Student Group Spotlight: IAC

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06-Mar-17
Periodically, we’ll be spotlighting various student organizations within Columbia’s School of the Arts. For this edition, we spoke with the Interdisciplinary Arts Council (IAC), a group that advocates on behalf of the entire School of the Arts body, provides funding, and hosts events with the aim of bringing students from different disciplines together. We spoke with two IAC members—current students, Irene Plax,
President (Writing) and Apoorva Charan, Treasurer (Film)—about the importance of fostering interdisciplinary collaboration in the arts.

Tell us a bit about what the IAC does.
The IAC is a committee run by SOA students with representatives from each discipline (Writing, Film, Theater, Sound Arts, and Visual Arts). Our mission is to promote dialogue and collaboration through a variety of activities. We plan events, such as our annual Halloween and Spring parties; salon; and community service opportunities. We also sponsor tickets to movies, plays, and musicals, and provide funding for student-organized events.  

How did your group get started?
In 2003, the Interdisciplinary Arts Council was founded in response to a call from both students and administrators for the creation of an organization to represent the entire student body. A committee of students was formed to promote interaction between disciplines, foster a nurturing community, and advocate for the needs of the School of the Arts student body. Over the years, the programs and activities of the IAC have continued to expand and change, always with the mission in mind.

What have been or are some of your goals for this year?
The community service events on the first Friday of every month are a tradition we began this year and that we hope will continue to grow. Students can show up to the Broadway Community Soup Kitchen in the Broadway Presbyterian Church basement anywhere from 10am until 2pm to help out. In addition, on the first Thursday night of each month, we hold salons in different locations around campus. In March, the salon was a panel; in May it will be a spring picnic.

When you were a first-year at Columbia, what made you want to join the IAC?
Irene Plax, President (Writing): I love collaborating with people who bring different strengths to the table. I've always enjoyed throwing parties and thought it would be fun to do so with a bunch of artists.

Apoorva Charan, Treasurer (Film):I thought it would be a cool way to meet non-Film students and I enjoy planning events.

What's been your favorite IAC experience thus far?
Irene: The first Halloween party we threw this past fall was so fun because people came out and got down. I met a lot of people I would have never otherwise bumped into.

Apoorva: Planning the Halloween party and seeing everyone come in amazingly creative costumes was my favorite experience so far.

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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.