This fall was a busy one for the Cornell admissions staff as we traveled all over the country, and the world! Cornell travels differently than most admissions officers you have met – instead of spending weeks on the road and visiting hundreds of high schools, we balance visiting a wide geographic region and spending more time greeting visitors on campus. Cornell travels in a consortium group with 3-4 other institutions and we visit five cities in five days. In each city we host evening programs that educate parents and students about admissions. Those are five busy days! The week involves a lot of travel, but we manage to get a taste of the region we are visiting.
When we travel with a group, one of the things we plan for is enjoying the regional cuisine. I was incredibly delighted to get reservations at Husk in Charleston, South Carolina (Bon Appétit magazine’s “Best New Restaurant in America” in September 2011!), where I enjoyed AMAZING shrimp and grits. Angela’s southern swing definitely had BBQ on the menu – who could miss the Neelys’ in Memphis?
Finding fun ways to spend the little free time we have during the day allows us to get to know the cities we are visiting. Reba had quite an adventure in the Mid-West and Plains States. She rode bikes in Des Moines, explored the Omaha Zoo, and even made time to stop at the legendary Corn Palace in South Dakota.
Some of our favorite fall moments involved kitschy Americana. At a conference, Angel toured Mardi Gras World in New Orleans, I had my picture taken with the biggest Ronald McDonald I have ever seen at a “gourmet” McDonald’s in Orlando, Reba met the bronze Fonz in Milwaukee, and Marjorie and Angela had a chance meeting in Pennsylvania with the Wienermobile! Who doesn’t get excited and start singing jingles?
At the end of the day, Cornell Near You is more work than play – it is about connecting with students and sharing information wherever we go. Kyle and his travel partners are getting ready for an evening program at a hotel in the Southwest, and the smiles on their faces show you what the best part of our day really is – meeting you!