Fall 2021: A message to the Columbia University Community

From Amy Rabinowitz, Director, Office of Work/Life

Last fall on this page, I wrote,”[W]e are all facing unique challenges and navigating demands that we could not have imagined just last fall.”  How true that still is for the fall of 2021!  

Although every new semester typically brings unique challenges, is there anyone among our Columbia colleagues who would say that these past 18 months aren’t the most unique of all the unique times we can remember?  But here we are, the campus is bustling with students, and the University has made remarkable strides in bringing us together safely.  

Whether your schedule calls for a new hybrid work plan, you’re fully back on campus (or never left!) or you are not quite back onsite yet, there will be days when things might not go as planned—for you, for a colleague, or for someone who reports to you.  Our best advice is to treat each other with an extra dose of empathy and grace as we navigate this new work environment. 

During these months, we have all learned the importance of community when we are facing a crisis.  Whether your community is your family, friends, colleagues or other loved ones (furry, four-legged ones included), having others to turn to for support can make even the most stressful times just a little bit easier.  The Office of Work/Life has chosen “community” as its theme this year and we’d like to help you build your community through some of our programming.  

For example:
● We have seen how colleagues have consistently joined our well-being programs and become part of a community by doing our Step Challenges or attending weekly classes – even on Zoom. Join the community this fall by registering for Walk to Wellness (on campus!) or the ongoing Take a Break series.  

● We know it is important for parents with children of all ages to engage with each other, so consider attending the pilot session of our Conversation Circle How to Build Your Own Community of Parents, or come together to get tips on how to mitigate Caregiver Burnout.  

● You can also join other colleagues on an in-person tour of Historic Harlem and see the highlights of the neighborhood while meeting new people.  

● And, remember the communities available through our Parent Connection group and through Komae-sponsored workshops.  

Because we know that it can be difficult to make time to attend a workshop when it’s scheduled, we’re highlighting some sessions from the past year through our “Work/Life Rewinds,” You'll find links to these video recording "Rewinds" throughout our fall workshop page and you can explore even more programming in the Work/Life video library.  

If you’re eligible for the University’s Back-Up Care Program, you can again access 50 additional hours of care for either children or adult/elder dependents this fiscal year.  You can also now use back-up hours to access tutoring if your child needs some extra academic support or test prep.

All of our usual consultation services (child care and schooling, housing, and dual career) are available in-person or by phone, email, or Zoom. 

As we embark on yet another unique semester, remember that we remain here for you.  In person or online, we look forward to seeing you.  

In community,

Amy Rabinowitz, Associate Provost, Director of Work/Life