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Co-Curricular Programs


Co-curricular programs give students the opportunity to engage in academic conversations outside of the classroom. These programs may complement your academic inquiries, or may expose you to a topic or issue outside of your studies. Co-curricular programs often involve Gallatin Faculty members, alumni and outside community members.

Affinity Groups

Affinity Groups are organized around interdisciplinary themes and meant to be primarily social in nature, building communities within Gallatin by meeting regularly throughout the semester to have conversations, host speakers, and collaboratively plan outings around the city–from museums and theatrical performances to urban farms, activist spaces, shared meals, and more. Affinity Groups are a great way to engage in academic themes that interest you without the pressure to academically perform–whether reading or writing (unless you want to!). Because these groups are social and collaborative, students really do have a voice in the direction of their group--what conversations need to be had, places to go and things to see. 

Each group is mentored and led by a super-cool Gallatin graduate student and the program is overseen by the Gallatin Office of Community Engagement. To join a group, students must: be willing and able to participate in-person and be willing to commit for the semester. We strive to create deep and meaningful relationships that are fostered through sustained engagement and not one-off events. Group meetings have scheduled times, much like a class, meeting 8+ times throughout the semester, sometimes at agreed upon times outside of those designated, such as for a Broadway show or concert. For additional questions, please reach out to Dr. Lisa Daily, Director of Community Engagement at or

Space is limited! To indicate interest in joining a group, please complete the Gallatin Affinity Group Sign-Up Form (please follow this link for the Gallatin Affinity Group Sign-Up Form) and await a confirmation email.

2022-2023 Groups include:

Fashion, Consumerism and Globalization

Fridays, 10am-12pm

Jennifer Li 

Fashion and consumer culture are often thought of as superficial, but they  have the power to transcend boundaries and connect people, render one’s identity visible, and serve as key commodities within global capital flows. The global fashion supply chain unearths the complicated relationships between nature resources, labor, and consumer culture.  High fashion seeps down from the runway and creates a supply and demand in fast fashion and the counterfeit market. The craze of sneaker culture started with niche markets and expanded as athleisure became a global trend.  In this affinity group, students will explore different global consumer phenomena in fashion and think about how consumption is shaping the world. While students collaborate in the direction of the group, questions we may ponder include: What drives consumerism? How has fashion consumption shaped our values and influenced our worldviews?  As one of the fashion capitals of the world, we will visit iconic NYC areas such as the Garment District, 5th Avenue, and Chinatown to look at their distinct fashion influences.  Other possible outings include the museum at FIT, Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, Museum of Arts and Design, any new fashion exhibits in the city and more.

Jennifer Li is a second-year Gallatin MA student, writing a thesis on how government policies influence the formation of consumer culture in modern China.  Before coming to Gallatin, Jennifer worked in the luxury fashion industry for 10 years.


New York City: Cultures, Histories, and Geographies

Fridays, 12:05-2:05pm

Abby Palfreyman

As observers of contemporary life, we have a responsibility to explore and investigate the places we inhabit.  In this affinity group, students will participate in a collective engagement with NYC at large — discovering the city’s complex history on the subjects of race, social inequality, sexuality, art, and design — through its cultures and neighborhoods.  How do we as individuals move through and inhabit spaces?  Who (or what) shapes the narrative of a place and people?  We will visit cultural landmarks like the Stonewall Inn, and consider how activism yielded a bounty of creative influence: David Wojnarowicz, James Baldwin, and Marsha P. Johnson.  Students will tour the M’Finda Kalunga Garden, and ask how sites transition and change, from being a territory of the Lenape, an African-American burial ground, and most recently, a community park.  Activities may include the Tenement Museum and Film Forum. Lastly, students will connect with guest speakers, and ask questions related to advocacy and the creative’s role within it.  

Abby Palfreyman is a second-year Gallatin MA student. Her thesis centers around the way a queer identity and a religious identity develop alongside one another. Her undergraduate degree in anthropology is one way she has pursued her passion for the creation of culture and cultural spaces.

Theater, Live Performance, and the "Business of the Business"

Fridays, 2:10-4:10pm

Kaitlin Davis

Do you love theater? Have you ever been curious how a show gets developed, produced, and licensed? Perhaps you're wondering how it's decided which shows make it to the stage at all. This affinity group is for anyone who enjoys theater, no experience necessary. We'll look at the business of producing theater, and all of the hurdles a show must overcome before we can buy a ticket. Additionally, we'll consider a range of performing arts-related questions and themes, as guided by student interest, including, but not limited to: representation in producing— how do we ensure a more diverse range of shows are produced, how can we use theater and the arts to serve our most vulnerable populations, and if  commercial theater is the best avenue for addressing those ideas. Possible outings include Broadway and off-Broadway shows, and guest speakers may include producers, agents, licensing representatives, and advertising specialists. 

Kaitlin Davis is an actor, director, choreographer, and second year Gallatin MA student. Her thesis focuses on Community Engagement and Musical Theatre, and she loves to explore the city, especially via food, art, and culture. 


Food, Space, & Environmental Justice

Friday, 4:15-6:15

Nessie Navarro

This affinity group engages with themes of environmental justice with a  particular interest in food, space, and community. What is environmental justice and what particular issues are of importance to students in this affinity group?  How are relationships–to people, to the land, to one’s neighborhood, to one’s self–fostered through food and  food practices? How is food prepared, grown, harvested, and consumed? Within the context of cities, how does gentrification, redlining, and rezoning green spaces impact one’s access to community and healthy food? Affinity Group outings may include: picnics and tours of various green spaces throughout New York City, the Gallatin WetLab, and Oko Farms, an urban farm rooted in Traditional Ecological Knowledge, located in Williamsburg. Student interest will drive other outings, guest speakers, and adventures!

Nessie Navarro is a second-year MA student at Gallatin. Her concentration surrounds modern manifestations of the settler colonial project, specifically focusing on gentrification and the ways in which it impacts how people interact with and around food.


Art and Storytelling for our Future

Saturdays, 12:00 pm-2:00 pm

Fion Fong

In this affinity group, we explore the role of artists as storytellers and change-makers, questioning existing narratives and media, and creating our own. We examine how art and culture have historically marginalized people, what harmful narratives are perpetuated in culture today, and the power artists have to disrupt cycles by imagining a new future. Core questions may include: How can art change systemic issues such as patriarchy, capitalism, race, ableism, and our relationship with the Earth? What is the artist’s role in imagining and building a future in which we all can thrive? How can an artist effectively and ethically tell stories? What is cultural power and how can artists harness it? Through gallery visits, content browsing, guest speakers, and conversation, we consider  how to dismantle interconnected, systemic issues through art. Finally, we reimagine what marginalized artists can call home—the safe spaces artists may build or use without the art being appropriated and/or commodified. In culmination, we will curate our own gallery show with these questions at heart. Possible outings include: Weeksville Heritage Center, NeueHouse, New Museum, Fotografiska, and more. 


Fion Fong is a Chinese-Canadian designer and filmmaker from Toronto. Fion completed a Foundation in Art & Design at Central Saint Martins, and most recently a Bachelor of Architectural Studies at the Waterloo School of Architecture. As a graduate student at Gallatin, Fion is making workat the intersection of Asian-American diaspora studies, architecture, and cinema.


During the onset of the pandemic in Fall 2020, Gallatin Student Life created the initiative known as the Gallatin Meet-Ups, where small groups of students (led by a Gallatin Orientation Leader) visit various exciting and fun venues around New York City. The beauty of these events is that they are for Gallatin students and led by Gallatin students. We offer Meet-Up opportunities most weekdays and weekends and would love for Gallatin students to join us whenever they can!

In the past year, Gallatin Orientation Leaders have brought students to the Central Park Zoo, Artechouse (an art/tech exhibit), various museums such as the Brooklyn Museum, the MoMA, and the Whitney (to name a few), pottery making classes at Color Me Mine (TriBeCa pottery studio), a visit to the Meow Parlour Cat Cafe, Laser Tag excursions in Brooklyn Area 53 Laser Tag, an informal visit and picnic on Roosevelt Island, a visit to the Fall 2021 FRIENDS Interactive Experience, ice skating at Bryant Park in the winter, and a trip to Dyker Heights in Brooklyn to see the Christmas Lights. With all those fun events, you can count on even more exciting trips this year. An updated list of upcoming Gallatin Meet-Ups will be made available in the beginning of the Fall semester. Be sure to check your emails for more information!

Gallatin Community Coffee House

The Coffee House furnishes a space for Gallatin students, faculty, alumni and community members to discuss a charged topic in an unconventional, uncontrolled manner. Each coffee house features a panel comprised of faculty, students and alumni. Coffee houses happen at least twice a semester. Past topics have included UnNatural Diasters, Religious Freedom in America, and What is Art? We provide the coffee -- and you provide the conversation. If you have a topic you would like to be considered for a coffee house, please contact the Office of Student Life at

Other Opportunities

Gallatin Student Life loves to hear from you! Have an idea for something you’d like to see? Please reach out to us. Past events and series have included interest group meetings, the dinealogue series, which features dining and conversation among students, faculty, and external guests on particular topics, and film series, among others. To get in contact with Student Life, please email