Students Develop Smart Note Taking System, Education Themed Software at BigRed Hacks

From Friday to Sunday, teams of programmers, designers and students from a variety of backgrounds raced against the clock to produce impactful software. BigRed Hacks, the oldest student-run hackathon at Cornell, drew upon a large number of students from across the country. “Part of what I feel our mission is, is to relieve tension and show people that you really don’t have to be a genius to have fun and learn things at hackathons. The only thing you need is the will to try,” said Jeffrey Van ’19, a student organizer at the event. Abhishek Velayudham, a sophomore majoring in computer science at the University of Maryland, College Park, reflected on what motivated him to attend the event.

Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting

GUEST ROOM | Who Needs Meaning?

When I was a junior in high school, I taught a film and media class at my former elementary school. I gathered a group of 11 year olds around a computer to write a script and asked them, “What message do you want to share to your audience?” They told me they wanted to make a movie about a dog traveling around the world; somehow dynamite and chicken wings were involved but I can’t remember how. “No, I mean what do you want the meaning to be?” I asked again. They didn’t understand what I was trying to say. They suggested dinosaurs instead of the dog.

GRANT | Cultivating Campus Based Leadership

Sometimes education is a blessing and a curse. In Lima, I admire los Cerros De Huaycán with mountains that surround the landscape. However, I cannot ignore hearing the man at the intersection catcalling the woman in the street in Spanish. In Paris, I marvel at le Champs-Élysées with its great diversity of high-end stores. But I cannot avoid the Algerian family of five asking for money in French, the young girl in her hijab with her forehead to the concrete, her arms outstretched with a cup seeking donations.

GRANT | Dear Fulbright Scholarship Applicants

Last week I caught a mistake in one of the readings for my NS 3090: Global Health Case Studies class. The article was entitled “What Can Medical Anthropology Contribute to Global Health?” by James Pfieffer and Mark Nichter. It discussed how national health systems were underperforming because of a lack of infrastructure. Together, the authors hold two bachelor’s degrees, three master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees. However, while discussing health challenges the authors grouped “Africa” in with “other resource poor countries.” Africa is a continent, not a country.

UGARTE | Trigger Warnings: Wrong place, Wrong Time

Arbitrarily, the entire premise of college is to expand one’s knowledge of the world and gain new perspective, both of which can be inhibited without open, uncensored dialogue about controversial topics. While such topics can be difficult to digest for many individuals, certain provoking topics such as sexual assault, cancer and war are the brutal realities of the world in which we live. Although it is not innately effortless to immerse oneself in discussion related to such matters, it is vital that students participate to broaden their educations and perspectives. Thus, while professors should be mindful of the ways they expose students to controversial materials (and perhaps caution students of universally graphic material), they should not be required to administer trigger warnings or options to “opt out” of “triggering” topics. College is not the time nor the place to evade disconcerting topics; allowing students to disengage with materials on the basis that they are not rationally capable of handling such discussions is inimical.