The Cornell Quaranzine

Supporting Your Well-being - Fall 2020


Dear Community,

We are less than a week away from the official end of the Fall 2020 semester. With this realization may come a multitude of emotions, some positive, some negative, others neutral. We’re collectively closing a chapter as a community and stepping into an unknown future that awaits us in 2021. We have overcome a lot to get to this point, and there is still much to look forward to. In our final Fall 2020 edition of the Cornell Quaranzine, we hope to inspire you to take an optimistic approach to the year’s end. Start by doing a simple task- recite the following: “I made it this far and I matter. Even if everything didn’t work out the way I wanted, I can name and am grateful for at least one thing that did work out. I deserve to celebrate that with those who love me, and I am willing to apply what I’ve learned moving forward - one day at a time.” As you conclude the final exam period and prepare for downtime, small holiday celebrations with family or friends and the longer than usual winter break, allow yourself time to replenish physically, mentally and emotionally and to focus on what and who really matters to you.

Wishing you wellness,

The Skorton Center for Health Initiatives

*If you would like to continue receiving issues of the newsletter each week, follow this link!

But First: A Self Check-in

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“Nothing can dim the light that shines within you." - Maya Angelou

Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. What do these holidays have in common, other than the fact they all happen in close proximity to each other each year? Well, the lighting of candles carry significant meaning in each of these celebrations.

Hanukkah, also known as The Festival of Lights, is an 8 day Jewish holiday that commemorates the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem and "the miracle" of the oil in the lamps lasting far longer than ever imaged. It is celebrated by lighting the menorah (candle holder) with one additional candle lit by the shamash ("helper") until all eight candles are lit together on the final night of the festival.

Christmas is a Christian holiday that concludes the Advent period (4 weeks of waiting and preparation) before the birth of Jesus Christ. The 4 candles of the Advent wreath are lit one each Sunday during Advent until Christmas Day, when the fifth candle, representing the Christ light that came into the world, is lit.

Kwanzaa, a weeklong celebration (December 26-January 1) held in the United States honors African heritage in African-American culture by commemorating the values of family, culture, and community. A key custom during Kwanzaa is the daily lighting of the Kinara (candle holder), in which black, red, and green candles (the colors of the Pan-African flag) are burned. Each candle represents one cultural principle to be practiced, one of which is Ujamaa (sound familiar?) or cooperative economics.

If you celebrate any of these holidays, or even if you don’t, we encourage you to consider the significance of lighting a candle. When you look at a year such as 2020, it can be easy to focus on the negativity and darkness that we’ve experienced. But these holidays ask us to take a different perspective - to celebrate the coming of light into places of darkness. Light can bring hope to places of hopelessness (both literal and figurative). It is through this perspective that we realize all is not lost, and we are able to face the future, despite uncertainty, with courage.

In addition to the holidays mentioned above, what are ways you might focus on the “light” that exists and is continually coming into the world? How will you personally contribute to bringing light and hope into the lives of those around you, even into next year?

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Photographing the Northern Lights is an otherworldly experience.

"The lights 'dancing' across the sky, the colors reflected in your eyes, your heart beating when you see the green captured in the back of your camera screen. It’s difficult to put into words how fascinating the show created by the Aurora is."

In this new edition of the Northern Lights Photographer of the Year, Capture the Atlas presents the 25 best Aurora images captured around the world. Get cozy because this virtual trip is going to take you to the most extreme poles of our planet, from the Arctic regions of Russia, Lapland, Norway, Canada, and Iceland, to the southernmost latitudes under the Antarctic night sky… always with the Northern Lights dancing in the sky.

- from

Beyond the Bechdel* Happiest Season - Screening & Discussion

Thursday December 17 at 7pm

Email to register for this event.

The Women’s Resource Center joins with Loving House and the LGBT Resource Center to host a screening and discussion of Happiest Season, a 2020 American film written and directed by Clea DuVall. It tells the story of a young woman with a plan to propose to her girlfriend while at her family’s annual holiday party only to discover her partner hasn’t yet come out to her conservative parents.

*The Bechdel Test asks whether a film features
1) at least two women
2) who talk to each other
3) about something other than a man.
But more than anything, it's an indicator of all the justice work -- gender and otherwise -- that still needs to be done in the film industry.

Very Special Virtual Concert with Students from MUS 2111: Songwriting

Join JAM's Faculty Fellow Annie & Her Songwriting Class
Thursday December 17 from 8pm-9:45pm
Click here to register for this event.

Songwriters John Bush, Katherine Cao, Leo Decter, Jonah Deich, Deanne Ferro, Ben Goldberg, Sun Kim, Harmony Lebovic, Max Mendoza, James Meyers, Mathew Scullin, Rishi Singhal, and Grant Weintrob will perform original songs composed during this unique and unusual fall semester. We hope you’ll join us!
For more information, contact Department of Music Senior Lecturer Annie Lewandowski:

Big Red Barn Virtual Winter Cocktail Mixing Class

Thursday, December 17, 2 PM

Join the Barn staff and Dustin Freeley from Cornell Catering to learn how to make four seasonal cocktails. Register ahead and we will send you an ingredient list to mix along with us. Or, just follow along on zoom to learn bartenders' best kept secrets to measuring, mixing, and muddling. Bartending themed prizes will be awarded throughout the program.

Graduate students register here: Big Red Barn Virtual Winter Cocktail Mixing Class

From the Cornell Botanic Gardens: "Verdant Views: Plants and Stories of the Winter Solstice"

The Winter Solstice (occurring this year on Monday, December 21 at 8:30 a.m.) is more than just the “official” start of the winter season. Since ancient times, it has been celebrated by cultures around the world as a sacred, festive time. Plants such as oak, holly, ivy, mistletoe, and evergreens have long been a central part of these celebrations.

In this episode of Verdant Views, join host Kevin Moss and his guests Dr. Peter Davies, Cornell Emeritus Professor of Plant Science, and Emily Pratt, curator of the Mullestein Winter Garden, as we explore the natural and cultural history of these plants, and share some seasonal folklore. We’ll also take a look at some of the plants in the Winter Garden collection.

Date/time: Friday, December 18, 2020; 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Registration is free; please register here.

Cold weather enthusiasts — and one hater — offer their advice on how to survive and perhaps even thrive during pandemic outdoor gatherings.

The Learning Strategies Center (LSC) Tutors Advice for Accessing Stamina To and Through the Finish Line!

We applaud all Cornell students for working very hard to finish the Fall 2020 semester! The LSC student staff would like to offer a few suggestions for accessing stamina on your way to and through the finish line. It's never too late to put these into practice!

  • Create a routine
  • Set reasonable goals for yourself
  • Take a break and get some exercise
  • Get enough sleep
  • Remember to eat well
  • Talk to friends and family
  • Reach out for help when you need it
  • Take a nap
  • Allow yourself to take an intentional break
  • Remind yourself: there is light at the end of the tunnel


Speaking of study breaks...

Home Alone for Winter Break?

Join this session of guided conversation, reflection, and connection.

Two-part program (attendance at both is not required):

The winter season and Cornell break are an important time for rest and reflection. It can also be an emotional time. For those who live alone, social gathering and travel limitations may impact traditions and create or exacerbate feelings of loneliness and isolation.

In the first session, we will explore pre-holiday emotions, if/how we're planning our time away from work, and ways to get a spectrum of support. In the second session, held mid-break, we will discuss how our plans (if any) have evolved, how to adapt to our shifting needs, and even enjoy casual conversation and laughter.

Facilitated by Tracey Brant, assistant ombudsman and professional certified coach & Michelle Artibee, director of workforce wellbeing, human resources.

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January 2 - January 30, 2021 from 2pm-3pm Wednesdays and Saturdays

Open to the entire Cornell Community. Click here to register for knitting class.

Join Cornell Minds Matter and Knit With Care to knit virtually during winter break! Come to learn how to knit, catch up on progress, get help, or just chat! Yarn and needles available for pickup on campus: kits for beginner scarf, intermediate hat, and advanced sock. Fill out this form to pick up needed items on campus by December 16.

Bright Spots

"Cornellians near and far build community through Minecraft"- Jamie Crow (The Cornell Chronicle)

An innovative effort by a group of students and recent alumni, any person who wants to experience Cornell, from any background, can do so anywhere through “CornellCraft”. This virtual replica of Cornell’s Ithaca campus built in the “sandbox” gaming series Minecraft. Read the full article at Cornell's Medium page:

Cornell's English Language Support Office (ELSO) has expanded to support all multilingual graduate students - both from the U.S. and abroad.

Previously available only to international students for whom English was not their first language, now multilingual graduate and professional students from anywhere in the world can participate in ELSO programs, including tutoring, workshops, and classes.

Located within the John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines in the College of Arts and Sciences, ELSO offers writing and speaking assistance to support multilingual students in all stages of their graduate careers.

Read the full story

Note: Photo is ELSO Lecturer Nathan Lindberg with students at an event held prior to Spring 2020.

Soup & Hope Will Return Winter 2021

For over a dozen years, Soup & Hope has served up a series of memorable talks at Sage Chapel during the winter months. Each talk is shared over hot soup and bread provided (free of charge) by Cornell Dining, and in the fellowship of friends and colleagues. Speakers include Cornell staff, faculty, and students, as well as members of the local community.

Each speaker has had a unique tale to tell, and uses oral storytelling as a device to weave a personal thread from their own lived experience to the topic of hope. The speakers’ individual strength and resilience have come from a variety of sources, including sheer will, humor, perspective-taking, faith, community-building, hard work, and dedication to a greater cause.

Stay tuned for the Soup & Hope 2021 list of speakers and Zoom links! In the meantime, please use the following link to listen to talks given by past speakers:

Resources for Connecting

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During this unprecedented semester, students have found all kinds of creative ways to maintain connections and build new ones. The Cornell Buddy System presents yet another opportunity where you can get the chance to meet people based on similar hobbies, interests and compatible schedules. You can meet in the way that is most comfortable for you, whether virtual or in-person. This system was developed by one of this year's Fall 2020 COVID-19 Peer Consultants, Samantha Noland.

Sign up HERE!

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CAPS Led Workshop: The Science (and Art) of Procrastination

Thursday December 17th, 2:00-3:00pm EST

Wai-Kwong Wong, PhD

Group counseling is one of the most effective tools for addressing issues common among college students. For many students, it can be more effective than individual counseling.

Our support groups and group therapy offer a safe environment to discuss problems with others who are dealing with similar concerns. Most students – although somewhat apprehensive at first – report that they find the group experience to be helpful far beyond their expectations.

  • Currently, groups are being offered by secure Zoom platform, accessed by logging in to myCornellHealth
  • Group counseling via telehealth is open to students currently residing in New York State; we regret that licensing restrictions prohibit us from providing clinical services to students outside New York
  • Each group is led by one or more professional counselors
  • Groups usually meet weekly for a 90-minute session
  • Participation is FREE for registered Cornell students
  • Groups are private and confidential; all members must agree that what is disclosed in sessions cannot be shared outside of the group

To join or learn more about group Therapy for 2020-2021, visit:

Talk/Text Resources

If you find yourself struggling or in need of someone to talk to, know that you are not alone. The following resources are here to support you:

Cornell Resources

Ithaca Resources (24/7)

National Talk-Lines (24/7)

  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

  • Trevor Project hotline (LGBTQ+): 866-488-7386

  • LGBT+ National Hotline: 888-843-4564

  • TransLifeline: 877-565-8860

National Text/Chat Services

  • National Crisis Text Line: Text HELLO to 741741

  • Steve Fund crisis text line: Text STEVE to 741741 (connects you to a counselor of color)

  • Trevor Project text line (LGBTQ+): Text START to 678678

National Suicide Prevention "Lifeline CHAT" service:

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