BONUS: Looking for Thinkspiration

Attachment-1_(1).jpegWe enjoyed talking to the Design Studio so much that we wanted to share more of the candid conversations we had about Design Thinking (and much more).

We wanted to get a better idea of who Adam and Alice are, not just as Design Studio representatives, but as design thinkers in general. What we got was a look into how they look at the world around them and what they see in the future of design thinking.

Spoiler alert: There's a blooper reel at the end!

Read more

Think Human

Design-Studio.jpgFor this episode, we visited one of the forward-thinking initiatives taking place at Columbia. Tucked away on a side street near the Morningside campus, we found a place where thinkers, doers, and general challengers of the status quo come together to design a better future.

It's called the Columbia Entrepreneurship Design Studio and it's a project that developed through the Columbia Entrepreneurship program. The Studio brings innovators and entrepreneurs from across campus to pitch human-centered design ideas, identifying problems and dreaming up solutions for everything from micro-gardening to a dream team of surgeons in East Africa.

Read more

BONUS: Here's Looking at You, Casablanca

casablanca.jpgLast week, we heard from Professor Robert Young, an eminent humanities scholar, who gave a lecture last year at the Columbia Global Center in Amman. Professor Young recounted the story of Walter Benjamin, a German Jew who fled Nazi Germany but was caught at the border of France and Spain, where he resorted suicide rather than be sent back.

During the lecture, Professor Young played a clip from Casablanca, drawing parallels between the Hollywood story and the truth behind it. We did not have room to include his analysis in last week's episode, so we created a bonus mini-episode just for it.

Read more

The Lucky Few

2015_42_walter_benjamin.jpgWe went into the vault for today’s episode, all the way back to a lecture that Professor Robert Young gave last year at the Columbia Global Center in Amman. We chose this particular lecture because Professor Young offers a historical perspective on an issue facing today’s society: migration.

Read more

The Power of the Sun

Easy_Solar.jpgIn sub-Saharan Africa, 650 million people lack access to electricity. In Sierra Leone in particular, only 5% of the population is on the grid. That means that six and a half million people can’t study, cook, eat or work after the sun goes down except by dim candlelight or expensive kerosene lamps. To charge their mobile phones, most Sierra Leoneans have to go to public charging kiosks.

Three Columbia alumni from the School of International and Public Affairs found a solar solution to this challenge. Their startup, Easy Solar, hopes to introduce solar-powered products into Sierra Leone households, replacing the kerosene lamps that have negative environmental and health impacts.  

Read more

Astro Tim Returns to Earth


Kopra_space.jpgWe often like to talk about how our alumni reach grand heights in their successes and go far in their contributions to society. And not many have gone quite as far as Business School alum Timothy Kopra '13BUS. That is...as far as outer space.

Kopra is a NASA astronaut with not one but two space trips on his resume. He has lived on the International Space Station for a total of 244 days, completing three spacewalks and Instagramming with captions like #citiesfromspace and good night from @ISS. Once he got back to Earth, he visited Columbia to speak with students about engineering, teamwork, and what he looks for in an aspiring astronaut. 

Read more

StorySpace (Part 3: Perseverance)

photo-1470472304068-4398a9daab00.jpegThis week is the third and final installment of StorySpace @ Columbia from the Office of University Life. If you haven’t heard Part I or Part II, go listen to them! We’ll wait.

But here’s a quick refresher:

StorySpace @ Columbia is a new storytelling project that presents personal and inspiring stories from students across Columbia.

Today, we wrap up the theme of identity with stories about perseverance, confronting challenges, and finding inspiration in unusual places.

Advisory: We want to warn our listeners that some of today’s content deals with sensitive topics.  

Read more

StorySpace (Part 2: Learning & Becoming)

photo-1467240483012-340e4f1000aa.jpegThis week is the second installment of StorySpace@Columbia from the Office of University Life. If you haven’t heard Part I, go back to last week’s episode and listen to it.

But here’s a quick refresher:

StorySpace@Columbia is a new storytelling project that presents personal and inspiring stories from students across Columbia.

So, today, we continue with our theme of “identity” with three stories about learning. Not the academic kind of learning that we find in the classrooms across campus - this is learning that comes from overcoming our fears and discovering our strengths.

Read more

StorySpace (Part 1: Identity)

StoryShare.pngToday, we’re tuning in close by—on campus, in fact.

For this episode, we’re partnering with the Columbia Office of University Life. The Office was created in 2015 and it convenes students, faculty, and administrators to work together on pressing issues within the University and our broader society—from inclusion and belonging to mental health and wellness to sexual respect and gender-based misconduct prevention, and much more.

It also produces University-wide events and opportunities for the Columbia community. For this episode, we’re shining a light on one of those events. It’s called StorySpace@Columbia, and it’s a new storytelling project that presents personal and inspiring stories from students across Columbia.

Read more

On Leadership

medal.pngThis episode is a little different. In honor of a marquee event that the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) has coming up in October, we decided to gather some thoughts from prominent Columbia alumni about leadership. What it means to them, what makes a good leader, and how Columbia has contributed to the ability to lead. These are some of the many questions that alumni will consider when they attend the annual Columbia Alumni Leaders Weekend on October 7-9.

The weekend is a time for Columbia’s top alumni volunteers and leaders to convene and brainstorm exciting forms of alumni engagement and new ways of developing the next generation of volunteer leaders. Jam-packed with panel discussions and breakout sessions, it is the ultimate opportunity to meet and interact with Columbians from across the University and around the globe.

Read more