Fall 2020 Student Life Update

Cooper Union Students,

I write today with an initial message about student life for the 2020 – 2021 academic year at The Cooper Union. In her email to the campus, President Sparks detailed our current plans for the upcoming academic term. You have also received messages from your academic deans with specific information related to your academic programs.

While there remains a good deal of uncertainty surrounding the progression of COVID, we now have a plan in place that is adaptive and flexible and ensures a Cooper education that is inventive, rich, and engaging. Additionally, part of our plan is to ensure that we continue to provide a robust and engaging student experience to supplement and enhance your coursework. For this coming year, we envision most of our student life activities to be virtual to allow all students the opportunity to engage regardless of where you are living.

To that end, our entire Student Affairs team is hard at work developing plans for this coming year.

Center for Career Development

Our Center for Career Development continues to meet with students to support you through your professional and work-related plans both now and in the future. Students can make appointments to meet with our staff and review valuable information about career opportunities through Handshake. Students can connect with the Center here. Currently, we are planning for the Center for Career Development to operate remotely for the fall 2020 semester. Toni, Whitney, and Jolie are excited to continue to work with you!

For the upcoming year, we will continue to offer myriad opportunities to connect with members of our alumni community, employers, graduate programs, and workshops aimed to help prepare students for work-related endeavors. The staff is planning for a virtual job and internship fair for the fall semester, so students and employers have a chance to meet one another remotely about job opportunities. The staff are also continually gathering information about remote job, volunteer, and professional development opportunities for students. Information from the Center for Career Development will continue to be sent throughout the summer and throughout the academic year.

Student Wellness and Wellbeing

Cooper Union is committed to supporting student wellbeing while our classes continue online. We will continue to provide access to virtual and online care for students through several different modalities.

For all students located in the United States, www.cooper.care will continue to be available. Cooper Care provides 24/7, free access to physical and mental health care support. Cooper Care offers the ability to connect with healthcare providers for routine medical issues, provides immediate brief consultations with mental health professionals, and includes the opportunity to schedule and engage in ongoing therapy with virtual providers. Coverage for new students will begin in September. Unfortunately, healthcare laws prevent Cooper Care from being accessed outside of the United States.

Our counseling program continues to offer students the opportunity to engage with our NYC-based counseling team from anywhere. Students can directly connect with a counselor through our counseling page which can be found here. Cooper Union will continue to provide free access to short-term therapy for students. Students needing long-term and/or ongoing care will need to engage with a therapist outside of our program. Our staff can help students make these connections and find this support.

Our on-site counseling staff continues to provide virtual drop-in sessions for students located in the United States. Our Student Care Coordinator, Cassandra Jolicoeur, and our Student Counselor, Elizabeth London, remain available to meet with students. We anticipate that Cassandra and Elizabeth will continue to work and provide services remotely for the fall 2020 semester. Students can request a drop-in session by completing this form. Students outside of the United States, we can help you connect with resources in your country if you email Cassandra Jolicoeur, our Student Care Coordinator, or Hala Alkasm, our Assistant Director of International Advisement.

Cassandra and Elizabeth are creating new groups and programs for students to begin to engage with this summer, and we will continue to enhance the scope of services we can offer.

Student Activities and Student Life

The work that takes place in our classrooms, studios, and laboratories is nothing short of amazing! The work our students commit to outside of these spaces also continues to amaze me! We are fully committed to continuing to support the co-curricular activities of our student body during the upcoming year.

Later this summer, we will be launching a new student activities platform called Engage. This platform will replace the current JAC website and provide our student clubs and organizations with a robust online platform to engage with each other and make sure that all students are aware of all the activities and opportunities for involvement that are available. Additional information about Engage will be coming later in July.

We know that student clubs and organizations will engage differently online than they do in person, and we remain committed to providing the tools and resources to ensure that those opportunities exist and work for our students. As the summer progresses, we’ll meet with the leadership of the student councils and come up with a plan for student organization funding for the fall to continue to build a strong and connected student community. This fall we also will be allocating additional funds for students and/or student clubs and organizations that engage in work and activities related to inclusion and belonging within our community. The Office of Student Affairs will open an application in August for students to request funding for programs and initiatives that support creating an inclusive environment at The Cooper Union.

Throughout the fall semester we will be working closely with our colleagues in the academic programs to provide a number of opportunities to bring the campus community together to discuss issues facing us as an institution and as a world community that we can use our unique blend of science and art to help solve. We’re excited to see what these opportunities can yield! Next week we’ll be sending out a brief form to get feedback from you on how we can best bring our community together even while we may not be physically close to each other. We hope everyone will take a few minutes to complete the form so that we can make sure we hear from you and get your direct feedback as we continue to plan for the fall.


Cooper Union has operated a small but highly impactful athletics program for decades. Our athletics program has been grounded in the support and engagement of our alumni community who have served both as paid coaches and volunteers. Our program would not be possible without the commitment and dedication of our alumni coaches, and we are forever grateful for their tireless efforts.

For the fall 2020 semester we will be unable to offer an in-person athletics as we simply do not have the resources needed to provide the necessary sanitation and health and safety protocols to engage in in-person sporting activities. We are exploring opportunities to offer students virtual opportunities to engage in physical activity together. These will include virtual running/walking groups, online guided meditation classes, free online health coaching, and other opportunities for the campus to connect around physical health and wellbeing together. As soon as we are able and it is safe to do so, we will reinstate athletic activities for our student body.

Student Residence Hall

We are planning to operate our residence hall at 29 3rd Ave. for the 2020-2021 academic year. We have been in communication with our newly admitted students and are currently working with them to determine their housing needs. We will be implementing physical distancing requirements throughout the building and will only be housing students in single bedrooms. Students will share kitchens and bathrooms within apartment units, but each student will have their own bedroom. Because of the shift to single rooms, our available housing capacity will be reduced by roughly 50%. We will continue to prioritize our new incoming undergraduates’ housing needs. Upper-class students interested in being considered for a space in the residence hall may apply here. We won’t know until early August if we will have availability for upper-class students. We will continue to have student Resident Assistants as well as professional staff living in the residence hall to support our residential students.

General Student Support

The Office of Student Affairs will continue to be here to serve all students even as our staff in Student Affairs will likely continue to work remotely through the fall 2020 semester. Meeting with you and supporting your needs outside of the classroom is our focus. We truly can’t wait to get to see everyone in person as soon as we can, but we are excited about all that we have planned for the year ahead!

Looking forward to continuing our work together with you!

The Student Affairs Team

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.