Archive for student organization

Welcome to SIPA with Giovanni, Jake and Rahel

It’s an exciting time at SIPA right now – Orientation Week just finished (check out photos here!), and classes start today!

And of course, the 2019 application is open. We know it’s a lot to think about as you go through preparing your application package – or even deciding if you want to make the effort. Two years in graduate school is no small choice, and we encourage you to come to an information session, ask any admissions questions you may have, and get a feel for the SIPA community.

While SIPA offers a flexible theory-meets-practice curriculum, top-notch faculty, and access to all of the Columbia University resources, many alum will say that their favorite thing about SIPA is the people. With that, here’s a few of those great Seeples: Jas, Katy and Anjana.

Learn more about the student organizations Jas, Rahel and Anjana are involved with:

Welcome to SIPA from Caitlin and Sid

SIPA Orientation is happening this week, and everyone here is excited to welcome the Class of 2020 to our global family!

If you can see yourself being here in a year or two, be sure to check out a few upcoming recruiting events on-campus and off-campus. You’ll be able to chat with SIPA admissions staff and alumni about the application process, student life, career options, and anything else that comes to mind.

In the meantime, get a glimpse of student life at SIPA with Caitlin and Sid.

Learn more about the student organizations Caitlin and Sid are involved with:

Life Beyond the Classroom: Spectrum

SIPA has so much to offer beyond the classroom, and we’re excited to hear from Spectrum during this Pride Month! Read on to learn more about what they do and stand for here at SIPA.

Spectrum is a student organization at SIPA that uses advocacy and information to advance local, national and international transformations, in favor of LGBTQIA rights. We bring together the talent of SIPA students who wish to make a difference in favor of equality and non-discrimination, particularly with regards to sexual orientation, gender expression or identity.

One of the most important goals of Spectrum is to maintain a friendly community where everyone feels welcomed. Spectrum is committed to supporting our members in their well-being. We’re committed to providing safe spaces for all students and take anonymity seriously.

What do we do? Along with panels and working lunches on topics related to LGBTQIA rights in the U.S. and the rest of the world, we throw the best happy hours to unite our community over a drink or two in informal settings!

  • Spectrum panelistsThis spring semester, we held a panel on Sexual Violence and Mental Health. Our guest speaker Jessica Stern, president of OutRight Action International, spoke on the importance of creating new and adjusting old policies that would address sexual violence in the United States. Monica Pombo, representative of the Sexual Violence Response unit at Columbia University, talked about counseling and medical services available for students on campus. Dr. Cindy Veldhuis, a postdoctoral research scientist at Columbia University’s School of Nursing, talked about the phenomena of sexual violence and how to address it.
  • We invited former and current SIPA students who successfully landed a job to share their experience in finding that job. Guest speakers included Jason Fauss (BlackRock), Nick Donias (KPMG), and Daniel Peciña-Lopez (European-American Chamber of Commerce in New York).
  • Spectrum also unites queers across the entire Columbia University. This past April we recently had a joint happy hour with LGBTQ communities from Columbia’s Law School, Business School, School of Science and Engineering, School of Social Work and School of General Studies.

Spectrum is an inclusive community — everyone who cares about LGBTQIA is welcome to become a member. Join us through OrgSync and our Facebook group to stay up-to-date with current events.

Life Beyond the Classroom: Student Organizations

If you’re thinking about coming to SIPA, you might also be thinking: Is the school only about studying? How else can I get involved in student life? Where can I meet friends that have similar interests to me?

Don’t worry, there is life beyond the classroom! Once at SIPA, there is an astonishing number of student groups at your fingertips. 40+ student organizations provide social, professional, and educational activities to meet your diverse interests. You can take part in a policy group, a regional focus group, or the annual SIPA Follies — there’s something for everyone. The student-run organizations offer the freedom to explore Columbia’s and New York City’s resources in a relaxed setting. Some groups invite visiting dignitaries to campus for informal discussions, while others coordinate research-focused Spring Break trips abroad. No matter your interests, there are ways to get involved at SIPA without getting lost in a sea of textbooks and policy memos.

I want to share my personal experience in one of these organizations. I’m Sebastian Osorio, a second-year MPA student from Colombia. I was the president of one of the largest, most active and coolest (😎) organizations at SIPA, the Latin American Student Association, known as LASA. When I started school over a year ago, I never imagined I would play an active role in a student group. I had just begun life at SIPA and was still navigating my way through class schedules and the nuances of grad school.

After getting settled in New York and adjusting to student life, I found myself with some free time, especially after being used to working 12+ hour days. With that, I decided to research and participate in more student organizations. While I wanted to be busier, I didn’t realize then the commitment and responsibility required to lead one of these groups. I ended up running for president of LASA (and in a very old school Latin American way, I was the only candidate (but it doesn’t diminish my victory!)).

Being a part of LASA has been the highlight of my graduate school experience. There, I met an incredible team and made amazing friends. The board was composed of thirteen members from eight different countries. The board’s diversity in experience and background helped us overcome obstacles and accomplish many ambitious initiatives. In the beginning, I barely knew any of the board members. But as the semester went on, we collaborated well together, creating a platform for discussions on national, regional and international public affairs of Latin America, while also sharing our broad and diverse cultures with the SIPA student body.

LASA became one of the many prominent student organization at SIPA, and we led multiple activities and events like academic brown bag lunches with professors, cultural walks around El Barrio (East Harlem), movie nights, Spanish and Portuguese language sessions, fundraising events and welcome parties. At LASA, we tried to model our agenda after the age-old motto: work hard, play hard. Students came to depend on LASA as their one-stop shop for both professional and educational seminars as well as celebratory after-exam events.

Overall, I gained a lot from being a part of LASA. Personally speaking, the lessons I learned from my time with LASA paralleled the knowledge I gained from classes. I was given the opportunity to test my leadership and managerial skills, while also coordinating a team with shared goals but different skill sets and interests. I had the chance to network and build relationships with notable speakers, esteemed faculty, and accomplished students from across Latin America. But mainly, I gained a family.

With that said, I strongly encourage you to research the student organizations when you arrive at SIPA and find a place where you can contribute to student life and create an experience that you will carry with you long after you graduate.

Eat like Seeple by joining SIPA Eats

On our blog, we often talk about repetitive, but necessary topics, like the admissions process and the curriculum. But there’s so much more SIPA has to offer outside of the classroom. Thus, I’m sharing a post by Program Assistant Katherine McGehee, MIA ’15, regarding one of SIPA’s newest student groups, SIPA Eats. SIPA has 46 active student organizations, and SIPA Eats has become one of the graduate school’s most talked about groups.

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"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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