A message from your SPJ President, Chris Riotta

Fellow students,

I hope this message finds you well during a particularly chaotic week. If you have not yet already, I encourage you to mask up and go vote. With a daunting and endless news cycle surrounding the presidential election, it can be easy to feel detached from the voting process — but casting your ballot is a surefire way to have your voice counted.

Our board hit the ground running by addressing a series of immediate needs coming from our student body, while planning community building initiatives and collaborating with the administration to ensure our class is equipped for the post-graduation job hunt. In the days ahead, we’ll be announcing more events and detailing ways we are aiming to increase opportunities for our classmates — but first, we wanted to invite you to be a part of our mission.

This year, the SPJ board at CJS is launching four committees: Academic Affairs, Student Life, Speakers and Community Service. Each will play a crucial role in making this year a memorable one for our students.

Below is more information on each of the committees:

Academic Affairs Committee. Led by Liann Herder, Vice President

“As a member of the academic committee, you will bring to the table a variety of issues affecting student life and classes, on and off campus. For example, we have already helped bring attention to the issue of safe, COVID-free spaces for students to stay warm on campus between classes. We want to make this year the best it can be, uniting the student body and keeping our interests and concerns at the forefront. Please join the academic committee today to make your voice (and your student colleagues' voices) heard.

Student Life Committee. Led by Shanna Kelly, Student Life Chair

“I’m looking for committee members who would like to actively participate in making this year the best it can be even though it’s hybrid. Committee members will come up with event ideas and help the board execute them for our student body.”





Speakers Committee. Led by Kate Stockrahm, Speakers Director

“What do Sarah Koenig, Roger Ross Williams, and Nathanial Rich have in common? They are all people we can ask to speak with us this year! Join the Speakers Committee if you have an idea about who you'd like to hear from, or a topic you'd like to learn more about (e.g. How do you come up with a masters project?). This committee will help shape and supplement our education at Columbia. Who doesn't want to be part of that?!”

Community Service Committee. Led by Jasmine Fernandez, Community Service Chair

"As CJS students during one of the most interesting times to be reporting on New York City, it's important to remember we can also help the communities we write about, by volunteering to do so. The Community Service Committee is the place for you, if you are interested in giving back, whether it be with your journalistic skills or by teaming up with a local service organization."

Sign up for a committee by filling out this form. You will not be required to attend the weekly board meetings, but will be expected to contribute to your committee and its goals throughout the year.

As always, my virtual office hours are on Sundays from 12-2pm. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

Chris