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Commencement Volunteers Needed! Be a part of the biggest Cornell celebration of the year, and enjoy great perks, too! Sign up by May 20.

July 17 - 21


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Exploring doesn’t have to mean getting on a plane and heading on a big adventure. You can explore simply by trying a new food, checking out a new park or neighborhood, reading a book, or even just noticing new things in familiar places.

During “Explore” week, try something new, on your own or with others. Let unique experiences invigorate your day and spark creativity.

Win Prizes! 

Check out the adventurous activities that follow below - pick one or more to try, then take a photo or tell us about your experience!

You can post to the Summer Wellbeing Adventure Viva Engage channel shown to the right (formerly Yammer), or email us to be eligible to win great prizes, including brunch and a stay at the Statler Hotel, $75 of points in the Cornell Appreciation Portal, and more!

Explore Week Special Deals!

  • Museum of the EarthUse the code CUWELLBEING23 for Buy-One-Get-One Admission to the museum. The code can be used online or in person.
  • Cornell Outdoor Education – Exclusive Tour! Wednesday, July 19, 3:00 - 4:00 pm, B01 Bartels Hall (basement). Sign up for a guided introduction to COE's Outfitting Center and all the cool gear you can rent! Do you want to camp, hike, rock climb, paddle, or plan for a future winter ski or snowshoe experience? Want to try out a new activity before making a substantial financial purchase for gear of your own? This exclusive tour is the perfect way to get to know the where, what, and how of renting gear from COE’s Outfitting Center from two people who are very passionate about outdoor adventuring! Questions? Email Mark Holton or Kerry Howell. Attendees will receive a coupon for one free rental item (select items redeemable through August 4, 2023). Space is limited, register now!

Start Small

Exploring new things can sometimes be a bit intimidating or overwhelming. Take your time and start small. Go to familiar places and try to view them in new ways:

  • Slow your pace as you explore
  • Look in all directions for new perspectives
  • Try to use as many of your senses as possible to create a change in your experience
  • Choose an object, such as a flower or leaf, and look at it very closely
  • Take someone else with you on these mini adventures

What details did you notice that you hadn’t seen before?

How does exploring alone or with someone else change your experience?

For a completely different perspective - consider attending the upcoming Fuertes Observatory Open House Night on Friday, July 21st at 8:00pm.

Explore Outdoors

NatureRx Cornell reports that, “Multiple studies have concluded that spending even a few hours each week in nature can improve mood, cognitive ability, alertness, ability to concentrate, social connection and overall sense of well-being.”

  • NatureRx Cornell highlights many outdoor Ithaca campus areas ideal for exploration and wellbeing.  
  • Use the AllTrails website or app to find trails near you – there are lots of filters, so you can find a great trail for you.
  • Try Geocaching - Geocaching is the world’s largest treasure hunting game. Over 3 million cleverly hidden containers called geocaches are hidden all over the world just waiting to be found. 
  • Visit the Cayuga Nature Center - The 100 acres of woodland and old field overlooking Cayuga Lake are home to a six-story treehouse, live native animals, a gorge and waterfall, and more than 5 miles of trails. Admission is pay-what-you-wish.

Cornell Botanic Gardens Resources

Canoe with Cornell Outdoor Education

Canoe package rental for just $10!! (normally $30) Meet at B01 Bartels Hall every Tuesday (weather permitting) at 5:30 pm if you need to rent equipment. Or join in at East Shore Park on Cayuga Lake at 6:30 pm with your own equipment to learn some canoeing skills and then do a little touring! Questions: 607-254-8264.

Explore Learning


Explore Arts & Culture

Music And Dance


Museum Adventures

  • Cornell Johnson Museum of Art – welcomes visitors free of charge to experience original works of art across a wide spectrum of global traditions, time periods, and media for education, inspiration, and delight.
  • Museums throughout New York State - Just to name a few: the Corning Museum of Glass, the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, and of course NYC's many renowned institutions
  • Virtually explore the best Museums, Art Galleries, and Historic Sites across America
  • These 12 Famous Museums Offer Virtual Tours – “You get to "go to the museum" and never have to leave your couch.”
  • Try an art exploration. Take a team walk, roll, or bus ride through one of the Cornell campuses and look for works of art such as sculptures, carvings, murals, bridges, and more. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to what you consider to be art. It could be human made or nature made; it all counts.

Explore New Foods

  • Choose a restaurant with a food you have never tried and make a point to go this summer.
  • Pick out a new ingredient to experiment with at home.
  • Is there a country you have always wanted to travel to? Choose a recipe from that place and try it at home! Find some music, a movie, or a travel video on YouTube to enjoy with your meal for a more immersive experience.
  • Ask a friend, family member, or colleague for a new recipe that they really enjoy to make. Bonus points for sharing the finished product! Or try one of these tasty recipes below:

Walking Tacos

Family Friendly

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 5


  • 1 pound ground beef (85/15 fat)
  • 1 envelope reduced-sodium chili seasoning mix
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 can (15 oz.) Ranch Style beans (pinto beans in seasoned tomato sauce)
  • 5 packages (1 oz. each) corn chips
  • Toppings: Shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and sliced green onions


  1. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink, breaking into crumbles, 6-8 minutes; drain. Stir in chili seasoning mix, pepper, tomatoes and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until thickened, 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Just before serving, cut open corn chip bags. Add beef mixture and toppings.

Adapted From: Walking Tacos Recipe: How to Make It (

Lobster Rolls

Under 30-Minute Dinner

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 8


  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp dill weed
  • 5 cups cooked lobster meat – store bought
  • 8 hoagie rolls


1.       In a large bowl, combine the celery, mayonnaise, lemon juice and dill weed. Gently stir in lobster. Serve on rolls.

Adapted From: Lobster Rolls Recipe: How to Make It (


Family Friendly, Budget Friendly

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4


  • 4 Oreo cookies
  • 3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter (or nut butter)
  • 4 whole grain graham crackers, halved
  • 1 milk chocolate candy bar, quartered


  1. Spread both sides of each Oreo cookie with peanut butter; place each on a graham cracker half. Top with chocolate.
  2. Using a long metal skewer or long-handled fork, toast marshmallows 6 in. from medium-hot heat until golden brown, turning occasionally. Place on chocolate; cover with remaining graham crackers. Serve immediately.

Adapted From: S'mOreos Recipe: How to Make It (

Roasted Peppers and Tomato Gazpacho

Cold Soup, Vegetarian

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes + cooling

Serves: 3-5


  • 6 hot house tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber, sliced or chopped
  • 3 roasted peppers (red, orange), peeled
  • 1/2 jalapeno chopped (use per taste)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • about 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (start with 1/4 cup and add as your go)
  • salt, pepper to taste


1.      Preheat the oven to 450 F.

2.      Line baking sheet with foil and arrange peppers on it. Drizzle olive oil over it and let it roast for 35-40 minutes until the skins are charred and wrinkled.

3.      Allow it to cool for 15-20 minutes and remove the stems, skin, and scoop out the seeds. Slice the roasted peppers and discard the remaining juices.

4.      In a blender add, tomatoes, roasted peppers, cucumber, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, olive oil, and 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar.

5.      Puree it into smooth consistency, add more vinegar and jalapeno if needed. Season with salt and pepper.

6.      Let it chill before serving.

Adapted From: Roasted Peppers and Tomato Gazpacho — Food, Pleasure & Health (

Cola Burgers

Family Friendly

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6


  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup cola
  • 1/2 cup crushed saltines (about 15)
  • 6 Tbsp French salad dressing
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 & 1/2 pounds ground beef (85/15 fat)
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • Optional toppings: lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, sliced cheese


1.       In a large bowl, combine egg, 1/4 cup cola, cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons salad dressing, Parmesan cheese and salt. Crumble beef over mixture and mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into six 3/4-in.-thick patties (mixture will be moist).

2.       In a small bowl, combine remaining cola and salad dressing; set aside.

3.       Grill burgers, covered, over medium heat for 3 minutes on each side. Brush with cola mixture. Continue grilling until a thermometer reads 160 F, 6-8 minutes, brushing and turning occasionally. Serve on buns. Serve burgers with optional toppings as desired.

*Make it vegetarian and reduce steps by replacing beef with store bought black bean burgers

Adapted From: Cola Burgers Recipe: How to Make It (

Whipped Frozen Lemonade Mocktail

Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian

Prep time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4


Lemon Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Zest of 1 lemon


  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 & 1/2 cups ice cubes


1.       To prepare simple syrup: Bring sugar and water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Stir in lemon zest and remove from heat. Cover and let steep for 1 hour, then strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve; discard the zest. (You'll have extra syrup; refrigerate for up to 1 week.)

2.       To prepare whipped lemonade: Add 1/2 cup simple syrup, lemon juice, coconut milk and ice to a blender. Blend until the ice is crushed and the mixture is slushy. Divide between 4 8-ounce glasses and serve immediately.

*Use store bought simple syrup to reduce steps and time

Adapted From: Whipped Frozen Lemonade (

Bonus Recipe: Muddy Buddy Energy Balls

Egg-Free, Gluten-Free

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 10


  • 2 cups corn or rice Chex cereal, lightly crushed
  • 1 cup natural nut butter or seed butter
  • 1/4 cup honey or pure maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar


1.       Combine cereal, nut butter (or seed butter), honey (or maple syrup), chocolate chips and vanilla in a medium bowl; stir well. Using a 1-Tbsp measure, roll the mixture into balls.

2.       Place confectioners' sugar in a bowl. Place a few energy balls at a time in the bowl and toss to coat with the sugar, shaking off excess. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining balls.

Adapted From: Muddy Buddy Energy Balls (


Question of the week: What is different about your feelings before and after exploring something new?

Share your answer, photos, videos, and/or stories from Chill Week on the Summer Wellbeing Adventure Viva Engage channel, or email us to be eligible for this week's prize drawings!

Prizes include $75 dollars’ worth of points in the Cornell Appreciation Portal, a two-night stay and bus tickets for two to Cornell Club in NYC, a one-night night stay with breakfast for two at the Statler/Taverna Banfi, and more! For the full list of prizes, visit the Summer Wellbeing Adventure landing page. Winners will be selected randomly and announced on our website every week. 

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Meet Wilbur

wilbur cutout posed next to houseplant
Thank you Brett Preston, Jr. for sharing your sighting of Wilbur focusing on some quiet reflection while tending to office plants!

Wilbur LOVES having his photo taken! 

Some folks would rather take pictures than be in them - but not Wilbur! Wilbur Wellbear is the less famous, less competitive cousin of Cornell's renowned Touchdown Bear. He'd love to be your own personal mascot to enjoying the Summer Wellbeing Adventure!

Download Wilbur here!

Cut him out and show us what you're doing to support wellbeing this summer! Post to the Summer Wellbeing Adventure Viva Engage channel or email us - and get a bonus entry in our weekly prize drawings!)