Columbia's attempt to raise its rankings is featured in the NY Times today, as it begins to embark on a $4 billion campaign over the next seven years. Damn you, U.S. News & World Report for your listings! Columbia's $4 billion-seven year derby is supposedly the biggest ever for a university, and many experts feel its inevitable schools will be calling for more and more money. And Columbia's desire to break out is because of what the Times calls two "longstanding constraints: space and money to grow." Huh, those are like the longstranding constraints of anyone living in the city - space and the money to get that space (or just live in the city).

President Lee Bollinger is credited with working with the faculty on his fundraising plans, and Bollinger himself tells the NY Times, "The New York City factor is worth billions in endowment. You give me the names of the 10 best people in any field, and I know I can recruit 2 or 3 of them to Columbia." Columbia did try to revamp its economics department, with its high-profile additions documented in New York magazine last fall.

Photograph of a bounce house castle at Columbia from Joe Schumacher on Flickr