The SUNY Cortland campus during a pandemic is a little like a calm day on the ocean. There’s not much visibly happening on the surface, but down below, where it’s hard to see, there’s a world of interesting activity.
The question is, how can students figure out when something they might be interested in is going on?
The answer, for many students, is Cortland Connect, a student-run website with listings for campus interest groups and public events, as well as detailed descriptions of the many different organizations.
This Student Government Association initiative was implemented nearly five years ago. But when the campus was forced to shift online last spring, the website gained new importance.
“The purpose of Cortland Connect is to help manage the SUNY Cortland Student Government Association-recognized organizations and to help students get involved and engaged at Cortland,” said Mary Kate Morris ’06, associate director of campus activities for leadership and community. “Students can benefit by participating in upcoming events and joining campus organizations.”
Students can generally find what they are looking for through two of the site’s primary tabs.
It may feel intimidating to seek out new opportunities on campus, but Cortland Connect provides students a guide to 85 different organizations. Getting involved on campus is a great way for students to find their comfort zone, especially in a largely virtual environment. Dozens of interests are reflected under the Organizations tab, ranging from A Cappella to WSUC to Greek life and more. Most, such as Math Club or Gospel Choir, are self-explanatory. Some, however, may require some explanation, such as Curly Kinky Coily or Female Force.
For example, Best Buddies is a club that is dedicated to forming friendships with peers who have intellectual or developmental disabilities.
“In a normal world, we would go play mini golf, bowling, or have karaoke nights,” said Olivia Thresher, treasurer of Best Buddies. “Despite the pandemic, we hold all events over Zoom and do Pictionary and trivia nights to engage the buddies and the members. Most of the draw in is mainly through our Instagram page, but I keep our Cortland Connect page updated throughout the semester for students.”
Students can also conduct interest meetings to see whether enough students respond as a justification for the work involved in starting a new club, which must be approved by SGA.
Students who are wondering what’s going on throughout the campus community in the solitude of their rooms can visit the site’s Events tab. Here you can find all of the upcoming events hosted by student organizations, most of which are currently done virtually. There are descriptions for every event as well as online location instructions.
For example, an event titled “The Office Trivia Night” took place March 7, the day before a virtual question-and-answer session with Leslie David Baker, the actor who played Stanley on “The Office.”
“Students that attended the event experienced a Kahoot-based trivia,” said Matt Leto, assistant director of student activities. “In addition, we provided our winners with ‘The Office’-related prizes rather than Cortland merchandise that other organizations had rewarded others with.”
Some upcoming events include a Thursday, March 25 Trivia Night hosted by the Non-Traditional Student Association, a Friday, March 26 mini-garden activity hosted by the Student Activities Board and a Monday, March 29 Caribbean and African music event by the Caribbean Student Association.
Prepared by Communications Office writing intern Jenna Donofrio