Campus Life

Lamont brings together a diverse range of people to a 189-acre wooded campus only 18 miles from one of the largest cities in the world. Its location just outside New York City on the Hudson River in Palisades, NY is a unique and often unexpected mix of easy urban access and nature. Over 30 miles of hiking and cross-country skiing trails are within a short distance from the Lamont campus. The surrounding area is popular with runners and cyclists. The campus itself is busy all year with activities, including group sports, yoga, and a host of Lamont community events for connecting to and discovering the Lamont campus and for building social networks across divisions. Below are highlighted the regular Lamont activities. The descriptions include links for more information. Watch your email for more opportunities and get involved!

In addition to being an intellectually stimulating and collaborative community, Lamont provides myriad opportunities for bringing people together, and many of these are reviewed, recommended, and implemented by the Campus Life Committee. The committee’s mission is, very broadly, to improve the quality of daily life for all staff members on the Lamont campus. From casual chats over snacks and beverages after the Friday Colloquium, to choosing the tastiest food during the Chili Cook-off event, to providing guidance on commuting, the Campus Life Committee helps to ensure that there is a way to meet new people, to generate new ideas, and to cultivate community.

Here are some of the ways that Lamonters get together and navigate life at Lamont.

There is always something going on during the warmer months to get people together and break up the day with something active. Join a game of soccer, softball (contact Dan Westervelt), basketball or volleyball or go for a group run! If you’re interested in joining any (or all!) of these activities, please contact [email protected] to subscribe to the relevant listserv.

Join your colleagues for lunchtime yoga classes at Lamont! The classes are free and open to all Lamonters. No experience is necessary and beginners are welcome! The classes are vigorous, deeply relaxing, and designed to improve strength, flexibility, balance, and focus. Participants should bring their own yoga mat. Andrew Goodwillie has been teaching the yoga class at Lamont since 2005. Contact Andrew for time and location details.

Opportunities for hiking and biking at Lamont are abundant. The campus abuts two large parks, Tallman Mountain State Park and Palisades Interstate Park; both have well-marked hiking trails with options for all hiking levels. The majestic Hudson River runs along the eastern side of the Lamont campus and it is easy to go for a lunchtime walk with excellent river views. Hikers can even go down to the river's edge.

Many Lamonters commute to and from NYC, or to and from points north (e.g., Piermont or Nyack) to work. The most popular bike route from NYC is to take the George Washington Bridge bicycle/pedestrian path and connect with 9W to Lamont. From points north, there are ways to avoid Route 9W by going through Tallman State Park (ask Andrew Goodwillie for details). Bike route websites like Ride with GPS and Strava can help you safely customize your ride.

Once on campus, there is a protected bike rack at the entrance of the Geoscience building.   And, if you need to make a few tweaks to your bike before the commute home, the Rock Mechanics Lab has a wall air hose for filling up inner tubes, a bike clamp stand, and a box of tools for DIY repairs!

Each April, a Bike-to-Work Day event is held in conjunction with Earth Day. One group leaves from the city and cycles north, and the other group leaves from Nyack and cycles south through Tallman Mountain State Park. Participants get a free breakfast upon arrival at Lamont!

The Lamont campus is easily accessible by bicycle, car, and by the Lamont Shuttle Bus. The shuttle schedule and rider policies are available here. The Columbia Transportation site also offers other helpful commuting and car-free tips. For Lamont parking policies, visit the Parking and Visitors webpage.

Fun Run & Chili Cook-Off: The annual Lamont Fun Run & Chili Cook-Off is an autumn event not to be missed if you like running, walking, cooking, or eating!  First, come run/walk/cheer and find out which Lamont division wins the prestigious golden shoe! The course for the run/walk is typically a loop through campus, for either a 1 mile run, a 5K run, or even a relay race. After you’ve tired yourself out from running, walking, or watching, stop by the Chili Cook-Off! Compete against your fellow Lamonters to make the best meaty or veggie chili, cornbread, or dessert.  Not a chef? No problem! Come sample the chili to vote for your favorite, and enjoy the onset of cool weather! For those who are interested in planning either the Fun Run or the Chili Cook-Off (or both!) please contact Claire Jasper and Tess Jacobson.

TGIF:  Unwind after a long week on Fridays at 4:30 pm in the lower lobby of Monell with your Lamont, IRI, CIESIN, and DEES colleagues. TGIF accepts cash and Venmo donations for alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, hard seltzer, cider, and orange snacks! Please note: there is now a 5:30 pm shuttle from LDEO to the Morningside Heights campus (direct) on Fridays to accommodate TG’ers.

Research as Art: Research as Art is an annual event held at Lamont that displays artwork related to our research. We welcome all types of submissions from photos to video installations to 3D sculptures. It is an opportunity to spark conversations about the work you’re proud of, and the research and efforts behind it, in a casual atmosphere with the entire Lamont community.

Open House: The Lamont community pulls out all the stops in October to host its annual Open House. Open to the public, this event often draws thousands of visitors from across the region and offers a fun day for the whole family. Open House is a wonderful opportunity to showcase your science and to help the public navigate the issues of our warming world. Exhibits are organized by each division and the planning usually starts in summertime. But it’s never too early to start thinking about new and engaging activities to offer to the general public!

Lamont Core Repository Musical Jam Sessions: The Core Repertory jam series is a bi-weekly informal meet-up to play bluegrass, folk, and/or popular music. Anyone with or without an instrument is welcome to join. Locations and times vary, so check your email.

Lamont works to support families in multiple ways, including the Lamont-Doherty Child Development Center, operated by Bright Horizons, and the Lactation Room.

There is also a lamont-parents listserv to help families connect and share. We welcome parents, soon-to-be parents, grandparents, and any others responsible for the care of children, who work at the Lamont campus. This listserv is used for communication such as:

  • welcoming new parents and caregivers on campus
  • asking for recommendations for local childcare options, pediatricians, activities, etc.
  • swapping and donating baby/child gear
  • organizing outings or playdates
  • discussing issues related to parenting in the workplace or academia

To subscribe to the lamont-parents list, send an email:
To: [email protected]
Subject: subscribe
Body: subscribe lamont-parents Your FullName

More information about family resources can be found on the Columbia Work Life page.

The Lamont campus currently hosts two volunteer-based gardens. The Community Vegetable Garden is located on the western side of B&G (between B&G and NCL). Meet-ups are weekly or bi-weekly during growing and harvest seasons. There are also several Pollinator Garden beds in the same area. These hexagonal beds were installed in 2020 with mostly native perennial plants. These gardens are tended to by volunteers. Contact [email protected] to be included on the volunteer mailing list, or check your Lamont email.

There is no need to leave campus for lunch when the Lamont Café is open! Check their hours and menus. The Café offers breakfast, daily soups, salads, hot and cold sandwiches, and hot entrees. It's also a great place to catch up with colleagues and friends.

Do you have ideas for bringing people together at Lamont? The Campus Life Committee would love to hear from you.