Campus Quality

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Campus Quality


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3 College Junior

Campus Quality: most facilities are at or below average (this is mostly due to the fact that the whole campus is on the national register of historic places), but many facilities are getting ugrades

3 College Junior

Campus Quality: Students seem to either become very involved or very minimally involved. Many students will end up committing to one - or several - groups or activities and spend a lot of time with those particular groups and other people associated with said groups. As a result, student life can tend to be rather clique-y. There are also students who never become committed or active in any organizations. There aren't very many students who are an in-between. Because it's a residential college in a small town, activities (club events, parties, etc. ) are typically limited to on or near campus.

Parties are a big part of student life, and drinking at parties is common and generally accepted. There is, however, no pressure to attend parties or drink; it is not a necessary part of student campus life.

Both the administration and the general student body are not very helpful to students of color. That is not to say that they are deliberately unhelpful, but rather they have not done enough to help students of color and first generation students. There is a noticeable lack of understanding when it comes to meeting the needs of these students. Additionally, the hilly campus is very unaccommodating for students with disabilities, and the facilities are not very accessible, either.

3 College Senior

Campus Quality: Only two buildings on campus have elevators or rails. Beautiful campus. Could work on a few things.

3 College Senior

Campus Quality: It's a small school, so don't expect anything super fancy, but the updated student center is nice and everything else is perfectly functional.

5 College Senior

Campus Quality: One Course At A Time truly changes your life for the better. One of the school slogans that really holds up is "I can do anything in 18 days."


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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The entirety of Cornell’s campus is listed on the National Historic Register, which translates into beautiful trees and old brick buildings full of character. From College Hall, which was built by students, faculty, and community members, to Old Sem, with a fire escape to a non-existent fourth floor, many of the buildings at Cornell have interesting quirks. But historic charm on the outside doesn’t mean outdated interiors. Many of the academic and administrative buildings have been updated, boasting clean, modern finishes and smart classrooms. Science facilities include a cadaver lab and a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, while Kimmel Theater features the latest in production technology. Two of the residence halls were built within the last five years and offer suite-style living. Two others have been recently remodeled, but the rest are all in need of a facelift.

Plans are in the works for a much-needed renovation and expansion of The Commons, the student center which houses the dining hall, student mail services, classrooms, meeting spaces, and a workout center. The Small Multi-Sport Center features a newly remodeled wrestling center and refinished indoor track. Cole Library serves both Cornell’s campus and the Mount Vernon community, so the shelves are stocked with a wide variety of both academic and fiction books. Computer labs, an academic media lab, and writing studio (in addition to an Inter-Library Loan program) provide further support for students. Though Cornell doesn’t offer entertainment in the way of a movie theater or bowling alley, both are available in town, just a few blocks away.

Facts & Statistics

Service & Maintenance Staff
Campus Size
129 acres
Student Centers
The Commons
Campus Library?
Main Libraries
Cole Library
Popular Places to Chill
  • Ink Pond
  • The Orange Carpet (OC)
  • Ped Mall Amphitheater
  • The Rathskeller (Ratt)
Bar on Campus
Bowling on Campus
Coffeehouse on Campus
The Rathskeller (Ratt), The Commons
Movie Theater on Campus
"Green" Initiatives
Cornell is steadily making progress on a number of "green" initiatives. The recycling program has been reinvigorated with receptacles in each dorm for various recyclable materials, and the dining hall has switched to using biodegradable containers for carry-out meals. The construction of the newest residence hall, Clock Tower, included a number of LEED standards and resulted in an 18.8 percent electric savings and 27.1 percent gas savings. Energy efficiency was one of the goals in the recent renovations of Pfeiffer, Cole Library, and Rood House, and plans for future renovations and additions will incorporate similar measures. Additionally, the Energy Management Committee is developing a comprehensive plan to reduce energy use across campus.
School Slang
  • 15 Day Drop: This refers to the withdrawal from a course on the 15th day of the block.
  • Accommodations : This refers to when students are able to add classes to their schedule for terms they were unable to get into during the normal registration period.
  • Bidding: Students use points to "bid" on courses that may fill up during registration. Generally, students have a total of 10 points per number of terms for which they are registering.
  • Block: Also known as a term, this refers to the three and a half weeks scheduled for each course.
  • The Commons: Cornell's Student Center-the main hub of campus.
  • CR: Cedar Rapids-located just 20 minutes away.
  • IC: Iowa City-located just 30 minutes away.
  • Kiosk: Three cement pillars located outside of Bowman-Carter facing The Commons. These are painted by students to advertise for events and send messages to friends and are one of two places on campus it is legal to graffiti.
  • NSO: New Student Orientation
  • OC: Orange Carpet-located on the second floor of The Commons.
  • OCAAT: One Course At A Time, also known as "the block plan."
  • PA: Peer Advisor, a person who helps lead new students during NSO.
  • PAAC: Performing Arts and Activities Council-plans activities like comedians and bands for the student body.
  • RA: Resident Assistant-there is typically one per floor in each residence hall.
  • RATT: The Rathskeller-The cafĂ© on the second floor of The Commons, and the only other place to eat on campus besides the dining hall.
  • Scramble: The area in Sodexho where food is served. There are no lines and don't even think about using a tray.
  • Sodexho: The dining service provider at Cornell -also refers to the dining hall or cafeteria in The Commons.
  • Validation: The process for handling all enrollment details for incoming students in one place, at one time, and without long lines.
  • The Moose on the Wall: A resident of Law Hall since 1925, the stuffed moose head on the wall presides over a student lounge which bears its name-Moosehead-and has been known to receive postcards from admirers.
  • Move-in day: The first day of NSO, Cornell's fall athletes and student leaders gather to help new students move in to the residence halls. That's right-you won't have to carry all your things up to that fourth floor room, but you will have to move it all out in the spring.
  • The Rock: Since first coming to campus in 1889 by horse and wagon, this 5,000-pound granite boulder has been relocated, painted, burned, buried, and a lot more. Today, the Rock resides behind Old Sem and is fair game for anyone with a can of paint.
  • Toilet Paper Toss: Cornell's rivalry with Coe College in Cedar Rapids is the oldest athletic rivalry west of the Mississippi and has led to a few interesting traditions. For instance, each year, Ram fans celebrate the men's basketball team's first home basket of the year against Coe by filling the court with toilet paper streamers.
Urban Legends
  • Bowman-Carter (the oldest all-women's dorm west of the Mississippi) is haunted.
  • If you sit under the ginkgo tree in the President's yard and look into a mirror at midnight when there is a full moon, you will see the face of the person you will marry.
Favorite Things To Do
Cornell's numerous student organizations host a plethora of events throughout the school year. From carnivals on the Ped Mall to bands on the OC, there is almost always something to do. Aside from organized events, most students hang out in the dorms or The Commons. When the weather is warm enough, the amphitheater fills with groups of students studying or talking and soaking up the sun.
Student Organizations Web Site
Student Newspaper
Clubs and Organizations on Campus
Cornell has an organization for almost any interest, from club sports and religious groups to organizations focused on diversity or politics. And if you find a gap, all you need to do is petition student senate to receive the funding to get a new one going. Most students are involved in at least a couple of different organizations on campus.
Student Activities Offered
  • Campus ministries
  • Choral groups
  • Concert band
  • Dance
  • Drama/theater
  • International student organizations
  • Jazz band
  • Literary magazine
  • Music ensembles
  • Musical theater
  • Opera
  • Radio station
  • Student government
  • Student newspaper
  • Symphony orchestra
Air Force ROTC: No
Navy ROTC: No
Army ROTC: No
Did You Know?
Cornell has more than 100 different organizations-take your pick!

Student Polls

Rate the campus facilities in the following areas    Based on 35 responses

Very poor
  • Athletics/recreation
  • Classrooms
  • Computer labs
  • Dining
  • General aesthetics/architecture of campus
  • "Green" buildings/initiatives
  • Housing
  • Lawns/green space
  • Library
  • Modernity of facilities
  • Performing arts
  • Science/research labs
  • Student center
  • Study spots
  • Visual arts (work spaces, galleries)

How would you describe the student center/union?    Based on 41 responses

  • 29% The student center is state-of-the-art and the hub of student life.
  • 34% The student center is great but isn't central to student life.
  • 20% The student center serves its purpose but is not a popular hangout.
  • 17% The student center is in need of a major renovation.

What is your overall opinion of your school and the campus community?    Based on 30 responses

  • 13% I love everything about my school and have a lot of campus pride.
  • 73% I like mostly everything about my school, but there are some things I wish were different.
  • 7% The school community is okay-we're all just here for an education, nothing more.
  • 7% I hate my school and have no school spirit.



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