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Fall Semester Update

August 31, 2020

Dear Students,

I’m thrilled to write so soon before the start of the Fall 2020 semester and share important updates regarding the return to campus and launching of online courses. This moment marks the culmination of many months of careful planning and preparation to welcome all of you to GSAPP either online or in person.

While we must recognize that this Fall will necessarily bring challenges and complexities regardless of how much we prepare ourselves, I am also excited to begin this new academic year filled with unprecedented opportunities. Together, we will foster new ways of collaboration and intellectual exchange in order to collectively develop and shape new ideas about architecture, cities, and the environment and how we can better engage with the world together as architects and planners, urban designers and critics, preservationists, and developers.

And so, here are some last notes that I hope will be helpful in preparation: For those of you planning to return to campus, please be sure to follow the necessary procedures outlined by the University and summarized the Checklist for On-Campus Students issued on August 24 by the Office of University Life. All students, faculty, and staff need to sign and adhere to the Columbia Community Health Compact, complete the online Safety Training, Self-Quarantine if required, and get tested. The University’s ReopenCU app is used to complete symptom self-checks; a green daily pass is generated if you have no symptoms, which needs to be shown to enter campus buildings.

We are putting the final touches on adapting all of our spaces, and when you arrive on campus you will notice changes implemented across all University buildings—including GSAPP’s spaces at Avery, Fayerweather, and Schermerhorn Halls—to support the physical distancing and reduced densities mandated by the University’s public health guidelines. Spaces have also been upgraded technologically to allow those of you who will be studying remotely to join in-person sessions or access computers and software. New procedures have also been put in place to allow safe access to the Making Studio and Avery Library resources.

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You should have received detailed information regarding course registration, which begins on Tuesday, September 1 via Student Services Online (SSOL), and I am sharing the schedule of all of our online orientations below. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Student Affairs Office at studentaffairs@arch.columbia.edu with any questions or concerns.

I hope that you all can take advantage of these final days of summer, and am so very much looking forward to welcoming the entire GSAPP Family back at the All-School Orientation on Wednesday, September 9.


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Room schedules and rotations for Avery, Fayerweather, and Buell Halls are now posted online.

Upcoming Orientations (also see the Event Calendar):

  • Tue, September 1:
    • MSCCCP Orientation
    • Visual Studies Sequence Presentation
  • Wed, September 2:
    • Building Science and Technology Sequence Presentation
  • Wed, September 2 & Thu, September 3:
    • MSUP Orientation
  • Thu, September 3:
    • MSHP Orientation
  • Fri, September 4:
    • MARCH, MSAAD, and MSAUD Orientation
  • Tue, September 8:
    • First Day of Classes
    • MSRED Orientation
  • Wed, September 9:
    • All-School Orientation
    • Architecture Studio Presentations and Lottery
  • Fri, September 18
    • Mandatory University Orientation