Post-Election Events

For Graduate and Professional Students and Postdocs

Banner reading, "Post-election events for graduate and professional students and postdocs" with stars above and stripes below, resembling the American flag.

The 2020 U.S. election cycle has been historically divisive. Many people, including graduate students and postdocs, have felt elevated levels of stress, concern, and anxiety due to the uncertainty and to this year’s many additional stressors. The Graduate School and our partners are offering the following programs to support the mental health and well-being of community members during what continues to be an extraordinary and unprecedented time.

Post-Election – A Mental Health Check-In

  • Wednesday, November 4 | 4:00 pm (EST)
  • Thursday, November 5 | 10:00 am (EST)
  • Friday, November 6 | 12:00 pm (EST)

This session is a peaceful and safe space for our graduate and professional student and postdoc community to come together. We will engage over the impact the U.S. election process is having on us as individuals and in our community. 

With the magnitude of uncertainty right now, we are using this opportunity to check in and support mental health and well-being. We will share and understand personal and community impacts and discuss strategies that support our mental health. All perspectives are welcome; we will not be debating about politics or specific candidates. International scholars are welcome to attend. Attend any or all sessions.

Facilitators are from the following offices: Graduate School, Office of Postdoctoral Studies, Dean of Students, Big Red Barn Graduate and Professional Student Center, Career Services, and EARS (Empathy, Assistance and Referral Service)

Coping with 2020: Resiliency for International Scholars

Monday, November 9 | 11:00 am (EDT)

With so many stressors associated with events beyond our control, it is easy to understand why international scholars may feel vulnerable, anxious, and isolated, especially in light of the recent U.S. election. Students and postdocs will leave with best practices to prioritize your health and well-being, an understanding of the importance of community, and ways to strengthen your resiliency today. This session is open to all, but will focus on the needs of our international community. 

Presenter:  Wai-Kwong Wong, Ph.D., Assistant Director for Community Based Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, Cornell Health

View a recording of this session.

Engaging in Post-Election Conversations: An Intergroup Dialogue Session for Graduate Students & Postdocs

Wednesday, November 11 | 3:30 – 5:00 pm 

Registration will close at 100 participants.

This conversation will not be recorded.

The 2020 U.S. election is one that will impact all members of our community for at least the next four years. The strong emotions and memories from 2016 make addressing this election with undergraduate students, peers, and advisors both more urgent and more difficult than before. The polarization of the political discourse has also made it even more challenging to talk about the election, which makes acknowledging our own assumptions, needs, and readiness crucial.

If possible, please review IDP’s 2020 Election Guide before our session. We know that graduate students wear many hats and often serve as educators, students, researchers, and community leaders. This guide is geared towards those with instruction responsibility, but it can be applied to various settings. It includes recommendations for educators to assess their own readiness to talk about the election, reflect on the responsibility of educators and leaders to be aware of the issues surrounding the election and the power dynamics associated with them, and acknowledge the biases and assumptions they may be holding about other groups of people. The remainder of the guide provides concrete suggestions on different levels of engagement with students and colleagues on the election.

If you have any questions, please email the IDP team at

Back to Basics: Self-Care 101 Refresher

Monday, November 16 | 4:00 pm (EDT)

While it is not the most glamorous nor the easiest, self-care is foundational to be able to function, and, most importantly, manage stress. There is an abundance of stress right now. This session is designed to be an inspiring invitation back to making yourself a priority, emphasizing current research along with strategies and quick tips to help you maintain or return to homeostasis. With a community of graduate and professional students and postdoctoral scholars, consider taking time to remind yourself of the importance of self-care and start immediately regaining balance.

Presenter: Catherine Thrasher- Carroll, M.A., Mental Health Promotion Program Director, Skorton Center for Health Initiatives

Managing 2020 Anxiety – Individually and Collectively

Focus Audience: Cornell community members from historically excluded and marginalized backgrounds

Thursday, November 19 | 11:30 am (EST)

We recognize that the lead up to this election cycle and the current post-election period coupled with everything else that has come along with 2020 are contributing to heightened feelings of concern, exhaustion and anxiety especially within BIPOC, LGBTQ+, international and members of other historically marginalized communities. To help address these concerns, the Graduate School Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement and the Graduate and Professional Student Diversity Council invite you to join other members of the Cornell community for a discussion on Strategies for Managing 2020 Anxiety- Individually and Collectively.

Facilitator: Dr. Marta Guzmán, psychologist, Cornell Faculty and Staff Assistance Program

CAPS-led Workshop – Understanding and Maintaining Motivation

Friday, November 20 | 3:30 pm (EST)

Cornell Health counselors are facilitating virtual, psycho-educational, drop-in workshops focused on helping students thrive during these unusual times. Given the uncertainty that surrounds us, threats to security and personal health, the emotional toll of anxiety, and social isolation, it is common for students to experience difficulties in managing motivation during this difficult time. 

Presenter: Travis F. Winter, LCSW-R, Cornell Health Counselor/Therapist

The Importance of Meaning-Making During Uncertainty

Monday, November 30 | 4:00 pm (EDT)

It is human nature to have deep questions of value and worth, which can be amplified at times when stressors are great and making an impact on you. During this session, we will consider our meaning and purpose while examining the interconnected nature of humanity. Join us to unearth what happens during times of crisis and strategies for how you can explore and regain a commitment back to you as a whole person. 

Presenter: Oliver Goodrich, Associate Dean for Spirituality and Meaning Making, Director, Cornell United Religious Work

It’s Complicated: Family and Friends and Differences

Friday, December 4 | 2:00 pm (EDT)

We have witnessed a divide among perspectives, opinions, and judgments in the U.S.  Our national election, along with our response how we manage our own levels of risk associated with COVID-19.  Our family and friends may not share the same ideas, leaving us feeling confused, concerned, and alone. The goal of this session is to talk candidly about relationships that we hold close and how to work out differences. We will address how to separate the issue from the person, when to lean in and when to back away, and skills for reflective listening.

Presenter: Reba McCutcheon ‘96, Associate Dean of Students, Care and Crisis Services

Events for All Students

View the Cornell Events calendar for all events related to the U.S. election.

  • Elect and Reflect: Meditation and Reflection for Election 2020: Tuesday, November 3 and Wednesday, November 4
  • Special Wellness Workshops: Coping with Election Week
    • Meditation for Riding Out the Storm: Tuesday, November 3, 9:00 a.m.
    • De-Stress Desk Stretches: Wednesday, November 4, 12:00 p.m.
    • Meditation for Acceptance: Thursday, November 5, 12:00 p.m.
    • Compassion Meditation: Friday, November 6, 1:00 p.m.
  • What Happened and What’s Next? An Analysis of the 2020 Election: Thursday, November 5, 7:00 p.m.
  • Post-Election DACA Debrief: Friday, November 6, 4:30 p.m.
  • How Students Can Get Involved and Make Meaningful Changes: Thursday, November 12, 7:00 p.m.

Additional Election Resources

Locate your polling place

Public transportation

  • For those on the Ithaca campus, TCAT routes serve most of Tompkins County’s 36 polling places. Use the TCAT trip planner to find the right route for you.

Post-election resources

For teaching assistants

For all students