Big Red Writes

cheery little blue bird carrying a letter with Cornell seal, "Cornell Big Red Writes"


Big Red Writes (BRW) is a Cornell pen pal program for employees, retirees, students, alumni, and K-12th grade children of employees.

Why join?

Having a pen pal can:

  • Give you the opportunity to build relationships across generations and/or Cornell constituencies
  • Expose you to new experiences, skills, languages, and cultures
  • Reduce isolation caused by COVID-19
  • Help children develop writing/storytelling skills and improve literacy
  • Forge lifelong friendships

How does it work?

Participants can request a pen pal from a specific constituency or will be assigned a pen pal at random. The pen pals can choose to correspond via email or USPS mail. Participants are expected to write to their pen pal a minimum of once per month.

After registering and being matched, a staff member from Work/Life in Human Resources or a BRW program volunteer will introduce you and your pen pal via email. All participants will be added to the BRW e-List, bigredwrites-L to receive updates, conversation prompts, and other resources. 

Please review these participation guidelines prior to registering for this program.

Note: strict guidelines are in place for pen pals where one or both of the participants are under the age of 18.  Parents must sign this permission form and submit it to before a match is determined. 


Sign me up!


Questions? Email  

Co-sponsored by Human Resources,  Employee Assembly, and Cornell Retiree Associations

Disclaimer: Cornell does not screen individuals participating in the Big Red Writes Pen Pal program and does not review content written by Big Red Writes participants. Cornell parents are responsible for helping their child engage safely in the Big Red Writes correspondence process. All participants are responsible for their own safety while participating in this Program.  By signing this form, the participant (or parent of a participant) agrees that Cornell is not responsible for, and will be held harmless against, any liabilities, damages, expenses (including attorney fees), causes of action, claims, or demands of any nature whatsoever, including any claims of negligence, arising from or related in any manner to the Big Red Writes Program.