This Saturday, new Cornell students will be welcomed to life in downtown Ithaca with performances by on-campus groups and in-store activities during the University’s third-annual C.U. Downtown.
C.U. Downtown is organized by the Cornell Tatkon Center and Downtown Ithaca Alliance, a nonprofit Business Improvement District working on behalf of the Ithaca downtown area. This annual event attracted an estimated 3,400 people last year, according to Margherita Fabrizio, The Jack and Rilla Neafsey Director of the Carol Tatkon Center for First-Year Students.
“This is the third annual event and it promises to be even more fun than ever,” Fabrizio said.
There will be non-stop student performances from 1 to 5 p.m. this Saturday. Fourteen Cornell student groups will perform at C.U. Downtown, including Cornell Big Red Raas, CU Jazz Voices and Yamatai according to the event’s Facebook page. The performances will take place at the Bernie Milton Pavilion downtown.
“We also invited the Fall Creek Brass Band, a local band with a large following, and members of the Cornell Marching and Pep Bands will be joining them and playing the last songs of the day together,” Fabrizio told The Sun.
In addition to student performances, C.U. Downtown also partnered with downtown Ithaca businesses to host in-store activities, provide product and food samples and offer specials shopping deals, according to Allison Graffin, Marketing Director of Downtown Ithaca Alliance.
“These shops are in places downtown like Press Bay Alley, Dewitt Mall, the Gateway Commons, Aurora Street — which most know as Restaurant Row, and of course on the Ithaca Commons,” Graffin said. She encouraged students to explore what the Ithaca community has to offer in the downtown area and beyond.
“So often business owners downtown hear from students comments like, ‘I wish I had known you existed before my graduation,’” Graffin told The Sun in an email, “C.U. Downtown is an opportunity to help students familiarize themselves with downtown, and it is a way for students to discover their favorite places earlier and enjoy them throughout their entire time in Ithaca.”
Youhan Yuan ’21 said C.U. Downtown was the first time he felt “belongingness,” when he went.
While C.U. Downtown was conceived as a program to introduce first-year and transfer students to Ithaca, Fabrizio stressed that this was not the sole purpose of the event.
“It’s just as much about inviting returning students to take another look at Ithaca and discover all that it is,” Fabrizio said. “Four years go very quickly.”
C.U. Downtown also partnered with Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit to provide extra transportation support. TCAT will run extra buses on Saturday to provide continuous shuttles every 10 to 15 minutes, taking students directly to the downtown area, according to Fabrizio.
“[C.U. Downtown] is a way to make the University and off campus community feel more connected and celebrate together the start of the academic year and our diversity as a community,” Fabrizio said.