During my freshman year, students ran around campus in penny loafers and wore blue blazers with the Columbia insignia, as well as skinny or striped ties. During the junior year, this all changed as the Beatles and the Civil Rights Movement ushered in a social transformation, and the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the Anti-War Movement fostered a resurgent political consciousness and radicalization. Long hair and experimentation with hallucinogenic substances became commonplace on campus. Columbia students were in the vanguard of the Civil Rights and Anti-War protests of that era.
Columbia was an eye-opener for me: My first roommates in the dorm included a student who envisioned himself a Dominican monk, another student who wanted to be a Presbyterian minister, and a third one who had a sense of noblesse oblige because of his blue-blooded connections. As an immigrant kid from the Lower East Side of Manhattan, I wasn’t too sure what to make of it!
I loved my single dorm rooms in Livingston Hall (now Wallach Hall) and Hartley Hall. Columbia was very much a commuter school then and it was great fun living on campus and experiencing collegiate life in the dorms. It was very transformative and memorable for me!