Half-Baked: Third Batch Focuses on the Cornell Experience

Last Friday night, about fifty Cornell students gathered in Durland Alternatives Library sitting on yoga maps and couches to hear the ‘raw’ ideas of their peers. Half-Baked is a semesterly event organized by Eco and Medium Design Collective, and it is designed to allow presenters to share their ideas in a comfortable and inquisitive environment. Last week’s event was the third time Half-Baked was held, and the event consistently brings together a collection of students eager to share and learn from one another.

This semester’s batch of ‘half-baked’ ideas focused strongly on campus life and ways to improve the academic, social, and general well being of students at Cornell. The presenters varied across colleges and years.

Archana Choudhary and Charlie Liao were the first presenters of the evening. They proposed the eighty business organizations on campus combine resources and efforts to provide a business bootcamp for students. Archana acknowledged that many of the business organizations are selective and can be difficult to approach, so a combined bootcamp would allow students – particularly freshmen and sophomores – to gain access to the rich resources. This eight-week bootcamp would help students hone their cover letters, resumes, and interviewing skills.

The need to improve access to clubs was echoed by Louis Lah Liu and Shaibyaa Rajbhandari, as they proposed a Clubfest resource center. They drew on their experiences as confused freshmen wandering Barton Hall, overwhelmed by the hundreds of organizations with tables and the confusion it can cause. Louis and Shaibyaa proposed a having a group of students greet Clubfest attendees and offer them advice if they express particular interests or needs.

Rahul Madanahalli also spoke about fostering the intellectual nature of students, but he focused on classes instead of extracurriculars. During the busy season of course selection, he created a tool that visualized classes in webs and charts instead of linear lists. This allowed students to explore subject fields and understand what classes build off one another. It is a tool that equally assists students who are decided on a major as well as those who are still exploring fields of study. “This idea is still developing, and I would love to hear your thoughts,” Rahul noted.

Academics and extracurriculars consume large portions of students’ time, but the need for health and wellness is a vital part of the student experience. Kerry Mullins pitched an idea for a utensil lending library to help students prepare nutritious meals, while Alex Molina spoke about making BRBs optional to the meal plan because they cause students to incur additional costs for purchasing expensive on-campus food. Caitlyn Gleason rounded out the conversation by proposing the introduction of technology-free nap rooms on campus. The final speaker, Emony Robertson, energized the room by sharing her idea for a listening session, where musicians come together to jam and perform for students.

To learn more about Half-Baked, visit its Facebook page, and check out E@D’s coverage of the Fall 2016’s event.