You’ve done your research about the application requirements and you’ve studied up on the GRE/GMAT, but did you know there’s more to SIPA than just “getting in”? Once you’re here you’ll have access to an astonishing amount of resources, from periodicals and professors to courses and classmates. A surprising extension of SIPA’s resources actually lies within its groups. These student-run organizations offer our Seeples 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. (In all, SIPA has more than 40 student groups you can join.) No matter your interests, there are ways to get involved at SIPA without getting lost in a sea of textbooks and policy memos.

Here are 7 SIPA student groups you may not know exist.

Columbia SIPA Veterans Association
CSVA’s foundation is to assist new students assimilate to SIPA by sharing critical information about the GI Bill ®, the VA, and general student life. Host prospective student veterans during campus visits, provide mentors to new student veterans during orientation, and host a website information session to circulate student veteran information. They provide a forum for discussion of military and veteran issues, facilitate opportunities for student veterans to interact with other student veterans and students interested in military and veteran issues, and highlight veteran perspectives within the SIPA discourse.

Columbia Impact Investing Initiative
Founded in September 2010, CI3 now has over 200 graduate student members from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Columbia Business School, Columbia Law School, the Earth Institute and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The third power in our name reflects CI3’s belief in the vast potential of mobilizing private and public finance to scale up sustainable enterprises designed to achieve triple bottom line results: financial return, social impact, and environmental impact. The organization is dedicated to learning about and contributing to the advancement of impact investing and social entrepreneurship around the world.

Journal of International Affairs
Established in 1947, the Journal of International Affairs is the second-oldest publication in the field of international relations, affiliated with and run by students at SIPA. It is the premier university-affiliated periodical in the field and has earned worldwide recognition for framing the heated debates that define global events and foreign policy. In the aftermath of World War II, the founders of the journal saw a need for a publication that would serve as a forum for exploring issues and offering innovative solutions to problems of global concern. The journal has featured leading minds in the field of international affairs since its inception.

SIPA Pan African Network
As its mission, SPAN creates a vibrant community of support for students within SIPA and Columbia concerned with Africa and its Diaspora. Annual flagship events include the African Economic Forum, African Development Forum, and Taste of Africa. Core objectives include creating a platform for African students and all other students interested in Africa to share ideas beneficial to development in Africa, and organizing events focused on development, and connect members with organizations for internship and post-graduation employment opportunities. 

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
The mission of SIPA RPCVs is to unite a network of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers at SIPA who share a common experience, to provide networking and professional opportunities for students, and to inform the personal and professional development of our members, including those who are recently transitioning from overseas posts. Members of SIPA RPCVs are also committed to Peace Corps’ third goal: “To strengthen America’s understanding of the world and its peoples” by sharing their experiences with both the SIPA and greater NYC communities. SIPA RPCVs also provides opportunities to continue to volunteer in the local community, raises awareness about Peace Corps, and advertises SIPA programs to current and returned PCVs.

SIPA Technology and Innovation Student Association
This group was formed to help increase student knowledge of how technology influences international development and to expand opportunities for students within the information and communication technology (ICTs) for development and public policy. Through projects, panels, case competitions, and events, we aim to create a community around ICT for development and public policy as well as promote practical research and internship opportunities for SIPA students. Additionally, the TechISA supports SIPA curriculum development around technology for development and public policy.  Our students and alumni work globally with organizations such as The Earth Institute, UNICEF, OCHA, Worldbank, Ushahidi, and UNDP.  One of our primary activities is crisis mapping, an international effort to respond to disasters around the globe, and our volunteers provide essential information within the first few essential days following a disaster.

SIPA Spectrum
Spectrum is an organization within which SIPA LGBTQ and straight allies may network, build a community, and hold dialogue on international and domestic issues regarding homosexuality and through which community members may access relevant resources and information.