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Welcome to the Fall 2021 Semester

August 30, 2021

Dear GSAPP Community,

I am delighted to welcome you all to the Fall 2021 semester as we prepare to return to campus and begin classes, lectures, and events next week!

While some of you have been visiting campus through our hybrid mode of teaching during the past twelve months, many have been studying and working fully remotely, and I am thrilled by the imminent prospect of seeing all of us together in our studios, classrooms, and offices across the School. As we welcome back all returning members of our community, I want to offer an especially warm welcome to our new and continuing students who are arriving on campus for the first time, many from overseas.

I want to also acknowledge that returning fully to in-person education may feel unfamiliar and bring uncertainty for some of you; the School has been working closely with colleagues and experts across the University to prepare us for this moment, and I am confident in the protocols we have set in place. You should have been receiving information regarding all University-wide procedures for returning to campus safely, and I want to take this opportunity to reiterate the necessity of following all of the University’s Public Health Protocols and Requirements for Returning to Campus found on the COVID-19 Resource Guide for the Columbia Community, as well as the ReopenCU app, which is required to access campus.

The University has put together this presentation, which offers a helpful overview of vaccination and testing requirements, event and travel guidelines, visitor policies, and more. This long-anticipated return to in-person instruction at full capacity depends on the entire community following the Columbia Community Health Compact—so we thank you for your continued diligence in adhering to the latest health guidance.

I also encourage our students to familiarize yourselves with the University’s additional resources, including the virtual Welcome Back Toolkit and recommendations for a Walking Tour of Morningside Campus by GSAPP alumna Michelle Young ’12 MSUP. As you explore campus, you will see that Avery Library has already reopened to University affiliates. You can catch up with the latest service updates on the library website and are invited to join Avery Library staff at virtual “Welcome Back to Avery” sessions to receive the latest information on services for Fall 2021. These sessions will be held on September 15 at 3pm and September 17 at 12pm.

Our Fall Lecture and Event series builds on the School’s ongoing exploration into issues such as climate change, social equity, as well as the impact of data and technology on the built environment through new forms of practices and collaboration across scales, modes of engagement, and geographies. I am excited to begin the event series on September 20th with a conversation between two inspiring alumni, when NOMA President Jason Pugh ’06 MSAUD and President-elect Pascale Sablan ’07 MSAAD present their work as designers and activists. Among (many) other highlights this semester are lectures by Mariam Kamara, Kate Aronoff, Anna Puigjaner and her colleagues at MAIO, and Brigitte Shim, as well as a moderated discussion on the open-access curriculum “Race, Space, and Architecture,” and much more. All events this semester will be accessible virtually, while we look forward to also welcoming students and faculty back to Wood auditorium as much as possible for in-person participation. Please visit the online Fall Event Calendar for the full schedule and for details on the format. We will also send out our usual weekly newsletters with updates on upcoming events, recommendations, and news.

Throughout the past months we have learned to live, work, and study in entirely new ways, developing innovative tools for collaboration and intellectual exchange that we can now build upon rather than replace. This return to campus and the revived opportunities for the joys of in-person connection offer us as a community a unique moment to explore, challenge, and advance our collective ideas about architecture, cities, and the environment.

Please join me at All-School Orientation next Thursday, September 9, when I look forward to welcoming you back to School in person!

Amale Andraos