Choosing Community

The Undergraduate Community Initiative

A partnership between Columbia College, Columbia Engineering and Columbia General Studies, the Undergraduate Community Initiative focuses on deepening students’ understanding of and commitment to the values of inclusive community, deep listening and robust debate, and civic engagement through service.

These values are not only ideals to aspire to; they also reflect choices, behaviors and habits of mind and speech that must be cultivated and continually reaffirmed. Together they can contribute to a campus environment that is respectful, empathetic and open to a plurality of perspectives, even as it affirms free speech and an independence of mind.

Chaos or Community?

The title of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s final book poses a question that resonates with the current moment, both on campus and in the broader world: Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?

As both the inspiration and touchstone for the initiative, this question reminds us that choosing community is not a static choice — it requires ongoing commitment, adaptation and conviction. We must continually reassess and renew how we define the community we seek to sustain — and take active steps to realize those commitments. 

Stylized image of Alma Mater statue seen from behind with Butler Library in the background.

Pillars of the Initiative

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