Archive for Columbia University – Page 2

Exploring New York City Neighborhoods

This post is brought to you by your fellow 2019-2020 contributors – George-Ann, Stuart, Steven and Nabila.

Start spreadin’ the news
I’m leavin’ today
I want to be a part of it
New York, New York
– Frank Sinatra

New York City can be overwhelming if you’ve never visited, and it can be especially terrifying if you’re trying to figure out where to live. Putting down roots is s.c.a.r.y. especially when there are so many factors! Where’s a cool area to live in? What’s the commute like? Should I live near SIPA? Will I even leave my house during winter? Is it that cold? (No, it’s really not that cold…)

We’ve got you covered! Take a trip with your fellow Seeples and explore New York City’s diverse neighborhoods. We asked the current SIPA community to share where they live, what their commute is like, what they love about their neighbourhood and also some tips and tricks for you to navigate and prepare for life at SIPA @ New York!

Want to experience the commute for yourself? Visit SIPA, see it for yourself and weigh in on the debate! Sit in on a class and/or join us for an on-campus information session. More information on how to do both can be found here

Note: Commute time refers to commute time to SIPA

THE BRONX

Source: TheCultureTrip.com

Name: Steven
Neighborhood: Co-op City, THE Bronx
Commute time & method: 45 min – 1 hr (no traffic one way), 1.5 hr (traffic one way), BX12SBS Bus then 1 Train
What you love about your neighborhood: It’s lowkey highkey pretty much a retirement community so it is quiet and a nice change from the constant speed of the city. It’s chill and there’s green space so it operates as a getaway from the city. There’s also Pelham Bay Park close by which is a really nice park to hang out in. I also like getting out of the SIPA/Columbia campus bubble and seeing other parts of the city. Plus, I’m back where I grew up, so it’s cool to see how my neighborhood has changed.
What’s not so great about it: The obscene distance from Midtown. Living here has taught me the value of express buses and trains. Anyone who lives at the ends of the city knows this plight. The distance really impacts your decision on whether to be social or not, especially if you are going to a party in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn (you will be on the train for at least 2 hours). You also become a time manager, leaving for and the events hours early to get back home before dusk. After a late night at E’s or Amity Hall, I usually take an Uber all the way back. 🙁
Pro tip: Download a lot of Netflix, print out study material, get a lot of reading/Netflix done. Watch some videos on Lynda and learn a new skill. People become very adept at making that travel time productive. Or you can also get a nice nap in. Catch up on that sleep that you’ll definitely lose at SIPA.

MANHATTAN

Source: CityandStateNY.com

Name: George-Ann
Neighborhood: Fort George, Washington Heights
Commute time & method: 15-20 minutes on the downtown 1 trains
What you love about your neighborhood: Oh Washington Heights how I love thee. I can not count the ways. It’s near enough to campus to be an easy commute while not being so close to campus that I feel that I can’t disengage. I also love how walkable it is – I can get groceries, a haircut, and my eyebrows threaded on my block. It is also sooo much cheaper than living in Morningside Heights.
What’s not so great about it: I live pretty near to the GWB bridge to New Jersey so sometimes, when there is bad traffic, I can hear the honking of impatient drivers but it’s nothing that a record player and some good speakers can’t fix.
Pro tip: Washington Heights has plentiful co-ops. Because people own the units, your landlord can be an individual and not a huge real estate company so rent can be a bit cheaper with this kind of arrangement. Also, podcasts are your friend. I can get through half of my favourite podcasts each way during my commute and it makes the time fly by!

Name: Nabila
Neighborhood: Morningside Heights, Manhattan
Commute time & method: 12 minutes, walking
What you love about your neighborhood: The sleepy neighbourhood feel in a busy city and it’s pretty convenient.
What’s not so great about it: You’re always in that SIPA bubble – ALWAYS.

Name: Christina
Neighborhood: Midtown East, Manhattan
Commute time & method: 50 mins on the subway but I take a LOT of Vias because they are cheaper than Uber/Lyft and they’re only 30-40 minutes
What you love about your neighborhood: I hate commuting, but I’ve been in my neighborhood for over 6 years! I’m a creature of habit and I don’t want to move.
What’s not so great about it: My commute is LONG and inconvenient, with a ton of walking.
Pro tip: Sometimes it’s worth it to take a ride-share to cross town and take the subway from there. Otherwise, you will waste your whole life switching trains. Check the train schedules on the weekends – just because Google maps says your train is running doesn’t mean it is.

Name: Stuart
Neighborhood: Chelsea, Manhattan
Commute time & method: 25 minutes, 1 train
What you love about your neighborhood: It’s a great, walkable neighborhood, and I love that I can escape the Columbia bubble. I can walk to the High Line, Chelsea Market, the West Village, and other great parts of the city.
What’s not so great about it: My commute is just long enough that it never makes sense to go home in between classes.
Pro tip: Take into account the subway locations when you’re choosing an apartment! I have multiple subway lines within a block of my apartment and it makes a huge difference.

Name: Alex
Neighborhood: Stuyvesant Town, Manhattan
Commute time & method: 45 minutes to an hour on the subway / 45 minutes on Citi Bike
What you love about your neighborhood: I love that Stuyvesant Town is like a mini campus within the city. It’s quiet, very green, and has lots of amenities. It’s close to other cool places like the east village. It also has a real neighborhood feel unlike some other places in NYC
What’s not so great about it: It takes 10 minutes to walk to the nearest subway
Pro tip: Check L train times on the weekend before going through the turnstile or you’ll be waiting for the train for 20-30 minutes

QUEENS

Source: TheCultureTrip.com

Name: Sophia
Neighborhood: Flushing, Queens
Commute time & method: Roundtrip 3 hours, on average. I was taking the Q44 SBS to the 7 Express (pray for no delay) to the 2/3 Express to the 1 every day last year!
What you love about your commute: I love taking the train (nearly) end-to-end because I was able to generally get a seat on every ride. I usually nap on the train in the mornings and read in the evenings. While the commute was long, I feel grounded in my community when I’m on the 7 train– it reminds me of why I decided to study Urban Policy at SIPA!
What’s not so great about it: The train delays can be very rough… especially when you have 9 AMs. (Side note, check outthis great New York Times visualization on unpredictabilities of subway commutes)
Pro tip: Print out your readings (you’re allotted $$ to print from CUIT and SIPAIT) and read them on your commute! In addition, I recommend bringing snacks for your commute if it can skew on the unpredictable side. Last but not least, renting a locker from SIPASA alleviated the burden of carrying a bunch of belongings around with me every day.

Name: Errold
Neighborhood: South Jamaica, Queens
Commute time & method: Long Island Rail Road to Penn Station (34th street) and then the 1 train uptown. This is usually ~1h 15minutes at max. I’m lucky because the Locust Manor Station is across the street from my building. If not I would have to take a bus to the E train at Jamaica Station, and then the E train to 50th street to the 1 train. That takes 2 hours!
What you love about your neighborhood: Tons of Caribbean food options! South Jamaica is known as a rough area, but it is residential and is filled with tons of great people. It’s also a multi- generational neighborhood and there are a lot of mutual connections. Tons of parks as well to play basketball or jog around. I have been here my whole life so its home and will always feel good.
What’s not so great about it: It’s far from everything!!!! The distance means I am always on an adventure. I tend to leave early from events because I know my commute takes longer than all my friends or coworkers.
Pro tip: Bring something to keep your mind off of the commute. I usually read in the mornings and I am able to get through over 20 pages a day in the morning. Check the weather as much as possible. In NYC the weather could be sunny when you leave your home, and then when you get out of the train at 116th or 110th the weather can be something completely different. I have been in situations when the weather would be beautiful at 7:40am, but when I get off of the 1 train it is pouring.

Name: Sasha
Neighborhood: Ozone Park, Queens
Commute time & method: 1 hour 40 minutes door-to-door, A Train
What you love about your commute: It’s nice to take just one subway and not have any transfers or connections. I can get a solid hour of reading (or napping) undisturbed.
What’s not so great about it: During midterms/finals, I tend to stay in the Lehman library as late as possible, and the late-night commute gets even longer.
Pro tip: Always have water and snacks. Either for yourself for when there are long train delays, or to pass along to someone who might be hungry and need it more than you.

BROOKLYN

Source: NYCgo.com

Name: Alexon
Neighborhood: Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
Commute time & method: 1 hour, 1/2/3/N Trains
What you love about your commute:  Mmm…I love how the NYC subway is this weird social experiment that literally brings people from all walks of life to the same, underground level. I like not paying rent thanks to my favorite roommate: my pops. Also Bay Ridge doesn’t feel like NYC. It’s nice to stay grounded but I hate commuting forever.
What’s not so great about it: The strange stank and occasional rat.
Pro tips: Google Maps’ algorithm is faulty at best in determining optimal subway routes. Trust a true New Yorker’s suggestion.

STATEN ISLAND

Source: ny.curbed.com

We’ve heard rumors that a few Seeples live here but sadly, we couldn’t find them… 

Note from Emily at Admissions: I actually know this borough a bit, since I grew up here many years ago and my family lives in Staten Island!

Commute time & method: 90 minutes each way, approximately. You can take the MTA express buses, which you can find real-time updates at bustime.mta.info. You can also take the subway all the way down to the Staten Island Ferry, which is free and runs every hour of every day, and then you’ll be in the northern tip of Staten Island.
What you love about your neighborhood: Most young hip commuters live in the northern St. George neighborhood, I think. The rent is much more affordable here, though the commute to midtown is a lot more manageable than Columbia.
What’s not so great about it: Nobody will ever visit you, unless you are literally family.

And last but not least, a special feature…

NEW JERSEY

Source: FortLeeNJ.org

Name: Veronica
Neighborhood: Jersey City Heights, Jersey City (JC), New Jersey
Commute time & method: I either take the bus or a car. Commute time to NYC midtown can be as fast as 15 minutes, but Columbia campus is between 30 minutes – 1 hour 30 minutes. The Holland Tunnel connects Jersey City and New York City. Most JC commuters travel to NYC via Holland Tunnel, Lincoln Tunnel, GW Bridge, the PATH train, NJ Transit bus, the ferry or car.
What you love about your neighborhood: Jersey City has a unique vibe and it’s super diverse. Actually, it’s the most diverse city in the country according to WalletHub! Speaking of diversity, you can find some of the most authentically traditional and flavorful food in Jersey – and super affordable. For Jersey restaurants, day bars and nightlife, check out Surf City, Skinner’s Loft and Razza Pizza. If you’re into history, science and/or parks, go to the Ellis Island Museum, Liberty Science Center and Liberty State Park.
What’s not so great about it: The traffic is the worst! It can take 10-15 minutes just to get out of Jersey City proper.
Name: Hansol
Neighborhood: Fort Lee, NJ
Commute time & method: 40 minutes – 1 hour; carpool, Columbia shuttle, NJ Transit bus or jitney to cross the George Washington Bridge → A train to 125th → 10 minute walk to campus
What you love about your neighborhood: Fort Lee is a small yet vibrant town filled with NYC commuters. Also, with the large Korean community here, you can expect many clean and modern cafes and restaurants (I might be a bit biased). If you take the carpool, you get to jump into a stranger’s air-conditioned car for free and MAYBE strike an interesting conversation (if you are into that sort of thing). Most of the time though, all you will say is “good morning” and “thank you”. Also, you get to enjoy about 20 minutes of quiet time, which can’t be taken for granted in NYC
What’s not so great about it: Living in NJ usually means you will need a car to get to places. In my opinion, Fort Lee is logistically too far from NYC as a sleep-only place. Predicting the Bridge’s traffic conditions is like predicting the weather, do not be surprised if you get stuck for over 30 minutes on the Bridge. It will happen when you least expect it
Pro tip #1: Carpool – This is the best option to cross the Bridge since it is free and takes you directly to the subway station. If you take NJ Transit or Jitney, you will have to walk some distance in the underground tunnel to the subway station. But, carpool requires you to live near a pickup area (near the Bridge), be dropped off there by other means, or know someone who commutes by car and is willing to give you a ride
Pro tip #2: Columbia Shuttle – There is only one stop in NJ but it is free and clean. You can take the 1 train from 168th which will take you directly to campus. Regardless of where you choose to live, SIPA is definitely accessible and you will not only survive the commute but you’ll also bond with your fellow Seeples facing the same plight. Relationships can (maybe?) blossom on the subway. Either way, it’s a win-win!

– George-Ann, Stuart, Steven and Nabila

Interested to experience SIPA for yourself? Register to join our on-campus information sessions. You can also sit in on a class starting mid-October for the fall semester and late February for the spring semester. Click here for more details.

“In Response to the US Government’s New Travel Restrictions on Six Nations”

This statement is from the Columbia Office of University Life. You can read the original statement here.


Dear Columbia community,

The U.S. government on Friday announced new restrictions on immigration to the United States by people from Nigeria, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Sudan and Tanzania, all nations with substantial Muslim populations. Student visas and other non-immigrant travel remain unaffected. Still, as an educational institution committed to the free exchange of ideas irrespective of national boundaries, bans on immigrants because of their nationality are deeply concerning.

Columbia’s mission underscores that a diverse and international faculty and student body is fundamental to the success of our learning and research environment. Indeed, our students and scholars from across the world play an essential role in making Columbia a global institution at the center of new ideas, information and innovation.

The new order, which takes effect on February 22, cuts against this commitment. It brings the total to 13 nations facing immigration restrictions here (including Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Venezuela and North Korea).

Singling out nations in this way also harms individuals, damages America’s leadership in higher education and defies our nation’s founding principles, as President Lee C. Bollinger wrote in response to the federal government’s 2017 order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority nations. Since that time, the University has joined amicus briefs, statements and letters opposing the ban.

Although international students and scholars currently in the U.S. are not affected by the new restrictions, if you are a student, visiting scholar or community member from one of the affected countries, we urge you to contact our International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) before making travel plans.

We know that these are trying times for many in our community and that this new travel restriction may heighten bias toward individuals from the targeted countries. All in our community should contact Public Safety with any concerns about your personal safety. And for our students, please contact your school’s Dean of Students, the Office of University Life or any of the resources listed on University Life’s website and app.

In community,

Suzanne B. Goldberg
Executive Vice President for University Life
Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law

From SIPA Student to Cyber Professional—CJ Dixon’s Cyber 9/12 Journey

In November 2019, SIPA hosted the fourth annual Atlantic Council Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge in New York City. Planned and run by SIPA’s Digital and Cyber Group, this year’s event featured 31 teams from 18 different schools including Tufts, Harvard, Georgetown, NYU, West Point, and the University of Pennsylvania. Each team was tasked with developing policy recommendations to respond to a rapidly developing cyber incident at both the local and federal level. The teams were judged by experts including former Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert, former Deputy National Security Advisor and Deputy Director of the CIA Avril Haines, and senior executives from numerous private sector entities.

CJ Dixon (MIA ’19), a member of the winning team in 2018, returned to judge this year’s competition in his new role as a senior advisor at NYC Cyber Command. CJ took several cybersecurity courses at SIPA, competed in both the NYC and DC Cyber 9/12 competitions, and served as a Google Public Policy Fellow following graduation. CJ’s journey is a great example of how SIPA’s Tech & Policy Initiative provides students with the academic and professional preparation to pursue cybersecurity and technology policy careers.

New Year, New Students / Cohort / PAs!

Our Fall 2019 PAs: Nabila, Steven, George-Ann, Stuart

January always feels like the longest month, and I’m sure many of you feel that way! We’re catching up from the holidays, application deadlines keep coming, and work is picking back up.

Here at Columbia, the incoming Spring cohort is on campus for SIPA orientation. The Admissions and Financial Aid office will be closed on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and on Tuesday the entire SIPA community will be back for the spring semester.

What does this mean for you, prospective students?

  • The new spring semester will mean two new program assistants adding their voices to this blog! You’ll still see posts from Nabila and Steven over the next few months, but they won’t be in the admissions office this semester. They brought a great energy to admissions, but don’t worry — George-Ann and Stuart will still be with us this spring, and our new program assistants will be introducing themselves on the blog soon.
  • February 5th is our final admissions deadline. While we had our final admissions Q&A webinar earlier this week, you can still contact our office with questions. Remember to use this blog as a resource, and be mindful of other deadlines as we approach February 5th. Common obstacles I’ve seen for people completing their applications are missing letters of recommendations and the video essay — so be sure to follow up with your recommenders and submit your video essay!
  • Spring class visits will open up late February, so keep an eye out for that email. We wait until the spring semester is firmly scheduled so that students are not still adding and dropping classes and you can have a smoother class visit experience.

Finally, I’m excited to welcome these new J-termers (students who start in January) to SIPA. Thank you for trusting us with your applications, and joining Columbia SIPA is a great way to start off the new year!

Getting Involved in Campus – Inside and Outside SIPA

Of course, you’re thinking of applying to SIPA for all the great classes climate policy and impact investing we have and all the super smart professors butttttt…….you might be forgetting something……

THE PEOPLE!!!!!!!

The people at SIPA is one of SIPA’s best attributes. The people here are awesome and one very important way to meet more people is getting involved in campus groups and student life!!!! I myself, am the Communications and Marketing Chair of SIPA Students of Color, aka, I tell people in SIPA about the events and talks we are having as well as spending a lot of time looking up memes for newsletters. Due to this role, I have met some cool people who I am glad to say are very good friends (awwww <33).

There are many great student organizations here, some of which include Digital & Cyber Group, Migration Working Group and SIPA Pan-African Network. Anything you are interested in policy-wise, you can find it at SIPA. And if you can’t find it, you can start a new group. You’ll soon be drowning in events with interesting guests including diplomats, CEOs, managers, policymakers and more!

Now SIPA is lovely and all, but you may need a break from the International Affairs Building – seriously, we spend a lot of time here – and it’s important to get out of the SIPA bubble and meet people from other schools.

Columbia University Life is always throwing events that bring together students from different graduate schools. Last year, I met students from Columbia Business School and Columbia Law School at a Latin Student Mixer. Every now and then, I go to talks/events/panels at Maison Francaise/Journalism School/Law School/[other schools that are not SIPA] to meet students from other fields of study and get a feel of something other than international affairs and economics. There are so many cool things going at SIPA that it is easy to forget how much is happening across Columbia University and at the other schools here. I sign up for a lot of experiments so I have met postdocs at the Zuckerman Institute as well.

This is all to say that class is great, but don’t forget that a big part of your grad school experience will be the people you meet. SIPA and Columbia in general have A LOT of interesting people to meet. Remember to take a break from schoolwork and wander around campus, go to different buildings and explore. The University Life app will keep you up to date about what is going on around campus so pay attention to it!

"The most global public policy school, where an international community of students and faculty address world challenges."

—Merit E. Janow, Dean, SIPA, Professor of Practice, International and Economic Law and International Affairs

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