What should grad students’ expectations be of the TGIF schedule throughout the semester?

Date: March 2020


Hello Deans,

I am in total support of the university’s measures to take good care of all its collaborators with respect to the spread of COVID-19, but I’m concerned about the implications to BRB’s TGIFs.

What should our – grad students’ – expectations be about the maintenance of TGIF’s schedule throughout the semester?

Best regards,

TGIF Number 1 Fan


Dear TGIF Number 1 Fan,

Thank you so much for reaching out and asking this question. As you know, it is a challenging time as Cornell closely monitors the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and provides leadership to support the health and well-being of our campus communities. Just yesterday, President Pollack announced that all in-person non-essential events with 100 or more attendees on Cornell’s campus must be cancelled, postponed, or offered virtually.    

As a result, we regret to inform you that our TGIF events are suspended at least through Friday, April 10, 2020. This will start immediately; our TGIF is cancelled this Friday (March 12). We will continue to monitor the situation and will reassess a date to resume TGIF in conjunction with the university’s management plans for coronavirus/COVID-19 concerns. We are planning an announcement to all students in the next couple of hours. 

We are truly sorry to have to make this decision, but student health and well-being is our top priority. We recognize the importance that TGIF serves as a support for so many students’ mental health and social well-being. The Barn staff is considering other strategies to support student well-being and will be creative in thinking through what a virtual community could look like. We recognize that it won’t replace our beloved TGIF, but we welcome your ideas for how we can continue to have students experience connections with others, but not physically be in the same place. If you have ideas, we’d love to hear them; I encourage you to reach out to Big Red Barn Director Jen Forbes (at JF282@cornell.edu) or me (janna.lamey@cornell.edu).

Finally, please try to find ways, especially remotely, to remain connected to your local Cornell graduate community, colleagues in your graduate field and in disciplines across campus, and your friends and family outside of the local area. That is an important part of self-care. And, if you would benefit from help in managing stress or anxiety about all of these changes, contact Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS), the 24/7 Phone Consultation mental health resource, or Let’s Talk drop-in consultation. Also, know that Cornell Health will continue to provide medical and mental health services for students remaining in the Ithaca area after April 6.  

All the best,