First Dragon Day

For those of you who don’t know what Dragon Day is, it is an annual event held on the Friday before spring break. “The center of the event is the procession of a dragon, created by first-year architecture students at the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, past the College of Engineering and into the Arts Quad.”

I was really excited for my first Dragon Day, but not for very long. When I learned that only architecture students would be part of the parade, I was disillusioned. Only this managed to cheer me up a little.

Unicorn at Dragon Day

Bitter, attention seeking unicorn at Dragon Day. “Why don’t they celebrate Unicorn Day?”

Still, I was surprised by the sheer number of people and amount of noise on campus. The only time there are a comparable number of people on the roads is the time between classes, when everyone is rushing from one building to another. So it was great to see that kind of energy in the community for a non academic reason. (Of course, I have not been to Slope Day yet.)

For more photos of Dragon Day 2014, Checkout the Cornell Dragon Day 2014 page on Facebook or Cornell News!

P.S.: Want to share your own experiences at Cornell? Blog for Life on The Hill! 😀


Ithaca is Gorges… Sustainable, Quirky and ‘Local’

Ithaca is not your average, commercialized town. The people here love and care for the nature, which makes Ithaca as beautiful as it is. There is also a great emphasis on independent stores, co-operatives and just “thinking locally”.  These two ideas of thinking locally and environmental sustainability complement each other in Ithaca and come across in quaint aspects of the town.

1) Second Hand Clothing Stores

The Ithaca Mall is not the best place for shopping. I did not find much variety in clothes and all the options are in the same price range. But the popularity of second hand clothing stores in the area is surprising. They have unique pieces, designs of all kinds and something to fit every budget. “So the next time you find yourself wanting a new outfit that half of your lecture class isn’t already wearing, think eco-friendly and head downtown instead of hitting the mall,” said a wise Cornell student.

2) Natural/Organic food.

Search Ithaca on trip advisor and Moosewood Restaurant is going to be somewhere near the top of the “Things to do in Ithaca” list. It is a vegetarian, natural foods restaurant. The menu changes everyday according to the seasonal ingredients. They use fresh, locally sourced produce in the kitchen and that is the kind of thing we in Ithaca get excited about. There are a number of natural, organic food restaurants here and even a popular natural foods co-op market called GreenStar.

3) Ithaca Hours

Ithaca is determined to foster self reliance in the community that it actually created its own currency. “In 1991, Ithaca Hours began developing a legal currency for our town. Today, there are over $100,000 worth of Hours in circulation.” Supposedly, some businesses and employers accept and pay in Ithaca Hours, but I have yet to come across an Ithaca Hour.

4) Local Banks

It surprised me that most people and businesses in Ithaca bank with local banks such as Tompkins Trust Company and CFCU Community Credit Union. My parents have accounts only with large national/multinational banks and so did everyone else I ever knew, until I came to Ithaca. Now I use Tompkins Trust Company and my paychecks from on campus jobs get processed very quickly because the university seems to bank with Tompkins too.

5) Quirky Stores

Just yesterday, I spoke to the owner of a new business to open in Ithaca: An art studio where people can pay for painting sessions under the guidance of a local artist. It sounded strange to me and I wondered if that can be successful business model. But, the store is thriving in another town in New York State and the owner hopes for the same here.
Then I came across “The Enchanted Badger” which is described as “Ithaca’s friendly local game shop.” Yes, a shop just for board games. You can even throw your friends a board game party there.

This is just a small sample from many, many quirky aspects of Ithaca all of which reflect the town’s emphasis on being local, sustainable and a close knit community. Ithaca isn’t just gorges, it’s bohemian and responsible. And the stores and restaurants I just mentioned in this blogpost? That’s what I’m going to be exploring this Spring Break.

A Moment of Peace

Most students will agree that life at Cornell is hectic. We are always in a hurry to get somewhere, to do something. This constant state of movement doesn’t end until the end of the semester itself. So when you find a tranquil moment amid the flurry of activity, it’s worth a blog post.

On Friday evening, after a long day that ended up with a long to-do list, a friend at the house announced that he was going to sunset park to watch the sunset. I didn’t even know that existed, and apparently, within walking distance from our house. So some of us set out to sunset park.

Sunset ParkUnfortunately, there were too many clouds. So we couldn’t actually see the sunset, but we did watch the sky grow darker. The walk to and from sunset park, just sitting there and waiting for sunset, hot tea and conversation was enough of a de-stresser. It felt entirely removed from life on campus. And sometimes, that’s all you need.

So I’m looking forward to Spring break, when I can just be in Ithaca, with almost nothing to do and nowhere to go. I really just want that one week of peaceful living: cooking, exploring Ithaca and reading for pleasure. And maybe good weather, if that’s not too much to ask for.