Undergraduate Student Life

The Student Life team works to foster a vibrant and welcoming undergraduate community through organizational advising, leadership development, advocacy, diversity education, civic engagement, and community programming. The team includes Multicultural Affairs, Residential Life, and Student Engagement. A wide array of student organizations addresses both student interests and professional concerns, including the arts, politics, identity, culture, and religion. Joining such groups offers an exciting and dynamic opportunity to develop leadership skills that will serve students well throughout their lives.  

Multicultural Affairs

Multicultural Affairs is devoted to promoting a just society and explores issues of interculturalism and diversity within and beyond the Columbia community. By promoting forums that address diversity issues, self-discovery takes place along with a greater awareness and appreciation of cultural history within and between communities on campus. Multicultural Affairs endeavors to empower students, faculty, and staff with the tools to be able to successfully navigate their environments and thus be able to positively change and impact the community at large.

Residential Life

Residential Life strives to cultivate an atmosphere of learning and development that extends beyond the classroom. The residential life staff actively works with students to shape a residential community that supports individual expression and collective responsibility. Working alongside a team of professional and graduate staff, undergraduate Resident Advisers (RAs) live on the floor of every residence hall and serve as role models and mentors for their residents. RAs serve as the front line of a layered on-call system and are trained to respond to the variety of issues that emerge in community life. Fraternity and Sorority Life is recognized within Residential Life.

Begun in fall 2006, Res. Inc. allows Engineering and College first-years,sophomores, juniors, and seniors to live together clustered in the Living Learning Center (LLC) housed in Hartley and Wallach Halls. This initiative seeks to bridge the academic and cocurricular experience for students and encourages and supports engineers with entrepreneurial ideas. Mentorship between students, connection among the class years, and alumni interaction are the foundations for the success of the program. 

Student Engagement

Student Engagement is committed to building a strong sense of campus community by helping students enhance their leadership skills, engage in their communities, and explore the cocurricular opportunities available at Columbia University.

This unit supports many of the student organizations on campus and aids them in meeting the objectives of their student group or organization. Staff will assist students who are looking for advisement on running an organization, planning an event, sorting their organization’s financial records, or starting a student group. They are there to guide students through formal University processes, help them navigate Columbia’s resources, or simply brainstorm new ideas with students.

Undergraduate Orientation

All new students are required to participate in an orientation program that is designed to acquaint them with the University and its traditions, the administration and faculty of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, upperclass students, and New York City. The New Student Orientation Program (NSOP) for new undergraduate students begins the week prior to the start of the fall semester.

NSOP assists all new students with the transition to college life, both academically and socially. Scheduled into the program are information sessions and opportunities to meet with academic advisers. Through large group programs and small group activities, students will be introduced to faculty members, deans, resident advisers, and other students. Undergraduate students may visit cc-seas.columbia. edu/orientation for additional information on NSOP.

Student Organizations

Programs and activities at Columbia are shaped primarily by students who assume leadership and volunteer positions in hundreds of organizations across the campus. The Engineering Student Council (ESC) and its associated class councils are the elected representative body of undergraduates at Columbia Engineering. ESC represents student interests on committees and projects addressing a wide range of issues facing the Columbia community and help shape the quality of life for Columbia students.

Working in conjunction with the Student Council, the Activities Board at Columbia (ABC), Student Governing Board (SGB), InterGreek Council (IGC), Community Impact (CI), Club Sports, and Interschool Governing Board (IGB) oversee the management and funding of more than 500 student organizations.

The ABC provides governance for recognized student organizations, including cultural organizations, performance-based and theatrical groups, media and publications groups, competition and special interests groups and preprofessional organizations and societies. The preprofessional organizations and societies are of special interest to engineering students. These societies reflect the range of academic disciplines and interests to be found among students and include the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the Biomedical Engineering Society, just to name a few.

The SGB provides governance for recognized student organizations that are faith-based, spiritual, political, activist, and humanitarian and that encourage open interreligious and political dialogue at Columbia University’s Morningside campus. The IGB recognizes student organizations whose membership spans across the various undergraduate and graduate schools.

For more information on any programs within Undergraduate Student Life, refer to our website