After a two-year hiatus, C.U. Downtown, a cultural staple of the University, is returning to welcome new and returning students into Ithaca this Saturday, Sept. 10 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
C.U. Downtown started in 2016 to bridge Cornell’s campus and the city of Ithaca. This event gives freshmen the ability to experience the Commons for the first time and feel more connected with the community, however, the event has transcended that idea to now make students of all years feel connected to the city.
In years past, C.U. Downtown has included various performances from groups such as Cornell Big Red Raas, C.U. Jazz Voices, Yamatai and local Ithaca bands. This year’s performances will take place at the Bernie Milton Pavilion downtown.
In 2019, C.U. Downtown drew a crowd of professors, students and community members for an experience to further familiarize themselves with downtown Ithaca. Many students who attended at the time said they felt “belongingness.” In 2017, the event garnered an estimated 3,400 people, and that number only rose each year.
“I am super excited,” Laura Lee ’24 said. “It sounds like such a fun way to get involved in the greater Ithaca community.”
C.U. Downtown is partnering with local businesses to host in-store activities while also providing product, food samples and special shopping deals.
Ella Bormet ’24 expressed enthusiasm and joy about the return of this Cornell tradition.
Bormet believes C.U. Downtown is a great way for the local Ithaca businesses to receive exposure through inclusion in the University tradition.
Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit will continue to partner with C.U. Downtown this year to provide free bus shuttles running from North Campus to the commons continuing throughout the afternoon. Residential halls will also help students find their way to the commons, either through walking or bus groups.
The first 1,000 attendees will receive free apple cider and donuts.
“I think it’s so sick that there are free apple cider and donuts for the first 1,000 attendees,” Bormet said. “This seems like a really important event for freshmen to engage with the local community outside of Cornell.”
The event is co-sponsored by the Tatkon Center for New Students, Ithaca Downtown Alliance, TCAT, Campus Activities and Off-Campus living. Students will be able to explore Ithaca and see student performances starting at 1 p.m.
Sofia Rubinson ’24 contributed reporting.