The Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program (CUSP) aims to foster the intellectual, social, and cultural growth essential to leadership in our highly specialized and culturally diverse world. The Program provides named Scholars with enhanced academic and cultural opportunities unique to a great research university in the heart of Manhattan. In order to fulfill their academic, personal, and professional development, this academic enhancement Program offers Scholars access and exposure to leaders and professionals in a wide variety of fields. Designed to support and enrich the Scholars' college experience through active exploration of University and New York City resources, the Program incorporates research activities in a variety of disciplines, and offers internship opportunities as well as on- and off-campus activities which encourage the development of student potential.
The Program's mission hearkens back to the original purpose of the University—to move from theory to praxis, advance our societies, educate the complete individual, and inspire global citizens. The Scholars are an alliance of young musicians and artists, poets and journalists, orators and politicians, who strive to move beyond the boundaries that confine us to our academic, social, and economic comfort zones.
The CUSP administration nurtures its Scholars from matriculation to graduation and beyond, expanding their intellectual universe, guiding them academically, directing them towards summer research opportunities, presenting them with diverse internship and experiential education opportunities, advising them on fellowships, and discussing career options—in general, enjoying our time together at Columbia as we forge a relationship that we trust will continue beyond these short years. CUSP seeks to enrich its Scholars by nurturing character, integrity, leadership skills, a sense of civic-minded responsibility, and academic excellence. By integrating speaker series, cultural outings, research opportunities and symposia, CUSP thus challenges students at different stages of their college career, enhancing the development of organic and well-rounded public intellectuals.
A named Scholar at Columbia participates in a program designed to build upon four pillars: academic excellence, leadership, global awareness, and civic engagement. Participation in this Program and interaction with leaders active in both academia and outside encourages Scholars to understand the intrinsic connections between their intellectual development, the Columbia campus experience, life in New York City, and events around the world, and will thus both extend and enhance their previous academic and extra-curricular experiences.
A deeper, implicit goal of CUSP is the motivation of students to reach beyond their individual niches, to know that they too can effect change in society, and in fact have a responsibility to do so. The translation of awareness into advocacy and activism stems from the natural synthesis of the Program’s goals. Through specialized programming, we encourage this sense of enacted responsibility, as it fulfills the broader theoretical concepts of intellectual growth, leadership development, and global awareness.
The speakers of our CUSP Distinguished Speaker Series, exemplars of enacted responsibility, share their personal histories of determination, encounters with adversity, insatiable intellectual curiosity, and eventual achievement. Collectively, they present a tapestry of individual successes grounded in interdisciplinary collaboration, a passion for social justice, and group effort. It is our hope that our Scholars gain an appreciation of their own ability to effect change through these different biographies and presentations.
Whether through programmed lectures, research opportunities, or practica, CUSP calls upon its Scholars to discover unique horizons, define their larger goals, and pursue their dreams. It aims to expose Scholars to other worlds and cultures and invites them to share in the responsibility of a larger community of scholars.