NEW YORK—Earlier this month, Columbia Athletics announced the launch of a new branding campaign #OnlyHere which focuses on the assortment of advantages to the student-athlete with emphasis on its extraordinary location in world-class New York City, unparalleled academic and career opportunities, an elite-level athletic performance program and “built to win” foundation in facilities and personnel. In the second of a five-part series, we focus on the first brand pillar of Columbia Athletics which is its extraordinary location in New York City.

With 31 varsity sports, Columbia Athletics is the largest NCAA Division I athletics program in New York City and the only NCAA Division I sports program in Manhattan. A beautiful and peaceful campus in the heart of New York City, Columbia offers the most diverse student body in the Ivy League. Located in the City’s Upper West Side, Columbia is at the center of global career opportunities and the best culture in the world.

What separates Columbia from other Ivy League institutions is the unique student-athlete experience that it provides based on its location in the “city that never sleeps” New York City. The opportunities for student-athletes attending an Ivy League institution in the middle of New York City are endless and can be broken down into five categories: world-class access, cultural opportunities, diversity, global viewpoint and personality.

World-Class Access

#OnlyHere in New York City, student-athletes have unmatched career and networking access at their fingertips. A global international power, New York City exerts significant impact world-wide upon commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, culture and entertainment. Anchored by Wall Street in Manhattan’s Financial District, New York City has been labeled the financial center of the world as sixty-five Fortune 500 companies call New York home. The city is also home to the two largest stock exchanges by total market capitalization, the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. New York is also an important center for major service industries of insurance, health care, government, accounting, law and media/publishing. At Columbia, a student-athlete can tap into a network of more than 320,000 alumni world-wide, many of whom are experts in their chosen field and living, working and experiencing success in the greater area. In addition, Columbia University has thousands of available internships in New York.

Cultural Opportunities

#OnlyHere in New York City, Columbia student-athletes are able to experience cultural, entertainment, technological and research opportunities in a way that no other university can provide. In New York, student-athletes have access to over 40 Broadway theaters, 150 museums and 400 art galleries, hundreds of diverse neighborhoods, 1,700 parks and recreational facilities, thousands of restaurants and multiple high-level sporting and cultural events. New York City is a world-wide destination as the city welcomed nearly 60 million tourists in 2015 and hosted three of world’s top-10 most visited attractions in 2013. Several sources have ranked New York as the most photographed city in the world. Times Square, iconic as the world’s “heart” and its “Crossroads” is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway Theater District, one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections, and a major center of the world’s entertainment industry. The names of many of the city’s bridges, tapered skyscrapers and parks are known throughout the world.


#OnlyHere in New York City and at Columbia, student-athletes will experience diversity on a level unmatched anywhere in the world on an ethnic, socioeconomic, cultural and international basis. A cultural mecca, New York City is the most diverse city in the world as more than 200 languages are spoken and a third of its residents are foreign-born. The metropolitan area constitutes the premier gateway for legal immigration into the United States. All five NYC boroughs illustrate this melting pot of cultures through activities, museums, stores and restaurants where individuals can meet people from different countries, sample cuisine and products, listen to international music and watch foreign films. There are over 1,000 cultural organizations in the five boroughs, each integral to the diversity of culture that defines New York City. At Columbia University alone, more than 150 countries and all 50 U.S. states are represented in its faculty and student body.

Global Viewpoint

#OnlyHere at Columbia University gives its student-athletes a home in the most global city in the world. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is also an important center for international diplomacy and has been described as the cultural and financial capital of the world. In addition to the United Nations aspect, thousands of international businesses have headquarters in New York City, defining the metropolis as a “global city for a global economy”. Dozens of campus initiatives bring the world to Columbia, including several hundred study abroad opportunities and research projects, partnerships with communities, governments and institutions around the world, global research for all majors and a variety of study abroad programs.


#OnlyHere in New York City, student-athletes are exposed to the New York way of life: ambitious, fast-paced, gritty and resilient, confident and open-minded. A student-athlete at Columbia has a dual citizenship being a Columbian and a New Yorker. Each in itself is a life changer. Through experiencing the 24-7, 365-days per year culture of New York City, student-athletes will learn important values of team-first mentality, hard work, dedication, love of the game, grit and respect. At Columbia, student-athletes will learn to adapt to living in one of the most populous cities in the world as it is home to eight million people and 23.6 million people in its metropolitan area.

The #OnlyHere branding campaign centers around two principles of Columbia Athletics: its vision statement of a “unique student-athlete experience combined with the most supportive Athletics Department in the Ivy League” and the department’s overall mission: “to maximize the opportunities for our student-athletes to reach their highest levels of achievement, here at Columbia and for the rest of their lives.” As part of this initiative, Columbia Athletics has launched a newly designed website, new signage in its athletics facilities, refreshed athletics wordmark and the introduction of its new social media hashtag #OnlyHere.

#OnlyHere refers to four brand pillars exclusive to Columbia Athletics’ success: Extraordinary location in New York City; Unparalleled academic and career opportunities; Elite level athletic, academic and career performance program; Built to win foundation in facilities.


“Going to school—a small school with a beautiful campus—in the middle of the best city in the world was amazing. The remarkable energy to this great city, diversity of people and ideas and neighborhoods and food and access to the Arts cannot be overstated. It is exhilarating! During my four years at Columbia, I enjoyed Broadway shows through our student ticket program, my first Opera ever as part of the Core Curriculum (Music Humanities), a class at the Metropolitan Museum (a senior elective), multiple walking tours during the “Architecture of New York” class, Jazz Uptown and Clubs downtown…How great is that? I would be remiss if I did not mention, NYC an amazing running city with Central Park, Riverside Park, Hudson River or East River, 5 Bridges, Big Hills, the NYC Marathon, Millrose Games, you name it.”

-Lisa Carnoy, Division Executive for the Northeast for U.S. Trust, Bank of America’s Market President for New York City and former Columbia track and field standout

"I grew up in the Dominican Republic dreaming of New York. To be educated at Columbia, especially with its core curriculum and exposure to foundational principles, all while engaging in NCAA Division I athletic competition, was not only a universally unique experience, but life-changing. It not only made me the lawyer and judge that I am today, but it gave me understanding of my role in a global environment, and under the rule of law."

-Honorable Rolando T. Acosta, Associate Justice of the New York Appellate Division of the Supreme Court and former Columbia baseball player 


$1.5 trillion

Gross metropolitan product of New York City, larger than the GDP of all but 12 countries worldwide

23.6 million

NYC Metropolitan population

8 million

New York City population, an amazing percentage of whom are experts, visionaries and global leaders.

1.6 million

Manhattan population


Parks and recreational facilities


of restaurants


of internships offered through the Center for Career Education


Square miles


Museums and countless galleries


of service research NYC-Columbia partnership


of diverse neighborhoods


Broadway theatres