Associations and Clubs
The Earth Institute, Columbia University seeks to connect students with its scientists and the cutting-edge research they conduct at the Institute. In addition to providing opportunities for students to contribute to our work through an internship and research assistant program, we engage with students through events and panels featuring topics ranging from climate change and environmental degradation, to poverty, disease and the sustainable use of resources. We also work with student groups to host events and campaigns focused on these critical sustainability issues.
To learn more about the sustainability focused student groups on campus and how to get involved, please visit the links below. Learn more about Environmental Stewardship at Columbia University and how students can become involved. Click here to see a full list of student groups involved with the Earth Institute. For more information or to sign up for regular announcements about EI student programs, please email Nathan Rudder at email@example.com.
Earth Institute Student Groups
Student Advisory Council (SAC)
The Earth Institute Student Advisory Council is a student body that serves the Columbia University community by promoting relationships between student groups, developing events and panels, and assisting with student-interest program planning. One of the key tasks of the Advisory Council is to advise and suggest improvements to the professional resources that will help students gain more experience in the field of sustainability. The Council is comprised of two students each from the School of International and Public Affairs, General Studies, Barnard College, the Business School, the Law School, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia College, the School of Public Health, the School of Journalism, and the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Environmental and Sustainability Focused Campus Student Groups
As a component of First-Year Focus, the ten student peer educators in the EcoReps Program head efforts to increase environmental awareness on campus, connect students and administrators, and reduce Barnard's negative environmental impacts. Opportunities provided by the EcoReps are specifically designed for first-year students living in the residence halls in order to influence decision-making during their transition to college with hopes that green living will become a permanent aspect of their lifestyle at Barnard and beyond. Monthly themes define residential programming and annual events such as Recyclemania, Green Move-in, Give + Go Green, and Local Foods Harvest Dinners at Hewitt Dining Hall. For the 2008-09 school year, the EcoReps will partner closely with the FYF Resident Assistants (RAs) on programming, planning, and informational signage, and act as a resource for ResLife and students on green living and other environmental topics. A new relationship between the EcoReps and the non-profit organization Rock and Wrap It Up will facilitate multiple Give + Go Green donation collections throughout the year. The EcoReps also work with ResLife, CAO, and other offices to decrease waste and source green products at campus-wide events.
This program through Roxbury Farm (Kinderhook, NY) allows students and community members to purchase a share of the farm. Shareholders support this small, local NY farm and receive a delivery each week of a share of the harvest from that week at the farm. Columbia student coordinators take find shareholders, organize pick-up locations, etc.
A group of students working in partnership with Columbia’s department of Housing and Dining in order to make Columbia’s campus more environmentally sustainable. Their work entails publicizing available environmental services, serving as a bridge of communication between students and the administration, facilitating campus projects for a reduced university ecological footprint. This year Eco-Reps will be working on a Green Licensing Program for dorms/campus buildings as well as continuing work with campus recycling, energy consumption, and purchasing of organic/local foods.
An environmental advocacy and action student group dedicated to changing the attitude and ways of the JTS community and infrastructure. While the administrative Green Committee will serve as the institutional support for greening JTS, the EcoReps will develop the agenda and implement the change. Goals include: working with Facilities to create an improved recycling system and to make the JTS buildings more energy efficient; collaborating with Dining Services to bring more sustainable food options and to reduce the amount of waste produced daily; and raising community awareness about the reduction of energy and water use, recycling practices, green purchasing, and ways to make Jewish living more sustainable.
CUEBS approaches the biosphere from an academic point of view and aims to encourage environmental appreciation and education at all levels within the Columbia community. Their goals are to: network with other students, alumni, graduate students, and faculty interested in Environmental Biology; enrich the existing E3B and Environmental Science programs with events and trips that allow students to explore Environmental Biology outside of the classroom; and foster interest, education, and awareness in the Columbia community for Environmental Biology and, generally, the environment and its importance in our daily lives and our world. Their activities include film screenings, behind-the-scenes tours of the Aquarium, hikes, etc.
The Columbia University Food Sustainability Project (CUFSP) seeks to raise awareness of and access to sustainable food practices on campus and in the greater community. A main focus of our club is managing the campus community garden (where we grow veggies, fruits, and herbs) and running indoor/outdoor composting programs. We also have a vertical farming initiative (in students' dorms and demo in Lerner) set for this winter, potential beekeeping and chicken raising, and will be setting up drip irrigation/rainwater catchment this spring. In the effort to raise awareness and community building, we'll also be holding potluck movie nights and educational workshops throughout the winter.
Consilience is a global online publication dedicated to promoting interdisciplinary dialogue on sustainable development. By providing a public platform for discussion, we hope to encourage a global community to think more broadly, thoroughly and analytically about sustainable development.
This publication aims to bring students, researchers, professors, and practitioners from a variety of disciplines and geographical regions in direct conversation with each other through an online, academically rigorous medium. The biannual journal features scholarly articles, opinion pieces, photo essays, and field notes, and editorial columns are published on a biweekly basis on the website.
We aim to encourage students to become involved in research: an invaluable problem-solving tool that has the power to transform unfocused passion into focused solutions. Consilience is designed to allow different disciplines to converse with each other in the high hopes that this cross-pollination of methodologies will spark ideas that ultimately lead to a higher quality of life for all people.
We are accepting submissions on a rolling basis.
Core Foods is Columbia’s Student-Run Organic Food Co-op. Currently located in JJ’s Place, they focus on providing a wide selection of local and organic food right on Columbia’s campus.
The Columbia University Partnership for International Development (CUPID) is a student-led effort across Columbia University to facilitate multidisciplinary dialogue, awareness, and action on international development. Recognizing the University’s excellence in this field, CUPID serves as a channel for individuals interested in international development to take advantage of the University’s wide-ranging human and institutional resources in their academic, extracurricular, and professional endeavors. Encouraging a collaborative spirit among students, professors, and alumni with diverse specialties, CUPID aims to explore and demonstrate how a multidisciplinary approach to international development can produce innovative, holistic solutions for disadvantaged populations.
A Columbia/Barnard student coalition working to improve the local environment by promoting recycling on campus, organizing gardening and clean-ups in local parks, sponsoring environmental forums, and coordinating Earth Week activities on the Columbia campus. Earth Coalition also gets involved with local and national environmental issues with other environmental organizations, letter writing campaigns, and trips to environmental impact sites in the area. EarthCo promotes environmental consciousness through outreach and service to the community. Campaigns this year include Earth Tutors (teaching environmental education in a South Bronx elementary school), community gardening, and peer education about recycling.
The Energy Club is committed to educating Columbia Business School students about the energy industry, increasing awareness regarding career opportunities, and helping members take advantage of those opportunities. The Energy Club periodically hosts panel discussions and speakers on topics that are shaping the future of the energy industry. We also offer a symposium and speaker series each Spring. To assist our members in their job searches, we distribute a resume book for first- and second-year students and invite prospective employers to host on-campus presentations. Finally, we strive to create a network of students and alumni who are committed to working in the energy industry through the Columbia Business School Energy Network.
The Columbia University chapter of Engineers Without Borders aims to address the problems facing people both locally and abroad by leveraging the skills, talents and passions of Columbia University students and the partnerships formed with our organization. Our members come from all engineering and arts backgrounds, sharing the desire to do meaningful work in improving the lives of others through creative, sustainable, engineering solutions. We are currently working on three major projects in Ghana, India, and Uganda.
Columbia Law School's Environmental Law Society (ELS) is a student organization for law students concerned about environmental issues and/or interested in environmental careers. We actively pursue expansion of the environmental curriculum and promote improved environmental efforts by the Law School. ELS hosts events with top environmental law practitioners from the government, public interest groups, and private law firms. In addition to these panel discussions and informal lunches, we also host large-scale events, such as an Earth Day celebration and outdoor events such as hiking trips, park clean-ups, and tree-planting. ELS welcomes all interested new law students and offers ample opportunity to become involved at any level. We further welcome opportunities to work with other student groups across the University is addressing environmental law issues.
We are a part of the 501(c) 3 non-profit Global Brigades, Inc., the world’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization. Working together, student volunteers and professionals aim to empower communities in Honduras and Panama with programs that improve quality of life while respecting local culture and improving the environment. We develop sustainable health initiatives and provide relief where there is limited access to healthcare.
Our mission is to encourage sustainability to the communities in Honduras through our Medical, Microfinance, Business, Public Health, Water, Dental, Environmental, and Law Brigades.
Columbia Global Justice, the Columbia-Barnard chapter for the Student Global AIDS Campaign, is a student group dedicated to promoting health, human rights, and sustainable economic development globally by raising awareness, inspiring effective advocacy, and engendering student political will throughout the Columbia community.
GlobeMed is a network of university students which partner with grassroots organizations around the world to improve the health of people living in poverty. Through their involvement today, students become effective leaders in global health and social justice. We believe that undergraduates and communities can work in tandem to foster long-term relationships and collaborate on sustainable, locally-driven projects that better the health and well-being of people around the world.
The chapter at Columbia University partners with a women's rights organization in Gulu, Uganda called Gulu Women's Economic Development and Globalization (GWED-G) on various health and development initiatives. The 2010-2011 project with GWED-G takes a comprehensive approach to HIV/AIDS by incorporating not only HIV education for women and youth, but also maternal and reproductive health, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, economic empowerment and counseling for women, and advocacy.
The Green Business Club engages students, the Columbia Business School community, and business leaders across industries on the intersection of business and sustainability. We believe organizations should operate sustainably, balancing economic, environmental, and social considerations. As such, we educate our members on emerging triple-bottom-line business issues and prepare them for careers related to sustainability. As a professional club, we connect students with employers through networking opportunities, career resources, and industry/alumni contacts in the private, for-profit, public, and non-profit sectors. In order to “walk the talk,” we also make it a priority to advocate and model sustainable practices in our own community through campus greening projects.
The Green Umbrella is a network of environmental student groups on the Columbia and Barnard campuses. Representatives from each group come together to network and improve communication, collaborate on campaigns, attend conferences and summits, and meet with the Office of Environmental Stewardship and other administrators. The coordinators of the Green Umbrella connect people and projects, serve as a nexus for information distribution, compile a comprehensive weekly email with green events and opportunities on campus and beyond, and facilitate large, multi-group event planning. Groups in the Green Umbrella include EarthCo, Barnard EcoReps, Columbia EcoReps, Students for Environmental and Economic Justice, Food Sustainability Project, Columbia University Environmental Biology Society, Core Foods, Columbia Students for Animal Protection, Jewish Theological Seminary EcoReps, and Consilience.
Medical SEA is established to promote environmental awareness at the medical campus. We want to be the voice of students for environmental concerns. This organization is dedicated to reforming inadequate recycling policies, devising strategies to decrease waste and energy consumption, improving energy efficiency, educating students and faculty on environmental issues, and decreasing the ecological footprint at the Columbia University Medical Center.
We hope to support our fellow classmates during our one year here at SIPA by providing options for outreach activities, networking events, and professional development opportunities. We would love to collaborate on any possible events related to the environmental realm, and want to provide as many resources as possible to our class through a speaker series which is currently being developed. We are also working with University Events Management to make SIPA events more sustainable by having re-usable dishes and utensils, as well as locally sourced products. We hope to hear from any individuals or groups that may want to work together in the future!
Mission: To bring a much-needed awareness to the Columbia community about scientific and technological issues of social relevancy.
- Presentations from Professor Upmanu Lall, Director of the Columbia Water Center, entitled, “Sustainable Water Development in the 21st Century” and “Will India Run Out of Water?”
- Earth Week Documentary Screening of “A Quiet Revolution,” narrated by Meryl Streep and created by Earth Council, followed by a 16-panel “Seeds of Change” exhibition.
- An Annual Science and Engineering Research Fair, where we invited over 20 Columbia professors of all different fields to give presentations on their research, and to connect undergraduates with opportunities in the professors' labs.
In addition to our research fair, our biggest event this upcoming year is our most recent initiative, which is the BioBus project.
The Cell Motion BioBus was founded in August 2007 by Ben Dubin-Thaler, a 2007 graduate of Columbia University (Ph.D. Cell Biophysics). He turned down many jobs and instead built this vehicle for “bringing hands-on science education to communities that rarely have such opportunities.” It is a moving science lab, geared with high-tech equipment, which has been a sort of a “Magic School Bus” for over 10,000 students a year in the New York City public schools and more.
SEBS would like to work with Dr. Ben in bringing BioBus on camps this upcoming spring and recruit about 100 volunteers to host New York City children for an adventure on BioBus!
Students for Environmental & Economic Justice (SEEJ) is a Barnard and Columbia group dedicated to advancing ecological sustainability and labor rights. SEEJ is non-hierarchical and operates by consensus, so new members can become involved immediately. Last year the group ran a campaign to encourage Columbia to purchase wind power, began working on a responsible purchasing code of conduct for the University, and launched an anti-bottled water initiative. This year they intend to continue these campaigns as well as pursue other projects that new members are interested in. Meetings are held every Tuesday night at 9:30pm in Earl Hall (Dodge Room).
The SIPA Energy Association is dedicated to complimenting the education of the International Energy Management and Policy concentration, connecting SIPA students with practitioners in the energy sector, and educating students about career opportunities in the field. SEA's activities include arranging visits to SIPA by actors in the private, nonprofit, and public sectors, as well as trips for students to see aspects of the energy industry in person. The organization aims to aid its members in finding jobs and internships within the energy sector while building a network of SIPA alumni working in the various facets of shaping the world's energy future.
SustainUS is a national network of young people organizing around the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in their schools and communities. SustainUS is committed to increasing youth participation in sustainable development issues, demanding government accountability to its citizens and adherence to international agreements, and working with all stakeholders to establish sustainable development practices.
Students can also connect with nationwide campaigns to support the MDGs: