Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Lottery Rules, Regulations and FAQ

Urban New York Tickets

The Lottery

The Urban New York (UNY) program is made up of three separate lotteries: one in the fall and two in the spring. During the fall there is the First-Year Lottery open to incoming first-year Columbia College (CC) and Columbia Engineering (SEAS) students. In the spring, there is a General Lottery open to all undergraduates in CC/SEAS, as well as a Senior Lottery open to CC and SEAS graduating seniors. Ineligible registrations will be removed. For questions or more information email

Please note that our Standby policies have changed for the 2019-2020 school year. Please read the Standby section below for our new procedure.

Rules and Regulations

General Information 

By entering the Urban NY lottery (whether a winner or wait-listed), you agree to the program rules and regulations.

  • The lotteries typically open at the beginning of each semester for approximately 10-15 days.
  • The fall First-Year Lottery is open to first-year, transfer, visiting and combined plan NEW students in Columbia College and School of Engineering ONLY.
  • The spring General Lottery is open to ALL undergraduate students in CC and SEAS.
  • The spring Senior Lottery is open to senior undergraduate students in CC and SEAS.
  • Students are only allowed to win one (1) Urban NY trip throughout their time at Columbia University. Winners are ineligible to register for or win further lotteries (e.g. If you win as a first-year student during the fall First-Year lottery, you are no longer eligible to register for any lotteries throughout your four years).
  • Winners who are unable to attend the Urban NY trip, irrespective of the reason, are not eligible to register for or win future lotteries.
  • Students placed on the wait-list for an event are still eligible to register for a lottery and win a ticket in the future, regardless whether they attend the trip or not.
  • A student may only be a ticket-holder or a wait-listed registrant for one event.
  • Winners are not permitted to give their ticket away, and tickets are non-transferrable.

Register for the Lottery 

  • Opening and closing dates are announced at the beginning of each semester.
  • Students can only register for an Urban NY lottery when the lottery is open.
  • The lottery results will be run after registration closes.
  • Once the lottery is closed, students are no longer able to enter or register. No exceptions!
  • During the registration process, students are given an opportunity to select events in order of preference. 
  • During registration, students have the option to be placed on the wait-list for any event they desire, in order of preference, for a chance to attend the event.  This option does not impact your chance of winning. 
  • Lottery winners will receive an email from the trip leader to confirm their attendance and to inform them of trip details.
  • Those placed on the wait-list will also receive an email to notify them of the results and next steps.
  • Lottery Winners

  • Lottery winners will receive an email from the Urban NY Trip Leader to confirm their attendance and to inform them of their trip details.
  • ​Winners are no longer eligible to enter future lotteries. Winners are blocked from being able to register for future lotteries.
  • A student may only be a winner or on the wait-list for one event at a time.
  • Winners must be physically present at the meeting location within 10 minutes of the meeting time.
  • Winners who do not arrive within 10 minutes of the meeting time — even by one minute! — will forfeit their spot to wait-listed students or students waiting on standby. No exceptions!
  • The group will NOT wait for a ticket winner if the winner does not show up on time.
  • All ticket holders must travel to the location together as a group.

Winners Unable to Attend the Urban NY Trip...

  • irrespective of the reason, are not eligible to register or win future lotteries.
  • are not allowed to transfer their ticket to anyone else or give their ticket away.
  • must notify their trip leader immediately to allow wait-listed students a chance to attend in their place.
  • should release their slot before 9:00 a.m. the business day before their scheduled event.


  • Student placed on the wait-list for an event will receive an email from the trip leader notifying them of their status.
  • If a ticket is made available before the posted meeting time, the trip leader will contact all wait-listed members via email to notify them of any available ticket — the first person to respond will get the ticket.
    • The winner rules now apply to that wait-listed student.
  • Wait-list tickets are given on a “first-come, first-served” basis — the first student to respond to the email will secure the ticket.
  • If a ticket is made available near or at the posted meeting time, the assigned trip leader will release tickets to any wait-list member physically present in the order of arrival.
    • The trip leader will provide a sign-in sheet at the meeting location so students can sign-up in order of arrival.
  • Students who are on the wait-list, regardless of whether or not they attend the trip, are still eligible to enter and win future Urban NY lotteries.


  • If there are any open tickets due to last minute cancellations and/or no-shows, trip leaders will release tickets to any CC, SEAS or BC students who are physically present at the meeting location via random draw.
  • Tickets will be offered to those on standby only after those on the wait-list have been given the chance to secure tickets via the above process.
  • Standby students should arrive no more than 10 minutes before the designated meeting time. If tickets are available, random selection from the Standby list will occur exactly 10 minutes after the designated meeting time.
  • Any CC, SEAS and BC student can show up at the scheduled meeting time/place and notify the trip leader that they are there to obtain a standby ticket.
    • The trip leader will provide a sign-in sheet at the meeting time/location to ask for your name, school and class year. No-show tickets will be awarded via random selection; please note that an earlier time of arrival will NOT increase chances of selection!
  • Past winners of any lottery are able to obtain tickets via standby.
  • Students cannot sign in on behalf of others nor can they save spots.
  • The Urban NY Program does not guarantee the availability of standby tickets.


  • Students must provide their own transportation costs to and from the trip; we recommend all students purchase their MetroCards before the trip.
  • Unless otherwise stated, transportation will be via the NYC Public Transit system.
  • All winners and ticket holders are required to meet at the meeting time and location and travel together as a group.
  • If you are registered with Disabilities Services and need transportation accommodations, please notify your trip leader or contact


  • Alcohol of any kind is not permitted during any of the Urban NY trips.
  • Many trips sell alcoholic beverages at the venues; however Urban NY student winners are not allowed to partake in or purchase any alcohol, regardless of being 21+.

Student Engagement


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