With fewer than 1,000 students, The Cooper Union is a small community of professionals-in-training within the larger community of New York City. The intellectual ferment of New York City provides the background for students’ rigorous studies in architecture, art or engineering, and students enjoy an abundance of cafés, galleries, theaters, movie houses, restaurants, shops and clubs within walking distance. The local stations of two major subway lines provide easy access to midtown Manhattan and the outer boroughs.
The dean of students and the staff of the Office of Student Affairs oversee many aspects of student life outside the classroom, including student clubs and the student government, career counseling, athletics and recreation and the production of the Campus Safety, Security and Fire Safety Report.
Life on campus is shaped by the current interests of students. The Joint Student Council has representatives from all class years in all three schools and allocates funding to student clubs through the Joint Activities Committee (JAC). Under the rules of the JAC Constitution, clubs are readily formed and as a result, new clubs emerge every year. Up to 80 clubs have flourished annually, including multiple professional organizations, a drama society, several musical groups, dance clubs, the student newspaper, a variety of ethnic and cultural groups and recreational groups. The clubs have sponsored lectures, exhibits, field trips, conferences, poetry readings, films, dinners, publications, performances, ice cream socials, international food fairs and community service work. Each year, the clubs jointly sponsor the Fall Festival where members recruit new students to join the clubs and give information about upcoming activities. Professional societies compete in national design competitions and have a stellar record of bringing home prizes.
Students at The Cooper Union also participate in an extensive program of athletic and recreational activities supervised by the dean of athletics. There are varsity women’s and men’s volleyball teams, basketball, cross-country, women’s and men’s tennis teams, soccer and ping pong teams. Cooper Union students have access to two athletic facilities very close to the school where they can enjoy these activities. Each year, several hundred students, alumni and friends go on annual ski trips to Mont Sutton, Quebec, during the winter breaks in January and February.