NEW YORK— A fall 2016 semester report released by the Columbia Athletics Office of Enrichment Services this week reveals growth and prosperity in nearly all areas of student-athlete support services, including career development, academic support, alumni engagement, and programming. This news comes a few weeks after the Office of Enrichment Services announced that 98 percent of its Class of 2016 student-athlete graduates found full-time employment, are enrolled in a graduate school of their choice, or have secured other post-graduate plans.
The numbers fit squarely into Columbia Athletics’ mission statement, which is “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.”
Under the leadership of Associate Athletics Director for Enrichment Services Jessica De Palo, the Enrichment Services team interacted one-on-one with student-athletes across all sports programs and class years, conducting over 250 individual career counseling sessions and academic support sessions during the fall 2016 semester.
From a career programming standpoint, Enrichment Services was able to increase its scope significantly by changing the format of fall employer events from individual sessions to four Industry Nights, which brought multiple companies and organizations of the same or similar industries to one common location on the same night. Industry Nights made it possible for the Enrichment Services team to nearly double the number of companies it brought to campus during the fall semester; the 25 employers who participated in the programs represented nine distinct industries and included NBCUniversal, Goldman Sachs, the FBI, Unilever, Anheuser-Busch, Morgan Stanley, IBM Watson, the New York Yankees, and Ernst & Young, among many others. The majority of these companies were represented at the events by Columbia Athletics alumni who live and work in the greater New York City area.
Director of Enrichment Services Annie Butts commented that the fall Industry Nights also led to an increase in student-athlete attendance and overall satisfaction.
“The fall recruiting cycle for internships and full-time jobs can be incredibly time-consuming and demanding,” said Butts. “We took this into consideration, adjusted our format, and gave student-athletes the opportunity to connect with up to ten companies at once.”
During the months of September and October, the Enrichment Services team also hosted its annual Student-Athlete Welcome, a Finance Society event focused on education and interviewing, an informational program for student-athletes’ parents, and a Professional Etiquette Dinner for first-years and sophomores.
In addition to individual counseling sessions and programming, Enrichment Services continued to focus on providing career opportunities for Columbia student-athletes by sending over 70 full-time and internship positions throughout the semester and launching the Four-Year Action Plan LinkedIn Group for student-athletes to connect directly with alumni.
On the academic side, over 200 student-athletes utilized the Columbia Athletics Tutoring Program during the fall semester; 310 individual tutoring requests were met across 84 different classes.
“As our support services continue to grow and expand, we are able to directly impact the lives and experiences of more and more student-athletes,” said De Palo. “Our goal is to help them reach their highest levels of achievement – and we’ve seen that the support programs we have in place really help them thrive as Columbia student-athletes.”