Activities & Events

Pick and choose from social, recreational, and co-curricular activities

"The challenging courses, beautiful campus, countless activities, trips, and afternoon lectures all made the experience more eye-opening and exciting!"
— MIRANDA PIROONHAPAT

The Midday Break

Recreational and co-curricular activities are offered daily during the break between the morning and afternoon class. These include:

College preparedness programs

  • A talk on applying to college presented by Columbia Undergraduate Admissions
  • Seminars on how to write college application essays
  • Campus tours of Columbia University and Barnard College
  • In Session 2 only, a college fair featuring representatives from over a hundred colleges and universities. Session 1 students who are in the area are welcome to attend
  • An informal college fair organized by students from top colleges across the country
  • Seminars on college life led by university students
  • Academic preparedness and study skills seminars

Special lectures

Program teachers deliver optional midday lectures on topics of interest. Topics from summer 2018 included:
  • Enlightened Capitalism: Socially Responsible Investing
  • Technologies of the Future
  • False Eyewitness Testimony: The Limits of Memory
  • The Possibility of Extraterrestrial Life
  • The Neuroscience of Pleasure and Reward
  • Understanding Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
  • Computational Propaganda: How Algorithms and Automation Manipulate and Falsify Reality
  • Brain Computer Interfaces
  • Grading the U.S. Government: A Historical Perspective
  • Selfies, Snapchat, and Beyond: An Exploration of the Photographic Portrait
  • How Many Words for Snow Do You Have? How Language Really Works
  • Games of Strategy: Using Game Theory to Understand Everyday Interactions
  • What is Liberty? Freedom in Theory and Reality

Please note that not all talks will align with all student course schedules.

Community Outreach & Awareness

Past projects have included:
  • Volunteering in local soup kitchens
  • Teaching computer skills to the elderly
  • Visits to local sustainability and urban gardening projects
  • On-campus food and clothing drives
  • Social awareness and community-support programming

Special Interest Clubs & Discussion Groups

Past examples include:
  • Urban dance classes
  • LGTQB+ Alliance
  • Pop culture lunch clubs
  • 'Love your Melanin' POC Group
  • Social topics and ethics discussion groups
  • A first-day ice-breaking party and an end-of-program outdoor jazz concert with gourmet ice pops
  • Theatrical performances, a film festival, and art exhibitions presented by students in the fine arts curricular options

Other Midday Options

  • Using Columbia's physical fitness center
  • Studying in the university's many libraries and computer labs
  • Sampling the neighborhood's cafés and restaurants
  • Relaxing, socializing, and enjoying the sunshine on Columbia's beautiful campus

Evening and Weekend Activities

All students are welcome to participate in special interest clubs and seminars, on-campus cultural activities, and a talent show. All of these activities take place either during the school day or in the early evening after classes. Also open to all students are midday, evening and weekend community outreach activities.

Residential Program Activities & Events

Recreational options for residential students are offered every evening and on weekends. Evenings in the dorm lounges are livened by board game nights, karaoke performances, film screenings, and an end-of-program dance party.

Residential students may also take part in staff-led opportunities to explore New York City and take part in the rich cultural life of the city. Typical excursions include:

  • Broadways shows
  • Performances at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
  • Central Park
  • The Statue of Liberty
  • The Empire State Building
  • Rockefeller Center
  • The Brooklyn Bridge
  • Times Square
  • The Apollo Theater
  • Highline Park and Chelsea art galleries
  • Chinatown
  • Greenwich Village and New York University (NYU)
  • Coney Island
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • The Museum of Natural History and Hayden Planetarium
  • The Guggenheim Museum
  • The Whitney Museum
  • Trips to the beach
  • Concerts
  • 4th of July Fireworks on the East River
  • Fine dining

Each session also features a few weekend day trips to the beach and to universities such as Princeton, Yale, and Harvard.

Participants are expected to cover expenses for cultural excursions and other trips.