Columbia and the Community: A Partnership in Learning Grows

Photograph: The conference ended Friday evening with an induction ceremony for students joining AmeriCorps. At right, computer science major Deborah Freedman, BC'96; Sonia Reese, director of Community Impact; Troy Lloyd, a graduating public relations major at City College of New York and Barnard President Judith Shapiro. Photo Credit: Joe Pineiro.

Photograph: Yolanda Moses, president of City College of New York, Rep. Charles Rangel and President Rupp. Photo Credit: Joe Pineiro.

Photograph: Ester Fuchs , director of the Barnard-Columbia Center for Urban Policy, and Mark Green, New York City Public Advocate. Photo Credit: Joe Pineiro.

A day-long conference aimed at strengthening the ties between Columbia and the surrounding community provided an opportunity for many neighbors to reflect on how the relationship has already come a long way.

"Let me tell you, times have certainly changed," said Marie Runyon, executive director of the Harlem Restoration Project and a longtime tenant advocate in Morningside Heights.

For years, Runyon fought with the University as it, along with most city institutions during the era of urban renewal, planned to rid the neighborhood of old buildings and replace them with new structures--and new tenants.

But, Runyon said, Columbia has become a good neighbor. "When Bill Scott came along, things radically changed."

Scott, deputy vice president for institutional real estate, moderated one of the day's panels, "The Community and the University," in the Kellogg Center in the International Affairs Building. Panelists were E. Babette Edwards, executive director of the Harlem Tutorial Project & Parent Institute, and Warren Whitlock, deputy executive director of Harlem Community Development Corp.

Whitlock said he wants Columbia to participate in the economic plans for Harlem, and invited Columbia business students to become involved in helping new small businesses in the neighborhood. Among the future plans for the area is a hotel at 110th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard.

Other highlights of the day included an introductory address by Rep. Charles Rangel; a keynote address by Mark Green, New York City Public Advocate, and opening remarks by President Rupp and President Shapiro.

Columbia University Record -- April 19, 1996 -- Vol. 21, No. 24