Each year, at the beginning of the fall semester, is what we here at SIPA like to call “retreat season”. Each concentration and specialization organizes a weekend-long retreat for students throughout the month of September. The retreat is an opportunity for first and second year students to get better acquainted in a fun and engaging environment. Students are able to share experiences and knowledge, such as the “do’s and don’ts” of SIPA student and academic life. Additionally, this is a great opportunity for students to get to know faculty members and professors in a less formal way.
International Finance and Economic Policy (IFEP) Retreat
Over 80 IFEP students attended the annual retreat in September held at Camp Kinder Ring in Hopewell Junction, New York. After traveling for two hours by bus, students arrived and had lunch together. Shortly after, Professor Richard Goldberg led an interactive discussion about the financial crisis with students. Professor Andrea Bubula, the IFEP Executive Director, also attended the retreat and gave students an overview of the concentration and its competitive advantages in the current job market. The rest of the afternoon was spent with students playing tennis and basketball at the camp. In the evening students enjoyed dinner followed by a dance party. Despite the near freezing temperatures, students enjoyed this opportunity to get to know each other and learn more about the IFEP concentration.
Energy and Environment (EE) Retreat
On the 28th of September, the EE concentration had its yearly retreat in the wonderful Kinder Camp as well. This was a great chance to escape from the city and enjoy a nice autumn landscape, lake included, but also a fantastic opportunity to get to know the new members of our SIPA community beyond the Columbia campus. There were several fun outdoor activities including the hilarious build and the what’s your shoe size/eye color grouping game. At one point, even some brave Seeples dived into the lake! The trip couldn’t be complete without a bonfire and s’mores, which of course quickly turned into a party that many will remember for the musical variety (yes, someone played reggaeton).
International Conflict Resolution (ICR) Retreat
The International Conflict Resolution retreat brought together 25 SIPA students as well as faculty and guest speakers for a weekend of inspiration and recreation. Saltzman Professor of Professional Practice and International Conflict Resolution specialization director Jean-Marie Guéhenno kicked off discussion on Syria, supported by adjunct faculty member Richard Gowan. Guest speakers David Haeri (MIA, 1997) and Sarah Cliffe (MIA, 1996), both senior United Nations officials in New York, shared insights on the field of conflict resolution and inspired students with their personal stories and experiences. The retreat closed with a conflict type exercise, where students assessed their personal approach to conflict using role play to demonstrate reactions under a variety of scenarios, both calm and stressful. In addition to some self-discovery, canoeing, and a lakeside bonfire, students left the retreat with new friendships and some intellectual stimulation to help them embark upon the new semester.