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Columbia University’s President Lee Bollinger addressed stress culture at his first fireside chat of the fall semester.

One question asked was about the common perception that Columbia lacks a sense of community. According to Columbia Daily Spectator, Bollinger’s response is that has heard the same concern “from the very beginning of his tenure.” Similarly, The Daily Pennsylvanian recently reported that Adam Grant referred to Penn’s hypercompetitive culture as “by far the worse I have ever seen it.” He argued that the hypercompetitive culture on campus could have a negative impact on mental health.

Bollinger cites the Office of University Life, which he established in 2014, as a successful initiative to improve their weaker college community, the Spectator reported. Columbia has also started more social-oriented events, such as Yoga Tuesdays, to better mental health and wellness, the article said.

Bollinger does admit, however, that there are still challenges. During the fireside chat, he polled the room of students. Over half raised their hand for both thinking that stress levels at Columbia are too high and for agreeing that professors should consider the amount of work they assign within the context of students’ entire workload, the Spectator reported. 

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