Call to Action and Town Hall
Part of OCP’s mission is to provide a voice for student concerns within the department. For several years, the forum for this discussion has been the Town Hall, informed by ideas generated at the Call to Action. Early in the spring semester, the Vice President leads the planning effort to organize Call to Action, a students-only forum in which concerns and grievances are aired, common themes identified, and potential solutions proposed. Organizing into small presentation committees, students convene with faculty and staff later in the semester at Town Hall, summarizing what had been discussed among students, offering solutions for further discussion, and working with faculty to come up with concrete steps to effect change.
OCP, working with the department for funding and logistics, organizes two annual picnics – one in the beginning of fall semester, and another in late spring. They are informal events, usually held at a nearby park and involve grilled foods. They can also serve as celebrations – welcoming the incoming class of students, or congratulating the graduating class or those professors or staff who are leaving. While students are usually in charge of publicity, ordering food, and finding a venue, the department has generally paid most or all of the costs.The spring picnic was founded in 1995 (according to a poster from 2002 which claims it to be the 8th Annual event.)
In addition to the department’s events for Open House (usually in mid-spring semester, before or after spring break), OCP and other student groups organize some informal social events to welcome prospective students to Cornell. Past events include campus tours, mixers at local bars, pecha-kucha style presentations of what “neighborhood” means to current students in “My Neighborhood Marathon,” or small-group dinners in Ithaca. The department generally provides some funding for these events, and prospectives otherwise pay their own way.
OCP’s first big event(s) of the year is Orientation, welcoming a new class of students to the department and to Ithaca, helping them get their bearings in a new place and facilitating social cohesion among the whole group. Because the department organizes the more official, informative events for new students, OCP focuses on the fun stuff. Past events have included a pancake breakfast, a trip to the Ithaca Farmer’s Market, bike rides around town, and the Dis-Orientation Party (see below).
A “long” tradition in OCP’s yearly calendar, the Dis-Orientation Party is simply a fun way to unwind after the beginning of the first week of classes. Recently it has been held at a student’s house—whoever has enough room to fit everyone!—but because it tends to get big, it’s also been held at a rented venue in town (such as Chanticleer Loft or Wildfire Lounge). While it could be a more structured social event, it’s usually as simple as BYOB, some snacks, and a living room and porch. The Dis-Orientation Party tradition was started in 1993 (according to a 2001 poster which claimed to be the 9th annual party.)