December Graduation, Spring Planning, Fall 2021 Housing

December 4, 2020

Dear Cornell Students,

I hope that you enjoyed a restful Thanksgiving break, including time to reflect on your accomplishments so far this semester. Please continue to follow the public health guidelines you practiced this semester, whether you remain on campus, in Ithaca or have returned home, and keep your communities safe and healthy as we experience cooler weather.

No matter your location for the remainder of the semester, there are many ways featured below to help students stay connected to one another. For those of you in Ithaca and approved to be on campus, review updated dining hours and fitness center offerings.

I wish you well as you complete your studies and thank you for allowing us to have such a successful fall semester on and off campus.

Jenny Loeffelman
Assistant Vice President, Student and Campus Life

Important Dates & Deadlines

  • Student and parent forum, Dec. 16
    Students and parents are encouraged to attend an informational forum with university leaders on Dec. 16 at 1 p.m. for updates on spring semester plans. Registration is required, and attendees may submit questions in advance.
  • Key academic calendar dates
    • Dec. 16: Last day of classes
    • Dec. 17-21: Online final exams – no classes
    • Feb. 8: Spring 2021 instruction begins

Campus Life

December 2020 Commencement update

The university will honor December graduates virtually on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 10 a.m., including congratulatory messages from President Martha Pollack and Provost Michael Kotlikoff, as well as college and school deans. Order keepsake caps and gowns by Dec. 5 for arrival by the celebration.

Apply to be a Winter Orientation Leader

Winter Orientation Leaders (WOL) work closely with the student-led Orientation Steering Committee to host and participate in events, mentor small groups of new students and create a welcoming environment. WOLs develop transferable skills in leadership, listening, communications, group facilitation, team building, event management and more. Applications are due by Dec. 6 at 11:59 p.m.

Register now: sorority and fraternity recruitment

Sororities and fraternities will hold virtual recruitment and intake processes after the spring semester begins in February 2021. For more information about joining one of Cornell’s 53 sororities and fraternities, including a schedule and registration link, visit the sorority and fraternity life website.

Slope Day 2021 artist selection survey

The Slope Day Programming Board is seeking input on previous artists and ideas for this year's performers. Complete the survey by Dec. 10.

Cornell campus in Minecraft.

A group of Cornell students and alumni collaborated on CornellCraft — an elaborate, interactive version of Cornell's Ithaca campus in Minecraft.

Upcoming Events


Housing & Dining

Updated dining hours and operations

Dining hours and operations have changed following the Thanksgiving break. Please check Cornell Dining Now for updated information.

Cornell Food Pantry

Cornell Food Pantry offers undergraduate and graduate students free, confidential access to food and personal care items. Winter hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-7 p.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Enrolled guests are encouraged to make a reservation for a timeslot on OpenTable. Learn more at the Cornell Food Pantry website.

Fall 2021 on-campus housing for current students

Explore your options for fall 2021 on-campus housing. Applications open Jan. 1, 2021, and many communities offer a continued occupancy option.


Spring semester pre-enrollment information

The spring 2021 course roster is now available, and pre-enrollment runs Dec. 8-16. Review further information to help you prepare.

Register for Cornell's Winter Session

Students can earn up to four course credits in Cornell’s Winter Session, Jan. 4-23, 2021. Choose from online courses in a wide range of subjects to help you catch up or get ahead in your studies. See the winter course roster for a complete list of offerings. The deadline to register is Jan. 4, 2021.

Zoom in to the Tatkon Center's virtual help desk

The Tatkon Center offers a virtual option for students to find information on summer research programs, learn about iconic Cornell classes or ask questions of their own. The help desk runs via Zoom through Dec. 16: Mondays to Thursdays from 12-5 p.m. and 7-10 p.m., Fridays from 12-5 p.m., and Sundays from 7-10 p.m.

Learning Strategies Center guidance for finishing the semester

The Learning Strategies Center’s tips for finishing strong can help you to use the remaining weeks of online classes to stay current with your course work and plan for your final exams.

Inclement weather guidance

In the event that inclement weather causes a change in the university’s operating status such that classes are affected, online instruction will continue as planned through the spring semester.

Wellness & Recreation

Support your mental health through the end of the semester

You’re almost there! Visit Cornell Health’s Coping during COVID-19 page for tips and resources to support your mental health as you approach the home stretch. Need a break from end-of-semester stressors? These study breaks and stress-busters can help refresh your brain and body and increase your energy, productivity and focus.

COE winter gear rental and climbing hours

Gear up for your next adventure with help from Cornell Outdoor Education’s Outfitting Center, which now offers curbside service. Looking for an indoor activity? The Lindseth Climbing Center is open to students approved to be on campus.

Fitness center membership and classes

Sign up for a Cornell Fitness Center membership for $40, now through January 22, 2021. Virtual group fitness classes are currently available for free until February 5, 2021. Find more information about hours and services on the Cornell Fitness Center website.

Open bowling and swimming

Students remaining on campus may bowl at Helen Newman Bowling Center now through Dec. 19. Eight lanes will be open Thursday to Saturday from 5-10 p.m., with a maximum of four people at each lane. Students must complete the Daily Check prior to bowling.

Helen Newman Pool offers open lap swimming for students approved to be on campus. Find more information about hours and reservations on the Recreational Services website.

Guidance on quarantine and isolation

Wondering how to quarantine or isolate while on or off campus? Concerned about impacts to your travel plans? Review Cornell Health’s frequently asked questions to help you understand the differences and keep campus and your home communities safe.

Mental Health Review final report

Members of the Executive Accountability Committee will host an open presentation of the Mental Health Review final report and implementation process on Dec. 9 at 12 p.m. via Zoom. Students are encouraged to attend and will have opportunities to ask questions.

Public Service & Engagement

Serve in Place funding and projects

Open through Jan. 4
The Serve in Place Fund provides up to $1,000 to students participating in community-engaged learning or research projects over winter break. Need ideas or inspiration? Check out students' Serve in Place summer projects on the Community Engagement Showcase website.

Undergraduate research and leadership funding

Applications due Jan. 21
First- and second-year students are invited to apply for the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Program, which allows them to develop a research project, build leadership skills, experience new cultures and be a force for good — all fully funded. Focused on ethical leadership and international research, the program helps students act as global citizens and use their skills, knowledge and experience to help others.

Foundations of community-engaged leadership

Through this three-week series of workshops, readings and dialogues, students learn to collaborate with communities and pursue change in any issue of public concern. Join a small cohort of action-oriented students and prepare to participate in community-engaged learning and social change. Find more details, dates and registration information on the Office of Engagement Initiatives website.

Race and Racism Across Borders project

Cornell undergraduates joined an ongoing campus conversation on the global experience of race through submissions of prose, poetry and artwork reflecting on their personal experience of race, crossing borders and finding their own place in the world.

Cornell Public Service Center announces award winners

Congratulations to Lin Lin '22 as the recipient of the annual Maribel Garcia Community Spirit Award for remarkable, creative contributions to the spirit of humanity and to the recipients of the annual Robinson-Appel Humanitarian Award for their community service efforts: Zelia Gonzales ’21, Pridha Kumar ’22, Karina Popovich ’23 and Carley Robinson ’20.

This is the final Undergraduate Connection newsletter for fall 2020.

Best wishes for the rest of the semester!

Additional Resources