Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program


Program Overview

Columbia College and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science have partnered with fashion entrepreneur Kenneth Cole to offer a groundbreaking program that will help prepare students to make meaningful, sustainable change by developing practical approaches to challenges and opportunities faced by communities around the world.

Kenneth Cole Fellows will learn both theory and practice to become effective leaders in community-based organizations, local businesses, and not-for-profit entities.

The Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program is facilitated by a collective of offices across campus including The Center for Career Education (CCE)Office of Student Engagement, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering Office of the Dean and Columbia College Office of the Dean.

Program Features

This program is made up of three interlocking elements throughout the year:

  • Spring Course:   The program begins in the spring semester, when Fellows partake in a required credit-bearing course entitled "Community Engagement and Community Building:  Strengthening Communities to Advance Social Change". The course readings, discussions and selected guest speakers will focus on community building skills, the process of community engagement, social entrepreneurship and asset based organizational and policy efforts that impact community development.  The course will also prepare Fellows for their summer "social impact" internships. 
  • Spring Program Series:  In addition to the course, Fellows and program administrators meet bi-weekly for internship-related workshops and planning sessions. The spring series is designed to strengthen Fellows’ knowledge of urban issues, build their community engagement skills and prepare them for their summer internships.
  • Summer Living-Learning Experience:  The program culminates in a summer internship in which Fellows work in teams at community organizations, focusing on specific, community-based projects. Fellows receive a stipend for these internships and work approximately 30 hours per week on their projects, with regular input from staff from the Division of Student Affairs, the Center for Career Education, Columbia College, and SEAS. All Fellows complete a short report and presentation at the conclusion of their fellowships, which include presenting meaningful and constructive solutions to the various stakeholders.  Additionally, during this time the Fellows live together in a University residence hall provided for by the program. As a complement to their community projects, they meet weekly to discuss their projects and continue to learn about community engagement and problem-solving. For students receiving financial aid, their summer work contribution will be waived if accepted into this program.

Program Benefits

The Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program incorporates a unique combination of academic coursework and co-curricular programming. Students selected for the program, who will be called Kenneth Cole Fellows, will hone competencies in the core areas of vision, community partnering, community understanding, leadership, information sharing, initiative, conceptual mapping, and listening and understanding.

Learn More about Kenneth Cole and the Community Engagement Program 

Kenneth Cole is chairman and chief creative officer of Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc., which designs, sources, and markets a broad range of footwear, handbags, apparel, and accessories. Mr. Cole is also the chairman of amfAR, the largest not-for-profit AIDS research foundation; a founding board member of HELP USA, the leading national provider of housing and jobs for the homeless; and a longstanding board member of the Sundance Institute. 

To learn more about the Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program, check out the Office of Student Engagement's program page and/or attend one of the below information sessions:

  • Monday, October 7th, 6 - 7pm in Lerner 401
  • Friday, October 11th, 1 - 2pm in Lerner 403H/I

*Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to attend one of these sessions.*

Apply Now

All Application materials due by 11:59 on Sunday, October 20, 2013!

Program Contacts

If you have questions about this program or about internships, please feel free to contact:

Natasha Rossi
Program Coordinator, Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program
Office of Student Engagement

Laura Maltz
Assistant Director, Experiential Education
Center for Career Education