CU Engage: Civic Engagement at Columbia University

Welcome to CU Engage: Civic Engagement at Columbia University. 

What is civic engagement? Voting in elections, organizing friends and neighbors around an issue, writing to your elected officials, or learning or debating a topic are some of the ways that you can get involved to build the world you wish to live in. 

The events and resources below are opportunities for you to have your voices heard. Please consider taking up these opportunities to learn more and get involved. You may also visit to get voting information and resources by state.

If you have feedback or ideas for this initiative, we invite you to share them with us


Want to Register to Vote? Need Voting Resources?

Visit and get up-to-date information on specific state eligibility requirements and information on registering from local election boards.




Sign up for Nonpartisan Phone Banking and Text Banking Volunteer Opportunities

Social Work Votes is a student-led initiative spearheaded by the Columbia School of Social Work, Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research, and Marywood University's School of Social Work. Together they are working to protect voting rights and make sure that everyone's voice is heard in the 2020 election by educating, engaging, and mobilizing voters in key battleground states. is partnering with voter mobilization organizations working on the ground in Florida and Pennsylvania--including New Florida MajorityMake the Road Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Stands Up--to help voters to register, access mail-in ballots, find their polling place, and make plans to vote. You can visit the Social Work Votes website to sign up for upcoming nonpartisan phone banking and text banking volunteer opportunities. Questions or concerns? Reach out to Please see the attached posters for more information.


Fall 2020 Events

Note: Columbia University does not support or oppose candidates for elected office, and the opinions expressed by speakers at the events listed here are not those of the University.


Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020

Election Hindsight Is 20/20: Initial Review of 2020 Elections and the Start of 2024

6:00 pm | Zoom Webinar | Register

Did the 2020 election serve the nonprofit sector and communities well? Nonprofit leaders and political experts share their first post-election impressions.


Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020

Election 2020: What Can Public Health Do Now?

4:00 pm | Zoom Webinar | Register

Join faculty from Mailman School of Public Health for a discussion regarding the implications of the general elections. Michael Sparer will moderate the conversation focusing on the most prevalent public health issues: COVID-19, Health Inequity, Environmental & Climate Policy, Reproductive Health and the Affordable Care Act.


Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020

What Are the Short- and Medium-term Implications of the U.S. Elections for the Modern Political Economy?

6:00 pm | Zoom Webinar | Register

The discussion will cover the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election, highlighting its impact and implications on the American and international political economies.


Monday, Nov. 9, 2020

Managing Presidential Transitions and Governance: Perspectives From the White House

1:00 pm | Zoom Webinar | Register

The School of International and Public Affairs presents a special conversation with Joshua Bolten, former Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush, and Jacob Lew, former Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama.


Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020

2020 Election: What's at Stake for Public Health?

6:30 pm | Zoom Webinar | Register

Join Mailman School of Public Health’s Terry McGovern, Michael Sparer and Monette Zard for this conversation.



Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020

Voting in New York City: What You Need to Know

6:30 pm | Live on YouTube | Watch

Join Columbia University and local community leaders in Upper Manhattan in a discussion on voting in NYC. Make sure your voice counts. Come learn more about early voting, ballot drop boxes, mail-in voting, polling sites, what to expect on Election Day. This event will be live on YouTube. Learn more or submit your question in advance.


Thursday, Oct. 27, 2020

SPS Election 2020 Speaker Series: A Conversation with Michael A. Nutter

6:30 pm | Zoom Webinar | Register

Join SPS for an intimate conversation with Michael A. Nutter, David N. Dinkins Professor of Professional Practice in Urban and Public Affairs at Columbia SIPA and former mayor of Philadelphia. Part of the SPS Gets Out the Vote campaign.


Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020

The U.S. Elections Through International Eyes

7 pm | Zoom Webinar | Register

Every four years, we invite foreign correspondents covering the US elections to tell us about their experiences. What is it like to cover the US presidential race? What stories do the folks back home want to hear about America? And how do foreign correspondents explain our perplexing political system to the rest of the world?


Thursday, Oct. 20, 2020

Our Problem with "Truthiness": The Centuries-Long History of Fake News in the United States

6:30 pm | Zoom Webinar | Register

Join Michelle Nickerson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, Loyola University Chicago, for a conversation about American journalism’s historical and politicized relationship with facts. Part of the SPS Gets Out the Vote campaign.


Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020

Race, Inequality, and Perspectives on the U.S. Elections

6:30 pm | Zoom Webinar | Register

Amid COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movements, racial and economic equality are key to the US elections. SIPA professors Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, and Ester Fuchs will join Farai Chideya-Chihota, for a discussion of this critical election and its implications for U.S. Democracy.

Past 2020 Events

Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020

The CUIMC Election Forum: Health Policy & the Upcoming Election

5 pm | Zoom Webinar | Register

Join Columbia University Irving Medical Center in an online forum discussing the issues at stake during the upcoming election. The CUIMC Election Forum is co-hosted by the College of Physicians & Surgeons, College of Dental Medicine, Mailman School of Public Health, School of Nursing, and the Office of Government & Community Affairs.


Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020

American Voter Project: The 2020 Election

6:30 pm | Zoom Webinar | Register

For this installment of the American Voter Project series, the Eric H. Holder Jr. Initiative invites you to join us for a panel discussion on the upcoming presidential election.


Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020

Modern Presidential Elections That Made History

6:30 pm | Zoom Webinar | Register

Join Margaret O'Mara, Ph.D., Professor of History at the University of Washington, for a look back at some of the most hotly contested elections of the past and what we can learn as we prepare for November 3.



Saturday, Sep. 26, 2020

Alumni Chat

12 pm | Zoom Webinar | Register

Meet Columbia alumni who have gone on to careers in activism, politics and civic engagement and participate in a discussion about the Columbia experience and how it prepared these alumni to work at places such as Congress, the NAAC, and state government. The event will take place on Zoom and will feature both a panel discussion and topic-based breakout rooms.



Saturday, Sep. 26, 2020

Activist Panel: A Conversation on COVID-19, Courts and Immigrants’ Rights with New Sanctuary Coalition

2 pm | Zoom Webinar | Register

Join Linda Chavez in partnership with New Sanctuary Coalition for a discussion about challenges faced by asylum seekers in the United States. The panel will explore how the COVID-19 pandemic and newly proposed regulations from the Trump administration have impacted asylum seekers in the past six months.


Thursday, Sep. 24, 2020

Keynote Speaker: Mondaire Jones

7 pm | Zoom Webinar | Register

Hear from Voting Week 2020’s keynote speaker, Mondaire Jones, the Democratic nominee for New York’s 17th Congressional District, who is set to make history as the first Black, openly gay member of Congress. An attorney, activist and champion for progressive values, his victory in the 2020 primary indicates New York’s changing congressional delegation and marks a potential path for the future of civic engagement.


Wednesday, Sep. 23, 2020

Panel-COVID-19 and the Future of Civic Engagement

7 pm | Zoom Webinar | Register

The COVID-19 panel explores the immediate and lasting implications of the pandemic on civic engagement. Elected officials from New York, Massachusetts, Florida and Pennsylvania will provide a glimpse into the varied state and local responses to the pandemic.



Tuesday, Sep. 22, 2020

Keynote Speaker: The Rev. William J. Barber

12 noon | Zoom Webinar | Register

Social Work Votes welcomes the Rev. William Barber back to Columbia School of Social Work. In this event, Barber will speak about civil rights, voting and the 2020 election. Join to learn about voter suppression and the barriers to voting, and learn what steps you can take now and after November 3.



Tuesday, Sep. 22, 2020

Artists' Talk

7 pm | Zoom Webinar | No registration needed

Join on Instagram Live (@votingweek) for Artist Talk in conversation with Emily Blake, Joe Block, Ashley Chew and Esteban Whiteside. Each artist will discuss their art, their creative process and how the two are influenced by civic engagement and politics.



Monday, Sep. 21, 2020

A Lunch Conversation with Robby Mook

12 pm | Zoom Webinar | Register

Chat with a Columbia alumnus who has gone on to a distinguished political career! Robby Mook is the current president of the Democratic House Majority PAC and made history as the first openly gay presidential campaign manager in 2016 when he managed Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Join the Zoom event to discuss his professional journey, the Columbia experience and more.



Thursday, Sep. 17, 2020

Honoring “Good Trouble”: Ending Voter Suppression

4:30 pm | Zoom Webinar | Register

Register now to join an honest dialogue centering around the struggle that communities have faced to obtain the right to vote and the ways (past and present) that votes have been suppressed. The discussion will feature Julie Ebenstein, Senior Staff Attorney, Voting Rights Project at the ACLU and Ricardo Ramirez, Voting Rights Advisor at the Brennan Center for Justice and will be moderated by Dr. Sonya Douglass Horsford, Associate Professor of Education Leadership at Teachers College and Founding Director of the Black Education Research Collective (BERC). This event is held in honor of U.S. Rep. John Lewis and his dedication to ending voter suppression and advancing civil rights.


Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020

Repairing our Voting Infrastructure: Planning for the 2020 Election

1 pm | Zoom Webinar | Register

Register now to join Columbia World Projects for a discussion about on vote-by-mail, election monitoring and the 2020 election. Tiana Epps-Johnson, Executive Director of the Center for Tech and Civic Life, and Kate Gage, Founding Partner of the Movement Cooperative will lead this discussion, which will be moderated by Columbia World Projects Fellow Hollie Russon Gilman. A Q&A will follow the discussion.


2019 Events

 Dialogue Through Political Differences event on Nov. 6, 2019 at Jerome Green Annex.

Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019

Campus Conversations: Dialogue Through Political Differences

11 am | Jerome Greene Annex

Students gathered for a peer-led discussion on navigating political differences in the classroom and beyond. Co-sponsored by the Office of Government and Community Affairs


A black, white and red PDF flyer shows details for the film The Report on Nov. 6, 2019 at Miller Theatre.

Wednesday Nov. 6, 2019

Pre-Release Screening of The Report

6 pm | Miller Theatre

Ahead of its wide release in theaters, Amazon Studios and University Life screened the critically acclaimed docudrama The Report, starring Adam Driver. A Q&A with director Scott Z. Burns and U.S. Senate staffer Daniel J. Jones — who is played by Driver — followed. Part of the 2019 Community Citizenship Film Series.


A PDF flyer shows details of the upcoming Citizen-Leaders event with the Obama Foundation Scholars on Nov. 12, 2019, in the Jerome Greene Annex. The flyer shows an image of the 10 scholars.

Tuesday Nov. 12, 2019

Citizen-Leaders: A Conversation with the Obama Foundation Scholars

2 pm | Jerome Greene Annex

Columbia’s Obama Foundation Scholars convened for discussion about active global citizenship and the power to effect change in our communities. Moderated by Suzanne B. Goldberg, EVP for University Life. Co-sponsored by Columbia World Projects — the host of the yearlong residency of Obama Foundation Scholars, and by the Office of Government and Community Affairs.



A PDF flyer shows details of the Nov. 13, 2019 Awakening Our Democracy panel discussion on the upcoming U.S. presidential election. The poster has a graphic of red and blue hands and shows photos of the panelists and moderator Suzanne Goldberg.

Wednesday Nov. 13, 2019

Awakening Our Democracy: Countdown to the 2020 Election

12 pm | 300 Pulitzer Hall 

The has been intense division regarding our nation's future. Attendees heard experts discuss the 2020 U.S. presidential election and the role we all play in deciding the outcome. Watch the replay