This past weekend was homecoming at Cornell, and it was even more hyped than usual because this year is Cornell’s sesquicentennial (say what?). The “150th” has been very visible around campus, from t-shirts to chalk art to random pumpkins; apparently, it’s a cause worth celebrating! And celebrate it we did/shall (because of course the celebration will last for the entire academic year and probably longer).
I’ll start off by pointing out that homecoming at Cornell is very different than homecoming at most other schools. Unlike at some of the bigger state schools, sports aren’t big to begin with; on a certain Monday not long ago, my roommate said to me, “So apparently there was a football game this weekend?” and I wasn’t at all surprised that there was little/no hype about it. This might be due to the fact that Ivy League sports (namely football) are notorious for being… well… not good, but a larger part of this dynamic is the general disinterest among students. Hockey, on the other hand, is another story, but that’s beside the point. Athletes aside, I’d venture to say that we didn’t come here for the sports.
On Friday night, there was a fireworks/laser light show extravaganza featuring student group performances and appearances by the mayor of Ithaca (and Cornell grad himself), Svante Myrick, and the newly appointed President of the University, Elizabeth Garrett. The “laser light show” was frankly just kind of lame, but I was truly impressed by the fireworks. They were awesome. And then, of course, there were the typical weekend parties in Collegetown (if that’s your thing), at which homecoming is merely an excuse for students to get even more drunk than usual.
The game was Saturday, yet I heard more talk about the free t-shirts than the game itself. When we arrived, the stands were pretty much full (weirdly enough, the visiting team also sat on our side, leaving the visitor’s side completely empty). However, Lehigh racked up points quickly, and with every touchdown, more and more people got up to leave. Though I suspected it before, I came to the conclusion that Cornell football is a joke. The punchline of every joke, to be specific. Nobody really expected to do well or win, but I was kind of shocked by the crappiness of some of the plays (coming from a total football amateur who spent more time looking at her phone than the actual game, I’m not sure this statement holds much weight). By the time my friends and I decided to head out, about half of the spectators had already done so. It’s only kind of a shame because we started doing better, but we still lost in the end. That would make zero wins for the Cornell football team this season. Sorry, fellas.
Saturday night, there was a Grace Potter/Iconapop concert, but seeing as tickets sold out before I even decided whether I wanted to go or not, I missed the boat on that one. I hear it was a great show, and Iconapop even re-grammed (?) my friend’s picture!
Of course, events for returning alumni were spread throughout the weekend, which I’m sure would’ve been cool. Yet for us current students, homecoming turned out to be just like every other weekend. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy myself; I missed a ballroom competition at Princeton for it, but I figured that I needed to experience at least one homecoming, and when better to do it than the sesquicentennial? No, it didn’t blow me out of the water, but I had a pretty good time overall. And, hey, I got a free t-shirt!