Improve Columbia

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This page is a comprehensive plan to improve Columbia for its students. It is currently based on an article published in the Columbia Spectator on April 30, 2007.[1]

Campus and buildings

Campus and outdoor spaces

  • Replace aging bricks on College Walk - old bricks have been replaced by asphalt pavers
  • Improve the drainage on campus, especially the East Campus landbridge
  • Keep one field on South Lawn open at all times for recreation
  • Improve campus wheelchair accessibility
  • Provide dedicated distribution racks for all campus publications
  • Keep 117th Street gates (at Broadway and Amsterdam) open until 9 pm - as of May 2013, the gates will be open until 10pm


  • Provide more electrical outlets in all libraries and classrooms
  • Design future buildings without grossly violating the campus aesthetic
  • Extend hours of classroom buildings with study space


  • Install motion-sensitive sinks in all public bathrooms
  • Install paper-towel dispensers in all campus bathrooms

Lerner Hall

  • Bring the comfortable chairs and computers back to Lerner's lobby
  • Extend Lerner's hours
  • Provide USPS services in Lerner
  • Make Lerner 6 available for student use - 2009 renovations created office space for Judicial Services, Dean's Office, and Financial Aid. Discussions about use of now vacant 4th floor spaces underway as of fall 09.

All libraries

  • Allow students to bring water into all libraries

Butler Library

  • Move ashtrays away from the Butler doors to the Butler steps
  • Allow outside food and drinks in Butler, especially after Blue Java closes
  • Open the sixth floor of Butler, and the third floor reference and card catalog rooms 24/7
  • Open Butler stacks 24/7
  • Put vending machines in Butler
  • Remove unattended belongings in Butler at specified times - Scheduled cleaning of 24/7 rooms moves unattended belongings to Butler's Lost and Found.


General IT

  • Provide consistent wireless coverage across campus, especially in dorms
  • Include Barnard on the University-wide e-mail listserv

Network storage space

  • Implement mappable SMB file shares so users can save and access their work anywhere on the network, instead of having to carry memory sticks, or obsessively emailing files to themselves


  • Replace aging printers in computer labs around campus
  • Allow print quotas to roll over from week to week (like cell phone minutes)
  • Install color printers around campus
  • Regularly replace toner in printers


  • Allow complete swipe access between Barnard College and Columbia
  • Remove Social Security Numbers from CUIDs - project completed in 2008.
  • Add a second card-swiper in EC, especially on weekends

ROLM phones

  • Provide free local calls and inter-school calls on ROLM phones



  • Expand the human rights, sustainable development, and ethnic studies programs.
  • Revive the African Institute
  • Improve inter-departmental communication
  • Create a home economics course, or a variety of home economics courses (like cooking, family management - how to not be a part of the divorced population, household management, crafts, sewing, etc.)


  • Stock course books in the bookstore according to the number of students registered
  • Sell or provide electronic copies of textbooks

Course registration and technology

  • Combine the Course Bulletin and Directory of Classes
  • Update all department and campus Web sites regularly and implement a common content management system, such as Drupal
  • Update online listings for Major Cultures and the science requirement based on available courses
  • Allow students to see professors' names when registering for Core Curriculum classes
  • Release course evaluation data
  • Create more sections of Art and Music Humanities and set some aside specifically for sophomores and first-years
  • Make course syllabi available online for all students


  • Standardize seminar registration processes across schools and implement online registration
  • Allot seminar times before registration


  • Standardize departmental advising

Study abroad

  • Better facilitate the transfer of credits from institutions abroad to Columbia majors and transcript in general

Housing and dining


  • Provide cheaper interim housing between the spring and summer sessions

Residence halls

  • Regularly clean laundry rooms and install change machines
  • Provide air conditioning in all dorms, and turn it on before May 15
  • Install thermostats in dorms
  • Renovate aging dorms
  • Install bigger kitchen sinks and more counter space in all dorm kitchens

Dining Dollars and Flex

  • Allow all first-year John Jay meals to roll over into sophomore year
  • Do not require meal plan for non first-year Barnard students living on the quad
  • Implement off-campus Flex, especially at Labyrinth and Village Copier - Completed in 2009.
  • Accept Flex dollars at all campus eateries

All dining locations

  • Provide more vegetarian and vegan options at all campus eateries
  • Extend Ferris Booth's breakfast options to later in the morning
  • Keep JJ's open on weekends 24/7 and extend weekday hours EDIT: JJ's is now open on the weekends, though not 24/7

Dining halls

  • Provide more-varied and better-quality fruit in John Jay
  • Install a soy milk dispenser in John Jay - dispenser added in summer 2007
  • Extend the hours of John Jay and Hewitt dining halls
  • Install a deli bar in John Jay - added in summer 2007

Student life

General student life

Student government and clubs

  • Allow students to vote online in CCSC elections - Online voting began in 2008.
  • Increase funding for student clubs
  • Allow students to determine, at least in part, which groups get the funds from their student activity fees


  • Sell Miller Theater and discounted New York theater tickets at Lerner's box office
  • Devise better programming for campus events such as Bacchanal
  • Allow students to drink more than one beer per hour at campus events

Student jobs

  • Provide more on-campus jobs for students who don't have work study

Student facilities


  • Expand CCE's alumni networking
  • Increase CCE's resources and improve its offerings, particularly outside finance



  • Allow students to sign up for Dodge Gym's aerobics machines online
  • Make Dodge gym a clean, pleasant place to be
  • Put satellite gyms in more dorms
  • Reinstate equipment rentals in Dodge


See also