The Columbia Political Union was founded in the spring of 1935. Amid the political turmoil of the Great Depression, the Great War in Europe, and the emergence of the New Deal, fifteen Columbia undergraduate students sought a central organization for politics at the university. Modeled after similar organizations at Yale and Oxford, the Columbia Political Union was immediately lauded as "timely, admirable, and sensible" by university faculty and became the central space for political debate on campus.
Over the years, the Columbia Political Union has hosted speakers such as former Vice President Al Gore, former Secretary of State, First Lady, and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, former Senator and presidential candidate John McCain, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, environmentalist and presidental candidate Ralph Nader, entrepreneur Sal Khan, linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky, Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, and many more.
Our History in the Columbia Daily Spectator