Why do graduate and professional students have to pay for Slope Day wristbands?

Date: May 2022


Hi Deans,

I was wondering why undergraduates, faculty, and staff are all eligible for a free Slope Day wristband, however graduate students and professional students are required to pay for the ability to participate in this event. I know graduate students are required to pay the student activity fee each semester, so I am wondering why we are being singled out here. It feels a little unfair.

-Music Lover


Dear  Music Lover,

Slope Day is a longstanding Cornell tradition for celebrating the last days of the spring semester. Its form has evolved over the generations but its essence (a raucous, joyous party on Libe Slope) has remained unchanged. In recent years there have been a number of big-name musical performers. This year’s performers include Anime, Loud Luxury, and Luna Li.

The costs of hosting Slope Day are covered in large part by contributions from the undergraduate Student Assembly (SA), through revenue collected by their student activity fee. The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GPSA) has not elected to make a similar contribution because graduate and professional students have historically not been as interested in attending the event. Graduate students are welcome to attend but need to cover the cost of their own ticket while the costs of undergraduates are covered by their activity fee.

I don’t have current budget numbers for Slope Day, but online documentation from a few years ago shows the undergraduate SA’s contribution for Slope Day has ranged from $162,000 – $250,000. It lists attendance from that same period as 14,500 – 17,700. Information about the 2022 event can be found on the Slope Day website.  

Over 500 volunteers are needed to help make the event safe and fun. If you are interested in checking it out but don’t want to pay for a ticket you might consider signing up for a two-hour shift as a volunteer. I vividly remember my first Slope Day when I was a Cornell undergrad but now I MUCH prefer watching from the sidelines while handing out water!


Jason Kahabka (class of 1998)
Associate Dean for Administration