November 19, 2020
Many of you have been asking about the School’s plans for Spring 2021 semester travel, and I’m happy to write with some positive news. While Columbia’s policy suspending all University-related travel to safeguard against the COVID-19 threat remains in place at this time, I am very pleased to inform you that GSAPP will offer graduating master’s students the opportunity to participate in a Virtual Kinne Week should the University’s travel suspension remain in effect in the coming semesters.
Given the unforeseen challenges of COVID-19 and ongoing uncertainty about what the coming months will look like, we have received approval to support virtual student travel and research. These “virtual travel" stipends in the amount of $2,000 each will be disbursed to eligible full-time graduating students and will be used to support online learning around the world. The disbursement of the fund will be made in the student’s final semester prior to graduating, which will be either February for those graduating in May, or June for those graduating in August 2021. This framework allows us to continue and expand on GSAPP’s important tradition of encouraging encounters with people and places that are fundamental to our learning process while remaining temporarily geographically fixed.
Given the current extraordinary circumstances, GSAPP will award these stipends in lieu of the funding the School usually provides its students to support thesis research and travel. Program Directors will work with students to provide resources and recommendations such as virtual visits to museums, UNESCO world heritage or other historic sites; remote tours of new buildings or urban-scale projects; data accessed for specific research efforts; or remote participation at international professional conferences that provide opportunities to connect with a vast network of global thinkers and practitioners across the disciplines and learn more about new initiatives by the architects, planners, preservationists, designers, and developers who are shaping their cities to become more equitable and sustainable.
There are many more possibilities and I look forward to hearing about your virtual travel plans and to seeing how this will inform your work in the coming semester. If you have any questions regarding these awards, please contact Kevin Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.