Courtesy of Cornell University/Lindsay France

Law school students experiencing the Hoffman Challenge Course.

May 9, 2023

Alternative Slope Day Provides Students the Opportunity to Spend the Day Off-Campus

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As throngs of students gather on Libe Slope to participate in Cornell’s annual Slope Day this Wednesday, the Campus Activities and Slope Day Programming Board will also holding their Alternative Slope Day option alongside the concert series, providing students the opportunity to spend the day participating in a challenge course off campus. 

Funded fully by the Student Assembly, Campus Activities and Cornell Outdoor Education worked closely to offer spots to spend the day at the Hoffman Challenge Course, COE’s ropes course facility in Freeville, New York. 

According to Sylvie Froncek, leadership programs coordinator of the Cornell Team and Leadership Center, Alternative Slope Day features high element ropes course activities — including a 200-foot zip line, a 60-foot rock climbing wall and 50 feet of dangling beams. There are three different sessions for the event, and transportation via bus will be provided.

“Every participant is given opportunities to challenge themselves and push past their perceived limits, but no one is pressured to do anything that they don’t feel comfortable trying,” Froncek said. 

The first Alternative to Slope Day was hosted in Spring 2008. 

Alternative Slope Day was thought of by colleagues in Cornell Health who wanted to provide an alternative activity for students who wanted a different type of activity on Slope Day, according to Denice Cassaro, assistant director of Campus Activities. This event has grown from 60 to 150 student participants, and there is even a waiting list to join the event. 

According to Froncek, a wide range of students choose to attend the Alternative Slope Day program. 

“It ranges from students who aren’t interested in traditional Slope Day festivities to students who want to spend a beautiful day outdoors climbing in the trees,” Froncek said. “Some students sign up with a friend as a way to celebrate the end of the semester with a zip line adrenaline rush, [while] others sign up solo and meet new friends for the first time 35-feet up on the Catwalk balance beam in an epic pool noodle duel.”

“I’m not interested in drinking or partying or being in the crowd on slope day. Just not what I find fun,” said Lauren Kelly ’24, who is currently on a waiting list to attend Alternative Slope Day. “This provides a possibly fun alternative that still lets you do something special with your friends.

Throughout the year, the Hoffman Challenge Course is booked by groups at Cornell and beyond who are interested in building stronger teams and relationships.

“The purpose of Alternative Slope Day is to provide a meaningful and fun experience to students who want to get outdoors and try something new,” Froncek said. “Cornell’s Hoffman Challenge Course is a learning laboratory where people stretch their comfort zones, practice interpersonal skills and develop their leadership through facilitated challenges.”