Every year, homecoming weekend is full of bustling, big events, nostalgic alumni, and a jolly air of celebration for our school and community. This year was Cornell’s sesquicentennial, or 150th birthday, so homecoming weekend was hugely heightened in spirit and spunk.

Without exaggerating, I must say that the fireworks and laser light show on Friday night was really a spectacular. I had never seen the bleachers so fully packed in my three years here. People enthusiastically chanted “ONE-FIVE-O” from the stands and stage, including several school dance and music teams, the mayor of Ithaca, and both Cornell’s present and future presidents. Seeing our Cornell presidents and our community in such an informal and fun but prideful setting was a treat, even if at times a bit cheesy. I felt a mix of gratitude, joy, nostalgia, and pride as I stood upon the stands and watched the fantastically organized firework light up Schoellkopf Field and the faces of the crowd. I realize this description sounds quite gleeful and ideal, but I do feel that the event deserves the weight of these words. Those few moments of the show were not only memorable, but also emotional. They reminded me of how thankful I am to spend my four years here with bright showers of brilliant lights, surrounded by my humble and caring friends, and thinking of my family back home and the great opportunities and people I’ve met while here.

These pictures can hardly depict how wonderful the show was, but might give a quick idea of my view from the bottom bleachers.


The next day, Saturday, Cornell also provided many great events, such as tailgating, which included a ferris wheel and free games and giveaways, the football game, and a concert featuring Icona Pop and Grace Potter. The picture below is a blurry attempt at capturing the huge crowd and energy at the concert, which was a great way to end a busy and fulfilling weekend.10735687_10152483275984702_269013399_n


Autumnal Activities

Every year, Ithaca celebrates its shortest-lived season with an enthusiasm unmatched by any other town I’ve visited! Left and right, there are reminders of Fall as soon as the weather moves from breezy 70s to cool 60s and below.

Today, I did two activities that I also did last year, but with the same, if not even more, enjoyment. One of those activities is the Apple Harvest Festival. The annual Apple Harvest Festival expanded and fell on a rainy day this year, but was still full of quirky, crafty, and seasonally appropriate activities. There seemed to be more vendors this year, and even though the downtown Commons area where it is located is under renovation, it was still very accessible and easily navigable.

Just a few photos from my trip include a part of the State Theatre, where some great folk and acapella groups performed on an outdoor stage, a pumpkin-pie funnel cake, a lovely fall display from one of the many vendors there, and cashmere goats that I make sure to pet, each year! Not pictured were the lovely home-made jam that I purchased, the delightful array of pies and pastries, dozens of creative craft vendors, and the large amount of citizens, students, children, and dogs who made sure to attend the event, despite the dreary weather. Nothing stops Ithaca from celebrating Autumn!


On the same day, I also went on a trip to Indian Creek farm, a local farm just a few miles away from campus. This farm offers plenty of “u-pick” fruits and vegetables and farmers market style produce. The people there were extremely friendly and I was able to avoid the long line for apple cider donuts at the Apple Fest by having delicious apple cider donuts, there. The hillside views on the farm were breathtaking, even in the most literal sense of the word. My friend’s father, who was visiting for the weekend said, “Ithaca is a great place to visit, a great place to take a break and truly breathe.”

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On and off the Cornell campus, Ithaca in Autumn is stunning and almost indescribably freeing. I’ll be sure to post some pictures of the campus when more of the leaves turn.

Arts Quad Findings

Last year, I made a post about how at any given time, something interesting is happening on Ho Plaza. Especially during early fall, or when the weather is relatively warm, the same can be said about the Arts Quad. People are usually sitting on the grass between breaks, meeting up with friends or clubs at the A.D. White statue, playing frisbee, or hosting events as large as concerts or the upcoming class council’s outdoor movie night.

Today I just wanted to share a couple pictures of a new installation on the arts quad, “A Needle Woman: Galaxy Was a Memory, Earth is a Souvenir” by Kimsooja and commissioned by the Cornell Council for the Arts. It’s certainly hard to miss, stretching far up towards the sky, and one of the most intriguing pieces I’ve seen on the arts quad, with its hypnotizing semi-translucent panes.



In the background of the second photo, by the way, is Olin Library, which is certainly not a new installation, but a very familiar sight!


Off-Campus Living

This year, I find myself living in Collegetown, a departure from the beautiful dorm hallways and delicious dining halls of Becker on West Campus, or the convenience and community that is the group of freshmen dorms on North Campus.

Upon second glance, writing that “I find myself” in Collegetown isn’t the best word choice, because it doesn’t convey how actively I searched and scrambled in order to live in Collegetown this year. Every year, houses and apartments in Collegetown become fully leased quicker and quicker. Proof of this is that people have already started showing their apartments to prospective students for next year, as early as the first week of school. It’s not fair, but the mad stampede that is the off-campus housing search seems to intensify with each year, creating a time crunch that makes it difficult for students to make fully informed and satisfying decisions. I might write about this issue in another post, but for now, I’d like to write about something a little simpler: a brief list about ways that off-campus living has proved to be convenient, inconvenient, challenging, rewarding, fun, and frustrating so far this year.

1) Friendship: I’m happy to be able to live with some of my best friends. It’s so much easier to coordinate study sessions, dinners, or leisure activities when you’re all living in the same house. 2 AM study sessions become much more fun and tolerable when you have your friends beside you!

2) Facilities: If you are frustrated trying to cool yourself off with a frozen bag of corn on a Saturday night, then you might have been me, last week, when it was upwards of 85 degrees in Ithaca. My house, like many others in Collegetown, does not have air conditioning. This proves to be a challenge during the first two weeks of school, but luckily Ithaca is quick to cool off and merge into autumn. Also, this depends on where you live — another reason why thorough searching is important.

3) Cooking: I’ve met so many people who complain about how much they miss the dining halls. But, I can’t say I completely agree. Although the dining halls are really wonderful, there’s also something rewarding about cooking on your own and finding ways to make edible, enjoyable food in a time crunch. Also, not having to share a kitchen with an entire floor of people is great, too.

4) Convenience: Most of C-town might not be as close to campus as the residence halls, but C-town is bustling and convenient for many other reasons! Especially as an upperclassmen, most of my friends now live in C-town, and they are just a few brisk steps away if I want to meet with them. Other main attractions include CTB (Collegetown Bagels), especially during the coveted Bagel Tuesdays.

In general, despite the often less than ideal and difficult situations that living off-campus has put me through, I’d recommend most upperclassmen to at least consider it for their final years at Cornell.


Club Fest

Every year, Cornell hosts an annual Club Fest in Barton Hall, which is not only a bustling and busy event for undergrads and upperclassmen alike to find or advertise student organizations, but also a reminder of the plentiful and diverse communities on campus.

I was there for the entire three hours of the event, and it was interesting to see clubs of different sizes, stages, and specialties gather and interact in one large gymnasium. Club Fest is especially crowded and large not only because it’s the most convenient way for students to learn about club opportunities, but also because so many people on campus participate in extracurriculars and thus, have a will and motivation to expand their groups’ outreach. This was especially apparent to me since I was at Club Fest in order to promote my own group, the Cornell Vietnamese Association.

Each club found different ways to attract members. Many clubs had food or candy as incentives. Others had members dress up in special garb or costumes to attract attention. There were also several live performances by dance, song, and demonstration teams. Just the fact that I am having trouble giving a broad summary of all that went on at Club Fest should be an indicator of how diverse and expansive the clubs of Cornell can be.

From a quick skim of the ClubFest line-up, I can see that the event was attended by clubs ranging from the Cornell Democrats, to the Cornell Dance Dance Revolution Club, or Sustainability Hub, to the the Squirrel Club.

Cornell truly is a place open to and thriving with different ideas, movements, and passions, and being at Club Fest for the third time, as a junior, made me feel both grateful and nostalgic for the time I’ve spent here. Perhaps that is why I made sure to do something very iconically Cornellian: sneak a photo with the familiar, but always and exceptionally enthusiastic, Big Red Bear!