On the passing of GS undergraduate Hannah Weiss

On the passing of GS undergraduate Hannah Weiss

January 1, 2018

Columbia University Crown

The following message was sent to GS students on Monday, January 1, 2018.

Dear Students,

It is with deep sadness that I write to share with you the passing of Hannah Weiss, a second year student in the undergraduate Joint Program between Columbia University School of General Studies and List College at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). Hannah, her parents, and her brother were killed yesterday in a tragic plane crash in Costa Rica. Born in Philadelphia and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, Hannah was studying sustainable development and Jewish ethics in the program.

Hannah was an active member of the Columbia and JTS communities, co-founding Sustainable Kraft to introduce sustainability initiatives to the Kraft Center and serving as a greening intern at JTS. Passionate about food policy, Hannah was a research associate at the Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center and an associate producer for the Eating Matters podcast on the Heritage Radio Network. She was also active in the Jewish community, serving as a Hebrew school teacher at B'nai Jeshrun, where she taught second grade, and designed a curriculum for a family elective concerning the Jewish values of social justice and philanthropy.

Hannah saw herself as an agent of positive change, devoted to improving the world in which she lived. She worked passionately on behalf of important causes, including sustainable agriculture and greater access to affordable, healthy food for all. She was also a vocal champion of gender equality, who friends and classmates knew as someone who would never accept the status quo and would always push forward in pursuit of progress and social justice.

While the last thing I would have wanted to do in my first communication as Dean to the GS community, at the start of a new year, would be to share news of this painful loss to both our school as well as JTS colleagues and classmates, I hope that we can all follow the example Hannah set in working toward changes to make a better world.

Whenever we lose someone within our community, we are all affected, whether or not we knew the person well. Please know that your academic advisor, the staff at Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), and members of the Office of the University Chaplain are all available to provide you with any additional support you may need at this time. I have listed contact information for these resources below.

With deepest sympathy,

Lisa Rosen-Metsch


Counseling and Psychological Services
5th and 8th Floor Lerner Hall
The CPS clinician on call may be reached at (212) 854-2878. Regular services will resume on Wednesday, January 3.

Office of the University Chaplain

On-call during the winter break. Email chaplain@columbia.edu to arrange a time to speak.

Columbia Health
Contact (212) 854-7426 for after-hours services. Regular services will resume on Wednesday, January 3.

GS Dean of Students Office
(212) 854-2881
Regular services will resume on Wednesday, January 3.