U.A. Votes to Create Gender Inclusive Restrooms

The University Assembly voted 9-0 to expand restroom accommodations for members of Cornell’s transgender community and discussed increasing student and faculty representation in administrative discussions on Cornell’s sustainability policy in a meeting Tuesday. The resolution, which was presented by U.A. executive committee member Ulysses Smith ’14, calls for the conversion of single person bathrooms to be “gender inclusive” and urges Cornell to pursue a formal policy or issue a statement that says “all people can use the restroom that coincides with the gender to which they identify.”
If the resolution is approved by President Elizabeth Garrett, all single person bathrooms at the University would be converted to be “all gender inclusive” by the beginning of the fall 2016 semester, given that it is permitted by law, according to Smith. The U.A. then voted to take action in January to create a mechanism to appoint individuals to represent the interests of students and faculty members in senior-level University discussions on sustainability policies and climate change. Faculty representative Prof. Martin Hatch, music, prompted this vote, arguing that the University has been active enough in shaping Cornell’s climate change policy. Hatch cited the weakness of the U.A.’s sustainability committee, which was created in 2007, and the exclusivity of today’s Senior Leaders Climate Action group in his complaint that the Cornell community has not taken meaningful steps toward addressing sustainability issues.

Campaign Highlights First Generation Students

“In the face of adversity as a first generation student, I have come out on top,” reads one blurb highlighted in a Cornell First in Class’ photo campaign, which launched last Friday. The new organization — sponsored by Cornell’s Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives — aims to serve the unique needs of first generation students, or students whose parents never attended an institution of higher education. The program consists of hired first generation student mobilizers responsible for leading the initiative and a general body of first generation students intended to both help and benefit from Cornell First in Class, according to Frank Chan ’18, technology head of the organization. “[The program] is trying to build a community of first generation students that really emphasizes support for one another,” Chan said. Cornell First in Class will create this support through programs such as a textbook lending library, a for-credit course geared towards teaching first generation students about Cornell resources and a photo campaign which launched last Friday, according to Eddy Medina ’17, the outreach head.

Cornell to Provide Pre-College Services to Ithaca Students

With a $198,000 state grant and nearly $50,000 from the University, Cornell’s Public Service Center is coordinating a Science and Technology Entry Program to begin in January that will provide pre-college services to 99 disadvantaged students across Ithaca over the next five years. The grant, which comes as part of the New York State Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP), allows Cornell to join a coalition of 58 colleges and universities around New York also working to expand higher education opportunities for disadvantaged middle and high school students. The Public Service Center’s program will serve local students at DeWitt Middle School, Boynton Middle School and Ithaca High School over the next five years, according to Jana Leyden, the program’s assistant director. In addition to the $198,000 grant from the New York State Department of Education, the University will match 25 percent of the state funds, Leyden said. Both the state grant and the University’s funding are renewable annually for the next five years.

Student Organization Promotes Sustainable Food Solutions

This week, student organization Real Food Cornell is hosting the second annual Cornell Food Days in order to promote sustainable and ethical food solutions on campus. The three-day event kicked off Tuesday with “A Greener Dinner” at Okenshields Dining Hall where students, faculty and other members of the Cornell community sat down to both sample sustainably and ethically produced plant-based foods and learn about a variety of issues related to food production. The dinner was followed by a Wednesday event called “Scary Ugly Foods,” which featured demonstrations and sampling of sustainable food production at Dilmun Hill Student Farm. Students could taste a variety of edible applications of foods that tend to be wasted in food manufacturing, which included final products such as juice, cider and smoothies. Cornell Food Days will conclude Thursday night at Martha Van Rensselaer Hall with a training session where students will share recipes and ideas about sustainable food at home or in the dorm room.