February 9, 2001

Creating Social Alternatives

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With a mission to improve the social scene at Cornell, over 200 students and administrators met at the Second Annual Renaissance Community Forum on Wednesday night in the Willard Straight Memorial Room.

Renaissance is a grassroots student group dedicated to making campus social life more inclusive and responsible by promoting increased options and non-alcohol-related activities.

“Our goal is to bring students together,” said Brit Holmberg ’01, co-president of Renaissance, highlighting their efforts to attract members from a variety of cultural backgrounds and to break down barriers between athletes and non-athletes, Greeks and non-Greeks.

The forum began with a brief slideshow describing the group’s accomplishments over the past three years that it has been in existence. Then, discussions opened up and focused on a proposal that Renaissance members submitted to Vice President of Student and Academic Services Susan H. Murphy ’73 in an effort to obtain financial support for their initiatives. The proposal, for which the group is awaiting a response this semester, requests funding to help coordinate campus activities for students throughout the academic year.

The proposal includes plans for a C.U. Tonight web-based calendar that would make off-campus students more aware of social and recreational events open to students at night and on weekends.

“The price tag is steep,” said Catherine Holmes, associate dean of students for student activities, explaining that the project will likely require over $100,000 to get off the ground.

Despite the expense, Murphy, who could not attend the forum, said that administration has the plan “under consideration.”

She added that she was “thrilled” for the large turnout, and she characterized the proposal as “well thought out” and “a step in the right direction.”

An important aspect of the proposal is improving the overall freshman experience and providing more activities closer to North Campus, according to Holmberg.

Some suggestions included: keeping the Helen Newman gym open past midnight, holding a late night coffee house in the Green Dragon Caf