Guest Room

GUEST ROOM | Democracy, Diversity and Earth Day

I grew up in Ithaca, graduated from Cornell 34 years ago, and return this weekend to participate in the Ivy Policy Conference which concludes on Sunday, the 48th Earth Day.  That confluence of personal, educational, professional and societal milestones gives one pause to consider just how much I personally, and we collectively, have learned about the health of the planet, and about our ability — and most importantly our interest — to help it. The dire situation that the planet is in peril is not in question.  Human caused climate change is a fact (sorry, fake news enthusiasts), and it is causing increasingly costly impacts on everything from agriculture, to forest health, to human health.  That is not to say greenhouse gas emissions and global warming is the only environmental crisis: plastic pollution killing marine species; dumping water and air toxics in predominantly poor and minority areas; our addiction to pesticides; and our seemingly obsessive fixation on consumerism, are but a few of the other challenges we face.

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DANBERG BIGGS | Secret Societies Shouldn’t Be Secret

Just visually, secret societies at Cornell are a bit jarring. One meets at the top of a stone tower, while another claims an Egyptian style tomb sitting above a gorge. At least two encourage their members to buy and wear hundred dollar rings. I think there are robes involved, and maybe some shouting, but I honestly can’t be sure. They feel like a bit of a vestigial structure, an echo of the kind of University that Cornell used to be.

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LIEBERMAN | What We Leave Behind

It always comes on a day when everyone’s busy, not hectic busy, but dredging through the week busy. It always comes on a day when I have a lot of objectively important things to be doing. Today, it’s an assignment in the archives, and I’m obsessing over these old, crinkly papers that are tied up in white thread and then covered in younger, crinkly paper. I’ve spent hours staring at cursive writing I know that I have no chance of deciphering. I’m trying to find what was left: an inventory.

Prof. Katherine McComas, Ph.D. ’00, communication, will serve as vice provost for engagement and land grant affairs.

Katherine McComas Appointed Vice Provost for Engagement and Land Grant Affairs

McComas’ new responsibilities after July 1st will include serving as an advocate for Cornell’s role as the land-grant university for New York state, monitoring and collaborating on responses to the governor’s initiatives in higher education and economic development, and representing the university’s four contract colleges in dealings with the State University of New York.