Facilities and Operations is committed to giving back to the Columbia and local communities through our work. Our efforts include a wide range of activities, ranging from supporting minority-, women- and locally owned businesses and construction workforce, to raising money for local charities, to mentoring high school students. Working with our partners, we hold apprenticeships, career expos, vendor fairs, business development programs, and more to create opportunities for local residents and businesses.

"Giving back to the Columbia and local communities is important to us at Facilities and Operations.  I am proud of our long-standing commitment to developing and supporting initiatives that help those in need, create opportunities for our neighbors, and fosters the community which we are a part of."

David M. Greenberg, Executive Vice President, University Facilities and Operations

Community Initiatives

Business Development

A group of people sit in a conference room as someone presents on the CU Grow Program
CU Grow: Vendor Development Program

The CU Grow Vendor Development Program helps minority-, women-, and locally-owned (MWL) firms expand their portfolio of business and contracts with large clients

An employee of County Cleaners Corporation cleaning the inside of a tall window at Henry R. Kravis Hall using a hand-held squeegee with the Riverside Drive Viaduct visible outside the windows.
Ascend Program

Columbia Facilities and Operations partners with the Ascend Program, a business development program for minority business enterprises (MBEs) to help connect firms owned by people of color to new contracting opportunities. 

A person hands out samples of their soul food to potential customers at the Harlem Buyer Fair.
Harlem Buyer Fair

Columbia Dining hosts the Harlem Buyer Fair which helps connect local vendors with interested buyers from Whole Foods, FreshDirect, Columbia Dining and other corporations nationwide

A woman stands in John Jay Dining Hall, holding a plate of cookies
Harlem Local Vendors Program

Columbia Dining is a member of the Harlem Local Vendors Program, designed to support Harlem food and product entrepreneurs, and carries products from several participants at its retail locations

Renderings of the new Columbia Business School buildings
Project Labor Agreement with Building and Construction Trades

A Project Labor Agreement with the Building and Construction Trades Council and local unions offered up to $25 million in contract opportunities to non-union, MWL firms in the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone area

The storefront of University Hardware and Housewares with a large red sign and open glass doors.
Retail Approach Favors Local Businesses

Columbia has a long-standing retail approach which favors local businesses that bring a variety of amenities and experiences to the diverse Columbia and local communities

A storefront for the Uptown Artisanal pop-up market, which has a flyer and a sampling of items in the window.
Supporting Local Vendors

Columbia provided space for local pop-up markets, and has also helped local vendors like Fauzia's Heavenly Delights expand their business

A group of people sit in a lecture hall and watch two people present on submitting applications to work on a construction project
Supporting Minority-, Women- and Locally-owned (MWL) Firms

Columbia has a construction goal that at least 35 percent of all construction dollars be spent with MWL firms and holds information sessions to inform MWL firms of upcoming projects

Community Service

A group of people stand in orange "Facilities Tigers" jerseys inside of Levien Gym, with someone on the far left holding a trophy.
Charity Basketball Tournaments

Facilities and Operations employees participate in the annual Columbia Community Service (CCS) basketball tournament to raise money for their annual appeal

Chef Mike helps people wearing aprons and chef hats make truffles.
Photo: Diane Bondareff
Charity Culinary Classes

Columbia Dining hosts cooking events for staff to raise money and encourage donor support for CCS

A group of people stand together at a baseball diamond holding large checks for charity.
Charity Softball Games

Facilities and Operations employees participate in a recreational softball league to raise money for local charities

A graphic that says, "Choose Blue Give Back"
Blue Menu Donates Portion of Bill to Charity

Event Management’s Blue Menu offers a curated selection of local and sustainable dishes and donates a portion of the bill to benefit CCS

An auditorium is lit up with purple lights, with an image of Columbia's Alma Mater projected on the screen on stage
Donation of AV Equipment

Event Management donated a variety of professional audiovisual equipment to local community groups to help support their presentations, meetings and performances

Three women stand next to a brand new printer in its box
Donation of New Printers

Construction Business Initiatives worked with University Procurement to identify and coordinate the delivery of printers to local organizations in need

Two moving employees stand next to furniture that is being moved onto a truck.
Donation of Residence Hall Furniture

Columbia Housing donated gently used furniture sets to various organizations in need, including NYC Health + Hospitals and a charity focused on Ukraine relief efforts

The Public Safety team gather with the NYPD on a stage, with one of the Public Safety officers holding a glass award.
Donation of School Supplies

In partnership with the local NYPD precinct and community board, Public Safety collects donations of back-to-school supplies for local students

A group of people stand in front of a church, holding a turkey.
Photo: Kevin Dale
Donation of Thanksgiving Turkeys

Facilities and Operations donates turkeys every Thanksgiving to those in need, and distributed 560 turkeys to local organizations in 2022

A person hands out a red toy bag to a child standing in front of a table, which is full of toy bags
Donation of Toys to Local Children

Facilities and Operations staff donated toys and volunteered at West Harlem Development Corporation's Annual Community Holiday Celebration & Toy Giveaway.

A chef is putting wrapped sandwiches in a cardboard box inside of a kitchen
Donation to the Food Relief Fund

Columbia Dining prepared 84,000 meals in summer 2020 as part of the Columbia Neighbors Food Relief Fund

A senior citizen receives food from a Thanksgiving buffet from a volunteer
Pre-Thanksgiving Meals for Seniors

Facilities and Operations employees help serve Pre-Thanksgiving meals to local seniors each year

Facilities and Operations employees stand by a Campus Services van that is packed with donated goods.
Support of Earthquake Relief Efforts

In support of earthquake relief efforts in Turkey and Syria, Facilities and Operations partnered with the Columbia Turkish Student Association to donate clothing and transport goods to the Turkish Embassy

A group of Columbia Formula SAE Racing team members gather round an electric Formula 1 car they fabricated.
Support of the Columbia Formula SAE Racing Team

Campus Operations helps Columbia Engineering's Formula SAE Racing team to test cars in preparation for competition

A graphic that says "Fight Against Hunger: Move-A-Thon" and lists CUFO departments CPM, Public Safety, and Manhattanville Development Group as the top average daily step winners.
Support of the CCS Fight Against Hunger Campaign

In support of Columbia Community Service’s Fight Against Hunger, Facilities and Operations participated in a move-a-thon to benefit local organizations fighting hunger

A Columbia Dining employee hands out a plate of food.
Support of the Emergency Meal Fund

Columbia Dining supports the emergency meal fund initiative, which provides a maximum of six meals per term to registered undergraduate students

A photo of a food pantry with a light blue seal that says The Food Pantry at Columbia, established in 2017
Support of the Food Pantry for Columbia Students

Columbia Dining provides financial and buying support to the Columbia Food Pantry, a student-run operation dedicated to relieving hunger in the student community

Columbia Residential employees pose at a railing alongside Morningside Drive with tools to scrape old paint off.
Volunteering at Local Organizations

Facilities and Operations teams have volunteered at various local organizations, including Broadway Community, Inc., Partnerships for Parks, New York Common Pantry, and more

Education and Career Development

A group of students stand on a large, elevated tree pit behind a group of employees.
ACE Mentor Program

Manhattanville Development Group helps mentors high school students through the Architecture, Construction, and Engineering (ACE) Mentor Program.


A woman with a hard hat stands next to chillers in a power plant.
Apprenticeship Program

Manhattanville Operations offers an apprenticeship program for individuals to learn construction trades on the job

People walk up to tables and speak to hiring managers about job openings.
Career Expos

Facilities and Operations partners with University Human Resources to hold a career fair for the community, typically held annually

A group of high school interns stand together with a Facilities and Operations employee in front of a projection screen.
High School Internships

Paid summer internships are offered for local high school students to gain real work experience before graduating

A construction worker drills a 2x4 into a beam.
Minority, Women, and Local Construction Worker Hiring Initiative

Facilities and Operations is working with its construction managers to identify employment opportunities for minorities, local residents, and women

A group of students look out very large windows onto the Manhattanville campus construction site.
Manhattanville Campus Tours

Tours of the Manhattanville campus and educational sessions are provided to high school students by request

A SNACK employee smiles at a dining table he is about to wash with a rag.
Partnership with SNACK*

Through a partnership with SNACK*, a non-profit organization that supports individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other similar disabilities, two people were hired at Columbia Dining

A group of graduates in blue gowns stand on steps in front of Uris Hall with administrators of the apprenticeship program.
Pre-Apprenticeship Program

Facilities and Operations partnered with Pathways to Apprenticeship (P2A) to offer a pre-apprenticeship program for minorities, women and Upper Manhattan residents

Health and Safety

A person is holding an unlocked cell phone in front of the camera at their desk
Emergency Text Notifications

Students, faculty, staff, and local community members can register to receive real-time notifications of emergency events

A flyer for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day with details on what is accepted.
National Prescription Take-Back Day

Public Safety partners with the NYPD and the Drug Enforcement Administration for National Prescription Take-Back Day to provide a safe disposal location for unused prescription medications

A sign that says Columbia University Department of Public Safe Haven with a red lion on it
Safe Haven Program

Local businesses can register for the Public Safety Safe Haven program and pledge to assist community members in distress by contacting Public Safety or the NYPD

A group of people stand inside of the Bubble at Baker field hospital, holding a cut ribbon.
Temporary Field Hospital Created for COVID-19 Patients

The Bubble at Baker was transformed into a field hospital to treat patients with mild COVID-19 symptoms in April 2020 to support the NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital

The entrance to 47 Claremont, with a brick facade beginning on the second floor, two colums surrounding the main entrance, and large round lights at the end of the entrance steps.
Temporary Housing for Healthcare Workers

Residence halls were opened to doctors and healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic so they could avoid long commutes and the risk of infecting others


People view donated items underneath white tents on Low Plaza
Clean + Go Green

Campus Operations hosts Clean + Go Green bi-annually where people can recycle, reuse or dispose unwanted items

A large pickup truck is getting its wheels powerwashed at the Manhattanville campus construction site
Clean Construction Program

Facilities and Operations developed a clean construction program for the Manhattanville campus to minimize the impact of construction on the daily life of the local community

The Intercampus shuttle waits at a stop for people to arrive and get on.
Community Shuttle

A free shuttle bus service is available for qualifying community members via the Intercampus Shuttle, with stops at 96th Street, the Morningside and Medical Center campuses, Harlem Hospital, and nearby subway and transit stops

An electric vehicle charging station inside of a garage
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Installed

Electric vehicle charging stations were installed at 560 Riverside Drive, the Engineering Terrace garage, and the International Affairs Building garage

The entrance to a Columbia Residential building that has a building energy efficiency grade sign with an A rating.
Energy-saving Initiatives in Columbia Buildings

A wide range of energy-saving initiatives were implemented across Columbia buildings, positively contributing the NYC building energy benchmarking program

Stoves wrapped in plastic sit on a sidewalk next to a moving truck
ReUse Program

The surplus reuse program facilitates the exchange of office furniture and equipment within the University and local community organizations supported by Columbia Community Service

CU Grow: Vendor Development Program

A group of people stand together with some people holding diplomas.

The CU Grow: Vendor Development Program is a Facilities and Operations initiative designed to help minority-, women- and locally owned business owners build capacity and develop a formal, three-year growth plan. Since its inception in 2017, 98 businesses have completed the program and have collectively earned a combined $90 million on construction projects within Columbia University.

Community News

February 26, 2024

CUFO Honors Black Construction Pioneers for Black History Month

Columbia University Facilities and Operations (CUFO) celebrated Black History Month on February 20, 2024, with a tribute to the remarkable contributions of Black construction pioneers. In collaboration with Skanska, CUFO’s Equity and Inclusion (EI) Council hosted the event, paying homage to these trailblazers whose impact reverberates not only across Columbia's campuses but also throughout the broader construction industry.