Alumni Survey Panel


Thank you to our volunteers for Year 2 of Columbia Alumni Voices!

Enrollment is now closed for the second year of Columbia Alumni Voices - thank you to our alumni who signed up to share their voices! Alumni Voices is the University-wide initiative that allows alumni to voice opinions on a variety of alumni-related topics and programs. 

Members of Alumni Voices are asked to complete brief surveys over the course of the year, and the feedback we hear from you will help shape alumni activities and opportunities across all of Columbia. We will keep you apprised of survey results and how your comments and opinions are being used to make a difference. 

Continue visiting this page throughout the year for the latest updates on survey results and actions that you've impacted.  


March 2017: Columbia University Libraries

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America and hosts over 4 million visitors each year. Feedback from this survey is helping Columbia University Libraries build and market better programs, services, and opportunities for students and alumni during the coming year, both on-campus and online.

Below are a few highlights of the survey results.

  • 824 panelists completed the survey, with broad representation across Schools and age groups (Under 40: 28%; 40-59: 34%; 60+: 38%).
  • The top two alumni library privileges used were access to in-person facilities and off-campus e-resources (e.g. online academic journals and newspapers).
  • The most valuable resource for panelists was off-campus access to select e-resources; 40% of respondents feel that it is an extremely valuable benefit.
  • The majority of alumni respondents (90%) have not attended a Libraries event in the past two years.
  • Respondents were primarily interested in three content areas: Upcoming programs/events (77%) followed by collections use and acquisition news (60%).

January 2017: Earth Institute

Now in its 21st year, the Earth Institute works to mobilize the sciences, education, research, and public policy to respond to the most difficult environmental, social, and economic challenges of the 21st century and beyond. In January, the Alumni Voices panel shared their opinions on the Columbia Earth Institute, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and issues of global sustainability. Below are a few highlights of the survey results.

  • 80% of the Alumni Voices panelists are most interested in these four Earth Institute focus areas: Economics of sustainability, Climate and atmosphere, Freshwater systems and water issues and Public Health.
  • Within the climate area, panelists most want to learn more about what the Earth Institute is doing to develop solutions to climate change issues and seeing evaluative reports on what is working or is not working.  
  • Why are issues of sustainability especially of interest?  Two key reasons: concern for future generations and the changing political environment and what that will mean for scientific exploration.
  • One third expressed interest in attending live streaming lectures and panel discussions, while one quarter is interested in live lectures.
  • Two thirds signed up for the Earth Institute newsletter. (If you'd like to sign up for the newsletter, you may do so here.) 

Additionally, feedback on this survey is helping the Earth Institute and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Institute in creating programming and communications during the coming year.


December 2016: Entrepreneurship

Feedback gathered on the Entrepreneurship survey helped the Columbia Entrepreneurship team build better programs and offerings for students and alumni throughout the year.

  • 76% of respondents feel it’s important to provide entrepreneurship programming at Columbia and 81% feel it's a viable career path
  • 60% of respondents signed up to receive the Columbia Entrepreneurship newsletter—if you did not sign up and wish to do so, let us know!
  • Survey respondents rated Columbia in the top five list of schools and universities when people think of entrepreneurship programming on an open-ended basis

As a result of your feedback, a priority in the upcoming year will be to increase awareness of current programming and foster development of new entrepreneurship programming via school groups, official publications, and online resources.


Alumni Voices Year 1

In its pilot year, Alumni Voices saw nearly 3,000 alumni, spanning 8 decades and representing all Schools, share their opinions and shape Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) initiatives. To wrap up the inaugural year of Alumni Voices, view the summary PDF of what your input accomplished this year, including designing the new online Columbia Alumni Community and identifying additional alumni benefits, among much more. 

Get to know last year's Columbia Alumni Voices panel:

Alumni Panel

Learn what we learned and see individual results from previous surveys below:


June 2016: Program Reflection

In June, the inaugural year of Alumni Voices came to a close. When the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) launched  Alumni Voices in July 2015, alumni raised their hands to provide vital feedback to shape CAA initiatives and provide key insight to the University. To wrap up the pilot year of  Alumni Voices, the June 2016 survey took a look back at the program itself, reflecting on the overall experience serving on the volunteer panel. Learn more below:

Alumni Voices June 2016


May 2016: Volunteerism

A high priority of the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) is to establish a University-wide Volunteer Development Initiative. This initiative will enhance the volunteer experience for all Columbians and encourage the growth of volunteerism in all its forms. In May, panelists were asked about how they volunteer their time and expertise to the organizations and causes that interest them. Here's what we learned:

  • 649 survey respondents
  • 73% (474) currently volunteer for an organization outside of Columbia University (83% of these panelists volunteer for between 1-3 different organizations.)
  • 22% (141) panelists currently volunteer with Columbia or the CAA (not including Alumni Voices). 
  • 17% currently volunteer with BOTH outside orgs and with Columbia

Top 2 volunteer activities:

  • I serve on a committee or board (for your school, a regional club or shared interest group, or other) 33%
  • I interview prospective students for my school: 28%

Top 3 opportunity types panelists are somewhat or very likely to volunteer for at Columbia:

  • 61% - Micro-volunteering (i.e. quick, often online activities): 
  • 53% - Serve on a committee or board
  • 53% - Micro-mentoring (i.e. a one-time peer-to-peer resume review or mock interviews): 

# of hours spent volunteering each month

  • 1-5 hours per month: 41%
  • 6-10 hours per month: 28%
  • Over 10 hours per month: 31%

Top 3 areas panelists would be interested in volunteering for:

  • Education and Literacy: 38%
  • Arts & Culture: 34%
  • Children and Youth: 27%

April 2016: Alumni Community Revisited

in 2015, Alumni Voices panelists were among the first to learn about the new online Columbia Alumni Community. Your feedback then helped launch the platform earlier this year with many important improvements. In April 2016 we revisited this new and exclusive alumni resource and once again looked for opinions on the layout, features, and overall user experience. Here's what we learned:

April 2016


March 2016: Commencement

This month's Alumni Voices survey helped us understand more about alumni graduation experiences, no matter the year or school. Themes covered include resources that were most helpful to new grads, promotional poster designs, and advice to this year's graduates. The results provided important insight as the CAA prepares to welcome the Class of 2016 to our alumni network. Learn more below:

January 2016


February 2016: Benefits & Discounts

In February we asked Alumni Voices to help us evaluate and improve upon the suite of benefits currently offered through the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) and learn what alumni want to see added. We've learned a lot from you, especially around accessibility of benefits around the world. Check out other insights below:

January 2016


January 2016: CAA Online Store

In January, we asked Alumni Voices to share their thoughts on a new Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) online store, featuring a variety of branded items with a focus on alumni. The feedback from this survey is helping the CAA determine shopping preferences and behaviors around Columbia merchandise, as well as the types of products that alumni would be interested in seeing in 2016. Here's what we learned:

January 2016


November 2015: Columbia University Club of New York

In November we asked Alumni Voices to share their thoughts on the Columbia Club of New York located in Midtown Manhattan and the types of amenities and services they'd be likely to use as members. The feedback will be crucial in determining how to best serve alumni needs and how to engage both current and new members.

  • 84% of panelists are aware of the shared Columbia Club in Midtown Manhattan, however only 2% of panelists are currently members
  • The top reason for not being a current member of the Columbia Club is not living close enough to regularly use it
  • 19% of panelists are current members of another private club
  • 34% of panelists would be somewhat or very likely to join the Columbia Club if Columbia University had its own dedicated space in Midtown Manhattan
  • The top 3 facilities/amenities alumni are looking to be provided in the Columbia Club are Columbia events/programs at preferred member pricing, high-quality dining options, and nearby hotel options at preferred rates
  • 84% of alumni would be most likely to use the Columbia Club during the early evening hours (6-8 p.m.)

October 2015: Columbia Magazine

Alumni Voices October Results

In October we asked Alumni Voices panelists to tell us how they feel about Columbia Magazine, the quarterly publication sent to all Columbia University alumni worldwide. Your feedback is giving the editors key insights into the existing readership and the content you want covered, including more news about research happening at Columbia today, along with analysis of current issues and events by Columbia experts/leaders in the field. Other insights from the survey include:


September 2015: Share Your Interests

Second Survey Results

In September we asked about what interests you and the role Columbia plays in those areas. As a result of your feedback, in the upcoming year the CAA is exploring establishing a place for Columbia alumni to share their expertise with one another and creating new content based on the topics that interest you the most. Thanks for letting your voices be heard!


August 2015: Shape Your New Online Alumni Community 

First Survey Results

In August we kicked off Alumni Voices with news about a new online community coming soon to all Columbia alumni. We looked to you to help inform aspects of that new online space and your voices this month helped shape the name, designs, and features that resonated most with you. Stay tuned later this year when the Columbia Alumni Community makes its debut!


Every year, Columbians are invited to join Alumni Voices during an open enrollment period in the summer. Here are other ways you can stay involved with Columbia:

Stay tuned for updates on the latest surveys, survey outcomes, actions taken as a result of your feedback, and more.

Thank you for sharing your voice!