Year 2 (2016-2017) – Surveys and Results

Alumni Voices Year 2

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.  


May 2017: The Arts at Columbia

This month's Alumni Voices survey was centered around arts-related content, programming, discounts, and other resources available to alumni of Columbia University. Feedback is helping to tailor offerings and improve communications from both the relocated Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at the new Columbia University Lenfest Center for the Arts, as well as from the CAA Arts Access program for alumni of Columbia University.

Below are a few highlights of the survey results:

  • The majority of alumni respondents (91%) participated in or attended at least one arts-related activity in the past year.
    • Visited an art gallery/museum (80%)
    • Attended a theater performance (70%)
    • Attended a concert (66%)
  • 45% of respondents made a financial contribution to one or more arts-related organization(s) in the past year.
  • On average, about half of respondents had no preference on days they would attend an arts-related event. However, respondents with a preference preferred weekends twice as much compared to the weekdays. 
  • The two most influential factors affecting how likely alumni are to attend an arts program are advance notice of events and discounts on tickets. Over 80% of alumni respondents say they are somewhat or much more likely to attend based on these factors. Other key motivating factors include:
    • 70% of respondents were somewhat or much more likely to attend an arts event based on exclusive programming (e.g. director talk backs, backstage tours, etc.) 
    • 60% of alumni are somewhat or extremely likely to attend a Columbia arts-related activity during an alumni reunion or leadership meeting. 

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.


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!