State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Fall Semester Kicks-off with a Welcome Mixer

By: Deborah Sachare

Returning students in the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development joined new students and faculty for hors d’oeuvres at a Welcome Mixer this past September. The annual mixer, held each fall, “is always a great chance for our faculty and students to connect at the beginning of another exciting and busy academic year,” commented program Co-Director, Jason Smerdon.

Welcome MixerThe informal gathering was held at Columbia’s Maison Française, one of the oldest buildings on campus. Returning students had the chance to catch-up with one another and talk about their summer research and travel, while meeting new students, faculty, and program staff.  Smerdon said he appreciates “the chance to catch up with our existing students and to find out about their summer activities, many of which involve compelling sustainable development work, study and research in locations all over the world.” There were many new faces at the mixer, which is a testament to the growing interest and involvement in the program.

Columbia’s Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development is an interdisciplinary program that addresses sustainable development through an understanding in the interaction between natural sciences and social systems, offered through the Earth Institute in partnership with Columbia College and the School of General Studies. Participating departments and schools of the Sustainable Development Major and Concentration include the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology; the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering; the School of International and Public Affairs and the Mailman School of Public Health.

To learn more about the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development, or to learn about and register for upcoming events, please visit our website or contact Jessica Sotomayor, Program Coordinator, at


Deborah Sachare is an intern for the Office of Academic and Research Programs at the Earth Institute. She is a student at Barnard College and will graduate in 2014 with a degree in Environmental Policy.

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Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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