Columbia Community Outreach (CCO)

Columbia University in the City of New York

505 Lerner Hall

2920 Broadway, Mail Code 2601

New York, NY 10027


(212) 854-6972


CCO 2015 Date: Sunday, April 12


If you're a non-profit looking to register a project, please click on the "Non-Profits" tab and fill out the Google Form. For more information, feel free to e-mail us at

Meeting Schedule

If you would like to help organize CCO 2015, please join us at our weekly meetings on Tuesdays, 9 P.M., in the Lerner West Ramp Lounge.

Newcomers are welcome, as we are always looking for new ideas and extra pairs of hands! Sense of humor required.

About Columbia Community Outreach

General Information

Columbia Community Outreach (CCO) coordinates Columbia University's largest day of community service, which unites students, faculty, and alumni alike. Every year, hundreds of volunteers gather at designated locations throughout New York City to lend a helping hand. In recent years, projects have included rebeautifying parks, serving food in soup kitchens, running errands for homeless shelters, and performing administrative work at neighboring schools.

CCO 2013 witnessed a record of 800 volunteers working with 40 different non-profit organizations. The day began with an opening ceremony and welcome breakfast, moved briskly on to the service events, and ended with a pizza-party reception and the rousing CCO Carnival. A new addition to the CCO schedule, the carnival celebrated our volunteers' efforts by providing fun games and prizes to follow the long hours of hard work. We look forward to continuing this rewarding legacy and hope to set an even greater precedent of warmth and generosity during CCO 2014!

Because CCO is such a long-standing tradition in the Columbia community, we are constantly searching for new ways to improve it. Whether you are interested in participating the day of or planning the logistics beforehand, we would love to have you on board. For more information, feel free to contact us or attend our weekly meetings.


1. Often times, students will work with different professionals in the field that they are most interested in. Undergrad students looking at Law School might work with an attorney's office in order to gain valuable experience for their resumes and applications. When applying to Law school, think about where you might want to practice law as the Bar exams differ slightly in different jurisdictions; knowing the ins and outs of North Carolina divorce resources might help if you want to practice family law in the Raleigh area.

2. Community outreach groups often help students develop a good work ethic and an appreciation for helping people, which is why it is good to have on applications to Med school, Law school or other graduate programs. Many lawyers have a background in volunteer work and a similar interest in community outreach could help students trying to network. Volunteering with a Milwaukee car accident lawyer is a good idea if you are looking for personal injury experience before Law school.

3. Students who are active participants at their universities are often able to take advantage of research and study opportunities not afforded to all students. Maybe you will have the opportunity to work with an engineering firm designing a new resolver or manufacturing materials. Or if you are interested in work within the civil workforce, maybe you could intern at a city office somewhere around New York.

4. UIC engineering majors can become pioneers in the solar energy industry by learning the mechanics and costs behind how solar panels are created. Using this information, UIC students can negotiate the best purchase solar system energy and utilize solar panels to as a primary energy source in our everyday lives.


Columbia Community Outreach (CCO) is a student organized, student run undergraduate service day that promotes community service on campus. Founded in 1997 by Columbia College students Allan Ng (CC '99) and Charlie Leykum (CC '99), CCO is a community service initiative that seeks to bring together the Columbia University community and raise awareness for volunteerism. Two of the goals of the project are to raise awareness of opportunities for long-term service and to form mutually beneficial relationships with the Harlem and Morningside Heights communities. Every year over 1,000, students, faculty, staff and alumni volunteer for a day and go out into the city to work alongside community members and non-profit organizations. Traditionally we have had projects within the Morningside and Riverside Parks, including painting benches, trimming and weeding flowerbeds and bushes, and general clean-up. Other sites to which we send volunteers yearly include Covenant House, A Better Place, and Habitat for Humanity. Profits from fundraising are donated to Columbia Impact and the Double Discovery Center on the Columbia campus. Since CCO???s inception, thousands of Columbia volunteers helped out at over 90 site citywide and raised over $20,000 for Columbia's on-going service programs. Over the last 3 years, the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) has joined with CCO to involve alumni in this day of service both at home and through alumni clubs across the nation and the world. Alumni in the New York area are encouraged to register and take part in a service project alongside their fellow Columbians, past and present. Many regional clubs connect alumni with each other and their local communities by organizing a service project on the same day as the CCO efforts around Columbia's campus.

The most obvious civic effect of CCO is the day of service given by 1,000 volunteers in NYC and hundreds of others across the world through alumni clubs. In addition, CCO encourages students, faculty, alumni, and administrators to pursue community service in the future by showing them the options available to them, and giving them a positive experience with community outreach. Finally, CCO is an activity that binds the Columbia campus together each year, as friends, student groups, academic departments, or fellow students unite to better the community.

Chair Contacts


Andrea Bonilla
Alisha Maity
Vice President
Bill Nguyen

Navodi Poththewela
Nicollette Farkas
Bill Nguyen

Alumni Involvement in Columbia Community Outreach

The Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) has been participating in and sponsoring CCO since 2005. Alumni and their families play an integral role in giving back to our global communities. There are ways for you to get involved wherever you are:

Alumni in New York City

Register now!

Columbia Community Outreach in New York starts on Morningside campus with Opening Ceremonies featuring keynote speakers from Columbia's alumni and faculty. You will be assigned a project with a group of alumni and in some cases students. Project could involve work with a local park, school, community center, or a non-profit organization. Bag lunch will be available, and when travel is required a metro card will be provided.

Alumni Around the World

Every year, alumni clubs across the globe arrange their own volunteer projects on the same day as hundreds gather in New York City. To learn if an alumni club near you is participating, or if you would be willing to organize a project for your local alumni group, please email Brianna Clementz.

This is a great opportunity to engage your family in community service. Please let us know if you have small children and we will do our best to assign you to an age appropriate project. Please contact Brianna Clementz with any questions regarding your participation in CCO as an alum.

Non-Profit Organizations

CCO 2014 has concluded. However, please sign up if you wish to be a partner for CCO 2015!

Register as a Partner Organization
We are always looking for innovative and constructive projects, and we work with our Partners to develop a wide range of volunteer opportunities. Some are focused on renewal and beautification (painting, gardening, building); others are people-oriented (serving meals at soup kitchens, visiting with seniors, arts and crafts projects with kids).

If your non-profit would like to become a CCO Partner, please fill in the required fields below:

Become a Partner
Thank you for your interest in becoming a Columbia Community Outreach Partner! Every spring, CCO organizes acampus-wide day of volunteering in the greater Manhattan area. Typically, CCO has over 1,000 volunteers???students, faculty, alumni, and community members???who work on more than forty projects. If your organization has volunteer needs that fall within our basic project guidelines, please consider collaborating with CCO on Sunday, April 12, 2015. By partnering with CCO, you will provide members of the Columbia University community with meaningful service opportunities, which will strengthen their commitment to revitalize the city of which they are a part, all while fostering volunteerism and possible continued involvement in your organization.

Project Guidelines
We form partnerships with organizations whose needs for volunteers fall within our basic project guidelines. We kindly request that all projects be:

- Group or team-based projects: suitable for groups of more than 5 people
- Hands-on: direct service or civic renewal; not mailing, fundraising, or secretarial work
- Scheduled on Sunday, April 12, 2015, between the hours of 11am and 4pm
- Supervised by the organization

Frequently Asked Questions
(1) How big are the projects that CCO has?
We have projects that take as few as 5 people to huge park projects that could take up to 100 people.

(2) What time will the volunteers arrive/leave?
We have a short morning program on Columbia’s campus, so volunteers should arrive by 11:30am at the latest, and they are expected to return to campus by 5pm.

(3) Who provides transportation and lunch?
We will provide a Metro card and a bag lunch for each volunteer.

(4) Can you provide supplies for a project?
We may be able to reimburse your organization for supplies purchased for your project, but more information about that will not be available until later in the spring.

(5) How do you feel about working with our residents?
We would love to as long as we can ensure that it is a mutually safe situation.