Labor Day, a holiday meant to celebrate the United States workforce, also meant an extra long weekend for students across the nation, including Cornellians. Many students took advantage of the day off to relax and enjoy the company of their friends, while others took the time to get work done.
For the Class of 2024, this is their first Labor Day off since starting at Cornell, as classes were held on the holiday last year. And for the entire campus community, it represents a return to normal after a 2020-2021 school year with limited breaks and travel restrictions due to COVID-19 concerns.
Alfredo Con ’24 and Julián Jaramillo ’24 used the time to relax and traveled to Letchworth and Watkins Glen state parks with friends.
“I was extremely excited for the long weekend because it was my opportunity to travel outside of Ithaca for the first time,” Con said. “I couldn’t do this last year because of the COVID-19 regulations by the University banning travel.”
Lauren Greenhill ’24 said she wanted to spend time with her friends during the Labor Day weekend and enjoy the day off from classes. When grabbing dinner, she said she encountered abnormally long lines at the dining halls on West Campus. As dining halls and other campus facilities were operating as usual, University employees and student workers worked the holiday.
Claudia Leon ’23 spent their weekend reading and attending a camp out for the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ tribe in Seneca Falls to protect the people of the tribe from facing eviction.
“I felt it was really important to show up for the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ because as Cornell students we already benefit so much off their land,” Leon said. “We get to live and learn on and benefit from Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ lands while they currently can’t even live peacefully or safely.”
While Leon tried to stay COVID safe, they say they know many students left Ithaca to go to events like the Electric Zoo music festival in Randall’s Island Park over the weekend, which makes them concerned for the possibility that students were exposed to COVID.
“I just hope everyone stayed as safe as they could when they left campus,” Leon said.
Con said as long as everyone who traveled wore masks and socially distanced where possible, he is not extremely concerned about a possible rise of COVID cases.
“I’m not too concerned as of right now because Cornell does a good job of providing surveillance testing for all students,” Con said. “We can quickly identify the infected individuals after the holiday and isolate them from healthy students and supplemental testing also keeps my mind at ease.”