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At Cornell Tech: Rising Fast Above the Coronavirus Crisis


In ways both large and small, Cornell Tech rises above the coronavirus crisis. Students and staff act, helping defeat fear.

By David Stone

How Cornell Tech Rises Above the Coronavirus Crisis

The coronavirus crisis closed down activities on Cornell Tech’s Roosevelt Island Campus. Classes cancelled, construction halted… But that hardly stopped student and staff activism.

Covid-19 met a strong opponent.

Cornell Tech campus construction is frozen.
When campus construction and classes stopped, students and staff at Cornell Tech rallied.

Governor Cuomo’s New York PAUSE, set to fight the virus’s spread, changed much here, but for Cornell Tech, it was a call to action.

Service to the community escalated in response.

Get local: Roosevelt Island News

The café rallies

It may seem a small thing, but when the café at Cornell Tech joined a minority of local businesses in staying open, it proved an oasis.

A big relief for a small town on lockdown.

With subways and buses limited to essential services riders, finding local relief is critical.

Cornell Tech Café outdoor seating.
Spring in bloom, outdoor café seating on the Cornell Tech campus welcomed visitors. Fresh food in the café nearby.

Local residents found the campus and its open meadows a relief with space available for easy distancing.

Ad: Travels With George: New York, a cat’s eye view by David Stone/Illustrated by Deborah Julian

Cornell Fights Covid-19 Crisis With Invention

Face Shields Printed at Cornell
Rising fast to meet the crisis, Cornell designed and made face shields, using 3D printers on campuses on Roosevelt Island and in Ithaca.

As reported earlier, Cornell responded creatively when face coverings protecting healthcare workers were in short supply.

3D printers on campus in Ithaca as well as Roosevelt Island mobilized. They were soon making hundreds each day and shipping them to hospitals.

Meeting People Needs

At home on Roosevelt Island, Cornell Tech students actively volunteered free services for locals in need.

Starting with Tech, Students Offered…

Virtual Tech Assistance: a few weeks ago Cornell Tech students received a number of “takers” on their offer to provide virtual tech assistance to Roosevelt Island residents. Now the students are back for round two! Perhaps you would like help using your iPad, phone, or laptop. Or, during this time of social isolation, maybe you would like to learn how to connect remotely with family and friends. No matter what it is, the students will do their best to help you. If interested, please email with your name, phone number and a description of the type of help you need. The student organizers will do their best to match you with the student volunteer who can best address your need(s).

That solved immediate needs, relieving isolation stress.

But friendship’s invaluable in a crisis and Cornell Tech answered…

Pen Pals: all of us feel some sort of isolation during this stay-at-home time and many of us would love to make new connections – Cornell Tech students included! A number of them are interested in getting to know their Roosevelt Island neighbors better and learning about their families, backgrounds, hobbies, life on Roosevelt Island, etc.  And many Roosevelt Islanders are separated from family and friends during this time and are also looking to make connections.

Virtually “meeting” Cornell Tech students and learning about their areas of study, backgrounds, career goals, hobbies, etc. is a way to get to know the students and to make new friends. If having a pen pal interests you, please email with your name, email, and if you would like, a few sentences about yourself! (If you want to participate but do not have an email account, the students can help with that as well. Please call 646-220-1505).


Cornell Tech rose above the current crisis, reaching out, helping, embracing and opening up resources.

Good neighbors are above any other value in times of need.


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