At this year’s Fall Festival, attendees took away more than 2,600 servings of soup, including lentil soup with squash and sweet potato pumpkin soup. Photo: April Renae

Fall Festival Warms Up Haven Plaza with Live Music, Autumn Foods

November 21, 2022

Faculty, staff, and students at Columbia University Irving Medical Center as well as community members in Washington Heights enjoyed live music, warm soup, and winter squash at the Annual Fall Festival on Nov. 15 in Haven Plaza. More than 1,500 winter squash were given out to attendees, as well as around 2,600 servings of soup. The festival was part of a series of employee appreciation events hosted by the CUIMC Events Office.

Craig David Blinderman enjoyed a cup of warm soup at the annual Fall Festival. Photo: April Ranae
Craig David Blinderman enjoyed a cup of warm soup at the annual Fall Festival. Photo: April Ranae

Festival attendees also donated to the Helping Hands Annual Food Drive organized by the CUIMC Office of Government and Community Affairs. Attendees donated more than 500 food packages, including boxes of pasta, seasonings, flour, oats, sauces, and more. The food drive benefited the Fresh Youth Initiatives’ Helping Hands Food Bank, which will distribute the collected goods to families in need during the holidays.

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At the event, the winners of the latest CUIMC Step Challenge, "Steppin' through History,” were announced. Nearly 400 CUIMC faculty and staff participated in the challenge and collectively stepped more than 25,000 miles, exceeding the challenge's goal of 20,000 miles. Miao Li, PhD, associate research scientist in the Department of Anesthesiology, took the top prize of Grand Champion with 749,453 steps.

Step Challenge Grand Champion Miao Li walking between the CUIMC campus and Fort Lee.
Step Challenge Grand Champion Miao Li walking between the CUIMC campus and Fort Lee.

Step Challenge Winners

Grand Champion

Highest stepper: Miao Li, PhD, associate research scientist in the Department of Anesthesiology, 749,453 steps

Went the Distance

  • Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons: Anoop Yadiki, finance analyst, 731,515 steps
  • School of Nursing: Kristopher Machado-Mirasola, assistant manager, HR, 728,456 steps
  • Columbia University Irving Medical Center: Kathleen Crowley, DrPH, vice president, Environmental Health and Safety, 660,215 steps
  • Mailman School of Public Health: Tessa Bloomquist, teaching assistant, 325,379 steps
  • College of Dental Medicine: Steven Chussid, DDS, associate professor of dental medicine (pediatric dentistry), 283,715 steps

More photos

Step Challenge winners Anoop Yadiki from Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons and second-time honoree Kristopher Machado-Mirasola from the School of Nursing celebrated on Haven Plaza. Photo: April Renae
Step Challenge winners Anoop Yadiki from Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons and second-time honoree Kristopher Machado-Mirasola from the School of Nursing celebrated on Haven Plaza. Photo: April Renae
Community members from Washington Heights also attended the festival, collecting seasonal gourds. Photo: April Renae
Community members from Washington Heights also attended the festival and received seasonal gourds. Photo: April Renae
At this year’s Fall Festival, attendees took away more than 2,600 servings of soup, including lentil soup with squash and sweet potato pumpkin soup. Photo: April Renae
At this year’s Fall Festival, attendees took away more than 2,600 servings of soup, including lentil soup with squash and sweet potato pumpkin soup. Photo: April Renae
Attendees at the Fall Festival enjoyed free soup and socialized with colleagues during the event. Photo: April Renae
Attendees at the Fall Festival enjoyed free soup and socialized with colleagues during the event. Photo: April Renae
Step Challenge winner Kathleen Crowley from CUIMC Central Administration celebrates with Dean Katrina Armstrong, MD, and Daniela Elazari, Director of Well-being in the Office of Work/Life at CUIMC. Photo: April Renae
Step Challenge winner Kathleen Crowley from CUIMC Central Administration celebrates with Dean Katrina Armstrong and Daniela Elazari, Director of Well-being in the Office of Work/Life at CUIMC. Photo: April Renae