CAU Summer 2023

Week one: July 9 – 15  |  Week two: July 16 – 22


Why vacation with CAU this summer?

  • CAU is Cornell's Adult University. CAU Summer—now in its 55th year—is your chance to immerse yourself in an inspiring course taught by leading Cornell faculty on the gorgeous Cornell University campus in Ithaca, New York. Register today.

    “This was one of the single best experiences of my entire life. I thoroughly enjoyed the campus, the accommodations, the instructor, and the people. It was an absolute pleasure to be on campus with such wonderful people.” —Corey Christen, CAU Summer 2022

    CAU Summer participants share that in addition to the classroom experience, they also love being surrounded by an abundance of natural beauty, the vibrant intellectual community on campus, and the plentiful summertime activities at Cornell and in the surrounding Finger Lakes Region.

More courses than ever before

  • Week-long seminars, hands-on experiential courses, and outdoor adventures—there's so much to choose from!

    • Engaging, noncredit classes taught by expert instructors
    • Your chance to dive into a subject of your choice in an Ivy League setting
    • A wide variety of topics, including wine and food pairing, nature photography, sailing, writing, and more!

Fun for everyone

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Bring a friend!

    Your partner doesn't want to take a class? No problem! They can register as a guest and enjoy the days exploring and having adventures on their own while you are at class.

Essential information

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Many participants register for both weeks

    Week 1 July 9–15, 2023 | Week 2 July 16–22, 2023

    The course selection varies per week. When you register for both weeks, you get to learn more, deepen relationships with those staying on, and enjoy independent excursions and adventures between sessions.

  • CAU Summer
    How much does it cost?

    The program fee is $2,026 and includes your course, course materials, class trips, meal plan (six breakfasts, five lunches, and Sunday/Tuesday/Friday dinners), daily coffee breaks, evening/night refreshments and beverages in the social lounge, evening lectures and tours, a week-long parking pass, a week-long bus pass, and a week-long gym pass. The program fee does not include housing.

    Registration closes June 1, 2023.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    What's included in the program fee?

    • Your course of choice
    • All specific course costs
    • Class trips
    • A "charge card" worth $200 in "Summer Bucks" redeemable at specific on-campus eateries
    • Sunday Night Welcome Reception
    • Sunday Night Community Dinner
    • Daily coffee breaks
    • Social Lounge refreshments and beverages each evening
    • Monday Night Movie
    • Travel Talk Tuesday Night Community Dinner
    • Tuesday Night Lecture
    • "Spring Break" Bingo
    • Thursday Evening Tour
    • Friday Night Farewell Banquet
    • Stargazing
    • A one-week parking pass
    • A one-week bus pass
    • A one-week Gym & Pool pass

  • CAU Summer 2023
    What’s the class schedule?

    Each week begins with a Sunday afternoon Orientation Session to welcome you, provide useful information, meet your instructor(s), and give you the chance to start getting to know each other.

    Typical Daily Class Schedule (Monday - Friday)
    9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Class in Session with Coffee Break at midway point
    11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Lunch
    12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Free Time
    1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Class in Session (except Wednesday afternoon)

  • CAU Summer 2023
    "Spring Break"

    Classes do not meet on Wednesday afternoons, affectionately referred to as "Spring Break," so you can take advantage of the other learning opportunities and optional excursions available on and off campus.

  • Extracurricular Offerings

    Beyond your classroom experience, CAU Summer includes a rich set of educational and social offerings throughout the week and during the evening hours. See Special Features and What to do when you’re not in class to learn more.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Who will I meet at CAU Summer?

    CAU Summer is open to alumni, family, and friends of Cornell, as well as to anyone with an interest in learning from leading Cornell faculty on the beautiful Cornell campus. Participants from all backgrounds and abilities are welcome in CAU Summer courses.

    Many CAU Summer participants love it so much they return year after year!

  • What happens when it rains?

    Over the years, we’ve learned the importance of building flexibility into CAU Summer. All our instructors have contingency plans for shifting activities from one day to another, moving lessons indoors, and making the most of summer rain!

  • CAU Summer 2023

    “I always describe CAU as meeting with like-minded people and discussing topics in which none of us has any history with the other. It is refreshing to be in a situation where you never say: ‘Have I told you this story before?’ Plus, it is always a pleasure to see a few familiar faces from previous CAUs.” —Jack Bloom, P’96, ’99

What kinds of courses do you offer?

  • Many CAU Summer courses are taught in the traditional manner expected of a top-tier academic institution: lectures, discussions, and guest speakers provide you with an intellectually rigorous experience. These seminar-style and lecture-based courses are stimulating and informative, offering you a platform to contribute to the conversation or simply listen and reflect. Out-of-class assignments in the form of supplemental readings or writing exercises are occasionally assigned, although completion is never a requirement.

  • In addition to our traditional courses, CAU Summer offers a range of courses that provide you with hands-on experiences. These classes encourage you to design, construct, and experiment as part of the learning process. Instructors allow time for you to work on your projects in the studio, laboratory, or workshop space. Field trips and excursions around campus are often integrated into these classes, along with guest speakers or visiting experts.

  • From mastering your golf swing, to learning the fundamentals of sailing, summer in the Finger Lakes Region is a great time to be outdoors. CAU Summer always includes active courses for those who love to learn something new or perfect a skill beyond the classroom.

Course specific questions

  • Will sewing machines be available in the Sculpting Wearable Art with Free Draping course?

    Yes, sewing machines will be available but not required to use. Hand sewing is also an option.

  • Will bikes be provided for the Bicycling the Byways course?

    Yes, Cornell Outdoor Education will provide touring bicycles to participants in the course at no additional charge. Participants can also choose to bring their own bicycles.

  • How many courses can I take?

    One each week. Each week-long class typically meets from 9:00-11:30 a.m., takes a break for lunch/leisure time, and meets again from 1:30-3:30 p.m., which leaves plenty of time for relaxation but not enough time to take a second week-long course!

  • What if I’m having trouble choosing a course?

    No problem! If you’re not satisfied with your course, you can transfer after the first day of classes!

  • Is it possible for families to stay together at RBG Hall?

    Absolutely! To ask about special arrangements, parents/grandparents with children should email

  • Can I attend the social hours and banquet as a guest even if I am not taking a course?

    Yes, guests are welcome to attend! Contact to purchase a ticket to these events.

  • Where will Nature's Rhapsody be taught?

    Class will be held on-campus at Klarman Hall and off-campus at the Yang Center Engineering, a two-minute drive from the Cornell Laboratory for Ornithology. Van transportation will be provided.

  • Where will Natural History Collections be taught?

    Class will be held on-campus at Lincoln Hall and off-campus at the Cornell Museum of Vertebrates, located at the Cornell Laboratory for Ornithology. Van transportation will be provided.


  • CAU Summer 2023
    On-campus accommodations

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hall (RBG Hall)
    155 Program House Drive. Ithaca, NY 14850

    Named in honor of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was a member of Cornell's Class of 1954, the recently opened Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hall features creative floor plans and living spaces with a modern aesthetic that enhances the residential experience and encourages interaction and collaboration among residents. RBG Hall has lounges, study areas, shared kitchen spaces, and free laundry facilities.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    New in 2023

    You can stay on campus with a private bathroom or a shared bathroom. Either way, you’ll enjoy the feeling of being part of the CAU community and the convenience of nearby parking.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Dorm room pricing

    The weekly rate for on-campus housing with a private bathroom is $1,920 per double-occupancy room.
    The weekly rate for on-campus housing with a shared bathroom is $960 per double-occupancy room.
    To register for on-campus housing with a shared bathroom, email

    If you're planning to share a bedroom in RBG Hall, make sure to include your roommate's contact information and course preference when you register.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    What's included in my dorm room?

    All dorm rooms include:
    • Two extra-long twin beds
    • Two wardrobes and two three-drawer bureaus
    • Two desks, two desk chairs, and two desk lamps
    • Linens for two beds, two pillows and, two blankets
    • Two sets of bath towels (there is an exchange service)
    • Soap, hangers, and two water glasses
    • Two wastebaskets and two recycling bins

    Daily housekeeping service is not provided.
    Daily towel exchange is available.
    Bathrooms are cleaned twice each week.

  • I’m attending CAU Summer by myself. What housing options do I have at RBG Hall?

    You could choose to stay in your own double room, which comes with an exclusive bathroom – that’s what most singles do! Or you could stay in your own double room, share a bathroom with one or two other participants, and pay a discounted rate. It’s up to you!

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Is there Wi-Fi?

    RBG Hall and all rooms within have wireless internet access. To learn how to connect to Cornell’s Wi-Fi networks, follow this link.

  • Are there refrigerators I can use in Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hall?

    Yes, there are shared refrigerators for CAU participants on every floor, and participants who’d rather rent their own dorm fridge can contact Lewis Freedman at Campus Services by telephone at 607-539-6673 or via the web at Fridge and Fan Rentals.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Is the dorm air conditioned?

    Cornell's newest residences are designed to maintain a temperature between 70 and 75 degrees, using both passive and mechanical cooling strategies, to ensure comfort and energy efficiency.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    What to bring when you stay in the dorm

    What you bring to Ithaca depends on your individual needs and your ability to transport your extras.

  • Suggested dorm room packing list

    • Blankets (depending on the weather in Ithaca)
    • Extra hangers
    • Iron
    • Hairdryer and hand mirror
    • Portable fan
    • Rain gear (umbrella, poncho, raincoat)
    • Reusable water bottle
    • Slippers or shower shoes
    • Sunscreen, bug spray, and hand sanitizer
    • Toiletries (these are not provided by the university)
    • For those of you who prefer to sleep in a bigger bed, you can push the twin beds together. Combined, they make a king size bed. If that’s what you prefer, remember to bring a king size sheet and blanket for your comfort.
    • Cornell gear for Cornell Spirit Day (Friday)
    • Optional dress clothes for the Friday Night Farewell Banquet

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Check-in and Check-out of the dorm

    Check-in between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. on Sunday

    Check-out by 10:00 a.m. Saturday

    You will receive detailed check-in and check-out information in late June.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Dorm room security

    Building entrances are locked around the clock, except for a few hours during check-in, so guests will need to carry a key card when leaving the building. If you're locked out, please follow the directions posted near the residence hall entrance.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Commuters are welcome!

    CAU Summer is fun whether you stay in the dorm, commute from one of Ithaca's many local options, or commute from home!

    Here are some additional options for accommodations in and around Ithaca during the summer:
    Visiting Cornell


  • CAU Summer 2023

    Cornell has one of the finest dining programs in the Ivy League. CAU Summer participants can enjoy meals at a variety of campus eateries.  A list of eateries with summer hours will be provided upon your arrival to campus.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Summer Bucks

    In addition to the included shared meals detailed in the Special Features section on this page, each participant, whether staying on campus or commuting, will receive a "charge card" worth $200 in "Summer Bucks" redeemable at specific on-campus eateries, including "all you care to eat" dining halls. Summer Bucks can be used to purchase food items in retail locations or meals at designated dining room locations.

    Summer Bucks Meal Prices:
    Breakfast: $9.60
    Continental Breakfast at Houses: $6.95
    Lunch (Monday - Saturday): $13.35
    Dinner: $16.90
    Sunday Brunch: $15.05

  • Click the link above to fill out the Cornell Dining form to share your particular dietary needs and arrange for accommodation during CAU Summer.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Is dining included for commuters?

    CAU Summer is a comprehensive experience with social and educational aspects woven throughout each day and evening, from the Welcome Reception to the Friday Night Farewell Banquet and everything in between. To offer the most flexibility and convenience for all summer participants, a "Summer Bucks" dining card is included as part of the program fee. Summer Bucks makes it easy for you to grab a coffee on-campus with classmates, dine with your instructor, or grab a quick snack at an eatery. Additionally, commuters are welcome to connect with classmates and new friends at the evening Social Lounge, which includes alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as well as snacks.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Need a midnight snack or an early morning coffee?

    While you probably won't be pulling any "all nighters" at CAU Summer, the shared kitchen spaces at Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hall will be stocked with a variety of light snacks, bottled water, a coffee maker, and a selection of coffees and teas.

Program Headquarters

  • The Hospitality Desk

    Check in at the Hospitality Desk at Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hall. This is where you'll get your name tag, Summer Bucks charge card, Gym & Pool pass, and other essentials for the week.

    The Hospitality Desk is open during business hours throughout the week to answer your questions, provide resources, and share details about other aspects of Cornell and programs that might spark your interest including CAU study tours, how to volunteer with Cornell, and how to get more involved with the university.

Special features

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Opening Reception

    Gather together at a casual reception, mingle with past acquaintances, and get to know some new faces. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as snacks, will be provided.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Sunday Night Community Dinner

    At the Sunday Night Community Dinner you'll begin to feel the camaraderie that characterizes CAU Summer and it's just a taste of what's to come throughout the week!

  • Orientation

    Following the Sunday Night Community Dinner, Orientation will introduce you to CAU Staff who will share logistical details about the upcoming week and answer any questions you may have. You'll also have a chance to meet your instructor(s) and spend some time with your classmates in preparation for the week. After Orientation, dessert and drinks will be served.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    The Social Lounge

    Each night, participants gather at the Social Lounge in RBG Hall. Featuring an open wine and beer bar, a great playlist, and good company, the Social Lounge is a CAU Summer favorite.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Monday Night Movie and Faculty-led Discussion

    To cap off your first day of classes, get together this evening and chill at a shared screening followed by a faculty-led discussion.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    "Travel Talk" Tuesday Night Community Dinner

    "Travel Talk" Tuesday Night Community Dinner is your chance to learn more about domestic and international travel opportunities with Cornell faculty. Hear from participants who've been to Borneo and back (literally!) with CAU, ask questions, and start day dreaming about your future adventures with your new friends!

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Tuesday Night Lecture

    The Tuesday Night Lecture shines a spotlight on a new-to-CAU Cornell faculty member. Attend the Tuesday Night Lecture to learn the latest theories, exciting research findings, and more from the week's featured professor across a range of academic disciplines.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Wednesday Night "Spring Break" Bingo

    While Wednesday night is technically "Spring Break," a.k.a. free time, if you happen to be on campus, there will be a rousing Bingo game going on! Bingo debuted at CAU Summer 2022 and brought the house down with next level fun.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Thursday Tours

    Join a tour of a select part of campus led by Cornell's architectural historian, take a guided walk through Cornell's Botanic Gardens, or set out on your own adventure during this pocket of time.

  • Thursday Night Stargazing

    Stargazing with Cornell astronomy students at Fuertes Observatory is an annual CAU Summer highlight.

  • CAU Summer 2022
    Cornell Spirit Day (Friday)

    Friday at CAU Summer is Cornell Spirit Day! While alumni may wish to sport their Cornell gear, others may choose to compose a haiku reflecting on what Cornell means to them. All expressions of Big Red love are welcome as the energy builds towards tonight's Farewell Banquet.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Friday Night Farewell Banquet

    The Friday Night Farewell Banquet is your chance to celebrate the entire CAU Summer experience with each other before checking out Saturday morning. Many participants enjoy dressing up a bit for this special evening together.

Arriving, getting around, and parking

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Arriving by air

    Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport is 10 minutes from Cornell's Ithaca campus. Taxis and car services are available at the Ithaca airport to bring you to campus.
    Syracuse Hancock International Airport is about an hour from campus. There is no public transportation between the Syracuse Airport and Ithaca, but multiple limo services do exist.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Arriving by bus

    Ithaca is served by
    Coach USA Shortline (800.631.8405)
    Greyhound (800.231.2222)
    OurBus (844.800.6828)

    Buses arrive and leave from various downtown locations. Coach USA Shortline will also pick up and drop off on campus. Campus can be reached from downtown by taxi, car services, and local TCAT buses.

  • CAU Summer
    Arriving by car

    Detailed driving directions will be emailed to you in your Welcome Packet after you enroll in CAU Summer. For general directions to the Ithaca campus, see the university's Maps page. Once you arrive on campus, look for CAU signs to best direct you to our Program Headquarters and the CAU Hospitality Desk at Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hall.

  • CAU Summer
    On-campus parking

    Your program fee includes a week-long parking pass! When you arrive on campus to unload and park, you will drive to Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hall (RBG) via Pleasant Grove Road. Our designated parking area will be next to the Appel Commons and Barbara McClintock Hall. Upon arrival you will be given a parking pass. If you want to park on central campus, you can park in a metered spot and pay as you go. Please visit Short-term Parking Options to learn more about the system used for metered parking on central campus. No passes are needed on Saturdays and Sundays.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Accessible parking

    If you require an accessible parking space on central campus please visit Facilities and Campus Services to learn more.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Bus service

    You will be provided with a free week-long bus pass to ride the TCAT (Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit) which provides bus service to all parts of the Cornell campus. There is a TCAT stop conveniently located outside of the Appel Community Center, which is adjacent to Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hall. The TCAT map of routes, schedule, and instructions are available at the CAU Hospitality Desk in the Program Headquarters at Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hall. Visit the TCAT website for more information.

What to do when you're not in class

  • CAU Summer extracurricular activities

    After class, you can enjoy afternoon and evening events and activities. Announcements about these events will be made during Orientation on Sunday evening and posted at the Hospitality Desk in our Program Headquarters at Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hall.

  • CAU Summer 2023
    What else can I do for fun on campus?

    Here's a great list of campus resources:

    Johnson Museum of Art
    Lab of Ornithology
    Cornell Libraries
    Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory
    Helen Newman Bowling Lanes
    Cornell Botanic Gardens
    Cornell Store
    McGraw Clock Tower
    Cornell Events

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Where can I swim?

    Your program fee includes a one-week Gym & Pool pass for campus pools. There are a number of options for safe and legal swimming in the Ithaca area. Please note that swimming in the gorges is prohibited.

    Note: All campus fitness centers require you to show a photo ID and your one-week CAU Gym & Pool pass to participate.

  • Where can I work out and play sports?

    With four summer locations around campus, Cornell Fitness Center provides an extensive variety of cardio and weight equipment and group exercise classes.

    Note: All campus fitness centers require you to show a photo ID and your one-week CAU Gym & Pool pass to participate.

    Helen Newman Gymnasium
    Helen Newman Hall offers a range of facilities and activities, including basketball, volleyball, swimming and bowling. Phone: 607.255.4261

    Reis Tennis Center
    Indoor and outdoor courts can be reserved at the Reis Tennis Center. (607.272.0037)

    Robert Trent Jones Golf Course
    Located just across Pleasant Grove Road, the golf course provides an excellent opportunity for golf enthusiasts. Call for reservations. Phone: 607.254.6531

  • CAU Summer 2023
    Off-campus fun

    Cornell's main campus is in Ithaca, New York, one of the best college towns in the country. Located at the south end of Cayuga Lake in the heart of the beautiful Finger Lakes region, Ithaca offers a breathtaking landscape of deep gorges and thundering waterfalls, rolling hills with farms and forests, and a lively community with shops, art galleries, and great places to eat (including the world-famous Moosewood Restaurant).

    For information about things to do in the area—music, dance, cinema, sports, hiking, swimming, shopping, and more—check out these resources:

    Cayuga Lake Wine Trail
    Finger Lakes Beer Trail
    Finger Lakes Discovery Trail
    Ithaca Food & Drink
    Nearby State Parks
    Seneca Lake Wine Trail

Can I bring kids?

Health and safety

  • Disability Accomodations

    Cornell University is committed to providing universal access to all university programs. Please contact CAU Director Lora Gruber-Hine (, 607.255.4800) to request any needed disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.


  • CAU Summer 2023
    How do I cancel my enrollment?

    To cancel your enrollment, send written notification of your wish to withdraw to Your official date of withdrawal will be the date on which this email is sent.

    If CAU cancels a course, you may enroll in an open class or receive a full refund.
    If CAU must cancel the program, you will receive a full refund.

    While previously CAU has provided refunds for COVID-related cancellations, CAU is no longer able to accommodate those requests. Instead, we encourage you to purchase the insurance of your choice to protect your investment in CAU Summer programming.

  • CAU Summer
    How much is my refund?

    A percent of your enrollment fee may be returned to you, depending on when you withdraw from your program.

    Before April 1, 2023: a complete refund of program, housing, and dining fees
    April 1–May 15, 2023: a 50% refund of program, housing, and dining fees
    After May 15, 2023: no refund

Register now

  • “The breadth of courses given, and the depth of the courses are excellent. The organization of the entire event was also excellent. It was a well-run activity.”
    —Ron Livecchi '70, CAU Summer 2022

Contact us

  • CAU Summer 2023

    Cornell’s Adult University
    Cornell University Alumni Affairs and Development