HCD students apply classroom learning and obtain real-world experience through summer internships in their fields of interest. They also engage with the broader community by participating in a variety of activities including design competitions, conferences, and student professional organizations.  Additionally, students in HCD are active members of many other Cornell extra curricular activities including the campus sustainability initiative, athletics, political groups, theater and the arts, and social organizations.

Cornell University is located in a small city with a variety of cultural activities including music, dance, and theater. Downtown Ithaca holds multiple festivals and events throughout the year, including the Ithaca Festival, the Apple Festival, Streets Alive, Porchfest and an annual Ice Festival. The surrounding Finger Lakes region, replete with beautiful hiking and bike trails, provides access to a variety of outdoor recreational activities.

For those drawn to city life, New York is a short bus ride away, and field trips there are common.