Columbia College began its 267th year in the midst of the unique challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, as new students joined the Columbia community remotely. Despite not being able to gather in person, online connections created during this time highlight the resilience and adaptability of our students, staff and alumni during these unprecedented times.
Virtual New Student Sendoffs were the incoming students first formal introduction to the College. Alumni from around the country hosted Zoom receptions over the summer for incoming students, current students, parents and alumni, so incoming students could meet their peers online and ask questions to current students and alumni. The video events were a meaningful way for new students to get insights from their fellow Lions, while meeting fellow classmates.
University President Lee C. Bollinger, College Dean James J. Valentini, administrators and student leaders spoke at Convocation on August 30, a virtual milestone marking the beginning of the Class of 2024’s undergraduate experience. Alumni and staff shared welcome video messages that were featured during the ceremony, letting the incoming class know that even with the unusual format of this year, there is a strong community of alumni and staff supporting them.
Columbia’s New Student Orientation Program (NSOP) was also virtual this year; a busy schedule of virtual panels, social hours and activities were scheduled for students to get a taste of College life. Dean Valentini addressed incoming students on August 31 to welcome them to Columbia, and the students affirmed their commitment to academic integrity by reciting Columbia’s Honor Code and Pledge.
Traditionally, the Columbia College Alumni Association (CCAA) presents incoming students with a copy of Homer’s Iliad; this year the CCAA chose instead to gift first-years with the poetic work Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine, which was an additional Lit Hum summer reading assignment, focusing on race, visibility and violence in modern America. While the world has changed these last few months, the connections between people forged at Columbia have continued to be cultivated at the start of this year.
In case you're missing Morningside, check out our welcome video.