For most college students, the end of the school year means finals, studying and the beginning of summer. For Cornellians, it also means Slope Day, the beloved Cornell tradition celebrating the end of the academic year with a raucous outdoor concert. After two years of pandemic-altered Slope Days — one completely canceled in 2020 and the other in 2021 held virtually — the concert will once again be fully in-person on Ho Plaza and Libe Slope on May 11.
“We are super excited,” said Christy Atangana ’22, executive director of the Slope Day Programming Board. “There are so many members of our community who have never seen Slope Day and don’t know what to expect. We hope that we can provide them with a lovely introduction to such a cherished Cornell tradition.”
Atangana added that though an in-person Slope Day is something of a return to normalcy, SDPB is still taking precautions in light of COVID-19, including limiting attendance to current Cornell students, staff and faculty and following University public health policies.
Still, first-years who have never experienced Slope Day — virtual or otherwise — are looking forward to the event.
“Slope Day seems kind of like the quintessential Cornell experience,” said Beth Polito ’25. “It’s a chance for people to kind of de-stress, right in the middle of a busy time of the year, and kind of celebrate finishing everything. And I’m super excited for that aspect of it.”
According to Atangana, SDPB plans to provide the Cornell community with three events to choose from on May 11: Slope Day concerts on Libe Slope; Slope Fest snacks, games, activities and student performances in the style of a festival on Ho Plaza; and an Alternate Slope Day where Cornellians who desire a less boisterous environment will go to the Outdoors Education Camp to climb through rope courses.
To determine which student group will perform at Slope Fest, SDPB, along with its multiple campus partners — including the Cornell Department of Music and the Cornell Concert Commission — organized Cornell’s Big Red Icon competition. Six bands performed at Bailey Hall on March 3, and students can vote on their favorite performance until April 11. The winning band will play a set on the Slope Fest Icon Stage on Ho Plaza.
For Polito, the student performance is an exciting part of the Slope Day experience.
“[The Big Red Icon Performance] was actually extremely fun and made me really excited to go to Slope Day — even more so than I had been before — because [I saw] the energy and the excitement that the students were putting into the act,” Polito said. “I think that’s a really cool way that they’re bringing the community together.”
Ilan Piker ’22, who attended an in-person, pre-pandemic Slope Day in 2019, remembers the event as a celebration of the Cornell community.
“It was just how everyone kind of came together … The whole community basically came together and we were all having block parties and just a bunch of stuff preparing for Slope Day,” Piker said. “Going to the Slope, you see everyone you know.”
For Slope Day 2022, Piker said he hopes the community engages to the fullest.
“Get excited. Bring everyone, meet new people and enjoy the music — and let’s hope it just becomes the best thing it can be,” Piker said.
According to Atangana, SDPB will release more information — including event logistics and the headlining artists — in the next few weeks. Cornellians will be able to access this information on the Slope Day website and Slope Day social media accounts on Instagram and Facebook.