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Student Organization Updates

May 4, 2022

Student organizations support the GSAPP community and enhance the academic experience. Scroll below for a round-up of their activities during the Spring 2022 semester. This round-up will be updated; please reach us at communications@arch.columbia.edu if you would like us to include your organization’s activities.

The APA Student Representative Committee is participating in the virtual 2022 National Planning Conference from May 18-20, 2022. The conference galvanizes discussion around key planning topics, including climate change impacts and action; economic restructuring; housing and zoning; agile planning methods and approaches; leveraging technology; planning with intention for inclusion and equity; and transportation and infrastructure.

The American Planning Association New York Metro Chapter’s Student Representatives Committee (SRC) provides a means for Urban Planning students’ interests to be represented within APA and promotes student participation in the organization at the local and national levels.

On May 3, the Asia Real Estate Club organized a site visit to 11 Hoyt, a luxury condominium in Brooklyn designed by Studio Gang, developed by Tisman Speyer, and co-sponsored by Vanke US.

The Asia Real Estate Club aims to create a bridge between the Asia real estate market and students at Columbia GSAPP. The club invites speakers, organizes tours, provides networking opportunities, and hosts social events.

On April 9, 2022, the Black Student Alliance at Columbia GSAPP (BSA+GSAPP) hosted the one-day symposium “Home” organized, with Elleza Kelley, by Ife Salema Vanable. In the wake of ongoing upheaval brought on by a global pandemic and acts of refusal and rebellion in the face of historical and persistent state sanctioned extinguishment of black life enacted in streets and in homes, HOME interrogates nationally situated and diasporic discourses around housing, domesticity, invasion, intimacy, and the making of home. The discussion asked (among many interrogations): what does it mean to give your home away constantly? How will we live together? Is home where the hatred is? And whether or not “it might not be such a bad idea if we never went home again”? Participants included: dee(dee) c. ardan, Dalima Kapten, Samantha Pavic, Sydney Maubert, Cory Archie, Teron Bowman II, and Teonna Cooksey, who presented work in two panels followed by responses offered and discussions moderated by Alicia Ajayi and Elleza Kelley. A keynote presentation was shared by Emmanuel Olunkwa, with a response by Emanuel Admassu.

The mission of the BSA+GSAPP (@bsa_gsapp) is to support the advancement of and improve the experience of students who self-identify as members of the African diaspora by providing community, acting as a source of collegial support, and crafting meaningful, interrogative spaces for the many voices of the Black GSAPP community to speak, engage in deliberate, careful, and shared modes of study within the school, and explore forms of exchange beyond the institution.

On February 15, NOMAS and QSAPP hosted a panel discussion on design equity featuring a conversation between Mitch McEwen ‘06 MArch (Atelier Office, Black Box Research Group) and A.L. Hu '17 MArch (AIA, NOMA, EcoDistricts AP). They presented their work, spoke about how to move the field towards design equity, and discussed navigating the design profession as queer people of color.

NOMAS, National Organization of Minority Architects Student Chapter, (@gsapp_nomas) is an association of designers, architects, and allied professionals involved in creating a more diverse and inclusive design industry. The chapter promotes inclusivity through learning environments, professional development opportunities & social awareness through every design discipline.

QSAPP (Queer Students of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation) is a student organization that seeks to foster both conversation and community among LGBTQ students, their allies, faculty, and alumni of GSAPP. This academic year, as part of a mission to support structural change, QSAPP will initiate a project we are tentatively calling Disappearing Queer(s); an exploration of individuals and spaces that have fostered queer activism and have been part of the lived experiences of queer people in New York City, with a particular focus on communities and neighborhoods that are underrepresented in the queer canon.

In March, GSAPPX+ hosted a career and negotiations talk centered around womxn in architecture. The members were joined in person by esteemed guests and GSAPP alumni Adina Bauman ‘19 MArch and Melissa Chervin ‘21 MArch. Adina and Melissa each gave a brief presentation followed by a Q+A session, regarding questions on salary negotiations, working in small studios versus big firms, and more.

GSAPPX+ (@gsappxplus) is a student-run initiative led by womxn that champions learning and unlearning through the power of conversation. GSAPPX+ cultivates a discourse that highlights and amplifies a diversity of voices engaged in the fields of design and the built environment. We use a combination of casual meetings and external events to nurture a collective notion of gender equity and individual empowerment to inform an inclusive and collaborative future.

On March 22, LatinGSAPP hosted a panel discussion between Licd. Estrella D. Santiago Perez and Mario Nuñez Mercado, both from the Corporation of Proyecto ENLACE del Caño Martin Peña. The conversation was moderated by Hugo Sarmiento, Assistant Professor at GSAPP. ENLACE is a Puerto Rican project corporation that implements award-winning environmental justice projects in the communities of Caño Martin Peña, located in the San Juan Bay National Estuary.

LatinGSAPP (@latin.gsapp) is an interdisciplinary student organization dedicated to the promotion, discussion, and reflection of contemporary issues and ideas in Latin America.

Masaha and GSAPP recently collaborated on a resource to celebrate Arab heritage by highlighting the work of Arab alumni from across GSAPP’s programs whose work spans multiple disciplines across the globe. The initial series highlights the work of three alumni: Nora Akawi ‘11 MSCCCP, Joanne Hayek ‘12 MSAAD, and Marwan Ghandour ‘88 MSAAD.

Masaha @masaha_gsapp is a student association that investigates contemporary issues facing the Arab world. Using the historic Saha as precedent, Masaha creates a platform where diverse perspectives coexist to question and redefine the many Arab identities. The association aims to connect creative students across disciplines to contribute to the improvement and development of scholarship that focuses on the Arab world.

On February 18, the PropTech Club hosted a lecture by Mallorie Brodie, CEO and co-founder at Bridget Inc, a company that develops software for the construction industry.

The PropTech Club intends to bridge the gap between the rapidly evolving technology sector and the traditional real estate built environment. Through speaker series, networking opportunities, and company tours, this club will introduce students to the innovative companies that are shaping the landscape and the people behind them.

The Urban Planning Program Council has organized several events throughout the Spring 2022 semester including:

  • a BIPOC Professionals discussion between Sonal Jessel (WE ACT for Environmental Justice) and Marielle Villar Martiney (Good Old Lower East Side), moderated by Matthew Shore ’23 MSUP and Carlos Miranda Pereyra ’23 MSUP on April 6

  • a Housing Justice Panel that featured a conversation among Karen Blondel (Public Housing Civic Association, Harvard GSD), Liz McGriff (City Roots Community Land Trust in Rochester, City-Wide Tenant Union), Robert Robinson (Parsons School of Design), and Cea Weaver (Housing Justice For All), moderated by Derek Brennan ’22 MSUP on April 7
  • a BIPOC Professionals discussion that featured Ravi Reddi (Asian American Federation), Justin Romeo (NYC DOT), and Jennifer Sun (Asian Americans for Equality), moderated by Matthew Shore ’23 MSUP and Carlos Miranda Pereyra ’23
 MSUP on April 19.
  • a NYC Council member panel on April 28 that featured a discussion between Pierina Ana Sanchez and May Vutrapongvatana, moderated by Sabina Sethi Unni and Matthew Shore

The Urban Planning Program Council is composed of a group of planning students elected by their peers, who act as coordinators and communicators between the students and the faculty and administration.

URBAN’s most recent Fall 2021 Issue, Metamorphosis, presents “a diverse collection of thought, keenly imbued by lived experience, and an audacious and stubborn hope to reimagine the world.” The publication features contributions by Urban Planning PhD student Stefan Norgaard, Stephen Zimmerer ‘23 MArch, Matthew Shore ‘23 MSUP, Derek Brennan ‘22 MSUP, Sherry Aine Te ‘24 MArch MSUP, and Anindya Raina & Smriti Bhaya CEPT/KRIVA.

URBAN (@urban.magazine_gsapp) is a magazine created, edited, and published by students of Columbia GSAPP’s Urban Planning program. As a forum for discussion among the students, faculty, and alumni of the program and GSAPP, each semester’s publication opens its pages to all realms of urban planning.

On April 8, 2022, the Women in Real Estate Development [WiRED] Club hosted a lecture by Alicia Glen, Founder and Managing Principal of MSquared. Alicia Glen is the Founder and Managing Principal of MSquared, a women-owned real estate company that invests in and develops transformative mixed-income and mixed-use projects.

WiRED aims to connect, encourage and inspire female professionals in the commercial real estate space. This group promotes and organizes both on and off-campus events that foster women executives in a historically male-dominated field.