Home Away from Home

By Jackie Vickery '26, September 15, 2023

IC students get a chance to explore downtown during Welcome Student Weekend.

Ithaca College students convened on the Ithaca Commons on September 9, taking part in walking tours and scavenger hunts, and listening to a cappella performances, and more during Welcome Student Weekend, hosted by the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA).

The annual event serves as an opportunity for students from Ithaca College, Cornell University, and Tompkins Cortland Community College to learn more about local businesses and eateries, while helping to foster a sense of belonging and acceptance within Ithaca’s community.

“We have amazing higher-ed institutions here in Ithaca and the surrounding area, and we want to make sure that [the students] know that all of downtown is for everyone,” said Nan Rohrer, DIA’s chief executive officer. “We all share a lot and have a lot of the same experiences.”


Alefiya Presswala '26 (Left) and Meira Duftler '26 were just a few of the many IC students who took part in the downtown festivities.

President La Jerne Terry Cornish was on hand to give remarks at the event, noting that the college has always had its roots in downtown and that the history and the future of downtown and the college “will always be intertwined.”

The talent of IC students was on full display throughout the day during performances by a cappella groups Ithacapella and Premium Blend, who delighted the crowd with their vocal stylings. “It really felt like it’s one collective performance. It was cool to share our hard work from the past couple of weeks with everybody here,” said Owen Keefe ’26. “It’s a really great way to jump into the school year.”

In addition to a pair of tours led by The History Center in Tompkins County, IC’s Center for LGBT Education, Outreach & Services offered self-guided Ithaca LGBTQ Walking History tours through the Pocket Sights app.

Students who took part in the event said it was a memorable time that made them feel more connected with their community.

“There is a great atmosphere here, and it’s really nice to be back in Ithaca,” said Isaac Ensel ’26. “It’s refreshing to see the Commons crowded with smiles and people having a good time.”