RAN LOMBARDI: Hello. Good afternoon, Cornellian. Ryan Lombardi here coming to you from Ithaca, New York, a little after 2 o'clock on Thursday, August 20. It's great to be with you all again.
For those whom I haven't had the chance to meet, my name is Ryan Lombardi, as I just said. My role here at Cornell is the vice president for student and campus life. I've had the pleasure of serving in this role for five years now. It's been delightful, although nothing like-- this past four or five months, nothing like the previous 4 and 1/2 years, that's for sure.
We have hopefully another great lineup for you today. I'm excited to share the forum again with my colleagues who are going to share some updates and announcements and good news and planning for the fall and take us through some things. And I'll introduce them in just a minute, as I have been.
This is also, I think, our last forum scheduled, anyway, since move-in is beginning in earnest this weekend, but I'm sure we'll be doing some other connections soon.
Let me start by saying this continues to be a process, a journey. I know for many of you that I've have heard from every day, a university or 2 or 10 make a decision, change plans, move in a different direction. That even happened here in Ithaca with our partner, neighbor institution Ithaca College, our good friends over there.
And I know that every time that happens, it creates anxiety. It creates a lot of anxiety for me personally, for us as we think about that and what that means. I'm sure as families continue to see that news it raises more questions. It causes you to consider and think about your decisions. Totally get that. Totally understand.
And as I've said many, many times, I think this is such an important moment for you as a family, students in particular, to be very comfortable with what your decision is and that that's solely your decision and not based on your peers or anyone else's influence on you.
I will say that we've began our testing in earnest here on campus. I want to give you a little update on this. We've been testing students who have been arriving off campus. We've had a small number of students arrive on campus that we've been testing. And we've been really getting to know our testing regimen quite well. We've tested almost 9,000 people total, students total. And so we've done a lot already. That's including our off-campus residents, graduate and professional students, undergraduate students. A lot of the graduate and professional students, of course, live here year round.
We've only had a couple of positives in all of those cases, including just two from the states that came in earlier this week. So our infection-- our prevalence rate is very, very low right now at about 0.05% of the total testing population, which is much, much, much lower than what our models predicted and what we used as a basis for our decision to open.
Now, I fully acknowledge that this is not-- we're not there, and this is not to say that everything will continue on that trajectory. In fact, we do expect increases as more students come here, but I did want to share that news.
Importantly too, I just provided this here, but we're going to be creating a dashboard-- it should be available very soon, in the next couple of days if not sooner-- that will outline and show all of the testing that we've done, the positive cases, and all the metrics that you would be interested in as well as our operating status, a color-coded green, yellow, orange, red kind of a situation with the accompanying decision points that come in there. So I wanted to share that you should look for that. It will be on the university's home page, the covid.cornell.edu home page.
One of the things that our president says quite often to me and to the rest of her senior-leadership team is that we do have a bold plan here at Cornell in terms of the capacity of testing that we plan to mount. She says it's bold but it's not reckless. And we're monitoring the data constantly. We have a standing meeting every evening with the president, with other members of the senior leadership, the provost, my colleagues, our testing specialists, our medical professionals, and we will evaluate this daily. And as she has said many times, we'll make the decisions based on the data.
And if we start to feel like we're seeing a spike or any of the metrics that we watch closely start to feel uncomfortable to us, we will make a decision to make an adjustment at that point. We certainly hope that's not the case, but it is important for us to say that we will stay nimble as we have had to throughout this entire summer and this entire planning process. We have to continue to prioritize the health and safety of our community, our students, and the surrounding community here in Ithaca.
I also want to say that the model-- there's a lot of reference to this model that we created, the epidemiological model, and its hypothesis that by creating this testing environment and trying to have everybody here in Ithaca, we're creating safer conditions than otherwise would be if students came and went on their own, especially our off-campus students.
So I'm not going to talk about the model, but what I do want is an important note to remember is the model assumed there would be bumps in the road, that this wouldn't be executed perfectly. And parents, some of you have experienced that we haven't executed everything perfectly to date.
We're going to have little missteps. We're going to have bumps in the road. We are learning as we go. Day by day, we learn something new. We have to remain agile and nimble, and we're going to do the best we can to adjust if we make an error or if we go a slightly different direction than we initially planned. But the focus is going to be on safety and making the calls that are most important for your students and our community.
I also just want to say-- as the vice present for student life, you'd expect me to say this-- how important and committed me and my team are to this process not for any other reason than how many students we've heard from that are so excited and energized to come back to campus. They recognize how different it's going to be. They recognize it's not the typical Cornell experience. And yet many students will be more successful here. They don't have the right home environment to be successful, or they just really need to connect with their peers.
Now, that's not everybody. We know a lot of students have chosen to stay home, and we certainly respect that too. But we do want to, as long as it's safe, continue to move forward with this in-person experience for those students that want to come here. I appreciate the continued grace. We'll continue to extend that as we make our way through this.
I mentioned that we had some students arrive this past week. On Monday, we had about 350 students arrive from states that were on the travel advisory, although those continue to change on a daily basis also very regularly. The overall process did have some bumps in it, but it also went pretty well. Most of those students, minus about 20 of them, were able to get here before our testing regimen closed. So they got tested and then they went and began their quarantine in their residence hall. There was about 20 students who came after hours, and so we sent them to the residence hall overnight and tested them the next morning.
I want to make sure everybody understands, though, because there were some questions that were generated because of this approach. First of all, testing is not a requirement of the New York State quarantine. It never has been. This is something Cornell decided to do in an abundance of caution-- not only test these students upon their arrival. We're also testing them once again before the larger move-in takes place this weekend.
There were very few students on campus, about 350 out of our 7,000 beds, so you can imagine it wasn't a very dense situation. And all the students, even those that were tested before they went to the residence hall, they didn't have their results, and we didn't expect that they would have their results. And this Sunday when our first batch of students come in and get tested upon arrival and then go into their residence-hall rooms and stay there overnight until the results come the next morning, you won't have your results either before you go into the room.
So this is all factored into the model, and I just want to be really clear about that because there's been some concern and confusion that maybe we violated some of those premises that were in the Frazier model. So I just wanted to put that out there.
I think I also mentioned last time, there's a lot of attention right now, especially on the campus that have closed, about our students and their behavior and public health. I have to say, I continue to have great faith in our students. I wouldn't be the vice president for student life if I didn't. I've been very pleased with what I've seen. Of course, we don't have big numbers on campus by any means, but even in Collegetown, in our neighboring communities.
It hasn't been perfect. It's not that every student has always had a mask on 100% of the time. But in general, we're seeing people really making a strong effort here and seeing a lot of good about that. And those that don't, we'll continue to remind them of how to be good stewards of public health.
We have now had over 400 students sign up and to express interest in being peer ambassadors, so we're thrilled with that. But it really is going to take everybody doing their part, continuing to physically distance, wear the masks. I've got mine here on my desk. You gather I'm in my office again today. Everybody has to do their part following the guest guidelines, the travel guidelines, social gatherings, et cetera, et cetera.
I also want to announce that our Behavioral Compact monitors-- these are the staff that are roaming around campus and they will make real-time interventions if they see students not adhering to some of our policies and encourage them to change their behavior.
I was on campus on Monday for move-in. I saw a couple of parents, actually, without their masks on. I, very simple, walked up and said, hey, would you mind please keeping your mask on when you're-- I think we were in a building, when you're in this building. No problem, and that's what it's going to take. Everyone's going to have to do their part as a member of this community to help remind each other of our public-health guidelines.
So I know move-in starts this Sunday. We have a big wave, and then it continues on. We expect between 1,200 and 1,300 students to arrive on Sunday. We're continuing to work out plans and do the best we can.
One request for all of those that are coming in on Sunday and subsequent days-- please be patient. Please take your time. Don't rush. It's already an anxious time because of the pandemic, and then starting college is a very anxious time. The best thing I can advise and request is that you just stay patient and flexible with that day as we work through the process.
I'd also just remind you that our website continues to be a good source of information. It's very dense. I realize that. I know some of you have told me directly that you have read every single word on it, so that's good and impressive.
Finally, we are recording again today, as we have all the previous sessions. And so I wanted to make that point as well, that we'll have this available on that website in a few days.
Let me tell you who's with us today. We've got a great group, as usual. Let me introduce them briefly and allow them to say hello. First off, I want to introduce Miranda Swanson. Miranda is the Associate Dean for Student Services in the College of Engineering, and perhaps even more importantly is that she's been one of the leaders of a group of folks that are looking at all of the spaces on campus and the student services support on campus and what academic resources will be there. Miranda, you want to say hello?
MIRANDA SWANSON: Yes. Hello, everyone. Thanks for having me, Ryan.
RAN LOMBARDI: Thank you, Miranda.
Next, I'm going to introduce someone that will be a familiar face to you because she's been on here a number of times, and that's Jenny Loeffelman, our Assistant Vice President for Student and Campus Life. Jenny?
JENNY LOEFFELMAN: Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us today. Thanks for having me, Ryan. Thanks, Jenny.
Next, another new face today, and that is my colleague Karli Buday who is our Director of Campus Activities. And for those of you whose students have been quarantining and engaging in some of our programming, you can thank her and her team for the awesome Q Week activities that you've seen. Karli, do you want to say hello?
KARLI BUDAY: Hi, and thank you, Ryan, for the intro.
RAN LOMBARDI: Thanks, Karli.
Next, I would like to introduce another new face today, and that's Jen Gudaz. Jen is our Director of Recreation and Physical Education and also a Senior Associate Director in our Department of Athletics. So I know there are many questions about physical education, intramurals, and all these kinds of things, so we're really glad to have Jen here. Jen, you want to say good morning or good afternoon? I'm sorry.
JEN GUDAZ: Thank you, Ryan. Hi, everybody. It's great to be here and to give you a little bit of information today.
RAN LOMBARDI: Thanks, Jen.
And last but not least and also another new face today, I believe, and that is Dustin Cutler who is our Executive Director of Cornell Dining. I know everybody is always interested in food, myself included, and Dustin is going to tell us a little bit about plans for this year. Dustin, do you want to say hello?
DUSTIN CUTLER: Hello, everyone. I look forward to connecting soon, and thanks, Ryan, for the opportunity.
RAN LOMBARDI: Thank you so much, Dustin.
So like I said, we've got a great lineup here. I know you'll find their presentations and the information that they will share to be quite helpful as you begin to get ready for the experience this fall. I'm going to take a couple of questions, as I usually do off the start, before I turn it over to Miranda, who will be our second speaker after me.
So a couple of questions that came in that I thought I would address is what folks should expect from quarantine. And so I want to-- there's a couple of different ways that we think about quarantine.
So there's the quarantining process that some of you are doing right now from home, self-quarantine because we recommended that for everybody to do 14 days, if possible. We have the students who are quarantining because they are coming from a state on New York's travel advisory. We also quarantine students if they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive. So quarantine means a number of different things depending on the exact circumstance.
And we have resources that we'll share about what to do and what not to do in quarantine, but the key in general is that you're to stay in place. You're not supposed to leave except for-- or with the exception of nonessential or-- except for not-- I'm sorry. You can only leave quarantine for essential reasons-- to get food, those types of things, use the restroom, whatever. Sometimes in the case of, like we said on Monday, to go get your COVID test, which is outside and open air, where you're waiting for that.
You're not to be having visitors and guests and all those types of things. You're, of course, in all cases wearing face covering and physical distancing. Wash hands and sanitize spaces if you're in a shared living space. Some people quarantine in apartments or big houses where they can have their own private space and still be within a bigger community. We obviously know this is how this works for some people's individual situations.
I mentioned a little bit about the quarantine circumstances that may happen as this semester goes on. So a student who is identified as a close contact of a positive case but yet doesn't have the symptoms or hasn't tested positive, we'll also put them in quarantine for a period of time, or they'll stay in their own space if that space is appropriate for quarantining.
We have secured nearly a thousand rooms in the Ithaca area for that purpose, so for students who don't have suitable accommodations. Mostly that will be off-campus students who have suitable accommodations if they have their own apartment or if they have their own setup within a multiunit place. But we do have a lot of rooms secured. I wanted to make sure that everyone was aware of that.
We do have food-distribution sites on campus for quarantine. Again, like I said, that's an essential activity. People can come out and get their food. There's also opportunities to have things delivered.
On campus, you can get support through Campus Life, and then off campus, we have an off-campus-living office that will help with that as well. And most importantly and what we encourage-- I referenced this early on-- was to participate in some of our virtual programming and stay connected during that process.
Just a couple of comments about fees, rates, things like this because some questions continue to emerge. I did want to make you aware that the student-activities fee-- that's not, compared to tuition and some other costs, is not a massive charge that you've seen on your bill, but it is there, and it's meaningful. The Student Assembly has decided to reduce that student activities fee for this fall, so you'll see a credit posted on your next billing statement for that. I think it's a little over 20% reduction that they made on that student-activity fee.
I also just wanted to remind you that we did reduce the housing and dining rates by approximately 15% for this year. There have been a few questions that I've gotten even as early as this morning about what happens if unfortunately we have to pivot a month into the semester or something like that? If we need to prorate housing and dining at that point, if we have to do that, we'll do that at that time. So I just wanted to be clear about that too. There had been a question or two about that.
Let me talk a little bit-- there were some questions about resident-hall safety-and-health protocols that I want to talk about. I know there had been some concerns expressed about safety in the residence halls and after our move-in this week and reports of people not staying in their quarantine, these types of things. I want to just address a few of these issues.
We are relying on students to do the right thing here and to maintain their quarantine. I mentioned our Behavioral Compact monitors have started today. Our Residence Life staff are critical, but they're also not the only people that can keep an eye on things, and they have tough jobs as it is. In fact, I just finished a meeting just a little while ago with our RAs up on North Campus who had some concerns about being able to do their jobs well and effectively, and we were able to talk through a lot of those issues and make sure they have the support they need.
I want to make sure you know that we're cleaning and sanitizing our common spaces much more frequently than normal, and also we'll be doing more of this today, putting around in locations, in common spaces, extra spray cleanser and paper towels and things along those lines.
We do have ample PPE. We distributed a marginal amount at the start to our student staff in the residence halls. We've got over 50,000 masks on hold also sitting in the wings. We're going to get some more of those to them right away just to make sure that they have everything they need as move-in approaches.
The Building Care teams continue to work hard. Building Care is our housekeeping staff here at Cornell. They're terrific colleagues. They've been working hard all summer. In the spring, we had students here, and they've just been doing remarkable work. They're going to keep at it.
Just a couple more. I want to remind folks that visitors-- we're not going to be doing visitors this fall. It's going to be really important, especially at the beginning. I know a lot of you have asked about this and had concerns about it. We want to get through move-in. We want to get through these first few weeks of campus-- or of classes, rather, and keep our prevalence low, get all of our testing worked out, get all the move-ins settled and all the kind of intensity that will come with that, and so we really need to be thoughtful about this. So if you're starting to get ready to move in, please don't give myself and our team a lot of grief when we tell you or remind you parents, especially, you're not going to be able to come in this time.
I know that's tough. Definitely feel for you on that, but we're just really trying to make this work in a circumstance where not a lot of schools have been able to make this work.
For students who have roommates, you really need to make sure that you talk to your roommate and that you're both comfortable with any visitors. And when I say visitors, I mean students from other residence halls. We will allow that, but you need to be able to communicate with your roommate and make sure that everything is comfortable in that regards.
A couple more things. There were questions about Collegetown. What will Collegetown be like? Collegetown-- these are all private businesses that are in Collegetown, so they're subject to New York state and Tompkins County guidelines. We'll put those in the chart here so you can see what those are if you want to look them up.
Some of these places are places that I like. I've been to them. Most of them are operating, as probably is the case in your hometown, with a lot of takeout or limited seating capacity, a lot of what we'll be doing on campus as well. These places do require, like we do, face coverings at all times except when you're seated at your table and actively eating.
Then finally gatherings. People continue to ask about gatherings. In our Behavioral Compact, you noted that we said gatherings of less than 30 as long as people had masks on and were physically distanced were OK. That's less than New York's requirement of 50. We're going to take it real slow at the beginning of the semester, like I just said, and really, really discourage-- and my colleagues will talk about this in a few moments-- really discourage a lot of formal group stuff early on. And that's, again, because we feel like getting through the move-in week, getting through the first couple of weeks of classes is really critical to us getting off on a good start.
And I do want to remind folks, our Greek community has implemented the social moratorium, so no parties, no Greek parties, no events in that regards. And student organizations, same especially here early on in terms of some of those group activities.
So, OK, I covered a lot, and I have a lot of good colleagues who have important other things to share. So I'm going to take a break here. I'll be back at the end and in between each colleague. But next I'm going to turn it over to Miranda who is going to talk a little bit more about some of the academic spaces and other questions you had. Miranda, it's all yours.
MIRANDA SWANSON: Thanks, Ryan, and hello, everyone, out there again.
So we received a lot of questions about study spaces or quiet spaces outside of class, particularly about our libraries, and also a lot of related questions about where do you go if you have roommates and need to participate in your online classes? So I have a lot of good news to share on this front.
Students are going to be able to book a seat in library spaces or in rooms that were previously classrooms or conference rooms using the Cornell Chatter app. The hope is to launch this new book-a-space functionality at the start of the semester with an initial group of rooms and then to quickly build up that inventory within the first few weeks.
Students will be able to filter their room searches by building type or by room type, and I'm going to give some examples of room types. So one would be a quiet space. This would be for writing, reading, listening. Another type of room type would be an interactive space. So this might be when you're participating in class or having a meeting with an advisor. And there will also be small-group-space options for those of you who may have projects that you need to complete.
Many Cornelllians are already using the Chatter app to make appointments with their advisors or Student Services staff. Those students who aren't currently using Chatter can download the app or simply log it through the website chatter.cornell.edu.
It's important to note that this isn't live quite yet. Students will receive notification as soon as the book-a-space system is available. And again, the hope is that this is going to launch right at the start of the semester.
Another question that we got a lot of variations of is where do students go in between classes? So primarily the really important answer here is if it's nice outside, go outside. It's important to get outside. You all know this already. We live in a beautiful community and have a beautiful campus, but it's really important this fall because you're going to need to take mask breaks.
So you're going to be wearing those masks indoors in your classrooms. When you get a chance, go outside. Make sure you're six feet away from others, and take that mask off and take a breather.
As I just mentioned, you'll also be able to use this book-a-space app in advance. So if you know that you want a quiet indoor space in between your classes, you can reserve that seat and have it there ready for you.
And then in the event-- and this will probably happen-- that you're out walking and you thought you were going to hang out outside and it starts raining, you can quickly jump into a building, open your phone, look at that app, and find a place to hang out and study until your next class.
We also got a lot of questions about meetings with instructors and TAs and other support offices outside of class and what is this going to look like? So office hours are going to vary, just like they do now, based on the instructor and TA's availability. So these are going to be a mix of in-person and online options. And then you'll learn more from your individual instructors once class starts about what will be there for you. And, of course, for those students who are joining us online, they will have online options to meet with their instructors and TAs.
Most of your professional staff support meetings-- for example, with an academic advisor or career advisor-- these, for the most part, will be virtual. We're going to drop a link in the chat now which will take you to a web page that will list advising and student-support offices for you.
So another really frequently asked question was how and when will lab and studio spaces open, and what kind of new protocols will be in place within these spaces? So it's important to note that many of our research labs are already open. They opened earlier in late spring and early summer in accordance with New York state phasing opening guidelines.
So these labs have had strict safety protocols in place, and they've been in practice for quite a while now. Most of our teaching labs will reopen with the start of classes. The protocols in those spaces really depends on the type of lab it is, but it is important to note that great care has been taken by our instructors and our lab managers to ensure and integrate social distancing and if additional PPE might be needed into their existing protocols.
And I'm going to give an example here, the Engineering Learning Laboratory, which is utilized by our engineering project teams, and that's about a third of the students in the College of Engineering. They'll have a phased reopening, and that will allow students who need access to the Emerson Machine Shop and Rapid Prototyping Lab, the Digital Design and Fabrication Studio, and the Swanson Computer Lab to utilize those spaces. The scheduling and access will be very tightly controlled. And for anyone who's interested who wants to really see what does a lab reopening look like, we're going to drop into the chat the project-team-reopening FAQ so you can look at those details.
Likewise, another example, studio spaces and AAP, these are scheduled to open with the start of classes, though they'll no longer be open all night because we need to allow for overnight cleaning. These spaces will be assigned to specific students. And in order to dedensify, they're being located in a variety of buildings, a lot more buildings than they were before, including the Johnson Museum and the Tang Welcome Center to ensure that there is enough capacity to meet our student needs.
So that is it for my updates, and now I'm going to turn it back over to Ryan.
RAN LOMBARDI: Great. Thanks, Miranda. Hope that information was helpful for everyone. I'm sure it was. Miranda's a great colleague.
All right, next up, Jenny Loeffelman and Karli Buday I think are going to tag team here a little bit to tell you some more about some of our campus activities and events and things along those lines on campus. So, Jenny, are you going first?
JENNY LOEFFELMAN: Yeah. Thanks, Ryan.
Well, hello, everyone. I'm excited to tell you a little bit about Campus and Community Engagement, which are units within Student and Campus Life that focus specifically on creating opportunities for you to get involved. From service opportunities to sorority and fraternity life to clubs and organizations, we have many ways for you to continue to find a sense of belonging on campus for those of you returning and for you first-year students.
We know many of you have questions specifically about sorority and fraternity life and how our organizations will be operating this semester. First and foremost, all events for recruitment for sororities and fraternities will be virtual. After October 5, if all goes well here at the beginning of the semester, we will be able to open up in-person events under 30 students. But again, that will be after this beginning of the semester goes well.
In the meantime, we hope that you will join our Greek leaders during orientation and the first 30 days for informational sessions on how to get involved in Greek life. We'll be facilitating sessions for families and parents, for first-year students, and for transfer students. Here's the link to those programs so you can plan to attend them here in the next couple weeks.
Also, please follow us on the Insta, the sorority and fraternity life Instagram. We'll also pop that link in here too. That's a great way to figure out what programs are happening within sorority and fraternity life.
Secondly, I'd like to highlight how public service is going to work this semester. Our Public Service Center is working to move all of the bulk of our existing volunteer programs to a virtual format. We'll have several different tutoring and mentoring programs as well as all of the community advocacy work will still continue in a virtual format. We continue to have strong interest from our community organizations for community work-study positions, and those will also be completed virtually this fall.
A major initiative this fall for our Cornell-- for our Public Service Center is going to be our Cornell Votes initiative. We want to make sure all students are educated about why voting is important and how you will be able to vote. So check out our Public Service Center Cornell Votes website. We're going to pop that in the chat here too.
And then last but certainly not least, for our organizations on campus that want to do community service, we will be assisting those organizations in creating different options for them to do community service, both virtually and then after October 5, if possible, in person. So check out our Public Service Center website for ongoing updates and events and service opportunities, and that link is going in the chat as well.
I'm going to turn it over to Karli now to talk to you all about campus activities and all of our virtual opportunities for engagement. Go ahead, Karli.
KARLI BUDAY: Hi there. Thanks for the introduction, Jenny, and thanks everyone for joining me today. I'm going to spend the next few minutes chatting about ways that students can get involved and engage with each other. And don't worry. We've gotten really creative in implementing virtual programs.
So with that being said, there has been many questions around in-person versus virtual event programming, and the focus that we're going to prioritize this semester is through virtual programming. And the main reason for that is that we do have students on campus, but we also have students that are taking classes remotely, and doing virtual programs will allow for everyone to participate in some type of manner.
Currently we have a series of programs called Q Week. I know Ryan referenced that at the very beginning. These are virtual programs for students to participate in while quarantining. You can see the full schedule in the link below.
Last night, we had playlist music bingo, and we had over 200 students competing to participate. And then a few highlights for tomorrow Q Week-- we have a DIY craft series tomorrow. The Organic Club and SEAM, the Student Educators and Museum Club will be leading two DIY craft sessions tomorrow, one on making origami squirrels. So we can have a whole little army of squirrels. It's kind of like the second little mascot at Cornell. And we'll also have a step-by-step how-to line drawing of an Ithaca waterfall.
After Quarantine Week, we do have a series of programs that are going to be offered through orientation. And then after orientation, we have a series of programs called the first 30 days. The First 30 Days will be full of fun virtual activities ranging from escape rooms to game nights to DIY cooking classes and then also virtual social events.
We'll kick off the first 30 days of programming with TGIF, which is Thank Goodness It's Friday. TGIF is a Cornell tradition that's been going on for many years, and we're excited to offer it this year virtually as well.
Each week during the first 30 days, we're going to have between 8 and 10 different types of programs. So there's going to be more than enough activities and different ways to get involved.
In addition to that, there's going to be a series of Cornell rec and fitness classes that are going to be offered. It'll be a combination of prerecorded and live fitness, and I'll go ahead let Jen Gudaz speak a little bit about that in a few minutes.
To find out what type of events are taking place, all of our events and all of our meetings for our student orgs are going to be posted within Cornell CampusGroups. The link will be right below. In that link, you could look for the events that are taking place, but then you could also search for different types of clubs and organizations that you might be interested in.
We've gotten a lot of questions around how am I going to get involved this semester? What does ClubFest look like? A lot of that information can be found on the home page of CampusGroups. We do have over a thousand clubs here at Cornell University, and many of our clubs are already operating virtually.
In addition to that, there's already a few events that are already posted by our clubs. They are very eager to recruit and also meet with new students.
Students will be able to participate in a virtual ClubFest we're offering on September 12, 13, 19, and the 20th. Students will be able to sign up for different types-- or student orgs will be able to sign up for different shifts, and then interested students will be able to kind of pop around to the different virtual booths and interact with clubs and organizations that may catch their interest. And so they're able to chat virtually with student clubs, but then they're also able just to drop their name and say, hey, I'm interested, and then the club or the organization can contact that student back at the later time.
We also have a large number of club sports here at Cornell University. And at the present time, club sports-- were asking that all in-person activity be paused through the end of September. We do understand that clubs sports is an important part of the Cornell experience here at Cornell University, and we're still working to determine what is the best way to offer club sports in a safe manner. We'll be posting more information on updates as it pertains to club sports.
There are a couple requirements as it pertains to student orgs and what they can and cannot do this semester, and those can be found on the main Campus Groups-- or I'm sorry, on the main Campus Activities page underneath Student Organization Registration.
In addition, on that page you can also find virtual engagement opportunities, and these are fun little DIY activities that students can do on their own time. And so they're not necessarily facilitated by an office. It's a resource that students can pop on and do DIY doodle sessions, or they can do a prerecorded meditation session or even museum tours. So that is found at the Virtual Engagement Activities in a Virtual World website, and that is also in the link below.
And then finally for future updates, feel free to drop on our Instagram account of just Campus Activities, or see us on our campus website, which is just activities.cornell.edu. I'll go ahead and pass it back off to Ryan. Thank you, guys.
RAN LOMBARDI: All right, thanks so much, Karli. A lot of good stuff going on there and a lot of promotion of Instagram accounts or, as Jenny would say, Insta accounts. I'm not quite cool enough to use that language.
So next I'm going to go to Jen Gudaz, my colleague, who is going to talk a little bit about recreation and fitness activities on campus. Jen.
JEN GUDAZ: Thanks, Ryan. Hi, everyone. I hope you're having a great day.
We are so excited to have you back to campus, and my team's been really working hard to provide some fun activities.
Some of the things that you can look forward to is physical education. We will offer over 250 in-person and virtual PE classes. Our website is pretty much updated, but we still have some more offerings to be loaded, so check those out.
We're offering things from rock climbing, sailing, a variety of different fitness classes, meditation, yoga, tennis, and a bunch of different things. So if you're looking for something to do and still need to get your PE credit, that's a great way to get that accomplished.
We have classes going all day long, classes working so that if you're in another time zone or even 12 hours different than us, you will have some opportunities to keep yourself busy and moving.
The fitness centers will be offering 40 virtual group-fitness classes a week. They, as the semester goes on, will be offering pop-up classes around campus that are just on Rawlings Green, for example, or in some green spaces. So be looking for those on our website.
Another really cool thing you can check out on the website is the library of free classes that we offer. And in that library, it also has a build your own workout. So if you're looking for something to do and want to get outside or maybe do it in your room or your apartment, you can go there and build your workout based on different activities, and there's videos that'll show you exactly how to do different types of exercises to keep yourself safe.
Intramural sports will be also offering a variety of in-person and virtual intramural offerings. Geocaching is one of the first ones that will be an in-person one. So you can wander around campus and look for different things and get yourself acclimated. Trivia and "Words With Friends" are two virtual ones that will be starting earlier in the semester. So check out the website for those and familiar yourself and look for the dates in order to see when those begin.
Along with that, we want to make sure that there are green spaces for everybody to do their personal workouts and get outside. Distance from each other but still be able to get out and move. So we have Jessup Field on North Campus, and then on Central Campus we'll also have fields open for students to be able to get out and get workouts in.
As many of you know, we have a ton of hiking and gorge trails to be walking on, so that's another great place to get outside and move and get some of that energy out from when you'll be sitting in your classes or on your Zooms.
If you're looking for equipment to check out, Helen Newman will have stuff such as tennis rackets or Frisbees you can check out to go outside and play. The Risley Tennis Courts will be open for play as long as we all distance. And outdoor education offers a lot of rentals as well-- stand-up paddle boards, canoes. If you're looking to go camping, we have tents and a bunch of different things that you can check out and rent from Outdoor Education.
Some of you may be wondering, especially if it's your senior year, what's going to happen with the swim test? Seniors graduating in December and in May will have their swim test waived for this year. Anybody who is an incoming first-year student this fall or winter will have the swim-test fee waived moving forward.
Once it is safe, we will provide swim tests again. But if you're looking to learn how to swim because you need to pass your swim test, check out the PE website. We will be offering beginning swim classes all day long in Teagle Pool. So we're excited to have our pools up and going and to be able to provide some recreation space there.
Back to you, Ryan. Thank you.
RAN LOMBARDI: Great. Thank you, Jen. I appreciate it, and lots of good opportunities there to get out and move. For those of you who haven't been to Ithaca before, it's quite lovely in the fall and hopefully won't get too cold before we wrap things up just before Thanksgiving. So looking forward to using some of our beautiful green space.
All right, the caboose of our presentation today is that topic that we all love so much, which is food. And my colleague Dustin Cutler, who is our Executive Director of Cornell Dining, really outstanding and transformative leader, is going to share with you-- I think he's got some slides and a lot of information. So it's all yours, Dustin.
DUSTIN CUTLER: Well, thanks, Ryan. And again, I really appreciate the time to speak with everyone today.
I cannot tell you all how excited my team is to be able to interact with all of you again. They have been telling me nonstop, I can't wait for the students to come back. We've been preparing so hard for their arrival. And we have a great plan in place, which I'm going to be reviewing with you in a couple moments here.
But first I'd like to say all of you on this call and those that haven't come to Cornell, you'll soon realize that our students have shaped our program for decades. You have made our organization a very dynamic one, an organization that provides outstanding food, a safe environment, and comfort for all of you out there that are on this call and some that are coming to campus will soon realize.
With COVID-19, we've obviously had to make some adjustments that I'd like to review with all of you today to better prepare you because dining yet, it's going to be so fun and an exciting environment. We've had to modify some things so that we can keep our environment as safe as possible for all of you and for all of my staff.
So with that first, I'd like to discuss a little bit about our commitment to you and help you understand really what our protocol is going to be as we prepare for the upcoming semester.
So this signage looks very similar to some of the signs that you'll be seeing around campus as it relates to the precautionary measures. So your promise to us is to please wear a mask. Some of the things you'll see in here will be related very closely to the Behavioral Compact.
Please follow the navigation signs when you're navigating through our locations with the dots that are on the floor. Maintain social distancing while you're ordering and eating.
We have implemented a number of new initiatives as it relates to technology and really leveraging technology to make our spaces as efficient and as safe as possible. And as we said earlier, please follow the Cornell Behavioral Compact. When you think about dining and the amount of transactions that we do a day, roughly 22,000, we need to make sure that we are following the rules and regulations that have been set out so that we can continue to provide a very safe environment, and we'll kind to you, and I know that you'll be kind back.
And so our promise to you is similar. I've explained to my team, this is obviously a two-way street. So our employees will be wearing masks. They'll be disinfecting high-touch points every 15 minutes, and we've been working on that throughout the summer.
All of our employees will maintain a six-feet distance as best as possible, even in the tighter quarters that we're in. We've been working all summer long with our front-line staff as we've been serving some of our students that remained on campus so that we can really try to get this plan down as best as possible. Our employees will be practicing proper hygiene, and their commitment to you is that they will show you the love and care that they have for many years.
What you're seeing here is really a simplified version of our six key initiatives that we focused on as we are entering into the fall semester. So we have invested in technology so that we can-- excuse me. I'm going to pull up some of the technology I want to show you.
So we're introducing contactless payment. And if you can see this image right here, students will be able to download the GET app, which is our one-stop-shop platform which will allow you to go up to our locations, and instead of swiping in the dining halls or swiping into a retail transaction, you would leverage your mobile device, and you would be able to get a unique bar code which then you would go up and scan yourself to one of our scanners. So this eliminates the contact, and it also makes it a very efficient transaction.
If you don't have a smartphone, we'll have ID swipers that you will be able to swipe for yourself. So we feel that having this technology really will make things a little bit more efficient and also limit the amount of contact between you and our employees.
If you go to the left, you see the satellite locations. We are going to have satellite locations set up strategically around campus. So roughly five locations will be spread out, and what we'll do is you'll be able to order a meal in advance and pick it up the next day. You will do this by using mobile ordering and leveraging the GET app as well. So that's, again, another way that we are using technology for you to pick up a meal.
The big move that we've decided to make this semester is OpenTable. Some of you may be familiar with this platform. And we'll be allowing folks to dine in to our dining facilities. Many of our peer institutions around the United States have not allowed this, but we're going to leverage OpenTable to allow our students to dine in. And what they'll be doing is ordering-- excuse me, reserving a place in advance. And then you'll show the door attendant, and you'll be able to dine in our facility. We'll also be using OpenTable for you to reserve a space in line to pick up a takeout container.
Sustainability has always been a top option and priority for us. So what we are allowing folks to do is use our reusable containers, which you can purchase, to minimize the amount of disposable items that are leaving our dining facilities. So you can purchase one of these containers, bring it back. We'll clean it and give you a brand-new one as you come into the dining facility.
The other point that I'd like to make is we have enhanced mobile ordering across our retail locations. Our retail locations would be food courts, cafes, coffee shops. So you can order in advance and navigate through your day much more efficiently.
The final one that I'd like to mention is menu engineering. We have 10 residential dining locations across campus, and they provide a great variety of food. This upcoming semester, what we've done is we've mirrored those menus across our program so that we can control the flow of population a little bit better. In other words, we don't want everyone to go to taco Tuesdays on West Campus and Rose House and have that location inundated and flooded with a number of students, and we wouldn't be able to control the line. So what we've done is we've strategically created similar menus across our portfolio to make sure that it's equitable and fair and a consistent menu across the program.
And the final option that you'll see is we have a number of URLs that we'll be providing which talk-- it's email@example.com, and that's where you can get a hold of our registered dietitian. There's nowdining.cornell.edu, and that's our web page which will give you all our hours of operation.
And then the final one that will been popping up-- it's a very long URL, so please bear with me. We'll be putting that in the chat. But this is a more in-depth guide to how we will be operating for the fall 2020 semester.
Thank you all for your time. And, Ryan, I'll pass it back to you.
RAN LOMBARDI: Great. Dustin, thank you, and thank your team for all the work they've done up to this point. Have served so many of our students over the spring and the summer and really have been on the front lines with a handful of our other staff here, and we're grateful for that.
I want to just mention one other thing, and that's a little bit, again, a plug for Residence Life and the residence halls. We didn't have anyone from Residence Life here today. They're busy in training getting ready for your arrival, but you might recall my colleague Brandee Nicholson who spoke with you a couple of fora ago.
Residence Life can be such a special part of your experience, and one of the things I encouraged, I think, in one of my emails was to focus on the small connections. And I think that's going to be more important than ever this year since we're really trying to limit the larger events and keep folks from being in big groups, at least as we start off this semester.
I recall so vividly my first year living in a residence hall and what that was like, and it was special. The guys that lived across the hall from me, we played video games on their Sega Genesis. I didn't have a video-game console. I couldn't afford it, but they did, and it was a lot of fun.
And these small interactions like that and those small connections can make such a difference in your life. And so I just want to support and give a shoutout for that opportunity, and make sure you take advantage of that for those that are coming back to campus.
For those that aren't going to be joining us on campus this fall, again, we're super excited for you to be Cornellians. I hope you will engage in a lot of this virtual programming. As you've heard, a lot of the activity will be online, and so there will be lots for you to participate and engage with and get to know your new community as well, especially for new students.
I don't have to say this again, but I will. This is all new. We're doing this for our first time. We're being bold. This hasn't worked for everybody, and we think with our incredibly robust testing program, we're anticipating between 40,000 and 50,000 tests a week, far more than what you're seeing around the country in most cases. We're really hopeful that we can make this work. But this is going to rely, as I've said many, many times, on all of us being diligent and thoughtful and careful about the way we behave this fall.
I don't think we'll be having any other of these forums for at least a couple of weeks. We've got to really turn our attention to the next week or so of move-in and make sure that we are all hands on deck to try to help out with that process as much as we can.
I want to remind those folks who haven't made their way yet the importance of not bringing a whole lot this semester, really packing light, because we won't have a lot of staff to help you move in or do things like that. We'll be directing you, but you'll be on your own with that type of help.
I want to thank again all of our panelists, my outstanding colleagues that I continue to be inspired to work with every day, our behind-the-scenes team that's with us today as well. And also I just remind you that this was recorded and will be posted on our covid.cornell.edu website in the next couple days. And I would encourage you to continue to check that where we'll also have our dashboards as we get those live, and you can keep up with information as we wrap it up and as things continue to evolve on campus.
I have thoroughly enjoyed having a chance to connect with folks this way over the summer. I hope it's been helpful. We'll do some again once the semester gets underway, if necessary, and we'll connect that way. In the meantime, I want to wish everyone safe travels and general health and well being. Please continue take care of yourselves, your families, and we very much look forward to starting the school year. And, well, go Big Red.
With that, we're going to close it out. Look at this. Our last forum, and we actually ended on time, perhaps for the first time.
Thanks, everybody. Have a great day and a great weekend. Take care.
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Note: The information shared in this video is accurate as of August 20, 2020 but continues to develop. Please visit covid.cornell.edu for current updates and for links to the most recent recordings.
Vice President Lombardi hosted a forum for students Aug. 20 to discuss student life on the Ithaca campus this fall.