Student Clubs Cater to Varied Interests

If your schedule has not been sufficiently crammed with lectures, work, parties, meals and sleep, you might want to look into joining a club to fill those few extra minutes each week. Cornell has a niche for virtually every interest, no matter how esoteric. Whether you’re an aspiring guitarist or an expert knitter, it is likely you will be able to find a group of like-minded students with whom to share your passion. Below is a sampling of some of the more prominent clubs on campus.

Political and Activist Groups

The Cornell Democrats and the Cornell College Republicans represent the two major political parties on campus, each engaging in its own brand of activism and spreading awareness of political issues.

A number of other campus groups focus on more specific political issues. Amnesty International’s Cornell chapter promotes awareness of human rights abuses throughout the world through a series of campaigns, each of which publicizes a specific area of injustice.

Music and a Capella Groups

Cornell offers dozens of outlets for those looking to express their musical creativity. You won’t be able to turn a corner the first couple weeks of class without seeing a flier for an a capella tryout or a chalking pointing you in the direction of band auditions. The University chorus, jazz ensembles, symphonic band, marching band, symphony orchestra and glee club are all open to the musically inclined. There are also more than a dozen a capella groups for prospective members to choose from, each with a unique style.

Passionate about music but not one for singing? The Cornell Concert Commission organizes most of the major musical events that happen on campus, having brought such big-name acts as Wavves, Modest Mouse, Young Thug and Icona Pop in recent years. Or, check out the Fanclub Collective, which hosts independent and local acts such as Interpol and the Microphones.

WVBR is a popular rock radio station that serves the entire Ithaca area and is staffed largely by students. Volunteers receive free training on the station’s equipment and can get on the air as disc jockeys, sportscasters or newscasters.


The Cornell Daily Sun is the campus’ daily newspaper, but there are other publications, too. The Cornell Review offers conservative commentary on local and national issues. Its liberal counterpart is The Cornell Progressive.

Had enough political commentary? Lighten up by reading CUNooz, Cornell’s online humor publication. Their website is updated regularly with articles ranging from the satirical to the downright absurd.

Comedy and Drama Groups

For students who want to spend their years at Cornell in the spotlight, the Risley Theatre group gives members the opportunity to participate in all stages of a dramatic production. Whether you’re looking to act, direct, choreograph, construct sets, manage sound or create costumes, it’s likely Risley Theatre can use your skills.

The comedy troupe The Skits puts on several sketch comedy shows each year and plans to hold auditions for new members this fall. If you’re in the mood for a more off-the-cuff style of humor, check out the Whistling Shrimp, Cornell’s improv comedy group.

Governing Groups

Each year, dozens of budding student politicians vie for seats on Cornell’s student governing body, the Student Assembly.  The S.A. meets weekly in Willard Straight Hall to discuss issues and pass resolutions on behalf of the student body, addressing topics that range from Cornell’s public image to Slope Day regulations.

For those with political ambitions on a larger scale, the Cornell International Affairs Society gives students the opportunity to represent a country at a mock meeting of the U.N., with awards for those who engage in the most persuasive debate.

The Panhellenic Association, Multicultural Greek Letter Council and the Interfraternity Council are the main governing bodies of the Greek community, which includes more than 60 chapters and encompasses 30 percent of the student body. The three councils arrange social, educational and recreational programs, as well as establish and enforce guidelines for Cornell Greek chapters.

Academic and Miscellaneous Groups

If you found yourself inspired by the Mars rover missions, you can take part in your own cosmic exploration with the Cornell Astronomical Society.

Fed up with classes? Take your frustration out in the Cornell Speech and Debate Union.

Or, for more kinetic ways to de-stress, try your hand at Bhangra, an Indian dance troupe, or Yamatai, a taiko drumming group.

Looking to get your inner nerd on? Head on over to the Chess Club’s meetings to practice checking your mates.

The Cornell Baking Club welcomes all of those with a passion for the culinary arts. The baking club holds monthly meetings to discuss recipes and techniques and plans to host guest lecturers and trips to local bakeries during the coming year.

There’s also the Baja SAE Racing Team, which designs and races a new decked-out car every year. The team is responsible for all aspects of designing, building, testing and even financing the project.

Also be sure to attend Cornell’s student activities fair in September to check out the hundreds of other student groups on campus.

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