Community at Cornell is a mandatory program that all new undergraduate students must complete in their first year at Cornell. It has three parts:

Part 1: An Introduction to Dialogue 

  • A short (9-page) reading, followed by a 1-2-page written reflection assignment
  • Learn about the concept of dialogue and reflect on how you might use it in your time at Cornell
  • Your written reflection must be uploaded to Canvas by August 22 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time
  • Check your To Do List for information on enrolling in the Canvas course:

Part 2: Connection, Challenge, & Change 

  • Three short video modules, each accompanied by one short-answer reflection question
  • Students and recent alumni share their experiences and advice around the themes of connection, challenge, and change
  • To be completed during week 1 of Cornell Orientation (Dates to be announced)

Part 3: Create Community Across Difference

  • A 2.5-hour interactive and peer-led, small group, in-person session
  • Practice skills and tools for communicating across difference both inside and outside the classroom as you learn more about yourself and others
  • Dates to be announced
    • Note: Normally these sessions take place after students arrive on campus and before fall classes start. Due to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, we are postponing the delivery of these sessions. They will likely be scheduled either throughout the fall 2020 semester or at the beginning of the spring 2021 semester. We will share updates when we know more.


Your college experience will extend far beyond what you learn in your lectures. As you and your peers start this new chapter of learning and growth, your identities and previous experiences will shape how you interact with others and form new relationships on campus. The ability to communicate and collaborate across difference, as well as to learn from someone else’s lived experiences will enable you to maximize what you gain from your time here. It will also allow you to actively contribute to making Cornell a more open and supportive community and better prepare you for your future in an increasingly interconnected world.

Please contact with any questions.

The abbreviated Intergroup Dialogue session during freshman orientation was one of the most amazing experiences. Previously, I was never given the opportunity to sit down with someone I had never met before and discuss my personal identity without judgment. I established ever-lasting friendships with other freshmen in my discussion. I learned an astonishing amount about myself, my leaders, and others. I would love to have the opportunity to participate in weekly discussions similar to what I experienced my first week at Cornell.

I will definitely be able to use the skills i learned from the workshop in my day-to-day life. Many of the skills I learned about would help me to better connect to those around me.

I learned how to listen and be present to show respect in a conversation, especially me who is really shy about meeting people who are new and forging connections that are new.

I learned the importance of being authentic in your own opinions rather than avoiding conflict and always simply agreeing. Dialogue can create new understandings only by first acknowledging the differences.

I learned about the tool LARA and how to communicate effectively with people, especially those from different backgrounds and who have different perspectives from me.

It will be very useful in interpersonal communication, especially with people of significantly different backgrounds and with different perspectives.