Cornell University: The Most Bizarre Ivy Of Them All

by Chiara Atik · January 26, 2010

    If Cornell wants to be taken as seriously as its other Ivy counterparts, it's going to have to get a heck of a PR team. All year, the stories from Ithaca have kept us entertained, from the Email Sex Scandal of earlier this year to last week's ridiculous sorority dress code. This week, the hits keep coming... -

    The school has just reported that they're shutting down their 40 year old $25 insect-identification program, wherein people could literally mail half an insect in an envelope to the school and have it identified. The fact that the program is shutting down is not nearly as bizarre as the fact that such a program existed in the first place.

    So what else is weird about Cornell? Well, lots.

    The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in Sapsucker Woods researches, well, birds, but that's not to be confused with their Duck Research Laboratory, which researches ducks.

    The Cornell Review is a conservative newspaper founded by Ann Coulter, perhaps the only college publication in the nation which accuses its school of left-wing politics and political correctness.

    Cornell students celebrate Dragon Day every year in mid-March, where Architecture students build a dragon and then the entire school joins together to set it on fire.

    According to legend, if a virgin crosses the Quad at midnight, the statues of the University's founders will come to life in order to congratulate themselves on the University's chastity. Judging from the popularity of "Dragon Day" and the Duck Research Laboratory, I'm guessing this happens frequently.

    Here is something else they do for fun:

    Play human chess. And this isn't a photo I had to search for on the depths of the internet. This photo is on their admissions site. They WANT people to see this picture when trying to decide whether to come to the school.







    Also, They Do This:

    Ithaca, however "Gorges" it may be, is a cold, miserable place during the 9 months school is session, but luckily drugs are readily available on the commons. And if students are worried about the effects said drugs have on their brains, well, they can go check out the BRAINS that are on display in Uris Hall.


    Despite being a haven for chess loving, duck-researching geeks, Cornell has a surprisingly huge Greek System, but even they have been earmarked for weird, un-mainstream behavior. According to (what is admittedly a probably unfounded) rumor, the Alpha Delts, who live in a Tudor building on campus, require pledges to, ahem, "screw a goat" in the basement of their separate rotunda building. So there's that.

    And lastly, among the schools' illustrious alumni is Bill Nye, The Science Guy.

    This is all in good fun, of course, and there are many colleges with equally bizarre quirks and less stellar reputations. But in terms of the Ivys...if Cornell isn't the weirdest, what is?

    [All images via Cornell]