the assistant vice president for student and campus life here at Cornell.
Today, I'm excited to introduce you to Touchdown, Cornell's mascot and pride ambassador; Kyle Schillace our assistant director from campus activities; and Karli Buday, our interim director of campus activities.
Today we're going to talk to you about how your students find their place at Cornell. There's so many opportunities for students to get involved in, and really what you will find as families is once your student's involved in something outside of the classroom, they will thrive. Getting connected, meeting other students with similar interests will really, really complete their Cornell experience.
We've got four areas within Student and Campus Life that are part of campus and community engagement that are forward, student-focused programming and involvement opportunities. They're organized through four different departments. First, our Public Service Center. Cornell's Public Service Center has been around for over 30 years and focuses on public and civic engagement. From K through 12 tutoring programs to supporting over a hundred student organizations that have a service focus, this department is committed to your students and helping them get involved in service opportunities.
Our Campus Activities office, who you'll hear from today, oversees leadership-development programs, organization support, advisor development, programming, and involvement for over 1,000 campus organizations, including club sports, our student assemblies, and so many more.
Our Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life helps to develop and enhance the Sorority and Fraternity experience at Cornell. With over 50 organizations, they promote leadership development, service, and brotherhood and sisterhood to create a sense of belonging in our Greek organizations.
And last but certainly not least, New Student Programs and the Tatkon Center. This is the center for first-year students. Thank you so much for joining us today. I'm going to introduce you to Karli Buday who's going to talk to you more about ways to get involved.
KARLI BUDAY: Hi, everyone. My name is Karli Buday. I'm the interim director to campus activities, and thank you, Jenny, for the introduction.
We're going to take a few seconds to talk a little bit about making connections. The first-year at Cornell is so critical in developing a solid foundation of community and belonging, and our staff is here to support students in every way possible, and we also understand that things are going to be a bit different this year. There are so many ways to get connected at Cornell, whether that be in person, physically distancing, or virtually.
This past spring, our staff was able to provide so many fun and engaging virtual experiences, and we also have the same planned for the fall semester. On this slide, you'll see a couple different resources. The first resource is a link called Getting Involved. And on this link, there's a few different offices that Jenny referenced in her last segment. In there, there's information about how to get involved in the Public Service Center, Greek life, off-campus living.
In addition, on that same website, there is information around virtual engagement for students. On that link, there's different materials for getting engaged on campus but then also different ways that students can get involved off campus as well.
All right, everyone, now on to the fun stuff. I'd like to introduce you to a very important colleague of mine. Everyone please welcome the one, the only, Touchdown the bear. Say hi.
KYLE SCHILLACE: Hi, everyone. My name is Kyle Schillace. I'm an assistant director in the Campus Activities Office, and I'm here to chat a little bit more about getting involved.
So why is getting involved important for your college student? Joining clubs, organizations, volunteering, they've all proven to increase health and wellness of your students, develop important life skills, and provide really great opportunities for career development and resumes. It really can help the students stand out when they're in job interviews, internships, and all that stuff. That's really important.
Some different ways of students getting involved and engaging-- there are leadership programs throughout campus. Specifically in campus and community engagement, we have ways of getting involved with orientation like the orientation steering committee, all the students that helped plan this orientation that your student's going through right now. There's Cornell Votes which helps kind of advocate and share the importance of voting for all students. There's a Greek tri-council as well that helps with Greek organizations and are kind of the leadership for that. And there's other things like the K through 12 mentoring program that runs through our Public Service Center.
In addition, there's ways of getting involved within student organizations. Typically when a student gets involved with an organization, they give it a semester or a year, and then there's usually opportunities for them to join and become one of the executive-board members for those organizations and really shine as a leader. There's other events planning that your student can help plan, student jobs, other mentoring and tutoring opportunities, lectures, performing arts, and advocacy and social justice as well.
So where can you find all of our student organizations? We have over 900 at Cornell, and they're all living on our CampusGroups platform, which is cornell.campusgroups.com. That's where your student can go and see our whole list of organizations. And as listed on this PowerPoint slide, there's so many different types-- special interest spiritual, religious, public-service focused, the arts, all of our Greek organizations. Any academic-based organizations are there and so many more. There's a bread club on campus where students get together once a week and bake different kinds of bread and many other little fun organizations like that to get involved with.
On-campus groups as well-- there's a very comprehensive advance calendar where all these different organizations will post any upcoming events, whether they're in-person or virtual. As seen on this slide right here, the photo on the left shows our calendar where your student can go see all the events that are happening from student organizations, departments, offices. Click them. Find out more information. RSVP. Contact the people planning it if they have any questions and so much more.
On the right is kind of how our list of registered student organizations look. So you can go to this part under Groups and click through. If you're looking for a specific category of organizations, you can search by that, or you can kind of just sift through and see what each of those organizations are about.
And then one of our final slides is how does staff connect with our students? which is really important any time when you're sending your students to campus, especially this semester and this year where we're in this virtual/in-person hybrid world.
So we're interacting with students in different ways. One, meeting students where they're at, right? A lot of them are on social media-- Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, all that. We don't have TikToks and Snapchats, but we have Instagram, Facebook. Our Office of Campus Activities has those, and so do a lot of other departments and offices too where they can engage with your student and connect with them that way.
Our office specifically puts out weekly newsletters where we'll send to all students about any upcoming events that are happening from different organizations, departments, offices, and the community as well. There's other forms of emails. Your students can sign up for listservs for specific organizations or their departments or anything where they can get very specific emails about a specific club or special interest or anything like that.
A lot of offices, including our own, offer drop-in hours where your student can drop online on Zoom, and it's kind of mimicking what a typical in-person semester would look like where we would have those physical offices where a student can just drop in, ask a question. Specifically with us, we answer a lot of questions on getting involved, finding organizations. If your student can't find an organization, providing them the resources to maybe even create their own, which we get a bunch of new organizations each year. It's really awesome to see the diversity in that.
All right, so for more information, if you have any other questions on getting involved in activities, you can email email@example.com, and a staff member can help you through that. There's also more information on our website, sdl.cornell.edu/getinvolved. And here are just some photos of some events that we've had, both virtual and in-person, over the last couple of years. So thank you all, and enjoy your time at Cornell.
MARLA LOVE: Hi. I'm Marla Love and I serve as the senior associate dean of students, and I lead the Diversity and Inclusion Team within the Office of the Dean of Students. I work with a fantastic team of professionals committed to cultivating transformational, asset-based, equity-minded, identity-conscious, and intersectional programming focused on social identity, intercultural and cross-cultural communication, and social justice.
We create opportunities that empower our students toward a greater sense of belonging, connection, leadership, and campus engagement. In partnership with student interns, we design intensive educational experiences to engage deeply in intersectional communities to explore identities, spirituality, critical pedagogy, and social-justice concepts while gaining skills to turn intentions into action.
We foster mentoring communities connecting students in peer-to-peer partnerships to increase belonging and social and navigational capital. We engage with the broader Cornell student body through equity and social-justice programs and workshops, creating opportunities for students, organizations, and student leaders to embody Cornell's vision of an inclusive community and raise student awareness and ally behaviors by exploring critical topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we're also great advocates for students.
We aim to foster deep connections and thriving where students get the most out of the Cornellian experience and are prepared to reap the benefits of Cornell postgraduation. I'm excited for you to learn more about the diversity and inclusion resource centers and empowerment and student support areas from members of my team. Welcome to Cornell.
NANCY MARTINSEN: What is the A3C, you ask? Great question. It's the Asian and Asian American Center. [NON-ENGLISH] and welcome. My name is Nancy Martinsen, and I am the Kent G. Sheng, class of '78, associate dean of students and director of the Asian and Asian American Center.
The A3C offers opportunities for students with culturally similar and drastically different backgrounds to meet and connect. This fall, we'll be focusing on leadership and mental health. We hope to see your students at our events. Next step is Daniel.
DANIEL HODDINOTT: Hi. My name is Daniel Hoddinott, and I am the assistant director of the Asian and Asian American Center. I've had a lot of great memories while working at A3C. One great student memory is when a former foyer intern told us that interning at the A3C was one of their favorite Cornell memories. They mentioned that interning provided a really transformational, memorable, and fun experience throughout their time at Cornell. The intern was able to enhance the professional development through the reshaping of our events and programs while also forming close and personal relationships with the other interns.
I'm going to hand it off to my colleague Shakima.
SHAKIMA CLENCY: Thank you, Daniel. Hello. My name is Shakima Clency, and I am the Peggy J. Koenig, class of 1978, associate dean of students for student empowerment and director of first-generation- and low-income-student support.
At Cornell, we define our first-gen student population as students who come from families in which neither parent or guardian had the opportunity to obtain a four-year bachelor's degree. This year, close to 15% of the students in the class of 2024 self-identify as first gen, and I'm excited to support these students on this journey. Additionally, I oversee the Kessler Presidential Scholars Program, Swipe Out Hunger, the Access Fund, and support our undocumented DACA student population.
Regardless of a student's various identities, I encourage all students to get involved through community service, student organizations, and take advantage of every opportunity to learn something new and explore their interests. Students will also benefit from building a diverse social network to include faculty, staff, alumni, and peers from diverse backgrounds, practice in self-care, utilizing campus resources, and finding their community. These are some of the many ways students can take advantage of all that Cornell has to offer.
Now I'll turn or what to my colleagues Christopher and Crissi.
CHRISTOPHER LUJAN: Hi, folks. My name is Christopher Lujan, and I'm the associate dean of students, director of the LGBT Resource Center, and victim advocate, and I use the pronouns he, him, and his.
The Cornell LGBT Resource Center provides advocacy, outreach, education support, and builds community for the queer students. We offer tons of programs and events throughout the year. Chrissy, tell us about your favorite program.
CRISSI DALFONZO: Hi, y'all. I'm Crissi. I use she/her pronouns, and I'm the assistant director.
One of my favorite programs is our Personal Growth Shop Series, a multiweek program we created to form community for queer students and to explore LGBTQ plus identities. We've held this series twice now, and each time I get to work with amazing cohorts of students and see a community form before my eyes. The program really is an awesome way for first-year students to meet peers and older students in the queer community.
You can find out more about our Growth Shops and the rest of our programs this fall on our Instagram. And now I'll hand it off to my colleague Patricia with MSLE.
PATRICIA GONZALEZ: Greetings. My name is Patricia Gonzalez, and I serve as assistant director for multicultural student leadership and empowerment. At MSLE, we advise and encourage students to join our multicultural and affinity-based student organizations such as LAL, which serves over 25 Latinx organizations; MCFAB, which focuses on bringing diverse entertainment to campus; BOSS, a women of color peer mentoring affinity group; SWAG, a male of color peer mentoring affinity group; ALANA, an umbrella organization that has over 150 multicultural organizations.
One of my favorite memories was hosting the Stress Busters, which is an annual event to help students destress, practice self-care, and socialize during finals.
We encourage all students to be a part of our vibrant and diverse community, and now I am going to pass it over to Oliver.
OLIVER GOODRICH: Thanks for, and hello, all. My name is Oliver Goodrich, and I am the associate dean of students for spirituality and meaning making. I lead the Office of Spirituality and Meaning Making, and I'm here to help all Cornell students, regardless of their religious or ethical background, navigate religious and spiritual life on campus.
Even though the university does not have any particular religious affiliation, we have a vibrant spiritual life here. Literally thousands of Cornellians participate in religious gatherings and groups on campus.
I also serve as the director of Cornell United Religious Work, which is a community of two dozen different chaplains and religious leaders who coordinate services for the world's major religious traditions, including Buddhism, Christianity and Catholicism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Unitarian. Our chaplains also advise and support many of Cornell's faith-based student orgs, including the Cornell Interfaith Council.
If you have questions about how to get connected with a religious group, how to get religious accommodations for a class you're taking, or even if you want to just explore spiritual practices, let me know. I'm here to help. And now I'll hand it off to my colleagues in the Women's Resource Center.
GRETA KENNEY: Hi, everyone. My name is Greta. I use the pronoun she and her. I'm associate dean of students and director of the Women's Resource Center. At the WRC, we believe in and strive for women and gender-marginalized folks, education, empowerment, strength, and community. We fully believe it's best to do this from an inclusive place that acknowledges and supports the multiple identities that we all hold. Stay connected to learn more about student-leadership-development opportunities and a variety of programs and events we offer.
SHURA GAT: Hi. I'm Shura, and I use she/her pronouns, and I'm the assistant director. I loved the recent WRC Moon Cycle program series that got our communities talking about periods. Who gets them? Not all women, some men. What we were taught about monthly bleeding, a hidden shameful thing or a meaningful time to reflect? And sustainable products that are healthy for our bodies and the earth-- for example, the menstrual cup. The student interns connected their passions to their planning and proudly created a multicultural and gender-inclusive series.
So that's all of us in the diversity and inclusion portfolio. We look forward to meeting you.
BRANDON AXELROD: My name is Brandon Axelrod. I'm a rising senior in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. I'm passionate about research, the Orientation Steering Committee, as well as Cornell's chapter of the Brain Exercise Initiative.
THOMAS PETLUCK: Hi. My name is Thomas Petluck. I am a rising sophomore. I'm class of 2023 in the School of Architecture, Art, and Planning. And some of the extracurricular activities I'm a part of is CU IMAGE, the Organization of Urban and Regional Studies, and AAP Ambassadors.
ABIGAIL PIO: Hi. I'm Abigail Pio. I'm a part of the School of Arts and Sciences. I am part of the graduating class of 2022. And as for extracurricular activities, they included being part of the Orientation Steering Committee, Early College Awareness, Cornell Concessions, and being a lab assistant for the Play and Learning Psychology Lab.
MELISSA LOUIE: Hi. My name is Melissa Louie, and I am a sophomore in the College of Engineering studying chemical engineering. Some of the things I'm involved in on campus are AguaClara, which is a student research project team that's committed to sustainable water-treatment technologies. Another thing that I do is Therapy Through Music, which is a group that goes to a local nursing home every Friday and plays music there. And another thing I'm involved in is Food Recovery Network, which is committed to food security through bringing food that was unserved from dining halls to a local food pantry.
MORIAH ADEGHE: Hi. I'm Moriah. I am a senior in the College of Human Ecology. And on campus, I'm involved with our Student Assembly, the Orientation Steering Committee, and I'm also a Rose House office assistant.
ALICIA TAN: Hi. My name is Alicia Tan. I'm in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. I am in the class of 2022.
Some extracurricular activities I do are being a part of the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, being a part of the Senior Days Committee, and being an editor of The Cornell Workforce review.
ROHAN DESAI: Hi. I'm Rohan Desai. I'm a senior, class of 2021, at the Dyson School. I'm concentrating in finance and strategy.
And some of the things that I'm involved in on campus are I'm an orientation supervisor for new students at the Dyson School. I'm also a teaching assistant at Dyson. And I'm a treasurer at my social fraternity on campus.
HUNTER KANE: Hello. My name is Hunter Kane, and I am a Hotel School student class of 2023. And I was involved in the Hotel Ezra Cornell Bar Team, the Cornell Cinema Club, and a waiter at the Regent Lounge at the Statler Hotel.
BRANDON AXELROD: So in terms of getting involved, there are lots of different ways students can do that. So the first one I would say is mark your student's calendar for probably a virtual ClubFest.
From there, I would say that within CALS specifically, a lot of the classes, at least in the beginning, are large lecture-style classes. But regardless, the professors are always great at giving students opportunities that are catered to their interests and their majors, specifically regarding different types of clubs and volunteer work.
So, for example, I took an entomology class where I studied honeybees, and the professor was pushing the honeybee club, the beekeeping club, and somehow I found myself beekeeping for a couple of weeks there. So the professors are always great about giving those students opportunities that are relevant to what they study.
Another thing that CALS offers is a directory of different professors that are actively doing scientific research and within STEM more generally, and they post when they're looking for undergraduates to assist them within their lab. And most of the time there's no prior research experience needed. So if your student is possibly interested in pursuing research or medicine or things like that, there are plenty of opportunities from studying human cancer growth to studying plants. So there's everything, every single discipline that students can get involved with.
Luckily for me, I'm predental, and I found Cornell University's Taste Perception Lab. So I study oral tissue and taste buds and things like that, so hopefully it'll be relevant in my pursuit of dentistry.
THOMAS PETLUCK: So to start off, if I have to give any advice for an incoming AAP student, I would direct you to Student Services immediately. I think that Student Services is extremely helpful, and it's something that you don't really have in high school. I guess you have guidance counselors and stuff.
So Student Services, they're really good. I go to them when it comes to scheduling, diversity support, or just somebody to talk to when it comes to the academic things. They're really helpful, and they organize a lot of events such as coffee talks or just more universitywide things and club fairs. So I would suggest Student Services immediately. It's somebody you've got to know for your first-- or all four years, actually.
ABIGAIL PIO: Advice that I have for incoming students when getting involved, building community, and making friends in their college would be to try out different clubs and to join clubs that genuinely make them happy-- so clubs that they look forward to when going through a hard class or going through a tough shift at their job, clubs that make them feel at peace, that they find their friends there, where they can talk about things that are not academic, maybe talk about their day or something that bothered them or something that made them happy that day.
So through those clubs, you're going to find a lot of great people and maybe a new passion.
MELISSA LOUIE: If I were trying to get involved in my community and in the College of Engineering, I would say make sure you go to office hours and talk to the people around you, not just the professors and the TAs but also other students. Also discussion sections, like your intro to math and intro chemistry. All those discussion sections can really help you get to know people, so don't hesitate to reach out to the people who you're working with in class, get their number, and start a study group. That was how I met some of my closest friends who I still am in touch with today.
The other piece of advice I would give is to join and take AEW classes, the Academic Excellence Workshops. So they're just extra help classes for those intro classes that you take freshman year, and they're really, really nice to meet upperclassmen and get a little extra help with the material and feel really solid for your problems.
MORIAH ADEGHE: So some advice that I would give for incoming students about getting involved and building community, both within the College of Human Ecology and on campus at large, is to think about the interests that they had in high school or things that they want to get more involved in or things that they're really interested in.
And look out for the virtual ClubFest because pretty much whatever interest or idea that you have, there probably is a Cornell club for it. So definitely getting involved with clubs, going to ClubFest virtually, and looking for the things you're interested in to find like-minded people that you can befriend and kind of connect with over shared interests.
And then within the College of Human Ecology, we get a weekly or sporadic newsletter with information about different events that are being hosted and different ways to get involved within Human Ecology. And so I would definitely recommend checking your email often and looking out for those opportunities to get involved within the college.
ALICIA TAN: So aside from that, ILR has a bunch of resources that are willing to help you cultivate relationships and build bonds with your classmates. ILR itself is a very small school, and so it seems like everybody knows everybody in the halls. You can go into the student lounge, and you will be able to recognize faces, whether they're from your classes-- which are usually quite small, unless they're some of the larger gen-ed classes that everybody takes-- or whether it's from ILR-specific clubs or sports or something like that.
And if that wasn't enough, ILR also has a bunch of lectures and socials and events that they plan specifically for their students, whether it's to build connections between themselves, build connections with alumni, or just learn something new.
ROHAN DESAI: So some advice that I would have for incoming students in Dyson would be to really try to connect with the students within your class year as you'll be seeing them pretty often over the course of your first year and beyond at Dyson. Given the smaller program size and the smaller sizes at Dyson, a lot of these students will be interacting a lot and collaborating in every class, so it's very critical to try to connect and get to know people within Dyson.
And beyond, given that Dyson is part of both CALS and the SC Johnson College of Business, there are two greater communities that Dyson is also a part of. And so really trying to stay up to date with events going on not just within Dyson but also things that are happening in CALS or the SC Johnson College of Business and trying to attend events, join organizations, and get to know as many people as possible with an open mind is a great way to start your journey at Cornell.
HUNTER KANE: Advice I would have for any incoming students about getting involved, building community, and making friends in your college would be to take advantage of the many events that Cornell puts on such as the club fair and all social events.
One event in particular is Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series hosted by the dean of the School of Hotel Administration where hospitality leaders from around the world come to speak, and it's followed by a reception with snacks, desserts, and conversation and socialization.
BRANDON AXELROD: So I'd like to talk a little bit about when I felt that I really belonged as a Cornell student. And there are two aspects to this, the academics and kind of the social aspect.
So I came in as a sophomore guaranteed transfer. I originally intended Binghamton University, and then I knew that as long as I maintained a certain GPA that I can be allowed to kind of transfer to Cornell my sophomore year.
So in terms of coming over from Binghamton, I immediately felt that I was where I belonged socially. So within my orientation groups, I found like-minded people that were exactly like me in the sense that they really do prioritize studying. They really do prioritize doing their schoolwork, but they're also willing to take a breather at the end of the day and go to the gym or go grab a bite to eat and spend an extra couple minutes and just talk and destress because that is really important.
In terms of academics, once again, like I mentioned, I wasn't sure if I was necessarily going to be prepared, and it does take a little bit more time, I would say, with the academics. Some classes you hit the ground running and I felt really good and I didn't have to put in as much work as I originally intended. Other classes like the premed and the predental-type prerequisite courses, these classes you're coming into them, and everybody is smart, and everybody wants to be a doctor, and everyone wants to pursue research. So to separate yourself, you really do need to put in the work, and it's not going to come easy.
The professors are not giving underhand tosses for these types of exams and things like that, but they're also not looking for students to utterly fail or anything like that. So if you put in the work, go to office hours, form a good study group where you actually can be productive with these students you study with, I really do think that's key to the success there.
THOMAS PETLUCK: So when did I start to feel like I belonged? I think it was around that October time. I think it was when I actually called my dorm home.
One thing I want to say is that for both parents and students, I feel like there's going to be one time for the student where they're just going to feel that overwhelming social anxiety kind of or just that homesickness, just like where do I fit into all of it?
And I think for me, I sat there, and I had that moment probably sometime in September. And then shortly after that, after doing this kind of daily grind of going to and from class, all this, really connecting with people on my floor, going out and all that stuff, I really saw my dorm as my home. I resonated with good vibes.
And it's a subjective time for everybody. But for me personally, it was more like that October time.
ABIGAIL PIO: I started to feel like I belonged at Cornell when I started joining different clubs and reaching out to new people. At first I was intimidated because I would think maybe they're not interested to talk to me or maybe they'll just have a bad impression of me or maybe we don't have things that we share in common.
But I realized that reaching out maybe to a person that I saw in a cafe or a person that I saw in class making a great contribution, actually reaching out to them turned out to be something incredible. We had a lot of things that we shared in common, and that's how I made my closest friends.
MELISSA LOUIE: So I started to feel like I belonged at Cornell the summer after freshman year. I stayed over the summer to do research with AguaClara, and I also started living in a co-op called Triphammer Cooperative, which is just a house with a lot of different people living in it, other students. And I think finding both of those communities during the summer when I had a little more time to have fun around campus and explore was really, really good.
And I'm still in both of those communities now. I found really, really good friends there. So I think that was when I first started feel like I belonged at Cornell.
MORIAH ADEGHE: So I started to feel like I belonged at Cornell kind of at two different times. So my freshman year, I felt really connected to my dorm community. All of the people who lived in my unit or my floor were very close friends, and I felt like I had very strong sense of belonging throughout my freshman year.
And then kind of going back to my first point about getting involved in different organizations, I kind of felt that sense of belonging more my second year at Cornell. So I was getting more and more involved in the clubs that I wanted to get involved with, and I really started to feel a sense of belonging not just socially with my friends from my dorm but within a more extracurricular environment.
ALICIA TAN: I first started feeling like I belonged at Cornell after orientation or at least a few days into orientation. And this experience isn't the same for everyone. I have some friends who just started feeling like they belonged even though we've been a year in.
But me personally, it was at this event during orientation called the Night of the Johnson. It's this museum on Cornell's campus that is beautiful, and they have this outdoor exhibit on the roof where there's a simulated ceiling to look like stars that are constantly moving, and it is beautiful.
I remember that day and the days before being so nervous about being away from home, about making new friends because I'm going from an environment where I knew everybody since kindergarten to being in an environment where I'm in a completely different state. I'm at least eight hours away from my family, and I didn't have that support system that I spent 18 years building. It didn't feel like a genuine connection between me and the other people in my group.
But then we went to the Night at the Johnson that same night, and that's when me and the people there in my group and people outside of it started actually genuinely talking, whether it's about something interesting or something completely boring. And we talked about ourselves and our interests, and that's where we started cultivating bonds.
And by that night when we went up to the roof and we looked at these simulated stars, we talked and we goofed around. We danced when there was no music playing, and everyone was just completely willing to be friends. And at that moment I thought, I'm going to be OK here and that maybe Cornell isn't as scary as it may seem.
ROHAN DESAI: So as far as when I started to feel like I belonged at Cornell, it definitely took me a few months to settle in and get a feel for everything. I would say what helped for me was after I started to join more clubs and try to be a little bit more outgoing and go out of my comfort zone in trying to meet new people and go to different events, that was when it really started making me feel like I felt like-- that was when I really felt like I found my place and started to make more friends and feel more involved at school.
HUNTER KANE: I really started to feel like I belonged at Cornell when I met my great group of friends and when I became really close with my student advisor in the Office of Student Services. I started feeling like I really belonged after just about a month because I was part of a summer program, so I had time to meet my advisors, some faculty, and friends over the summer.
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The Office of New Student Programs created this six-part video series to educate and connect you to the services, programming, and support available to Cornell students. Each video is approximately 40 minutes long. In this video you will learn the many ways students get involved, make friends, and find community at Cornell through co-curricular opportunities. You will also hear from students about how they found their place at Cornell.