Your SUNY Cortland Bucket List

Your best years await as a Red Dragon.

The bucket list on this page includes things to consider doing during your time at SUNY Cortland.

These recommendations aren’t comprehensive by any stretch. You’ll do much more than what’s listed.

The video below and the items listed after it are a guide to get you thinking about the good things that will come your way in Cortland.

#1. Don’t miss Spring Fling 

Kendrick Lamar

Every year, our Student Activities Board hosts an awesome carnival and a major concert to celebrate the arrival of spring.

Past headliners such as Kendrick Lamar have gone on to win Grammy Awards. The main act for 2023 is rapper and TikTok sensation Yung Gravy.

And yes, Kendrick even wore a Cortland basketball jersey when he performed.

#2. Add a class outside of your major

Students lying in the grass

General education courses provide a strong foundation, but you should also think about taking additional classes that seem interesting to you, even if they’re not required for your degree. 

Economics 229: Personal Finance, for instance, is open to anyone tired of eating Ramen noodles and looking to learn more about topics such as insurance, car buying and saving money in the future.

#3. Introduce yourself to President Bitterbaum

Students taking selfie with President Bitterbaum

You’ll see him at almost every campus event. And if he meets you once, there’s a good chance our president will remember you for life. 

Say hi to him. You’ll soon discover that the genuine interest he takes in the success of our students is unrivaled.

#4. Go on a trip with Outdoor Pursuits

loading canoes on a trailer at Raquette Lake

If you’re interested in stepping outside of your comfort zone or you’re open to spending time outdoors, seek out this close-knit unit in the Student Life Center.

Participants regularly enjoy activities like hiking, camping and kayaking. No prior experience is necessary.

#5. Make President’s List

President Bitterbaum congratulating a student

It’s not easy to do, but students who achieve a grade of A- or better in all of their classes for a given semester earn this recognition as well as an invitation to a special ceremony.

This is a good goal for high achievers in the classroom.

#6. Join a broomball team

Broomball team

Intramural glory is real at Cortland, where 40 different leagues, tournaments and events keep our students active. 

We have the traditional sports that you’d expect – volleyball, flag football and indoor soccer – along with many others such as wiffleball, Kan Jam and the always-popular broomball.

#7. Apply for undergraduate research funding

Student and professor in a science lab

If you want to attend graduate school or succeed in a highly competitive field after graduation, then conducting original research is a great way to set yourself apart.

Fortunately, SUNY Cortland’s Undergraduate Research Council provides many opportunities for students of any major to dig deeper into their studies through travel grants, assistantships and a robust summer fellowship program.

#8. Stop by Advisement and Transition

Orientation Assistants posing for a picture

Don’t be a stranger to Memorial Library, and don’t hesitate to visit this office on its first floor. Professional staff members can answer questions about major choice, schedule adjustments and any general academic concerns that you might have.

This office also coordinates Orientation for new first-year and transfer students. Those programs include our amazing OAs pictured above.

#9. Bookmark campus activities schedules

Color run participants covered in dusty colors

Campus Activities works hard to plan inexpensive events that keep our students having fun. Think comedians, $3 movie nights, build-a-bear workshops and everything in between. Follow @cortlandnites and @cortlandsab on Instagram or view schedules for Cortland Nites or club-related events online. 

#10. Visit the Voice Office

Black Student Union students dancing

The Voice Office, located in Corey Union, serves as the regular meeting spot for our multicultural student organizations. It welcomes students from all backgrounds to share their stories and experiences.

You’ll find the door is always open. 

#11. Get to know Career Services early

Career Services staff member taking a student photo for LinkedIn

More than 85% of our students will pursue career readiness experiences each year, and internships are among the most popular outlets. Even if you aren’t yet settled on a major, Career Services can help you envision possibilities. 

This office also hosts workshops and recruitment events regularly. They’ll even take your headshot for professional networking purposes.

#12. Indulge at Moonlight Breakfast 

Faculty and staff serving students during finals week at Moonlight Breakfast

You know what’s better than breakfast in the morning? A free breakfast during a busy exams week.

Every semester around finals, you should stop by this event, where faculty and staff members serve students. All of the money raised goes to charity. And it’s a small way to keep calm before paper-writing and finals. 

#13. Cheer on our Red Dragon teams

Cheerleaders at Yankee Stadium Cortaca game

You may have heard of the Cortaca Jug game, a monumental football rivalry between Cortland and Ithaca College. The 2019 edition at MetLife Stadium set the Division III attendance record with more than 40,000 fans and the 2022 game took place at Yankee Stadium.

Cortland is home to 25 team national championships and more than 100 individual national titles. Red Dragon pride is contagious and we’re confident you’ll feel it here. 

#14. Explore the outdoors

Geology students exploring a stream

Whether you’re interested in pursuing field research on invasive species or taking in natural beauty on a trail run, these sites should be on your list of places to visit.

Lime Hollow and Hoxie Gorge both are located within a short drive of campus. Raquette Lake, in the Adirondacks, serves as home to our W.H. Parks Family Center for Outdoor and Environmental Education. It’s the only National Historic Landmark in the SUNY system.

#15. See the world

SUNY Cortland students riding camels in the desert

Our study abroad numbers speak volumes: approximately 50 programs on six continents; more than $54,000 in scholarships and exchange awards; and 1,000-plus additional experiences available through other SUNY institutions. 

If you want to take your studies overseas, our International Programs Office wants to help get you there.

#16. Take back the night

Students at a Take Back the Night rally

SUNY Cortland takes student safety and sexual assault prevention seriously. You’ll see that attitude on display at our Take Back the Night marches each semester. These events draw hundreds of students, faculty and staff members who double as awareness advocates. You’re encouraged to join them.

#17. Catch a sunset from Memorial Library

Memorial Library sunset

You’ll find helpful resources here – everything from quiet study space to technology equipment to crucial information for papers and projects. But make sure you stop by in the early evening at least once to appreciate a dynamite sunset from the third or fourth floor.

#18. Learn from alumni

Alumnus, Greg Sanky speaking to sport management majors

We want every single student to graduate and lead a fulfilling life, which is why our Alumni Engagement team hosts many different events with current students in mind – career panels, New York City business trips and workshops themed around networking. Greg Sankey ’87, commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, visited campus in 2023 to speak with sport management majors.

#19. Appreciate the student talent in Dowd

student performance of Caberet

When our Dowd Fine Arts Center received a $22 million renovation in 2014, it meant that our student performers and artists gained a physical space that matched their talents.

Make it a point to attend a major musical or browse an art exhibition at the Dowd Gallery. You won’t be disappointed.

#20. Give back

students cleaning up a yard for the Big Event

Each year, our students provide an estimated 200,000 volunteer hours through different campus clubs, partnerships and events.

Whether you tutor local schoolchildren or give up a few weekend hours at our annual Big Event, there’s a strong likelihood you’ll make a positive impact on someone’s life.

#21. Find your favorite food spot on Main Street

main street in the evening

As far as college towns go, Cortland is home to a good one. You’ll find comfortable coffee shops and local restaurants with all types of food – from traditional American to Mexican to Asian to Greek.

Sample all of them, then share your favorites with family members and friends.

#22. Join a club

Students doing yoga on the Moffett Center lawn

There are more than 90 student organizations on campus that cater to a variety of passions and interests — from writing, singing and creating artwork, to politics, religion and culture, to dozens of other topics. Attend the Student Clubs Fair near Corey Union early in each semester to find a few that might appeal to you.

#23. Introduce yourself to your R.A.

Students fist bump

When you live on campus, you join approximately 3,300 other students in 16 residence halls. These buildings also house more than 125 support staff members to help with your transition. Say hi to your resident assistants. They play a big role in creating a community of caring.

#24. Stop, relax and enjoy the moment

Graduates pose with Blaze in their caps and gowns

Your time at Cortland will fly by.

It’s important to repeat this recommendation every day.