GUEST ROOM | Make Them Represent You

As of April 6, Cornellians have endured a full year of online classes, a substantially increased workload and a debilitating feeling of powerlessness throughout this ongoing pandemic.  From April 27-30, an opportunity to take back some of that power and make your voice heard will present itself and I highly recommend every Cornellian does so. Elections for the Board of Trustees, University Assembly and Student Assembly will be held from noon on April 28 to 5pm on April 30.  This is your opportunity to reclaim some of the power taken by  the pandemic.  Cornell separates itself from thousands of other US universities by providing students with a system of shared governance where their  voices are heard and  millions of dollars are dedicated to make sure that change occurs as a result of those voices. I ask you all to think about what frustrates you most at the moment.  A lack of time and chance to take a break?  The University Assembly combines the voices of students, employees and faculty to elevate these concerns to the Faculty Senate and decide how many days off we receive.  Not enough money being put into mental and physical health services?  The Board of Trustees directly decides how all of our money is spent and could shift finances in one vote.  Wish minor finances such as printing and laundry were free?  The Student Assembly has already made printing free for the coming semester and laundry services are in talks with housing. I understand the feelings of detachment from our shared governance bodies that many of you believe are not representative of Cornellians.  This is your opportunity to make them represent you.  For the first time in years, all undergraduate seats in Cornell’s shared governance system will be filled after this election; not a single seat will be left open for a special election next semester.  Twice as many seats and twice as many races are contested.  You have the opportunity to make your voice heard throughout Cornell and show the administration, the city of Ithaca and the country what Cornellians stand for by voting.  This time you have choices, take advantage of that. 

The Elections Committee has made it easier to vote this time around.  You will receive an email on Tuesday, April 28.  Click it to vote.  

You will see QR codes in the dining halls, dorms and surveillance testing sites.  Scan them to vote.  

You will see all over social media links to vote.  Press them and vote.  

Voting will take you five minutes and there is no need to register, request an absentee ballot or wait in line. Compared to other universities, Cornell has one of the lowest voter turnout rates in both Student Assembly and national polls.

ONONYE | Can “Chick Flicks” be Feminist?

Last week I hosted a dorm event in Flora Rose House about romantic comedies titled “Can ‘Chick Flicks’ be Feminist?” As an Undergraduate Resident Fellow, I usually tailor my semester events to conversations about gender justice and equity. Romantic comedies are my favorite movie genre and I was interested to see what other residents thought about the idea. We had a great discussion ranging from whether the term “chick flick” is misogynist to tropes in the genre that promote fatphobia, racism and homophobia. 

Romantic comedies are (more often than not) a place to get strong and independent female fictional protagonists. Elle Woods (Legally Blonde) is a strong advocate for her friends, a harassment survivor and a powerful attorney. Andy Sachs (The Devil Wears Prada) abandons a life of fashion glamour to pursue a career in journalism.

LORENZEN | One Month Left — Don’t Let It Pass You By

You’ve got three assignments due tomorrow, a full slate of Zoom meetings for the rest of the day, half a dozen internship applications still yet to be sent into the career portal void, a small mountain of laundry assembling around the foot of your bed and social plans tonight which you don’t really have time for—it’s that point of the semester. Luckily, you’ve had your two meager wellness days which have certainly recharged your batteries in much the same way that scooping a cup of water out of the ocean will stop rising sea levels. Buckle up, it’s the last month of the semester. As we enter these next few chaotic weeks, it’s important to pause and take a step back before diving into the academic fray. Beyond taking the time for the usual self-care of buying a new succulent and an embarrassing amount of frozen food at Trader Joe’s, we need to take a moment to recognize the mental consequences of the stress to come.

TAARIQ-SIDIBE | Working Nine to Five

As a graduating senior actively on the job search, what the future conditions of my career will be have been at the forefront of my mind. Besides the overachieving amount of academic and extracurricular work I have engaged in throughout high school and college, I have also worked paying jobs since I was 15. This has included positions in restaurants, retail stores, events, administrative offices, computer databases and NGO’s. I worked not only as a means of professional and skill development, but also for my livelihood. Being financially independent means that the only way to receive the things I need is to work for it.

DELGADO | White, White-Passing, White-Washed

Phrases like “you’re not Latino” and “you look so white” have plagued my form of self, stemming back to my youth. I never truly understood the gravity of these misconceptions, so I tended to shrug them off without much thought. As the years went on, it became increasingly transparent that my white-passing token wasn’t as effective as it was made out to be.

EDITORIAL | Cornell, Give Us a Break

On the eve of the second batch of Wellness Days, Cornell students are begging for more. With just two days off to make a four-day weekend, this break comes as a slap in the face. We are 13 months into a pandemic — sitting behind a screen and calling it school, convincing ourselves that we’re fine. But as a community, we have carved out no substantial space for the tremendous amount of pain students, faculty and staff are feeling. In a normal semester, Cornell would carve out seven full days off.

CHANG | Burn It, Baby

Last week, I took a look at my step counter for the first time in a while. It was a tragedy. Every year of college has significantly decreased the number of steps I take in a day, on average. Although I’m a statistics major and I know correlation isn’t causation, I’m pretty sure I can tell you that I’m less healthy. This is my (and your) annual reminder to get some exercise and take care of our physical health.

BERNSTEIN | Start Planning Your Summer Road Trip

Let’s assume you’re fully vaccinated. This article is not devoted to why you should get vaccinated — there are others that are; it is, however, a take designed only for those who have achieved some higher level of immunity to COVID-19, or who intend on reaching that immunity by the summertime. And when summertime comes, so too will a new sense of freedom unfelt for over a year. This summer, the leaves will feel greener. The air will be crisper, the fields will be more open and the roads will be less traveled than we’ve ever seen them.

YAO | The Class of 2024 Deserves More

In the fall of 2019, I spent my orientation attending as many events as I could pack into my schedule, exchanging chatter and contact information with anyone and everyone I met, and walking over 20,000 steps each day before collapsing, exhausted but giddy, into my bed. 

The Class of 2020, on the other hand, saw their classmates for the first time as little squares on a computer screen. Students on campus were greeted not by President Pollack’s Schoellkopf Field speech, but by a quarantine period before being allowed to venture out onto the school grounds. Those students studying at home know even less about the atmosphere of the Cornell campus, about the first late-night foray into Bear Necessities and those initial awkward dorm room conversations. 

Their college firsts have been disrupted in so many other ways as well. All classes have been modified to accommodate the new online format. I don’t care how much you love your major –– it’s hard to feel passionate about anything after you’ve been staring at a computer screen for six hours in a row, five days a week.

LIM | Comfortably Numb

Some of this numbness is the result of excess. I remember many of my semesters at Cornell were filled with attempts to maximize experiences: I took as many classes as I could and joined as many clubs as my schedule could fit. I don’t expect my specific brand of overenthusiastic frenzy to have been universal, but the belief that quantity determined the quality of my experiences ironically ended up restricting what I could take away from each one.