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.

Upcoming Events

Note: Columbia University does not support or oppose political campaigns and the opinions expressed are not those of the University.


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.



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. Chavez will also discuss how attendees can become involved, from wherever they may be, in New Sanctuary’s organizing efforts in New York City.



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.

Past 2020 Events 


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.


Past 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