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Your SUNY Cortland Bucket List

Old Main banner photo

This is a bucket list for future Red Dragons — things to consider doing during your time at SUNY Cortland.

These recommendations are not comprehensive by any stretch. You’ll do much more than what’s listed here.

This is simply a guide to get you thinking about all of 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 have gone on to win Grammy Awards (Kendrick Lamar), entertain Super Bowl halftime crowds (Black Eyed Peas) and top the Billboard charts (Big Sean).

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

#2. Add a class outside of your major

CAP classroom

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

President Bitterbaum selfie

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

Outdoor Pursuits

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

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

Also make note of the Adirondack Trail Blazers Program, a special orientation trip open to all new students.

#5. Make President’s List

Honors Convocation

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


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

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows

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

Advisement and Transition

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.

#9. Bookmark the Cortland Nites schedule 

SAB Carnival

“There’s nothing to do here.” You should never say those words at SUNY Cortland. If you do, then something might be wrong.

Campus Activities works hard to plan inexpensive events that keep our students having fun, especially on the weekends. Think comedians, $3 movie nights, build-a-bear workshops and everything in between. 

#10. Visit the Voice Office

Kente Celebration

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

Teacher Recruitment Days

Approximately 80 percent of our students will pursue hands-on learning opportunities each year, and internships are among the most popular experiences. Even if you aren’t yet settled on a major – which is way more common than you think, by the way – Career Services can help by narrowing your focus.

This office also hosts workshops and recruitment events regularly. Don’t wait until your senior year to attend them.

#12. Indulge at Midnight Breakfast 

Midnight Breakfast

You know what’s better than breakfast at night? Breakfast for $1 at night.

Every semester before finals week, 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 at a sporting event other than Cortaca

baseball celebration

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 takes 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

Raquette Lake

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

study abroad

Our study abroad numbers speak volumes: 40-plus college programs on six continents; more than $54,000 in scholarships and exchange awards; and 600 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

Take Back the Night

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. Network with alumni

alumni networking event

When we say that SUNY Cortland is committed to your lifelong success, it’s not just lip service.

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.

#19. Appreciate the student talent in Dowd

musical theatre

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

community service

Do good; learn well. That’s the motto of our Institute for Civic Engagement, a campus office that helps students find the volunteer efforts and advocacy causes matching their interests. 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


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


There are more than 70 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 the fall semester to find a few that might appeal to you.

#23. Introduce yourself to your R.A.


When you live on campus, you join approximately 3,300 other students in 17 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


Your time at Cortland will fly by.

It’s important to repeat this recommendation every day.

Contact us

Undergraduate Admissions
SUNY Cortland
P.O. Box 2000
Cortland, NY 13045
Phone: 607-753-4711
Fax: 607-753-5998

Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.