New Outdoor Tented Areas Provide More, Safe Options for Small Events and Community Use

As part of an effort to encourage open space use during the COVID-19 pandemic, Facilities and Operations has erected tents at four locations on the Morningside campus to facilitate small gatherings during the 2020-21 academic year.  The new initiative supports the University’s reopening efforts to provide access to covered outdoor spaces, based on guidance from health experts that activities held outdoors are safest when health and safety guidelines are followed. 

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All the resources of Columbia University Public Safety are now available at your fingertips through Lion Safe, a user-friendly app available for your smartphone or tablet. 

In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, K.A Stacie Alexiou, CEO of WATT+FLUX and graduate of the CU Grow Program’s third cohort, has pivoted the focus of her energy efficiency LED company to include a third technology division, Pathogen BioTech, a powerful decontamination service. 

Kim Chen, director for capital project management at Columbia, participated on a panel on higher education construction hosted by AIA New York on July 30, 2020.  The panel shared perspectives from university architects and planners on optimizing historic campus buildings and adapting them for greater functionality, resiliency, sustainability, and long-term preservation.

Using recommendations from authoritative health and industry agencies, Facilities and Operations has taken multiple actions to ready campus for occupancy.

Each year, Facilities and Operations utilizes the summer months to perform a significant amount of improvements while the campus has a reduced population.  As this summer is different from typical years, Facilities and Operations has planned an abbreviated summer schedule to perform work on select projects before classes are anticipated to resume in the fall. 

Facilities and Operations has implemented a number of recommended safety measures to reduce risk for employees and the Columbia community during COVID-19.

Columbia Transportation and Public Safety have partnered with Via to transition the Evening Shuttle service to an app-based rideshare system to provide a new and improved on-demand, safe, convenient and free transportation service for Columbia affiliates after hours. 

Columbia Dining to produce 1,000 meals a day over the summer as part of the University Food Relief program.

As New York City enters into phase 1 of reopening which allows all construction to proceed, construction work is resuming at select projects at the Morningside and Manhattanville campuses with strict safety measures in place.

During the COVID-19 health emergency, Facilities and Operations has implemented the New York State Construction Guidelines for all construction and facilities-related activities. These guidelines have been posted on the Purchasing website. For more information, please visit

Two years after completing the CU Grow Vendor Development program, Harlem-based AR Construction is reaching new heights with projects inside and outside of Columbia

The CU Grow Vendor Development program hosted its first procurement event of 2020, bringing together the program’s fourth cohort of minority-, women-, and locally-owned (MWL) firms, alumni, project managers from Columbia University Facilities & Operations, and partner organizations to discuss upcoming business opportunities and solutions.

In response to the many challenges businesses and their staffs are facing because of the COVID-19 outbreak, University Facilities and Operations along with the Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the University’s Central Procurement office hosted a virtual vendor town hall geared toward small and medium-sized and diverse vendors who work with the University.

Columbia Housing made a major shift this year, successfully transitioning Room Selection—historically an intensive, largely in-person process—to a fully automated, online process that enabled students to register, browse housing options and policies, and complete the Room Selection process without ever stepping away from their web browser.

Congratulations to our Facilities and Operations colleagues who have successfully completed their degrees this academic year at schools and programs throughout Columbia while balancing the demands of a full-time job for their intellectual and professional development. 

inFO is a monthly email with news from across Columbia University Facilities & Operations. Check out the May 2020 edition here.