Priorities:Columbia University Student Priorities

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The purpose of this page is to articulate four to five projects we believe would meaningfully improve our campus innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. As part of our training for the University Innovation Fellows program, each of us brainstormed, prototyped, and loosely tested our products. The next step of this project would be to continue to iterate these projects and work with University stakeholders to implement one or multiple. 

1. Promoting student engagement with on-campus events and resources (Lexie Lehmann)

We noticed that students on campus fear overwhelmed with all of the event offerings available to them on and off-campus, as well as the “fear of missing out” felt when students believe that there is a social or academic opportunity that they’re not aware of. In an effort to combat this, we noticed that there were several different websites used to post events on campus but that there were few forums to congregate the events happening on any given day. One of our priorities is to make students feel included and engaged in the Columbia community and to know what opportunities are available to them as a student on this campus in a way that is manageable and inclusive. Originally, we conceived that this forum could take the form of a mobile app, but with feedback from our UIGuide, we’ve decided to look into other ways, especially non-technology ways, to explore promoting on-campus agency and connectivity.


2. Developing Student Self-Awareness with a Neuroscience Course Tailored to the Growth Mindset (Lisa Dinh)


This solution focuses on the problem our Columbia team identified in Session 2 using UIF guidelines: “how might we encourage personal ownership of the campus and institution? Further, how might we promote individual agency within the Columbia experience?” This course has been championed by UIF Lisa Dinh based on her own experiences with the power of understanding how our brains work, heal, and grow in the context of developing individual confidence and identity.

Key Tactics:

  • Research
    • Outside Support and Suggestions
      • Read about and collect syllabi from comparable courses at other institutions
    • Speak to past UIF members who have done similar projects
    • Speak to the creators of Design Your Life courses at Stanford and “Happiness” course at Yale
    • Research the methods of course development at Columbia
      • Determine who are our stakeholders, and what will motivate them to participate
      • Determine the current course offerings at Columbia in Neuroscience, Psych departments
      • Answer: are there existing course with the same value?
    • Talk to students about their needs and interests
      • Answer: what value can this course add?
      • What would you like to learn about your brain? About yourself?
      • What would be useful/helpful to learn?
      • Can and/or should this course be counted for credits?
      • Would it be more useful to have a course that is somewhat of a pop-up or would it be more useful to delve deeply into this course?
  • Develop Course
    • Determine best methods for execution of this course
    • Determine syllabus based on student needs, wants, and suggestions from professors
    • Determine who will teach, where, and when
  • Pitch and Practice
    • Pitch course to Deans and Departments
    • Test Course Topics in Small Group
  • Execute
    • Upon approval, execute idea!


3. Fostering Feelings of Claimancy With Enhanced Public Spaces (Amita Shukla)


This solution focuses on the problem our Columbia team identified in Session 2 using UIF guidelines: “how might we encourage personal ownership of the campus and institution? This solution centers around making better use of Columbia's public spaces, making them more encouraging to stay in and more inviting by creating pop up installations that suggest to students that they could be niches to return to and claim as one's own on campus. Columbia's campus can often be alienating and unwelcoming, requiring reservations to use even for a few hours, and these open spaces will change that inherent perception.

4. Promoting Community and Initiative Through Launching a Student Run Business (Alexandra Cooper)

This solution aims to foster a sense of community and engagement in ways that other clubs or programs may not be able to. A student run business, unlike other clubs or programs, requires each student to invest themselves in a more informed way for the sucess of the business depends on the individual committment of each student. Because the students will reap the benefits of the business, they will most likely be more inclined and motivated to devote themselves to their tasks. This, in turn, would yield a greater sense of community and group camaraderie. In addition to providing students with a positive network of individuals, this opportunity would provide those passionate about business, entrepreneurship, and other relvent fields the opportunity to capitalize on these interests. Many students are interested in becoming involved in preprofessional programs, and this would provide them with the opportunity to do so. The business could be something like a mobile cafe or bookstore, and may sell drinks, pencils and pens, headphones, chargers, etc. These goods are ones that students may want while studying in the library. Making the business mobile, sort of like a cart, would allow us to bring it to different locations around campus.