July 19, 2002

A Short History of Slope Day

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Slope Day is an event which brings the Cornell community together in a celebration of the last day of classes. Its name comes from its location: Libe Slope.

According to Stephen Ryan ’03, “It’s the best day of the year.”

The origins of Slope Day date back to the 1970’s when all students could partake in a feast that was prepared by Cornell Dining. Since then this tradition has grown into a campus-wide party, although classes and–for some students, exams–still take place on Slope Day.


Many students are not so enthusiastic about this University policy.

“It’s pointless to have class because no one goes. That’s the whole point of Slope Day,” said Courtney Glasgow ’04.

Last May, hard liquor along with any open or glass containers was

banned from the Slope for the first time. Alcohol that was not prohibited was limited to six cans per person. Only people carrying a Cornell ID were permitted onto the slope.

Students were informed of the changes by flyers that were posted all over campus.

As in past years, students in possession of alcohol had to present proof that they were over 21 years of age.

Most students did not believe that the new rules changed how most students celebrated Slope Day. “I think people were maybe a little more cautious about how they brought alcohol in,” said Jennifer Su ’04.

Each year students hold their breaths on the morning of Slope Day to

see what the weather will be like.

In 2001 the weather was hot and humid, most people were dressed in shorts and bikinis, and some “streakers” were seen running across the slope.

This year, however, the picture was different. The weather was in the low 50s and most students held their fleeces close around them or huddled next to each other for warmth. However, the festivities did not slow down because of this less-than-perfect weather.

“We all needed a break from classes, and we are used to the cold in Ithaca, so we just put on sweater and drank liquids to keep us warm,” said Erin McClure ’04.

An alcohol-free alternative to the intemperate masses on the slope is Slope Fest that takes place on West Campus below Libe Slope. Free food and non-alcoholic drinks are provided to the students as well as free activities and live music.


In 2002, Poetic Alchemy, Nada Surf, Oculus and the Cornell Steel Band were some of the performers. The fun options available to students included laser tag, bouncy boxing, and giveaways of free instant cameras, caricatures, and henna tattoos.

Archived article by Liz Novak