Archive for student groups

A glimpse of SIPA

Now that Second Year students are in their final semester at SIPA, we asked a couple of them:  What has been your favorite experience at SIPA?

Emily Siu, Dual Degree with Social Work: Probably the North Korea trip. It was so unexpected to have this opportunity. I was surrounded by a cohort that was really interesting. I felt like I learned not only from the tour guides but also my classmates. One night we did karaoke with our host guides. The trip was the week after finals so we all really needed to relax. Professor Lindenmayer was even dancing! It was really eye opening to hear perspectives on international affairs from our guides. What we hear in the US about North Korea is very one-sided. This trip really humanized the country for me.

Nancy Leeds, Social Policy and Management: My favorite part of the SIPA experience has been participating in the Gender Policy co-curricular program. It’s great to be able to take classes and receive guidance from other women practitioners and guest lecturers who have been there and done that in almost every field of interest. I also love reading studies and learning statistics that validate and inform my own experiences as a professional woman. I would particularly recommend Women and Power with Carolyn Buck-Luce, which focuses on practical applications for women in the workforce, and Gender Mainstreaming with Kristy Kelly which teaches how to apply feminist theory and a gender perspective across almost any policy or administrative field.

Carlyn Cowen, EPD and Management: The International Conflict Resolution Practicum. It’s a combined class and summer internship experience. You take the class on international conflict resolution in the spring, and then you and a team of students get placed with a summer internship. I worked with the UN in Zambia. We designed and conducted a research study for the UN to assess how their natural resource management initiatives were affecting rural communities. In the process, we learned research design and implementation skills as well as had a chance to experience working in the UN system. I also got to sit on the edge of Victoria Falls and white water raft down the Zambezi!

Alejandra Kubitschek Bujones, EPD and Management: I went on student led and organized trips to both Japan (last year) and India, which I just returned from.  Both were amazing and definitely highlights of my SIPA experience. In India we met President Sonia Gandhi. We visited a rural village and saw development projects in person bringing electricity to rural villages using cow dow and innovative measures being developed. From there we went to Mumbai which is thriving city. India is definitely a country on the move!  Both trips were amazing because we got to learn about the political, social, economic and cultural side of these two amazing countries and they were organized through the generosity of our classmates who are well connected in these countries so it was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Neha Shah, IFEP and Management : My favorite part was the interaction with the other students whether it was through classes, student groups, events, or parties. I feel like the student body has such a wide range of experiences that it was extremely beneficial and eye opening to get to know my peers.I came into sipa with little knowledge of what actually went on day to day (the work life) in a lot of organizations I thought I would be interested i.e. the UN, World Bank, Fed etc. So it was great getting to know the details of the wide array of backgrounds first hand from my peers.

Social Entrepreneurship at SIPA

The following post was written by Kevin Hong.  Kevin is a second-year student concentrating in Economic and Political Development with a specialization in Management.

Kevin graduated from Cornell University in 2005 and focused on Computational and Systems Biology.  Prior to joining SIPA Kevin was Study Coordinator at the Francis I. Proctor Foundation based at the University of California in San Francisco.


Whether it is corporate social responsibility, sustainability, or social entrepreneurship, there has been increasing interest in the intersection of the private and public sectors expressed by SIPA students. As I served as the Social Entrepreneurship Chair for SIPA Net Impact, I met more and more students at SIPA who are interested in how to encourage more business to promote social causes or how to use entrepreneurial approaches in social sectors.

Net Impact is a national organization with chapters around the world to bring together students and professionals who are interested in these issues (  The chapter at SIPA has been particularly active in the past year putting together a variety of events to raises awareness about social entrepreneurship (Face Book page here). Here are some of events we hosted:

  • AfroReggae- Social Entrepreneurship and Arts Education in Brazil’s Favelas
  • KOPERNIK ~ Entrepreneuring Breakthrough Technologies
  • Food in the Sky: Vertical Farming for Sustainable Food Supply with Dr. Dickson Despommier
  • Conversation with Paul Polak, Author of Out of Poverty and Founder of International Development Enterprises (IDE)
  • The Power of Social Entrepreneurship – The Mae Fah Luang Foundation
  • Social Entrepreneurship: Insights from Practitioners

In partnership with Wagner School of Public Services at NYU, SIPA Net Impact also organized the Social Enterprise Boot Camp which offered skill-building workshops, an elevator pitch competition, and speed networking for aspiring social entrepreneurs ( This event was a huge success with over dozen speakers and over 100 participants and SIPA Net Impact is working to offer the Boot Camp again this year with more workshops.

Social Enterprise Boot Camp

Now with two full courses dedicated on social entrepreneurship taught by professors Sarah Holloway and Sara Minard and exciting extracurricular activities on the topic, SIPA provides unique opportunities for students who are interested in public policy and development to explore social entrepreneurship as an innovative tool to promote social causes in which they are interested.  So join us and find out how you can make the world a better place with social entrepreneurship at SIPA!

Tunisia Brown Bag Panel

It is not uncommon for discussions and events to take shape at SIPA in response to very current events.  The following is an example of a brown bag panel that took place this past week based on the recent happenings in Tunisia.  This is yet another benefit of the numerous student groups, institutes, and centers at SIPA.


THURSDAY 1/27: Tunisia Before & After Ben Ali
Brownbag Panel and Q&A with Columbia University Professors Taoufiq Ben Amor and Rym Bettaieb, and SIPA alumnus (PEPM’07) from Tunisia, Rim Nour

Time: 1:00-2:30pm
Location: 1501 International Affairs Building, 420 West 118th Street

Presented by ASA, MEI and IAS. Columbia University Professors Taoufiq Ben Amor and Rym Bettaieb, and SIPA alumnus (PEPM’07) from Tunisia, Rim Nour, share their viewpoints and updates on the recent events in Tunisia exploring topics ranging from the role that young people have played, to the use of social media, to the mechanisms of grassroots mobilization, as well as the stereotypes that the revolution broke.  A Q&A session will follow the panel.

The BEST of Columbia University

One of the great things about being a SIPA student is that while students have access to the wonderful resources SIPA offers, students also have access to the resources of a world class university comprised of 21 different schools and affiliated institutions.  The following entry highlights some of the benefits.  The entry was written by SIPA student Carrie Dorn.


Gaining admission to the School of International and Public Affairs not only opens up your access to SIPA’s institutes, events and student groups— it also allows you to access to the rest of Columbia University.  Once you learn your way around the International Affairs building and find your favorite seat in Lehman library, students can get so wrapped up in SIPA life that they don’t venture out to explore the rest of campus.  Here’s a cheat sheet of resources to take advantage of during your time at Columbia.

Feed Your Brain: CLASSES

Did you hope to enhance your academic repertoire by learning about health literacy, media culture in China or land use law?  With SIPA’s flat rate tuition, you can cross register at other graduate schools and may be able to count relevant classes towards your concentration and specialization.

Cozy Up With Your Textbook: LIBRARIES

While SIPA’s Lehman Library has everything you need, why not vary your study environment?  Your CU ID gives you access to swipe into libraries all around campus.  Many students like Teachers College library, around the corner from SIPA on 120th St., which provides a relaxing environment for students to comfortably do group work.   Others enjoy the Social Work Library, located 3 blocks up from SIPA, where windows overlooking Amsterdam Avenue and 121st Street offer direct sunlight and some good people-watching.  Night owls may prefer to spend late paper-writing nights uptown in the Health Sciences Library at 168th St., which is bustling with medical students at all hours.   With some exploration you can find the perfect study environment for you.

Explore NYC’s Creative Side: CUarts

Even Columbia knows that you didn’t move to New York City to spend all of your time in the library!  That’s why the Arts Initiative at Columbia University works to make art and cultural events accessible and affordable for students.  Your student ID allows you free admission into more than 30 NYC museums and can get you discounted tickets to movies, restaurants and Broadway shows.

Refuel Your Day: GOOD EATS

Wherever you find yourself on campus, there is no shortage of places to pick up a snack.  SIPA students are lucky to have a café on the 6th floor to grab lunch and coffee in between classes.  Brad’s, located in the School of Journalism, is a great place to buy coffee, salads or baked goods to help get through your day.  You can also watch the buzz around the Morningside campus in their semi-open seating on warm days.   In the winter, a better option may be Lenfest Café in the Law school—accessible through the south hallway at SIPA—which offers a variety of sandwiches, sushi and other prepared foods.  On Thursdays and Sundays you can find locally produced cheeses, organic veggies and freshly baked bread at the Farmer’s Market while strolling down Broadway (between 114th and 115th Streets).

Relax Underground: MUSIC SPOT

Under the beautiful St. Paul’s Chapel, located right on campus between Avery and Buell Hall, the Postcrypt Coffehouse offers acoustic music every Friday and Saturday night during the school year.  In an intimate setting, you can unwind at the end of a busy week while listening to the tunes of local talent.


Columbia University Directory of CLASSES:

Columbia University LIBRARIES:




NYC Century Bike Tour and SIPA

The student government at SIPA is known as SIPASA and enrolled students will find plenty of opportunities to get involved in events of all kinds during their two years at SIPA.  One event taking place this coming September that SIPASA will be participating in is the NYC Century Bike Tour.

For those that like to ride but might not be excited about riding 100 miles, there are shorter options during the ride so do not think that joining means you have to ride the whole 100 miles, or 160.9344 kilometers for most of you that follow the metric system.

I rode the whole 100 miles once and it was a great ride.  NYC has no real hills to speak of so you do not have to worry about any grueling climbs.  Here are the details.  Contact Laura Baringer lb2645[at] for details.

What: NYC Century Bike Tour – A relaxed cycling tour of the city

When: September 12- all day

Cost: $55 (discounted ticket- I promise it’s worth it) + bike rental, if needed

How: Register online

**contact Laura Baringer for team details and discount code

Why:  Be part of the SIPA team!

Contacts: Laura Baringer (lb2645) and Lauren Quillian (lq2125)

If you’re new to the city or a seasoned New Yorker, join your fellow SIPAites for this year’s NYC Century Bike Tour.  Cycling your way through Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, it’s a completely different and unique way to see the city.   You can choose your distance and speed, so its good for all levels of cyclists!  Not to mention the plethora of rest stops and great company along the way.

As part of the SIPA team, you’ll be able to see the sites with other students and one designated route leader.  SIPA route leaders will be available for the 35 and 55 mile rides.

"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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