Student Life

Take advantage of the richness of campus life.

Beyond class and field, the Columbia School of Social Work and the wider University offer countless opportunities for students to extend their networks, open up job possibilities, and practice their professional skills. Social work students lead caucuses, write for publications, organize events, and engage in activism of various kinds. Sometimes they even relax and have fun!

Honing Your Professional Skills

Student Caucuses

Cultivate relationships with your peers, grow your professional network, and practice being an advocate and leader by joining one or more of the 20+ caucuses at the School of Social Work.
Caucus List

Student Journal

Contribute to the debate about the future of social work research and practice by sharing your research, experiences, and views in the annual Columbia Social Work Review.
CSWR site

Professional Development & Self-Awareness (PDSA)

Help confront systems of oppression that operate within the School of Social Work by becoming active in the PDSA Program.
PDSA site

Student Life FAQ

What is student life like?
For students at a major urban university like Columbia, the biggest challenge lies in choosing among the myriad activities competing for your attendance and participation. At the School of Social Work, there is  Self-Care Day in the fall, Community Day in the spring, and a spring gala at the end of the academic year; this is in addition to School-sponsored panels, film screenings, and other gatherings you won’t want to miss. For example, the Criminal Justice Caucus plans an annual conference called Beyond the Bars, which has featured panelists and speakers such as Angela Davis, Michelle Alexander, and Bryonn Bain.
How can I get involved in student life at CSSW?
You can join a caucus, start a caucus, or check out the student journal or PDSA. To get started, we suggest that you review the Student Caucuses page and/or e-mail swstudevent@columbia.edu.
How do I find out about what’s going on?
Each week you’ll receive an email listing caucus-sponsored and other CSSW and university-wide events. These events are also listed on posters and fliers throughout the Social Work Building as well as on the digital monitor located in the lobby. Another way to stay in touch is to check the online events calendar.
I worked on a publication as an undergraduate. Is there one I can work on at the School?
If you enjoy working on publications, consider becoming involved in our annual student journal, the Columbia Social Work Review. The Review serves as a kind of forum for social work students to share their research, experience, and views with faculty, fellow students, and the larger social work community. The Review is always on the lookout for experienced editors as well as submissions on timely topics.
What if I have an idea for an activity or event?
Every student event must be sponsored by a recognized student group or School office, so your first step should be to contact a caucus or the Office of Student Services (swstudevent@columbia.edu). See also: information about Student Caucuses.
How are student events funded?
Your Student Activity Fee covers the cost of most of the School’s student events, including supporting the affinity group graduations in May. Each semester, student representatives and each of the caucus leaders submit a budget proposal to the Office of Student Services detailing their planned events for the academic year. Once their budgets have been approved, they start putting those events in place.

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Hear from Your Peers.

Columbia students share advice on how to make the most of your time at Columbia.
Columbia University mascot Roaree the Lion visits CSSW
Who Says Social Workers Don't Have Fun?
A light music video featuring Columbia School of Social Work students enjoying themselves at the 2018 annual gala, held at the Altman Building in Chelsea (formerly the carriage house for the B. Altman department store).
CSSW Class of '18 Offers Self-Care & Other Helpful New York City Tips
As a social worker, you’ll be tempted to make your clients and their needs your top priority. But you can’t care for others properly if you don’t take care of yourself. Where do our social work students go when they need to take a little moment? 2018 grads share some favorite self-care and other fun activities. Whether you want to find a quiet oasis, lose yourself in the bright lights, or discover a little piece of home, they have good advice for everyone. Even watching the video can be therapeutic!
At Invitation of Student, UN SDG Action Campaign Brings VR Goggles, & New Perspective, to CSSW
Thanks to the efforts of one of CSSW's students, Di Cao, the UN SDG Action Campaign came to the Social Work Building carrying lots of VR goggles, along with an opportunity for students, faculty, and administrators to be transported to the Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan. We were all profoundly moved by the story, both the contents itself and how it was told. Read more here: https://blog.sdgactioncampaign.org/2016/04/04/sdg-action-campaign-at-columbia-university-school-of-social-work-linking-academia-and-the-most-marginalized-for-the-sdgs/
Self Care Day 2014
Puppies, punches, paintings, parties -- oh my! On Monday, October 20, students at the Columbia School of Social Work were invited to lighten up on themselves and accept their humanness. They gave themselves over to the joy of a young canine, self-defense training, painting and zumba -- and shed some stress (pounds, too, in the case of zumba) fast! This video presents a few of the highlights of Self Care Day 2014. Watch it and lower your stress!
Where Are We? SWAG 2016
WHY COLUMBIA? Police Officer's Story
CSSW student Matt Stanislao (MSW'17) recounts the moment that ultimately led to his decision to pursue a second career as a social worker. Interested in applying to Columbia School of Social Work? Visit https://apply.ssw.columbia.edu/apply/ to start your application today. Social work graduate student Matt Stanislao tells the story of meeting a young person who made him realized how privileged he is--and hence inspired him to pursue a second career as a social worker.