Getting Involved

Numerous students are involved in the performing arts and about one-third in athletics. And many take part in one or more of Cornelll's 100+ student-led organizations, thanks in part to the One Course At A Time curriculum that creates a unified daily rhythm for campus life. From the steel drum band to prominent lecturers to Ultimate Frisbee Club, there are endless ways to meet new friends, explore your interests, and expand your worldview here.

Student organizations

Students explore their interests and passions by participating in (or creating) a wide range of groups—there are more than 100 choices in total. Get active with Slick Shoes, the Capoeira Club, or the Belly Dancing Club. Plan campus events with the Performing Arts and Activities Council. Become an entrepreneur with Students in Free Enterprise. Or have fun with Chess and Games or the Zombie Outbreak Management Facilitation Team. Whatever your passion, you're likely to find a group to join or lead—or create your own.

Performing arts

The Princeton Review rated Cornell's theatre program 15th in the nation in 2011. Each year the department mounts four stellar mainstage productions in the state-of-the-art Kimmel Theatre, frequently collaborating with Iowa City's Riverside Theatre or Cornell's own Lyric Theatre. Music programs run on the semester system, affording both majors and non-majors ample opportunities to continue their interests in vocal or instrumental music, or to explore new opportunities such as steel drum.


Cornell has a proud athletic tradition. In the past two years, 12 Cornell Rams athletes were named All-Americans and 37 were named to Academic All-America teams and Academic All-District teams. Athletes train in the state-of-the-art Meyer Strength Training Center with a full-time strength and conditioning director, and the Richard and Norma Small Multi-Sport Center has one of the finest 200-meter indoor tracks in the Midwest. In 2012 Cornell rejoined the NCAA Division III Midwest Conference, which includes private liberal arts colleges and universities in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

Intramurals and campus recreation

We offer nearly 40 intramural sports, ranging from basketball to flag football to badminton. We also organize wellness programs and offer student-organized club sports for beginners and experts, including league competition in sports such as ice hockey and lacrosse. Our outstanding athletic facilities include a newly expanded weight room and resurfaced indoor track. And our renovations to the Thomas Commons will increase the size of our modern fitness center at the heart of campus in 2013. 

Visiting speakers and events

The world frequently comes to campus in the form of major lectures and events. Recent distinguished lecturers include George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward, and Secretary of State Madeline Albright. On the lighter side, recent performers have included Walk off the Earth, Second City Touring Company, Rockapella, and the Capitol Steps.