Analysis: Findings And Analysis Of Cornell University

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Chapter Four: Findings and Analysis This purpose of this study is to understand how Black alumni from Cornell University, who choose to attend their affinity reunion, make sense of their undergraduate experiences at a PWI. In this chapter, we will explore the undergraduate experiences of Black alumni who graduated from Cornell University as expressed by the participants in an attempt to interpret how their experiences can inform us about their alumni engagement. The analysis has identified 5 superordinate themes and 13 subthemes. The chart below identifies each emergent theme identified from the analysis along with the frequency in appearance of each theme:
Table #1: Emergent Themes with Frequencies
Feelings of isolation during undergraduate
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Superordinate Total: 7 out of 11
Bonds formed with like-minded individuals contribute to positive experiences # of participants w/ shared theme
Living in or spending significant time in ethnic theme housing for safety and/ or reassurance 7 out of 11
Joining cultural or fraternal groups with similar interests for comfort 9 out of 11
Spending significant time at cultural centers on campus or with other Black students 7 out of 11
Superordinate Total: 9 out of 11
Influence of faculty relationships on student experiences # of participants w/ shared theme
Negative interactions, feelings of indifference or distrust towards White faculty 7 out of 11
Significant relationships and/or positive interactions with Black or White faculty 7 out of 11
Superordinate Total: 7 out of 11
Appreciation and challenges of attending Cornell University # of participants w/ shared theme
Impact of financial or academic concerns 8 out of 11
Appreciation for Cornell and the possible opportunities it provided 6 out of 11
Superordinate Total: 8 out of 11
Limited alumni engagement due to campus experience # of participants w/ shared theme
Identifying only with alumni affinity groups or career based events 9 out of 11
Limited to no interaction with classmates 8 out of
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It was a campus-wide Spring tradition which is over 100 years old, where architecture students would create a dragon and would compete against the engineering students who created a Phoenix. The students would ritualistically burn the dragon once it reached the Arts quad until campus regulations banned students from setting fires on campus due to safety issues. Kirk, as a first year architecture major at Cornell was required to participate in this event. Through this process, he did acknowledge that this event allowed him to interact and get to know others who were from different backgrounds but overall, these students did not relate to his interests. For him, the highlight of the event was setting the dragon on fire.
Dragon day...that was almost as a default, I was a freshman in the architecture program so I kind of had to be involved in it...It was a week long process, we basically had to construct the dragon from Monday to Thursday then the whole thing of marching it through campus happened on Friday... I started to meet other students in architecture school who are not Black or Latino. I was dealing with students who didn’t look like me or didn’t relate to the kinds of things that I related to. At that time we were still setting the dragon on fire so the bonfire at the end was pretty much the highlight of the

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