Sept 2nd and 3rd CU & IC students come downtown for fun-filled activities, entertainment and more!

Downtown Ithaca is once again partnering with Cornell University, Ithaca College, and the Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT) to host the 2nd Annual Student Welcome Weekend, a special event created to introduce college students to life at the bottom of the hill.

“Welcome Weekend is Downtown Ithaca’s way of building a stronger connection with the student population, to entice them to frequently visit downtown and feel comfortable in their home for the next few years. Downtown offers a host of shops, restaurants, services, and entertainment for students to feel at home in Ithaca,” says Allison Graffin, Director of Marketing for Downtown Ithaca Alliance.

This year’s setup will be slightly different than last year’s in that the welcome celebration will be held during one weekend, Labor Day weekend, instead of two consecutive weekends.

Roughly 1,800 first-time Cornell University students along with Cornell RAs, and staff are expected to participate in CU Downtown from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2nd. CU Downtown is organized by the Tatkon Center, a Cornell University support and resource center for first-year students, in partnership with the Cornell Office of Community Relations, the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, and TCAT.

 Cornell’s entertainment infused day includes live performances by Cornell student groups and music entertainment at the Bernie Milton Pavilion. Some of the acts include the Indian Folk dance group Cornell Bhangra, the vibrant and entertaining Big Red Marching Band and Pep Band performing as one, Absolute Zero Breakdance Club, Cornell’s one and only taiko drumming group Yamatai, and The Touchtones. Many more entertainers are listed on the CU Downtown event page on Facebook. These stellar performances are open to the public to come and enjoy.

Students will also be able to participate in many activities, including a Hunt for the Throne scavenger hunt where students will seek out dragons, dire wolves, lords, ladies, humanoids, and kingdoms to collect stamps. Top prizes will be awarded to those who complete the hunt!

Downtown shops and restaurants will be in on the fun by offering special samples and freebies for the students who stop by. Self-guided exploration of downtown will round out the Welcome Weekend activities.

From noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept 3rd, an estimated 700 new Ithaca College students, several residence assistants, and staff will make the trek down the hill to participate in similar activities as part of in Downtown Day — one of the scheduled activities happening as part of Ithaca College’s “First Bomber Weekend.”

As part of the day’s entertainment, IC’s student-operated radio station WICB will be broadcasting music from the Bernie Milton Pavilion. 

Prior to experiencing downtown’s offerings, the students will learn how to use the TCAT system, an often intimidating task to those who have never utilized public transportation in Ithaca or anywhere. This service shows the students how to use the buses to reach downtown destinations and familiarize them with TCAT’s new real-time bus schedules on the free MyStop mobile app, notes Graffin.

Downtown Ithaca regularly offers crowd-drawing events, and the city is home to unique boutiques, galleries, and shops, specialty stores, health care services, theaters, and dozens of locally-owned restaurants that serve a variety of American and ethnic foods.

As part of Welcome Student Weekend, students with a glimpse of these types of establishments that are available on The Commons, Cayuga and Green streets, Press Bay Alley & west downtown, Dewitt Mall and Aurora Street/East State.

More information about Student Welcome Weekend is available at or on our Facebook Events Page.