After offering the program for the last four years, and conducting thorough assessment for the last three, we are excited to see the profound impact on students and the Cornell community. Students express seeing others in a more complex way, feeling more prepared to form meaningful connections across difference, and feeling more connected to others at Cornell.
Survey responses from each cohort of CAC participants indicate that this program provides students with an opportunity to reflect on their own and others’ social identities during their transition to Cornell. A majority of participants report that they leave the session seeing others in a more complex, nuanced way and feeling more interested in understanding their own social identities.
“[I learned] that everyone around me is also struggling with reconciling their identity. I originally thought I was alone in thinking that I wouldn’t fit in given my “unique” identity, but speaking one-on-one with others who are feeling the same way made me realize that I’m not alone, and that I can be comfortable reaching out to everyone around me as they too are also having difficulty understanding their identities.” – Fall 2021 CAC participant
When asked, a majority of CAC participants indicated that the skills they practiced during the session would help them form more meaningful connections across difference, and that they are more interested in forming these connections.
“I learned that connecting and communicating through shared values can help bridge differences and that acknowledging and affirming someone else’s words really adds value and meaning to a conversation.” – Spring 2021 CAC participant
For many, the session itself offers an opportunity for connection; overall, a majority of participants say that their experience in CAC made them feel more connected to others at Cornell. This can be especially profound during this time of transition.
“I realized that a lot of people around me have similar experiences, worries, and insecurities to me and that I can relate to them in more ways than I thought I could.” – Fall 2019 CAC participant
This semester, we conducted focus groups and interviews with students from all class years to better understand the long-term impacts of this program. We are still analyzing the data collected from these and will share additional findings in the future.