Yesterday afternoon a handful of students admitted to the Class of 2008 braved the wind and rain as they ducked into buildings along the 3 o’clock campus tour, when for the first time in Cornell’s history, it seemed Ithaca’s weather shattered the traditional conspiracy of blue skies that accompany the 12-day Cornell Days period each spring.
This year, a massive coordination effort among the Undergraduate Admissions Office (UAO), Campus Information and Visitor Relations (CIVR), Campus Life, Financial Aid and various student run organizations invited Class of 2008 admitted students to the University from April 8 to 19 to participate in everything from class lectures, overnight visits, diversity hosting weekends, movie nights and campus information sessions.
The goal of the 12-day event is to provide prospective members of the class of 2008 the opportunity to experience the average day-in-the-life of a Cornell student, something that weighs heavily on their college decision-making process.
Peggy Beach, director of CIVR and member of the Cornell Days planning committee, described the multi-faceted behind-the scenes efforts of campus-wide offices and organizations that plan for everything from complimentary meal tickets for prospective students on overnight visits with the Red Carpet Society to the residential tours of North Campus run by Campus Life.
“The general sense is to help accepted students feel what it’s like to be a Cornell student. That’s why there is an emphasis on residential tours, overnight hosts, campus tours and attending classes — because it really helps prospective students get a realistic view of what it’s like to be a Cornell student,” Beach said.
Doris Davis, associate provost for Admissions and Enrollment, explained that while undergoing the admissions process prospective students are in contact with admissions officers and executive staff of the UAO.
“During Cornell Days, however, we gear programs to allow students the opportunity to meet and interact with faculty and other undergraduates; we try to expose admitted students to a wide range of things they would experience if they were to come here,” Davis said.
Peter Orschiedt, undergraduate admissions officer and co-coordinator of Cornell Days, stressed the high level of Cornell student involvement that goes into the planning of the events offered to prospective students.
“This is a very unique hosting program relative to our peer institutions, because it is student run. I’m very impressed with the Cornell students because they’re the ones that really make the difference,” Orschiedt said.
Orschiedt also highlighted the contributions of people like Chrissy Schelhas-Miller, director of the Carol Tatkon Center, and Carol Painter, undergraduate admissions officer, as Orschiedt emphasized the campus-wide involvement in the planning behind Cornell Days.
“This is by no means a one person or one office show,” he said. “But again, if I have to highlight anybody, it would be the student efforts,” Orschiedt added. Tayia Luce, administrative information specialist, and Greg Pratt ’00, CIVR staff development specialist, both emphasized the heightened excitement of CIVR during Cornell Days. The department adds extra staffing and tours in order to accommodate the range of interests of both perspective and admitted students expected to visit the campus during Cornell Days.
Over 5,000 students are expected to visit the campus throughout the month of April, Reba McCutcheon ’97, assistant director of CIVR, said.
Last Friday, April 9th, CIVR sent out 14 tours averaging 20 to 25 guests each from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
“Our staff challenged itself to give the best possible experience to our guests during this crunch-time,” Pratt said.
Pre-freshmen Tim Evans and Sabrina Rahman visited campus yesterday specifically for Cornell Days and braved the weather along the afternoon campus tour.
“This morning I sat in on a social psychology lecture and I’ve been checking out the dorms. I think Cornell Days is helpful because there are scheduled programs and events so you know what is going on across campus,” Rahman explained.
Evans, an admitted student to the College of Art, Architecture and Planning, will take advantage of the overnight hosts offered by the Cornell Red Carpet Society as he decides between Cornell’s architecture program and Rhode Island School of Design.
“Both Cornell and RISD are fantastic academically. I did a 6 week architecture program at RISD, and being here for Cornell Days, I’m hoping to gain a sense of the community and social life here,” Evans said.
Archived article by Sarah Workman
Sun Staff Writer