Life on campus this fall

Aug. 18, 2020

Dear Cornellians,

I hope you have been joining us at our forums over the last month. I appreciate your continued patience as we finalize plans to safely reactivate campus, and know that you may still have questions about what this semester will look like, whether you are on campus or remote. While this fall will look quite different due to our enhanced safety guidelines, there are still plenty of opportunities to engage in what Cornell has to offer – mostly virtual, and in some instances, in-person. I encourage you to seek and build connections as soon as you can, find joy in the small moments, and embrace our new environment.

Today, I write to share some resources, give a brief overview of what life will be like on campus this fall, and invite you to join us for the forum this Thursday at 2 p.m. ETD to hear more details from leaders across campus.

As you continue to fulfill your quarantine requirements, we want to help you stay engaged and connected. The Campus Activities Office created Q-Week, two weeks of over 40 virtual events and informative programs leading up to the start of classes. All Cornell students are invited to participate in Q-Week programs. Staff have also been meeting with student organization leaders to share tips and resources for meaningful, creative engagement throughout the semester.

By taking enhanced safety precautions, it is possible to have a residential experience by interacting with roommates and others in your residence hall: conversations with other residents across hallways, coordinating distanced study groups, enjoying meals with your roommates, and more. For those of you living on campus, your residential staff will continue to support engagement in safe formats. Our essential dining halls will operate at a reduced density by using OpenTable for individual reservations, and for those who would like to eat outdoors or take meals to go, we have added five satellite locations from which students can choose.

Once the semester starts, I urge you to take advantage of our on-campus and virtual fitness opportunities, explore offerings from Cornell Outdoor Education such as canoe and paddleboard rentals at the Merrill Family Sailing Center, and discover our natural surroundings, including dozens of beautiful, maintained trails that are part of the Cornell Botanic Gardens. Take time to explore the surrounding Ithaca area, from hiking to bicycle routes. We will continue to reassess opening fitness and recreation spaces as the semester advances and hope to also offer new outdoor opportunities that allow for safe recreation. Remember to maintain 6 feet of distance from others and have a face covering with you at all times.

In addition to the normal excitement for the academic year, it will take time to adjust to some of these changes and I encourage you to take additional time to prioritize your wellbeing. Cornell Health is here to support you for your telehealth appointments, and has tips for how to cope during COVID. CAPS counselors will be available for individual telehealth appointments and Let’s (Tele)Talk drop-in consultations are available by Zoom. I do hope you take advantage of these, and the many other mental health services available, to support you throughout this semester.

To our returning students, I’m counting on you, as always, to support our new Cornellians in their transition into this stage of life and under such unique circumstances. Please make sure our new students feel welcome and help them get connected to campus.

Together, I know we will make this semester the best we can! Again, I look forward to sharing more with you about what to expect from student life on campus this fall during a forum on Aug. 20 at 2 p.m. ETD.




Ryan Lombardi
Vice President for Student and Campus Life