Archive for student life

Meet Columbia’s Libraries

The Meet Columbia series aims to expose prospective SIPA students to the larger university-wide experience offered at Columbia. In this post, we explore four of Columbia’s libraries on the Morningside Heights campus. 

It’s Midterm season, and you haven’t started your Conceptual Foundations or Politics of Policymaking papers?! Perhaps buckling down in one of the 21 libraries at Columbia or its affiliates would help! But which one? If you’re looking for a change to your usual study space, here’s a quick run-down of four of the most popular libraries on campus.

The Herman H. Lehman Social Sciences Library

Third Floor of the International Affairs Building (420 W. 118 St.)

Lehman Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo caption: Lehman Library sits below “the Fishbowl” of the International Affairs Building, the hub of the SIPA Community.

What you need to know: Lehman caters to the Departments of Anthropology, Political Science, and Sociology. It is also the “in-house” library for the School of International and Public Affairs.

What you should know: The library’s three Group Study spaces are wildly popular for students coordinating group assignments, TAs conducting office hours, and informal club meetings. Lehman also hosts a large computer lab, recitation rooms, presentation practice rooms, and scanning services.

What you didn’t know: Lehman houses an extensive map collection that began in 1912. Between over 200,000 geological, topographical, political, nautical, and aeronautical maps, you can find yourself lost in a room full of maps.

Butler Library

South Lawn (535 W. 114 St.)

Butler Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo caption: Butler 301, colloquially known as the Ref room, is home to soaring chandeliers and hard-working students. This room is one of many that remains open for 24 hours during the academic year.

What you need to know: Butler is Columbia’s largest library, containing over two million volumes works related to the humanities, religion, philosophy, and literature, as well as a large collection of government documents. It originally opened as South Hall in 1934, replacing Low Library as the school’s main library. Fun Fact: Staff used a giant slide to transport books from Low.

What you should know: Butler is the library that never sleeps, staying open for 24 hours during the academic year. There will be students working during all parts of the night. There are study carrels and offices reserved for graduate students on the library’s upper floors, with most students preferring to work in the reading rooms, large reference rooms, or the stacks. The entrance level has a Blue Java Cafe, a popular meeting spot for group projects. Should you need a break from Lehman, many group study rooms are available upon prior reservation.

What you didn’t know: The sixth floor is home to the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, a massive collection of primary sources spanning more than 4,000 years of history. You can pay them a visit in their museum-style space featuring rotating exhibitions, and Columbia students are given access to documents for research purposes.

C.V. Starr East Asian Library

Third Floor of Kent Hall (1140 Amsterdam Ave.)

Starr Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo caption: The stained-glass window of Justice recalls the space’s former use as the Law School Library. Today, Starr is dedicated to Columbia’s East Asian studies.

What you need to know: Starr is home to one of the largest East Asian collections in the country, housing materials in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean to Tibetan, Mongol, and Manchu. The collection houses books, films, and many cultural artifacts from East Asia. Special search terminals in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean help students find electronic resources in these languages.

What you should know: Starr is known for its elongated study tables that run along the library’s length, as Starr was modeled after the library at Trinity College at Cambridge. Furthermore, the entrance level of Starr showcases many artifacts from East Asia including a large, gilded Buddhist statue of the Bodhisattva Jizo-sama.

What you didn’t know: The east-facing stained glass window depicts Justice, a remnant of the old Law School library that occupied the space previously. The window depicts the seal of Columbia University and the coats of arms of the thirteen original U.S. colonies.

Science & Engineering Library

Fourth Floor of Northwest Corner Building (550 W. 120th St.)

Science & Engineering Library

Photo caption: The Science and Engineering (S&E) Library is Columbia’s newest library. Nestled inside Northwest Corner Building, the space maintains a modern aesthetic, a stark difference from Columbia’s older design traditions.

What you need to know: The Science and Engineering Library is Columbia’s newest library, opening in 2011. It supports research in the fields of chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, psychology, and interdisciplinary works.

What you should know: The library houses the Digital Science Center, making its computers some of the most powerful and comprehensive on campus. There are more than fifty advanced workstations, all outfitted with course-related software (read: SPSS and Stata), and can be used at individual or group carrels. There are also group study spaces and presentation practice rooms available upon reservation. Additionally, Joe’s Coffee downstairs can satisfy your food or coffee fix.
What you didn’t know: Ever wanted to design something? Anything? Columbia offers free 3D printing! If you can design it, you can print it! No worries if you never had experience with 3D design. Columbia Libraries offer tutorials and beginner resources to help you start your project.

Which library is your favorite? Is there anything you want to know about student life at Columbia? Curious about any history, traditions, or folklore on campus? Comment below, and we’ll write about it in our next blog post.

 

Brooklyn Hotspots: Tips from an off-campus student

One of the coolest parts about living in New York City is exploring all the city has to offer throughout the five boroughs. As a student who lives off campus in Brooklyn I often get questions from fellow SIPA students about places they should check out when they venture in to my borough. Brooklyn is the most populous boroughs of NYC and the second largest by land mass. I couldn’t possibly tell you about all of the interesting things to do in Brooklyn, but I will try to highlight some of my favorite places. If you’re traveling to NYC this holiday season, here are some “must see” places to check out.

Commuting to Columbia University’s campus

We often discuss the wonderful diversity of students at SIPA on this blog. That diversity means students are moving to New York from all over the country and the world so inevitably one of the first questions admitted students have is about where they should live. Read More →

Student Group Spotlight: UN Studies Working Group

Life at SIPA is more than just a rigorous and exciting curriculum. The SIPA community is greatly enriched by the numerous student organizations on campus. We thought it would be useful to spotlight some of these organizations to give you a more holistic view of the SIPA experience.

The UN Studies Program Working Group (UNSWG) is a student organization that works in close relation with the UN Studies Program at SIPA. It aims to connect students and the entire SIPA community to the United Nations, to its issues and agenda, and to the UN System as a whole. UNSWG members are dedicated to the UN’s main goals, including principles of worldwide cooperation for peace and prosperity.

◦The UNSWG serves as a platform for delivery and exchange of knowledge, ideas, thoughts and reflection, debates and discussion on issues related to the United Nations and the UN system.

◦The UNSWG works to foster a close relation between SIPA and the UN: to prepare conferences, seminars, discussion panels and groups; invite speakers and prepare presentations; organize student debates around relevant and current issues related to the UN.

◦The UNSWG aims to maximize opportunities for SIPA students to be involved with the UN and the greater UN family through meetings with officials; visits to the UN Secretariat and UN agency headquarters; inviting speakers to SIPA; organizing internships, career panels, and support for individual initiatives related to the UN.

Within the first month of the semester, the UNSWG has coordinated the following events:

  • “How to get a job at the UN” panel with a representative from the UN’s Human Resources department
  • UN Studies Retreat, “70 Years Later: The United Nations at a Crossroad in a Changing World”, which featured speakers from the UN Secretary-General, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the International Peace Institute, the UN Secretary-General in Africa, and the United Nations Foundation
  • Participation in an upcoming talk given by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on challenges for the UN in the 21st Century

Check out the UNSWG’s blog for a list of past events and its general page for more information.

You’re on a budget but want to eat… out.

Many friends and family are traveling to New York this week to celebrate their loved ones’ proud moment as they walk on stage to pick up their hard-earned diplomas.  While some will be heading to fancy restaurants around town, others will be introduced to a few good eats around the Columbia University campus that are affordable too.

We have compiled a list of restaurants around campus that are budget friendly for graduate students…. because whether you’re leaving or coming, who doesn’t want reliable suggestions on places to eat.  Here are our top restaurants/delis near campus on a budget. Enjoy the Good Eats!

1. Hamilton Deli (116th/Amsterdam)
o Lewinsky Sandwich – $6.95

2. Milano’s (112th/Broadway)
o Chicken Parmesan Sandwich – $9.50

3. Taqueria La Fonda (107th/Amsterdam)
o Big Chicken Burrito – $8.00

4.  Pour House (109th/Amsterdam)
o Lunch Burger Special – $6.00
o *Make sure to fill out the survey when you pay!

5. Amigos (112th/Broadway)
o Monday Taco Madness: Unlimited Tacos & Sangria – $20.00
o Crazy Quesadilla Tuesday: Unlimited Quesadilla & Margaritas – $20.00

6. The Heights (111th/Broadway)
o Happy Hour Specials: Vegetable Quesadillas – $8.00, Wings – $8.00

7. Thai Market (107th/Amsterdam)
o Lunch Specials – $8.00 (12pm – 3:00 Daily)

8.  Falafel Kart! (115th/Broadway)
o Chicken over Rice – $5.00 (CASH ONLY!)

9. Ajanta (121st/Amsterdam)
o Indian Lunch Specials
o Lamb Curry with Rice – $6.95

10. Koronet (110th/Broadway)
o HUGE Slice of Pizza – $3.95

"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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