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July 24 - 28


group of coworkers in circle, laughing together

Connection with others is vitally important to us as humans and is a key component to our overall health and wellbeing.

During “Connect” Week consider reaching out to someone, tap into your community (however you define it), and do things you enjoy in the company of others.

Win Prizes! 

Check out the 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!

Connect Week Opportunities!

Cornell CoworkerCoffee is a new program to help you make professional connections across the university. Once a month, participants are randomly matched with a new colleague to have a short casual conversation. It’s fun and you can pause participation at any time. Give it a try!

Rent Equipment and Games from Cornell Recreational Services for FREE during the Summer Wellbeing Adventure! From volleyball sets to cornhole, kickball, and giant Jenga, they have everything you need for a fun way to connect with your colleagues! Choose “Summer Wellbeing Adventure” as your payment option at checkout to waive the fees.

Finding Connection at Cornell Beyond Your Job - July 25, 12:30-1:30pm, virtual. Learn about the many ways you can find connection, build community, and develop a sense of belonging at Cornell!

Staff Development Workshop Series - July 24-27, 2023. A series of workshops for staff to help you invest in your personal and professional growth and wellbeing.

Movies in the Park – July 28-August 25 at Stewart Park.

Thriving in the Multi-Generational Workforce - Aug 8, 2023, 12pm, virtual.

Start Small

For many of us, it can feel intimidating to reach out to people or to show up in a new group or community. Easing in slowly can be helpful to managing your own emotions and building meaningful connection. 

You Can Do It! Tips For Reaching Out & Building Connections

  • Start with close friends or family you haven’t connected with in a while
  • Plan a short get together in person or virtually
  • Reduce distractions and be present
  • Listen, ask questions, show interest
  • Reflect on the experience – “How did I feel during our time together? Do I want to further this connection?”  

Consider making this a regular occurrence or reaching out to someone new. Connections come in many forms and depths and having this spectrum in our lives can be very meaningful.

To build meaningful connection with someone, it is helpful to minimize distractions. Try being more present by being device-free during time with others.

Listening is an important part of creating and maintaining relationships.

Try using the LARA Method (Listen, Affirm, Respond, and Add Information) when engaging in conversation.

  • Listen very carefully
  • Affirm a feeling or value you share. This not only makes the person feel heard and understood, but also builds common ground.
  • Respond directly to the concerns or questions the other person has raised.
  • Ask questions or add information.
    • Open-ended questions help you gain a better understanding of the other person’s perspective.
    • Only after you have listened to and understood the speaker’s concern can you add additional information, such as a personal story or opinion.

Check out other helpful resources from Cornell’s Intergroup Dialogue Project.

 Connect With New People

It can feel challenging to try to make new friends as an adult, but with a bit of courage and openness, we can make new connections. Approach these new connections with an open mind.

Think outside of your circle:

Many of us tend to primarily engage with people who are similar to ourselves. Interacting with people who have different views, life experiences, cultures, languages, are a different age, etc. can expand our worldview and help us be more empathetic.

Seek genuine opportunities to diversify your friend group, improve your Cross-Cultural Communication and Cultural Understanding, and learn more about the multiple generations represented in today's workforce.

These ideas are just a start. Try to learn more about the people around you. We are all more similar than we sometimes think.

Connect With Yourself

 While socializing is important, many of us need ample time to recharge after being around others. Be sure to add in some alone time to recharge and check in on your own needs, so that your social interactions can be as enjoyable and rewarding as possible.

Go outdoors and try one of the following:

1.    Sit somewhere outdoors that you can reach the ground and see the sky. Breathe deeply and steadily. While sitting, touch the ground, running your fingers through grass, leaves, and over stones. Then, turn your focus up to the sky and spend some time watching the clouds. What do you see? How do you feel?

2.    Stand, sit, or lie down outside. Breathe deeply and steadily. Observe through your senses things that are moving around you. Birds flying, squirrels hopping, the wind blowing through trees, a bicycle moving by. Notice if there is a pattern or rhythm to these movements. Does one have a calming effect on you? Focus on that one for a bit.

Team Building

Use Connect Week as an opportunity to interact and play together as a team!

Ways To Connect

Cornell Community:


Local Community:

  • Go to a local park or attend community events
  • Join or start a bookclub
  • Search for volunteer opportunities with organizations whose mission is meaningful to you
  • Have a hobby? Search for groups where people are gathering around something you already love to do.
  • Are you passionate about a particular cause? Find opportunities to join an advocacy group or serve on a committee.
  • Try to find local groups, events, and activities near you

Food To Share

“Communal eating increases social bonding and feelings of wellbeing, and enhances one’s sense of contentedness and embedding within the community.” Study from the University of Oxford.

Food can have a unifying effect. This week, try making a shareable recipe like some of the ones below. If you didn’t cook it together, offer some to coworkers, family, neighbors, or a group you are a part of.

Try eating together to further increase feelings of connectedness and community!

Loaded Baked Potato Dip

Family Friendly, 10-Minutes or Less

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 10


  • 2 cups reduced fat sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 8 center-cut bacon or turkey bacon strips, chopped and cooked (read package for cooking instructions)
  • 1/3 cup minced chives
  • 2 tsp hot sauce


1.       In a small bowl, mix the first 5 ingredients until blended; refrigerate until serving. Serve with waffle fries, potato chips, or vegetable of choice.

*Consider a plant-based bacon alternative

Adapted From: Loaded Baked Potato Dip Recipe: How to Make It (

Root Beer Float Cake

5-Ingredients, Family-Friendly, Budget-Friendly

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Bake time: 30 minutes

Serves: 15


  • 1 package white cake mix
  • 1 & 3/4 cups cold root beer, divided
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 envelope whipped topping mix


  1. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, 1 & 1/4 cups root beer, oil and eggs. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes or stir by hand for 3 minutes.
  2. Pour into a greased 13x9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the whipped topping mix and remaining root beer. Beat until soft peaks form. Frost cake. Store in the refrigerator.

Adapted From: Root Beer Float Cake Recipe: How to Make It (

Pizza Monkey Bread

Shareable, Family-Friendly

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Bake Time: 40 minutes

Serves: 16


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cans (16.3 ounces each) large refrigerated flaky biscuits (8 count)
  • 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 20 slices pepperoni, halved
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • Additional marinara sauce, warmed
  • Torn fresh basil leaves, optional


1.       Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine first 4 ingredients; microwave, covered, on high for 30 seconds. Cool slightly.

2.       Cut each biscuit into four pieces; add to oil mixture and toss to coat. Add cheeses and pepperoni; toss to combine. In a heavy 10-in. fluted tube pan coated with cooking spray, layer half of the biscuit mixture; drizzle with 1/4 cup marinara sauce. Repeat layers.

3.       Bake about 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan 10 minutes.

4.       Run a knife around sides and center tube of pan. Invert onto a serving plate. Serve with additional marinara sauce and, if desired, top with torn fresh basil, additional grated Parmesan cheese and additional red pepper flakes.

*Substitute peppers, onions, and mushrooms for pepperoni to make it plant-based

Adapted From: Pizza Monkey Bread Recipe: How to Make It (

Frozen Apple Margarita Mocktail

Less than 10 ingredients, Shareable

Prep time: 10 minutes

Serves: 6


  • Salt
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 3 cups sparkling apple juice
  • 2 tsp finely grated lime rind
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 4 cups ice cubs
  • 4 slices green apple
  • Lime zest, to serve


1.       Place salt on a plate. Run the cut side of the lime around the rims of serving glasses. Dip in the salt to coat.

2.       Place sparkling apple juice, lime rind, lime juice and ice in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour evenly among the glasses.

3.       Decorate with apple slices and lime zest.

*For a different flavor, use sparkling apple and pineapple juice or apple and strawberry juice

Adapted From: Frozen apple margarita (

Summer Zucchini Pasta

Plant-Based, 10-Ingredients, Under 30-Minutes

Prep + Cook Time: 25 minutes

Serves: 10


  • 1 package (16 ounces) pappardelle or tagliatelle pasta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 small zucchini, cut into thin ribbons
  • 2 small yellow summer squash, cut into thin ribbons
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes with roasted garlic, undrained
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed basil leaves, torn
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a stovetop skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and yellow squash; cook and stir until crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes.

Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add tomatoes, basil, rosemary, salt and pepper flakes; heat through.

Drain pasta; serve with zucchini mixture. If desired, top with additional basil.

Adapted From: Summer Zucchini Pasta Recipe: How to Make It (

Grilled Fruit Kabobs

Under 10-Ingredients, Vegetarian

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6 (2 kabobs each)


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 fresh peaches, pitted and quartered
  • 3 fresh plums, pitted and quartered
  • 3 bananas, cut into 4 pieces each
  • 12 strawberries, hulled
  • 12 skewers


1.       Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat and place a large sheet of foil onto the grate.

2.       Melt butter and honey together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Do not let the sauce boil.

3.       Thread a peach quarter, a plum quarter, a banana piece, and a strawberry onto each skewer. Place the skewers onto the foil on the preheated grill; spoon honey mixture over each skewer.

4.       Grill until the fruit is softened and the sauce has thickened and cooked onto the fruit, about 5 minutes. Flip the skewers, spoon more margarine-honey sauce over each, and grill for about 5 more minutes on the other side.

Adapted From: Grilled Fruit Kabobs Recipe (

Bonus Recipe: Smoked Salmon Flatbread

Pescatarian, Under 10-Ingredients, 30-Minutes or Less

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6


  • (1) 8 oz. tub cream cheese spread with chive and onion
  • 6 multigrain flatbread or Greek pita flatbread
  • 3 cups torn lettuce
  • 8 oz. hot smoked salmon, broken into pieces
  • 8 small radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
  • Ground black pepper


1.       Divide cream cheese evenly among six multigrain flatbread rounds, spreading it on one side of each flatbread. Top with torn lettuce. Add salmon, radishes, and capers to each flatbread; sprinkle with pepper. Fold in half to serve.

*Replace radishes with red onions to create a twist on bagels and lox

Adapted From: Smoked Salmon Flatbread (

Bonus Recipe: Crispy Rice Star Pops 


Prep Time: 30 minutes cooking + cooling

Serves: 15 pops


  • 8 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 12 cups Rice Krispies
  • 15 wooden pop sticks
  • 1 cup white baking chips
  • 1/2 tsp shortening
  • Red, white, and blue sprinkles


  1. On stovetop, heat marshmallows and butter until melted. Remove from the heat; stir in cereal and mix well. Press into a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Cut with a 3-in. star-shaped cookie cutter. Insert a wooden pop stick into the side of each star; place on waxed paper.
  2. In a microwave, melt white chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Spread over stars. Decorate with sprinkles.

Adapted From: Crispy Star Pops Recipe: How to Make It (


Question of the week: What individual qualities do you seek when building a meaningful connection with someone in your personal life? At work? How has seeking these qualities impacted your ability to build new connections?

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

bear cutout with plastic container of sourdough starter
Thank You, Sydney Rain Bourque, for exploring how to make sourdough bread with Wilbur!

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!)