April 17, 2014

FISCHER | Love to Thee

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By DAVID FISCHER

Standing atop the Slope, overlooking the lights of the City of Ithaca and the watery expanse of Cayuga Lake beyond it, exists the tangible contribution of Cornell’s Class of 1927. Educated in Ithaca during Prohibition, the Class of ’27 donated a stone bench with a phrase from the “Evening Song.” This bench proclaims to West Campus and beyond, “Love to thee, our fair Cornell.” Whether blanketed in a mid-April snowfall, or scorched in the shy sunshine so regrettably uncharacteristic of the Ithacan spring, the Class of ’27’s gift espouses a belief that is oft-repeated by involved alumni and students alike: a fervent love for Cornell.

It seems unfathomable to me, that any place where a day of 72-degree weather followed by another filled with snow, both in the middle of April, could possibly be called fair. The bevy of prelim bell-curve killers, uphill treks to 8:40 a.m. required courses and the occasional sunny day spent inside the Olin stacks all seem like they would contribute to a vehement hatred of this school so precariously perched on East Hill. The tribulations of our hyper-competitive alma mater make it seem like the words on the Class of 1927’s bench resonate only for as long as it takes for someone to run past them, not words that would make that frenetic exerciser stop his routine to reflect on their meaning.

However, I have noticed among my friends as well as myself, an inexplicable tendency to love our fair alma mater despite the difficulties of daily life on the Hill. Our love stems from many different avenues related to Cornell. Being deeply involved in a Cornell-related student group, coming from a family of Cornellians or even using a picture of McGraw Tower as your Facebook cover photo are all different ways of developing and showing love for Cornell. However, these are all disparate things that are not consistent with a unified Cornell experience. We often forget the small victories and failures that so often bind us together in Ithaca. I believe, in accordance with spring cleaning, in the importance of exploring these small facets of Cornell life that bind us all together.

I recently went through my penultimate course enroll in a little bit over five minutes. It was a far cry from my first course enroll when, clustered together in the middle of our Low Rise 7 unit, we screamed in frustration at the classes already filled and soon to be filled up and at the Oracle home screen rearing its ugly head after our fourth try at registering for this or that easy science class. This year’s course enroll, and subsequent fast return to sleep, honestly seemed a little bit unsatisfying. I encourage the underclassmen to enjoy your slow course enroll, although it was pretty nice to return to rest so quickly this year.

One of my favorite things to do when frigid temperatures grip Ithaca involves a pair of snow pants, a group of friends and gravity. That thing is sledding down Libe Slope, and although it isn’t strictly legal, it is one of the fastest ways to run into a tree on the Slope that doesn’t involve Ludacris, Matt and Kim or 3LAU. I would highly recommend that everyone partake in a good Slope sledding session at some point in their winter career at Cornell. In the few times that I may or may not have gone, I’ve met tons of fellow adrenaline junkies, hoping to go more than a few feet. In fact, the Slope sledding scene may even be a better barometer for a unified Cornell spirit than Collegetown Pizza on a Wednesday night. If you haven’t gone, I highly recommend it the next time it snows (hopefully not next week). Trust me, you won’t regret it — unless you run into a tree.

One final thing, for better or worse, that brings Cornell together better than mozzarella binds Matzah and pizza sauce (sorry, obligatory Passover humor) is commenting on the content of The Cornell Daily Sun opinion pages. A practice surpassed only by snide remarks about the quality of the website, everyone loves leaving comments on an op-ed with which he or she found fault (or really enjoyed)! So please, continue what I hope will be a productive dialogue about what you think all Cornellians can enjoy. Reasons for loving this school, things that we all have in common, are important to remember if we want to have any dialogues with more significance than things we enjoy doing together.

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