Spring 2014 Elections: Who’s Running?
Written by Bwog Staff
Confused about the immense number of people running for the upcoming elections for CCSC, ESC, and University Senate? So were we.
So we decided to e-mail all of them. All candidates were asked to respond to the three following questions:
- What do you/your party bring to the table?
- What issues are most important to you?
- Have you been involved in campus politics before? How?
Here are their responses, presented to you typos and all.
CCSC Executive Board
- Together, Insight brings experience and fresh eyes to the role of the CCSC Executive Board. Loxley has built bridges between CC students and alumni by creating the Alumni Affairs position. He also strengthened the relationship between undergraduates and CUIT by creating the Undergraduate CUIT Advisory Board. Michael brought is experience with JP Morgan to CCSC and developed the visions for multiple student group funds and pushed for CCSC to institutionalize the release of its finances. He also worked to establish guidelines for the JCCC to make the funding process more objective and reliable. Sheila has worked on various initiatives on the Communications Committee from WTF Columbia to “fixing” Lerner. Sarah, despite just being elected as a CC2016 Representative in the special elections, has been a member of the Campus Life Committee since her freshman year and looks forward to spicing up our programming with new ideas and collaboration. Mandeep brings a wealth of experience from beyond the walls of Columbia, as the first Columbia College student to attend the International Honors Program where I studied urban issues in the US, Brazil, South Africa, and Vietnam. He also participated in the Sikh American Legal and Defense Education Fund where he spent a summer learning how to lobby and organize as an intern with Senator Kerson Jillbrand. Another valuable experience Mandeep would bring to CCSC is launching a voter registration project in Queens that registered hundreds of New Yorkers. Together, we bring a variety of experiences that can all be used to make CCSC embody the collaboration, advocacy, accessibility, empowerment, and vibrancy that Columbia deserves.
- The issues that are most important to Insight are the negative aspects of the Columbia culture. For example, we are dedicated to instituting Safe September – an opportunity for students to discuss and address issues of rape culture within their various communities right when we enter campus. Combined with Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, Columbia students will enter and leave campus with a thorough understanding of rape culture, sexual misconduct, consent, safe sex, etc. We are also deeply invested in addressing bias and microaggressions on campus. Many private conversations condemn the Columbia community as being much less inclusive than we’d like and Insight hopes to change that by having those conversations in open, safe, productive forums. We are also very excited to redefine what it means to be a Columbia student by letting students do it for themselves! Through College Days and other Campus Life events, we aim to provide avenues for students to express Columbia pride through their various identities. Lastly, we want to use every resource CCSC has to empower the community as much as possible. Through funding and effective communication, Insight will do just that. The 20% budget cut that Michael Li proposes will directly benefit students for years to come. And our vision for CCSC’s website as a hub of information to assist and empower students will do the same.
- The former CCSC members in Insight have experience with that particular realm of campus politics and Mandeep has experience with a very different type of politics – involving community organizing. Regardless of our experience as “politicians”, Insight’s principles and platform will keep us true to our mission: serving as a representative and partner in making a happier, healthier Columbia.
- TAP has a new vision for CCSC, concrete solutions to serious campus problems, and a track record that proves that we can execute the proposals on our platform. We’re best distinguished from our opponents in substance, and our platform reflects that. Our opponents have noticed some of the same problems, but they haven’t found specific policy solutions. We have — we’ve identified specific, tangible ways to make progress on huge campus issues, including financial aid, housing, mental health, and sexual assault, and we’ve already laid the groundwork to make many of them happen. You should check them out at columbiaelections.com/TAP! We also have the experience and background to hit the ground running. Our Presidential candidate, Peter Bailinson, has served on class council and this year on CCSC’s E-Board as VP Communications, where he’s worked to fix major problems with space-booking systems which have plagued student groups for years. Sejal Singh, our VP Policy candidate, has spent this year as President of the CU Dems advocating for reforms to the way Columbia treats survivors of sexual assault and gender-based misconduct — she has pushed the biggest student-led policy initiative Columbia has seen in years. Liam Bland, our VP Finance candidate, has three years of experience with the Finance committee and a fresh vision for finance that will empower student groups and direct money to great programming. Andrew Ren, VP for Campus Life candidate, brings involvement from a myriad of campus communities, including the governing boards, pre-professional societies, ResPrograms, Community Impact, and Greek Life, as well as a bottom-up approach to Campus Life. Abby Porter has taken an unprecedented level of initiative as a first-year on council, and she plans to work equally as diligently in her position as VP Communications.
- TAP wants CCSC to focus on big issues again. Some of our priorities are improving our housing experience, expanding mental health resources on campus, creating a safe and inclusive environment for all students, and making life easier for student groups through an array of reforms to be taken on by the Finance, Campus Life and Communications Committee. We plan to improve our housing options by placing A/Cs in dorm lounges, bringing more exercise equipment to student dorms, and ramping up pest control efforts during academic vacations, so that fewer students need to deal with vermin when they’re on campus. Creating a safe and inclusive environment involves looking at the sensitivity training that Public Safety Officers receive, ensuring that LGBTQ+ students, students of color, and students of all identities are treated with respect. Our plan to expand mental health resources includes a fund for low-income students who need to be tested for learning disabilities, reforms to the medical leave process so the length of the leave is determined by the students’ interest and the professional opinion of their physicians, and several proposals to help students returning from a medical leave transition back into Columbia by offering specialized advising for students returning from leave and allowing students on leave to provisionally apply to supportive SIC communities and the IRC. Our proposals for student groups involve simplifying funding opportunities, unifying space-booking procedures, spending guidelines, and publicity efforts, and creating direct links to administrators. Our priority here is becoming a resource to student groups with stepping on their toes, or making assumptions about their needs. We will listen to student groups and help them achieve their goals by using all the resources at our disposal.
- Our party brings together people with multiple years on CCSC and fresh outsiders to campus politics. Peter brings a wealth of experience from his time on class council and serving as VP Communications on the current Executive Board, and has pursued his own initiatives like space reform and partnered with other organizations to help them achieve their goals, like gender-inclusive bathrooms with GendeRevolution. Sejal is President of the Columbia Democrats, one of the largest and most active groups on campus, and has spent this year fighting for reforms to Columbia policies and procedures regarding sexual assault and mental health. In Liam’s three years of service on CCSC’s Finance Committee, he’s seen what practices work best to fund fantastic programming and what policies are create needless red tap and just get in student groups’ way. Andrew Ren spent three years in the trenches, planning events for student groups as President of Multicultural Business Association, an ABC Representative, a Community Impact volunteer, and an RA and CA in John Jay. Those three years have shown him firsthand what reforms student groups need so they can more effectively reach their goals. Abby Porter is running for VP Communications, and has spent her first year at Columbia on CCSC and leading a Consent 101 task force, and proven herself to be a dedicated, passionate, and capable representative for Columbia College. All of us have strong track records which show our unique ability to advocate for big changes on campus. Financial aid reforms, mental health resources, exciting new events, forming partnerships with students groups, fighting sexual assault, simplifying the funding process, improving housing, and reducing the CCSC surplus — we’ve got a lot on TAP for next year, and we’re excited to get to work!
No party affiliation
- Mary Joseph, VP Campus Life
- I bring a combination of experience and creativity, along with a dedication to collaboration and transparency that neither of the other candidates bring to the table. I have served on CCSC as an elected member for two years. Last year while I sat on the Campus Life Committee (CLC), I both volunteered for several events, and took the initiative to introduce new, successful events, and lead their execution. As the president of the CU Gospel Choir, I also have experience in event planning from the perspective of student organizations. This experience is instrumental, as much of my platform involves co-sponsoring events with student groups, along with the other three undergraduate student councils, and the general student body. This dedication to collaboration and transparency sets me apart from the other two candidates. CLC receives its funds from the student body, and several of the members are elected by the student body. It is therefore of great importance that we ensure the events we are putting on are events students want to see happen. I want to make a stronger effort to encourage members of the general student body to join CLC and be a significant part of the event planning process. I also want to reintroduce Post Event Review Forms and solicit feedback from students after every event so we as a committee can see what works and what doesn’t work.
- The issues most important to me are the reinvigoration of College Days and collaboration with the full undergraduate student body. SEAS Week is always such a powerful showcase of SEAS school spirit and I don’t see any reason why CC students shouldn’t have an opportunity to show their spirt for Columbia College as well. I want to transform College Days into a tradition on campus that involves much more than giving away some free t-shirts. I would love to partner with the Core Scholars program and showcase student pieces about the Core. However, because College Days is such an important event, I definitely want to leave room open to collaborate with many students and make sure that they have a say in what it becomes. I want to increase collaboration with students, student groups, and most significantly, the other three undergraduate student councils. I believe that part of the difficulty in inspiring spirit on our campus stems from the division of the four schools. CCSC already partners with ESC very often, but I would like to see much more collaboration with SGA and GSSC. Collaboration with SGA and GSSC is not always as easy in other committees such as Policy and Finance, given the different administrations and policies. However, I believe CLC is the perfect avenue through which to bring the four schools together and foster school spirit.
- I have been an elected member of CCSC for two years. Last year I served as a Class of 2015 Representative and mostly worked on event planning. This year, as the CCSC Pre-Professional Representative I have worked closely with CCE on making changes to Lionshare. I have also been meeting with them to determine their role in the aftermath of the R-credit policy change, a press release regarding which will be released shortly.
CCSC 2015 Class Council
- To fully reap the much-deserved rewards of your final year at Columbia, you need a council with experience and a proven track record in planning class-wide events. A council that understands how student council works and can get things done, that has already formed partnerships with administrators and administrative offices, and that has actually gone to council meetings to fight for you in the past. A council that will hold awesome events, give away tons of free stuff, make sure you have what you need to enjoy the year, and ensure that you always have a home to come back to after graduation. We believe we are that council for you. We have drafted a calendar of events for 2014-2015, and our next step is to get input from the senior class. Our first event following elections will be an open town hall for you to tell us what events you want to see happen and policies you want us to push for. Beyond events and initiatives that we plan, we hope to streamline processes for you to make your lives and your jobs easier. Like you, we are students, board members, club members, event attendees, research/teaching assistants, and interns. We understand—and want to help combat—the challenges and frustrations of booking space, planning events, bureaucracy, and juggling a busy schedule on top of that. We are a council that will hit the ground running on day one. We hope to combine our knowledge, experiences, and new ideas to make your senior year the best it can be — a year of connections, fun, and transparency.
- First, we plan to strengthen connections for seniors through greater alumni engagement. We believe young alumni offer valuable insight into life after Columbia, especially in terms of their graduate school and career experience. Additionally, we recognize that there is a huge degree of diversity within the student body in terms of majors and career aspirations. We plan to hold information panels and mixers centered around graduate education, the GRE / LSAT / MCAT / GMAT, and fellowships. Second, we will strengthen ties between seniors and underclassmen through mentorship initiatives. We believe our class can do a great deal of giving back in terms of passing on the knowledge and experience we’ve accumulated—from interesting classes to take to the myriad of traditions at Columbia. By applying our experience organizing transfer meet and greets and using our working relationships with Dean Valentini and CSA, we plan to institutionalize a senior-freshman mentorship and a transfer mentorship. We believe these initiatives can provide meaningful and nonmonetary ways for seniors to give back to the Columbia community and feel connected after graduation. Third, we want to enhance the relationships between seniors through large-scale events that unite the class. Senior year is our last year as an undergraduate class—and how better to celebrate than with more parties, more tailgates, more formals, and more free stuff. Our experience planning the 2015 Boat Party Formal, the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream giveaway, and the post-Bacchanal BBQ demonstrates that we have fresh ideas to bring to CCSC and the experience to set them into motion. Along with traditional senior events like Lerner Pubs and Oktoberfest, we aim to enliven the year with new programming like Senior Wine Tasting, holiday-specific events, and alumni-sponsored class gifts. With that said, we plan on ensuring that these events are either FREE or as inexpensive as possible so that they are accessible to a wider student body. The initiatives and events we’ve mentioned can only be accomplished through our dedication to transparency. We believe you should know what your student council is planning, be able to give input on what you want to see from us, and be able to hold us accountable for what we promise you. Our party stands for informing the senior class through social media, utilizing surveys and Post-Event Review Forms to gauge feedback, publishing financial data on subsidies, and creating a guidebook for future representatives on student council. We will also focus on greater transparency of our class budget, Class Day speaker selection, Senior Week planning, and student groups we work with such as Bacchanal.
- The five of us have spent the last three years working to better our community. Individually, we have leadership experience across a wide range of activities and organizations, including CCSC, Residential Programs, Alternative Break Program, the Spectator, and more. Together, we offer a strong balance between experience and new ideas, a willingness to listen, and a time-tested passion for improving student life.With that said, Seniorit15 is the only party running in the 2015 Class Council race that has members with experience holding an elected position on CCSC. As your current 2015 Class Representative, Kareem has organized large-scale events including the 2015 Formal Boat Cruise, Tanks & Tees, 1200 Free Servings of Ben & Jerry’s, Formal Dean’s List Recognition, and the Senior-Freshman Mentorship. He has also sat on the Campus Life and Communications committees, where he assisted with campus-wide events like Bagelpalooza, Tree Lighting, and Basketball Tailgate. Jackson is also a 2015 Class Representative and has spearheaded initiatives like transfer student meet and greets, industry panels, and alumni mixers. Outside of CCSC, as President of the Columbia College Student Ambassadors, he has worked on strengthening alumni-undergraduate connections by integrating alumni into Tree Lighting and facilitating studentalumni networking. We truly believe that we offer the best balance between experience and a fresh perspective. With our experiences in both CCSC and student groups around campus, we already understand how CCSC works and have working relationships with various administrative offices on campus, so we won’t need to waste any time learning the ins and outs of Columbia’s bureaucracy. When we say we’ll hit the ground running, we really mean it. So vote for Seniorit15: We’ll do the work so you don’t have to.
The People People
We want to shift the focus to the people. Every member of our party has had extensive experience with planning, organizing and running events; three important skills that every student council member should have. But on top that, we bring personality and enthusiasm to student council events.
Senior year is about creating collegiate memories for one last time. As a result, we want to provide the opportunities for seniors to form new relationships with each other as well as strengthen old ones. Therefore, we want to focus on internal networking among seniors where seniors can discuss past experiences and recommendations regarding internships and corporate culture. This type of program would not just help CC’15 but through collaboration, it would include all 2015 undergraduates in all undergraduate schools. This inclusivity would also apply to our other new program, the Fall Senior Coffee Date. Another area we want to focus on is apparel. Besides the traditional Columbia class sweaters, we want to bring class specific scarves, down vests and blankets – all items that can be used after graduation. Furthermore, we want to work on publicity for class specific events to increase awareness. Lastly, we want senior events like Lerner Pub, Senior Gala and Apply for the Degree Event to be better than ever before.
The People People President, Grace, in her role as president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, worked with CCSC, ESC, SGA and GSSC to organize this past year’s homecoming event. Additionally, during this homecoming event, she personally worked with Dean Martinez, the Dean of Student Life. The People People Vice President, Benjy, was involved in Campus Life Committee for freshman year in order to plan BasketBall Mania, Passport to Columbia and College days. Additionally, during his sophomore year he served as liaison between CCSC and SGB where he reported at weekly CCSC meetings. One of The People People class representatives, Douglas, worked as a photographer for the Spectator in numerous roles wherein he attended USenate, CCSC, SGA, and ESC meetings. Thus, as a party, we have experience in both working with administration and student councils.
CCSC 2016 Class Council
- Our Party, Alma Matters, brings a group of students who are experienced with our past involvements at Columbia, while also introducing a fresh set of ideas that we believe will increase the Class of 2016’s pride while bringing the Class closer together. We have experience on CCSC, Student Governing Boards, and also Housing / Res Life which makes Alma Matters well rounded to tackle any problems students may have. We are focused on representing all interests of the Class of 2016, and plan on making ourselves as available as possible to the Class through office hours and town halls. We plan to be held accountable as we push forth policy while bringing the Class of 2016 closer together.
- While there are many issues that are important for the Class of 2016, these are the issues we find most pressing, and plan on addressing immediately: bringing different student groups and clubs together under events held by the Class of 2016, thus allowing 2016 to experience the wide variety of groups on campus and working with governing boards to do so; helping juniors who have just declared their majors finding what opportunities are available by having Career and Networking opportunities for all majors, utilizing the vast and untapped Columbia Alumni Network by inviting them frequently to campus; increasing student study spaces byopening up more study spaces such as classrooms, especially during midterms and finals, expanding Library hours and expediting the process to have Google Drive on Lionmail; increasing transparency and accountability with office hours, Town Hall, and weekly updates.
- Alma Matters comes prepared to hit the ground running. With prior experience in campus politics, we have been tested and are prepared to help the Class of 2016 from Day 1. Anne Scotti has been a Class of 2016 Representative for the past year, working extensively with other school councils on planning events such as the Sophomore Formal. Richin Kabra has also spent the past year as a Class of 2016 Representative, and has much experience with his work on the Finance Committee. Saaket Pradhan has spent the past year as a Representative for the Activities Board at Columbia (ABC), while also being its liaison to CCSC. He also works on the University Senate as a Senate Staffer. Sameer Mishra has spent the past two years as a Representative for the Student Governing Board (SGB), working closely with student groups. Gabby Andrade serves as a Resident Adviser in Schapiro Hall.
Freedom, Liberty and Freedom
- Suit jackets, ties, and socks – just no pants.
- Freedom, liberty and also freedom.
- Not at all. We’re running because we’re tired of seeing every campaign promise empty buzzwords like community, accountability, transparency, communication etc.
No party affiliation
- Polina Porotskaya, 2016 Class Representative
New ideas and commitment. I believe that I have the vision of what our students need to make their college experience easier, better and overall more fun. When it comes to facilities, I think that creating a charger sharing system where a library ( we can start with just Butler) has a few spare chargers that students can check out if they have forgotten theirs is a quick and easy way to help out. Also, making sure that vending machines provide healthy snacks I believe can be very helpful.
I think that the issue of community is a central responsibility of a class representative. Yes, Columbia is known for lacking school spirit but I believe that it can be changed. Every so often an event occurs which always proves to me that we are proud lions! I think that CCSC needs to focus on organizing events that students will want to attend,events that will create new bonds and new memories. I want to revive and cherish the excitement I felt when I was first accepted here and I am sure that many students share this sentiment.
- I have not been involved in campus politics, but I have been involved in Journal of Global Health, Model UN, HerCampus, Columbia Mentoring Initiative and the Russian International Association, which has given me experience and ideas that I think are required to represent our class of 2016.
CCSC 2017 Class Council
- We bring a unifying force, accessibility, and an all around aura of fun. We are people that are going to interact with the Columbia community through athletics, Greek life, long lunches in dining halls, and other social events. We wanted to put together a group of people that students are going to see out and feel comfortable enough to sit down and express what’s on their mind. Student council should not be distinct from the Columbia community, but a group of people who are constantly swimming around in it, looking for that next great student idea. We don’t see students as “votes” but as potentially new friends that have hidden ideas waiting to be shared. Each person in our group interacts with a different community through their diverse selection of extra-curricular activities which allows us to get many different perspectives.
- We want to flip the role of student council. Too often it is students supporting student council through elections or attending events that student council publicizes. If elected, we would actively reach out to student organizations and even individual students to see how we could take more of a supportive role. We would use more of our time and resources to bolster support for the already existing student events that students have already expressed interest in – such as (but not limited to) multi-cultural, performing arts, and athletic events.
- Blake: In high school, yes. I served as an advisor to the president of our school and served on student council. I also founded and created a tutoring program from the ground up which required frequent presentations, meetings, and final approval from faculty. Solomon: Served as president of the honors society at his high school. He was frequently tasked with organizing charity events with the faculty at his high school. Sarah: She was VP of student council at her high school. She also has had experience organizing performances as she was an officer of the drama club in high school. Jeff: Involved with athletics/athletic events. Angela: Served as VP of the humanitarian club at high school which frequently had to work with faculty to gain approval and support for philanthropic events.
- Refresh brings together candidates with unique leadership experiences and perspectives across the board- from RHLO to Model UN, political activists, a current CCSC member, an international student, non-profit leaders, greek life, Ivy Council, and URC, to name a few, our team members are highly involved, motivated members of the Columbia community. We look at 2017 CCSC Class Council as an opportunity for service to our classmates. We have developed a platform with specific, concrete ideas- all of which will positively impact both the Class of 2017 and the Columbia community as a whole. We are outgoing, enthusiastic, and have an open ear to anything the Class of 2017 brings to us. We are excited to serve as your future CCSC leaders.
- Our mains goals are to both increase student happiness and expand student voice in Columbia’s administrative policies. Here are a number of specific ways in which we want to make that happen. Accessibility of our 2017 CCSC to the community and an overall sharing of ideas will drive our policy. We will create forums, likely electronically through a group email and in person through town-hall style meetings, to allow for more direct communication between the Class of 2017 and council members. Class of 2017 student voices in ongoing Columbia projects and policy changes. Your voice is crucial to current projects like the Lerner renovations and sexual assault policy talks, and we want to make sure it is heard. Increasing quality of life in student housing. We are planning conversations with housing officials on lessening the number of rodents in McBain and Nussbaum. This is an issue that will directly affect many members of the Class of 2017. Posting syllabi and required reading for courses both before and during registration periods. This will allow students to make more informed choices in their class schedules. Increasing opportunities for Flex dollar usage in the Morningside Heights neighborhood. We also plan to speak to and make deals with local businesses for student discounts. Pre-released, online student council agendas. This will allow members of the Class of 2017 to attend meetings on issues that concern them. Greater transparency in official school procedures, namely Dean’s Discipline. As the process currently stands, accused students are not allowed student support or witnesses in discipline hearings. Office of Judicial Affairs Deans act as judge, jury, and executioner. Opening up building spaces to student performances. We believe that students should have the opportunity to show off their talents! Fire alarm text and email notifications. That way, you’re not surprised when an alarm goes off for testing!
- Sean Ryan, our candidate for President, currently serves as the President of the Carman RHLO and as the National Communications Coordinator (NCC) for the Columbia RHLO Executive Board. In these roles, he has planned and executed a number of community building events, including Stress Pupsters and Assassins. As NCC, Sean attends regional and national housing conferences as the voting delegate for Columbia. He has also, with the assistance of his RHLO team, solved facilities issues and met with administrators to discuss issues affecting residence halls. Marshall Bozeman currently serves as an appointed council member to the 2017 class council. Justin Bleuel serves as a member of Ivy Council, a non-profit that serves to “cultivate greater collaboration among the Ivy League institutions to foster student leadership, facilitate communication, and further students’ initiative in making a positive impact on the global community.
- Our party has a combination of both experience on the council and fresh perspectives and leadership experiences in other clubs and extracurriculars around campus. As students who are very involved in campus life, having an effective and fun student council is personally important to us. From Greek Life to Sabor, our outside involvements have shown us how important it is to have a council that is responsive and passionate about working for real results. As a party, we promise to use our excitement for and experience in student government to make student life just a little bit easier and the Class Council more useful.
- Our three areas of focus are academics, community, and transparency. As Columbia students, academics is often the top priority for many of us, and making our academic lives a little less stressful is one of our most important goals. We plan on working closely with CSA (Center for Student Advising) to organize events focused on major declaration and the career process. We also plan to work closely with CCE (Center for Career Education) and OGP (Office of Global Programs) next year to organize events geared towards planning life after college i.e. talks on internship and full/part-time jobs, grad school applications, fellowships, and research opportunities.Some of these events will include casual class-specific discussions with graduate students and professionals. To strengthen and improve campus community, we want to facilitate a sense of community not only within our own class, but also with the surrounding neighborhood. One of the first initiatives that we are interested in is the Swipes For Change program, which would allow students to donate unused meal swipes to a local homeless shelter. In addition, we plan on working to expand the usage of the Columbia Parent and Alumni funds, a program under council development that allows students who experience family emergencies or lack the resources to fly home for breaks, get internships, study abroad, and find research opportunities through the Columbia Alumni network. Regarding transparency, we plan on eliminating the common, “What does CCSC do anyways” mentality. We realize that the existing view of CCSC is not the students’ faults, but rather a result of class councils not being clear about what is being worked on throughout the year. In order to tackle this issue, we are committed to making student feedback our number one priority. When we have an idea on an initiative that we’re considering, we will post a google document on our FB page in order to get students’ feedback, comments, questions and concerns. We want to make sure that we take a holistic approach to something before we set about writing policies. In so doing, the class will be able to play a more active role in all that council does and will be able to stay informed. We also plan on sending out surveys both before and after our events. For example, the surveys before the events will be poll food and music preferences while those after will seek feedback.
- Annette Finnegan is currently serving as Class Representative for the Class of 2017, meaning that she has had an entire year to learn how the system works and what CCSC really is all about. Mike Starr is currently serving as the Treasurer for the Class of 2017, giving him the chance to understand how to manage a council budget and gain experience working with the details of organizing council events. The Vice President, Ben Kremnitzer, has been actively involved in planning and executing events within the LLC, giving him a unique perspective of campus leadership. Jose Treasure is an active member of several clubs, including Sabor and Rotaract, and has attended Columbia leadership conferences such as the Students of Color Leadership Retreat. Together, we combine council experience with outside perspectives to get results for our class. We are excited to be providing a new voice to Columbia campus politics.
- We bring concrete solutions to the specific issues that pertain to our sophomore class. These solutions include addressing problems with finding internships, which are crucial during the sophomore year as we declare our majors, improving campus life by making it easier for student groups to utilize Lerner space, and providing dining polls for students as dining swipes become more valuable.
- The issues that are most important to our party are the inefficiency of Lionshare and CCSC’s focus on small events. We intend to address Lionshare by revamping the system in conjunction with CCE so that students have a variety of internship options, students are notified of the status of their application, and the postings are up to date. In terms of CCSC’s hosting smaller-scale events, these small events do not directly translate to a sense of community and school among the class. We intend to partner with campus organizations to host small events and focus our energy on larger events that will serve our entire community
- The Wolf Pack party features extensive experience that will translate well in serving on CCSC. Nick Wolferman, running for Class President, has served as Executive Director of Columbia and President of John Jay RHLO, both capacities in which he gained hands-on experience in event programming as well as forming relationships with administrators in housing and dining. Sean Choi, running for Vice President, has coordinated with various clubs like CPU, PSSA, and CCSA as well as CCE to host events that have involved multiple campus groups. Darius Ansari has been directly involved with CCSC as Public Relations Officer, in which he was in charge of social media outlets and advertising. He also is part of the Communication Meetings held every Sunday that focus on how to best reach out to the student body. Franco Maddalena, through his community involvement as Director of Operations for CIRCA’s CMUNNY 9 Conference, as a Non-Profit Development Associate for the Columbia Daily Spectator, and as a member of the Roosevelt Institute, has lobbied with campus administrators on behalf of student organizations. Lastly, Hannah Zhang serves as the Outreach Director for the Roosevelt Institute, a political and public policy forum on campus; this position has given her experience with event planning and collaborating with numerous student organizations.
No party affiliation
- Christian Truelove, 2017 Class Representative (no response)
CCSC University Senator
- Ramis Wadood
- I possess a unique mix of experience, innovation, and passion, which will allow me to be an effective Senator and active advocate of Columbia College student interests. The University Senate has a steep learning curve, and as a Senate staffer, I have already gotten accustomed to the legislative process and dynamics of the Senate. This experience allows me to hit the ground running and gives me room to be innovative, because I can bring new issues to the Senate’s attention with authority—new issues like mental health services reform and need-blind international student financial aid (two of the most frequent concerns that students brought to me during my time as CCSC Class of 2016 President).
- The issues most important to me include mental health services reform, international student financial aid, and Cross-Registration. I think that Counseling & Psychological Services (CPS) is an invaluable resource for students, but many of its services need to be improved: I want to work with CPS and Health Services to ensure that clinicians get specialized demographic training, CPS offers more accessible 24/7 resources, and the University provides a central and safe after-hours CPS location for students who live both in on- and off-campus housing. Furthermore, I will work with other student senators to push for international student financial aid to be need-blind, following the University’s purported philosophy of “not want[ing] the cost of attending Columbia to be a barrier to your applying for admission” (Financial Aid website). Finally, I want to make sure that CC students have access to all of Columbia’s wonderful academic resources by standardizing and expanding the process by which students can register for classes at Columbia’s other schools, like the Law School and Business School.
- For the last two years, I’ve served as CCSC 2016 Class President. This role has given me the great opportunity to plan events and work on policies that are of interest to the Class of 2016, such as major declaration-related events and Housing and Dining renovations and reforms. Also in this role, I speak directly with hundreds of students about their concerns and always ask the Class for feedback on CCSC policy initiatives. As Senator, I plan on continuing my commitment to engaging as many students as I possibly can through open channels of communication like Facebook, Twitter, and face-to-face conversations.
- Daniel Liss
- I have a track record of working very hard for students. This year, I designed software that matched hundreds of students with alumni mentors and authored a referendum that empowered students to vote independently of parties during elections. I also created the website gradesatcu.com to make the curves for Columbia classes publicly searchable. Currently, I’m working on a fund to allow alumni to donate frequent flyer miles to students. I would use this experience to continue pushing for initiatives that help students and that make Columbia a friendlier place to be a student.
- Expanding Internships: Peer schools offer hundreds of internships across a variety of programs for undergraduates. I will push for a greater number and diversity of internships in Columbia’s programs. These internships are important whether students want to take a path well trodden, or break into something less visible on campus. I’ve already been involved in these efforts as Alumni Affairs Representative on the CCSC. Improve Funding Applications: Currently, students need to secure internships and other proof of their summer plans before applying for summer funding. This arrangement is disconnected from the way students apply for summer opportunities. Not only could earlier funding notifications improve students’ chances for many opportunities, it would also make it possible for students of all economic backgrounds to plan for the summer. ∙ Unlocking the Alumni Directory: Students receive access to the directory the day they graduate. As a representative, I would use the Senate’s influence to secure student access at an earlier date. This is a conversation I am already engaged in as Alumni Affairs Representative, but that involves the coordination of all Columbia’s component schools. A Campus that Works: We need printers that print, washers that wash, and dryers that dry. Thicker toilet paper in the bathrooms. Recently, I had to get a new ID and this had me running from Hartley to Kent, back to Hartley for swipe-access and finally to Wallach for access to my meal plan. These kinds of systems were not designed with students in mind and could be vastly improved if someone combed through them.
- This year, I inaugurated the position of Alumni Affairs Representative. I’ve already mentioned the software for mentorship, electoral reforms and gradesatcu.com. I also got a form posted to LionLink that lets student groups request alumni at events — previously student groups had to reach out to alumni without the administration’s support. I helped spearhead an event partnership with the young alumni that increased the spots for students at alumni events and vice versa. I worked on a regular event series for students to meet alumni in fields that interest them. I founded the alumni affairs subcommittee of the CCSC because we did not have one. I co-launched the student ambassador program with more than 30 students working on alumni initiatives. I helped plan a forum that let students talk directly with alumni who help advise the dean. This work has kept me busy and informs the way I think about working on behalf of students at Columbia.
- Michael MacKay
- (Included in answer to 2)
- Cultivating Columbia’s community is the most important issue facing all students, and the challenge warrants an innovated approach as to how the University Senate can direct change. My three projects, which have been enhanced by studentand administrative feedback, reflect a new, comprehensive strategy, and my ideas for tangible projects include i. Lion’s Den to foster on-campus startups, ii. Virtual Office Hours to include online guidance and iii. Letters Lumine to build departmental community; however, I am also looking to apply this approach to existing dialogues on campus such as sexual misconduct (e.g. I would like to bolster financial support for and increase/stagger Consent Is Sexy Workshops, so that these could take place throughout freshman year versus act as some one-stop shop for information during NSOP week). Ultimately, my goal is to end the time-consuming, dead-end debates (e.g. smoking ban or quality of life survey) and really get to the business of leading through projects that we can all feel on campus. As for implementation of the three ideas mentioned, for further reference: CORE receives about $300 in funding with a large membership (2,000 on listserv), and I can only imagine how the annual budget for ADI fails its needs. I will directly petition Bollinger for funding and support for the group, and I would like to do this by establishing Lion’s Den. If elected, next week I would immediately begin talks with Kavita Sharma of CCE to discuss creating a peer-to-peer hiring network similar to LionShare. In this way startup ideas that may be circulating around ADI can be migrated to the network. Consequently, I will build on my relationship with Dave Lerner and meet with Rob Whitten to bring Columbia Entrepreneurship to the table (as Whitten is Bollinger’s special advisor) to discuss implementing an accelerator similar to the one afforded by OSU. However, unlike OSU, Columbia’s alumni network really leads the nation in VC (e.g. Ben Horrowitz), and I would like to work with Donna MacPhee of the Alumni Office to develop this initiative from the peer-to-peer hiring framework. Whitten has the means to establish hundreds of thousands of dollars in competitive grant aid from the University, and with mentors (e.g. Bill Campbell), we can make sure that every idea is weighted for its worth. Furthermore, I would like to work with Laren Spirer (Administrator at Columbia Law School) and bring her into the fold to help establish Pro Bono work from CLS into the accelerator program to further reduce overhead. Ideally, with legal and mentorship integrated into the system, these startups, after passing through an on-boarding process and afforded co-working spaces from the university, would be presented in an annual spring demo day that would receive much publicity, alumni support, and VC opportunities. I can promise you I will achieve this peer-to-peer network and lay the groundwork for such innovation, because I have the time, experience, and MOTIVATION to dwarf our ivy league peers in terms of tech. I know groups like ADI and CORE are most interested in this initiative, but as to how the rest of my platform relates to current senate work: (Online Education –> Virtual Office Hours) Before we add online education, we really need to improve our current education already on campus. I think that there are two types of digital strategy: one that creates technologies for people and one that creates people from technologies. I don’t want to be data-obsessed, so I’m hard-pressed to pursue massive projects that would atomize learning, when we can readily upgrade education on campus to the digital age without dehumanizing and corporatizing campus affairs. In sum, I would work with the CDO about exploring opportunities to refine schools’ offerings, first, versus migrate schools to the web. Again, we are working with Coursera, currently, after the university splurged 30 million dollars on an unsuccessful venture of its own, so there should be serious financial reservations about committing more time and energy to what I consider a sunk cost. (Shared Research Computing –> Letters Lumine) I would like to work with David Madigan and the Shared Research Computing outfit to, also, institute policy on a more localized method of sharing research. I called this Letters Lumine in my platform, because I believe the light of luminaries on-campus would show us the light of our own pursuits, if you will. I think there is an element of trying to run before you can walk in the SRC, when we are, yet, to truly share research over a broader spectrum of faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students on campus (e.g. the Stat and Astronomy’s Department machine, Hotfoot, had mixed success integrating the social sciences). Currently, we are focusing on the means of sharing research versus the ends of sharing research, and while I completely support co-location in New Jersey or working with Google, I would like to institute simple measures with a huge ROI like departmental letters that could be standardized, maintaining an individualized aesthetic value for each department for a more collaborative sense of community. Most importantly, there is a shortage of faculty an students on this committee, which is mostly Libraries and CUIT people, for which we ought to be aware of SEAS Institute of Data Sciences and the developments of Manhattanville (e.g. MBBI), and I would love to establish an observant seat for relevant undergraduate groups. My favorite initiative is the last one, because this affects everyone with a major. For me, this is a first step that can act as a jumping board for a concerted effort on campus to ameliorate community in a major way (no pun intended).
- I am a student council outsider, although my sophomore spring I was invited to work as a senate staffer for Matt Chou and, then senator, Cleo Abram (I also applied for the vacancy that spring). However, after realizing my work would primarily be involved with the quality of life survey, which I strongly believed was (and is) premature, I resigned. I think that it’s extremely important given the finitude of the senators’ terms to really drive tangible, substantive change, and that’s what my campaign looks to achieve: developing projects with the Committee on Info. & Tech to cultivate community from the bottom-up versus the top-down.
- Jacob Johnson
- I am the only Freshman running and I believe that we should have a University Senator from the Class of 2017 since we already have University Senators from all of the other classes (’16, ’15, ’14). That said, if elected, I would work hard to represent all students in Columbia College. I am very familiar with and passionate about the important issues. I am the only candidate to have previously run for University Senate (last fall). Furthermore, I have done extensive research to learn about the issues being debated in the University Senate and other potential policies that could improve student life . I have a very substantive platform with genuinely unique ideas like creating shorter, more specific, more frequently offered quality of life surveys and proposing a University Senate rule that requires the Senate to vote on survey questions that receive very high and one-sided responses from students. Yet it is not enough to just have the ideas. I believe that I have the energy, strong voice, passion, and initiative to actually make these ideas a reality. My past accomplishments are indicative of this drive and persistence, which include breast cancer research that helped lead to a patent-pending novel cancer therapy, starting a community service project to provide long-lasting support to an orphanage in Tanzania, and suggesting and drafting legislation for my local State Senator.
- I believe in creating shorter and more specific surveys to assess quality of life and stress on campus rather than long, infrequently offered quality of life surveys. In order to implement the survey results, I believe that there should be a Senate rule that survey questions that receive a strong student response must be voted on by the Senate. Furthermore, the specific nature of the survey questions would allow the University Senate to directly address the survey results. I also believe in creating more transparency about sexual assaults on campus. I agree with the recommendations of the University Town Hall on Sexual Misconduct to revise NSOP consent education, improve training programs and staffing in the Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center, and support Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. I think that open course evaluations should be formalized and be readily available to students so that we do not solely rely upon CULPA. I am a strong advocate of greater transparency in the Senate by publishing the Senate minutes for committees that do not require confidentiality and by regularly updating the Senate website and social media used to communicate about the Senate. I believe that Columbia’s technological systems, especially our printers , should undergo very significant upgrading. I also think that we should look into modifying the Core Curriculum based on students’ responses in surveys that I would send out. I believe in changing the freshman meal plan s to allow meals to roll-over from week to week. I would encourage the University Senate to end the debate about the smoking ban, which takes up excessive time and distracts from other issues. We should stick with the current plan to allow certain specified zones on campus in which students can smoke. I want to work on ensuring that the expansion into Manhattanville has a campus feel and offers many opportunities to undergraduate students. I strongly support making fossil fuel divestment a reality at Columbia, especially given that divestment has received overwhelming support from the student body. In order to promote more student participation in the Senate, I believe that the University Senate should play an active role in drafting initiatives, referenda, and surveys, which increase voter turnout and interest and ensure that the Senate is responsive to student interests. I would fight to create equitable admissions and financial aid standards for international students. I believe that laundry fees should be part of housing fees so that students do not have to pay for their laundry every time that they do it. We should improve the standards for professor office hours so that professors offer more office hours. I support revising Columbia’s grading system to make it less rigid and more just. Individual teachers should determine how many students they give A grades to in a given semester rather than always having to give out the same percentage of As to every class.
- I am the only candidate to have previously run for CC University Senate. I ran in last fall’s special election. I also recently joined CU Dems to advocate for many of the policies that I am very passionate about, including transparency about sexual assault, improved civil rights for women, minorities, and the LGBT community, making fossil fuel divestment a reality, preventing mass incarceration, economic equality, protecting the environment, and education reform. I also previously interned for my local State Senator and drafted economic and environmental legislation for him, campaigned in the 2010 and 2012 elections, participated in Student Congress, and served as an elected Senior Class leader and an appointed representative to the school committee at my high school.
- Daniel Stone
- I have been a critical observer of the University Senate for about a year and a half as a writer and editor for the Lion and for The Blue and White. I’ve had the chance to becomes familiar with the ins and outs of the senate, while remaining a skeptical outsider. Talking with senators and attending meetings, I’ve learned that the Senate is often a slow moving body—that no USenator can promise that any particular policy will come about during their tenure no matter however adept they are at knowing the system. That’s why, first and foremost, I make the one promise to my classmates that I can keep: that I will use the position as best I can to elevate student concerns to the highest levels of the university rather than use the position to act on their behalf as a student leader. That said, each Senator has two years, and during those two years can work to bring about substantial change.
- For me, the primary issue is accountability. Accountability, unlike the exhausted buzzword “transparency,” means that elected representatives must own up to what they’ve done and what it amounts to. Accountability of the University: I will push for a student position on the Board of Trustees. This already exists at 70% of public institutions in the US . The student trustee would ensure that there is a formal means of bringing student concerns to the very top of the university, whereas now there is none. I also think that it’s absurd that Public Safety essentially has a blank check when it comes to making student groups pay for event security. Jared Odessky’s push to call for student advisory of PS, in keeping with New York State law was much needed. Similarly, as Senator I will make as much noise as possible and use the access to administrators that the position grants to ensure that substantial changes are made to the way Columbia handles sexual misconduct. This involves investigating bringing the Rape Crisis Center back to Butler. It also demands organizing more town halls. Administrators must look students in the eye more often and hear their complaints. Accountability of the Senate: The senate is currently deliberating on free speech regulations on campus. The meetings are closed to outsiders because it’s standard senate policy. This shouldn’t be the case. Accountability of Senators: The Quality of life Survey, which has been countenanced by a lot of administrators, has been the primary project of undergraduate senators for the past three years, The results came out last night, and say nothing more than the obvious. Perhaps there is value in this. I think that it probably sounds good in a senator’s job interview, but I don’t think that the survey actually has done very much good by students themselves. The hundreds of hours that undergrad senators have devoted to formulating and promoting this survey might have been better spent speaking with students and actually working on student-benefitting projects.
- I’ve been previously involved in campus politics as journalist. Last Spring, I profiled USenator Richard Sun, CC `13, for The Blue and White. That article published on Bwog. I spoke to about 15 students in researching for the article and was struck by extent of both negative and positive feelings that surrounded such a campus character. This year, I’ve attended nearly all the Senate plenary sessions and extensively interviewed student/faculty senators. I also broke the story of how the University Senate had resumed a confidential review of free speech regulations. You might also be familiar with the sandwich ambassador campaign that some of my friends and I came up with earlier in the semester. Our viral national campaign, which made city news, renewed my faith in Columbia students and their commitment to economical food.
CCSC Academic Affairs Representative
- Thomas Arbuckle
- I have the best interests of the students at heart. I come to the table with relevant experience in policy and with a working knowledge of the structure of Columbia. I have been able to be involved in many groups and be informed of the need and ideas of students. Administrators, whether they are the Registrar, part of the Committee on Instruction, or part of the Committee on the Core, need to be pushed in order for thing to get done. I bring to the table a student-centric purpose and a mission to serve and represent students in Columbia College regarding their academic lives and careers here at Columbia.
- One of the most common issues for students is stress, which leads to students becoming sick or not performing to the best of their abilities. Therefore, reducing academic stress is a big issue for me. There are ways to go about doing this. One way is to make sure that students have enough information going into classes, which means making sure that professors post their syllabi for students to see during registration. There’s also the issues of extending the drop deadline, opening access to course evaluations, and updating technology (Course Bulletin, Course Directory, etc.) that all play a huge role in reducing the stress of students.
- I am involved in different political issues here at Columbia. On the CCSC side, I have served as a General Council member for CCSC Class of 2017. I also served on the Policy Committee. Through these forums, I have been able to play a role in various issues in the Columbia community including Title IX and sexual assault policy, as well as CUIT and technology issues. On the other side, I am currently serving as Musical Director for the Black Theatre Ensemble and Columbia Musical Theatre Society collaboration show Passing Strange. Through the show we are hoping to address and start a conversation about the issue of race, identity, and diversity in the theatre community (and the Columbia community at-large).
- Grayson Warrick
- Dedication and experience. Effecting school policy change is the activity I both most enjoy and hope to spend most of my time on here at Columbia. I’ve already had experience working on resolutions, speaking with deans and coming up with solutions for problems here, and I hope to channel this into our academic woes.
The extension of the drop deadline is, by far, one of the most important issues facing CC right now. If we could just push back the deadline to a reasonable date — i.e., a point when we’ve actually received major assessments back and determined our competency within our courses — it would greatly relieve much academic pressure felt by students. Near the top is also the issue of increased academic information and accessibility for students — namely, opening pertinent parts of our course evaluations and allowing for greater say in how our Core Curriculum is shaped.
- I’ve served been in the Class of 2016 council for two years both as Representative and Vice President, and for both of those years on the Policy and Communications committees of CCSC. I’ve also been the ABC Liaison to CCSC for both years. And while it may not be directly campus politics, I’ve been the most active member of wtfcolumbia.com and have managed to push through a lot of policy originating with WTF issues.
CCSC Alumni Affairs Representative
- Matthew Forrest (no response)
CCSC Student Services Representative (2 positions available)
- Chris Godshall
- There are two things that I bring to the Student Services Representative race: vision and experience. The first is common to all those running- I have no doubt that each candidate has a plan to make students’ lives easier. My experience from serving as Student Services Rep this year, however, is something unique that I bring to the table. This year, I’ve learned so much about how offices like Housing and CUIT operate and have used this knowledge to affect positive change on campus. For example, when Housing proposed a $5 fee for borrowed keys, I was the first to respond and, ultimately, with the help of concerned students, was able to defeat the proposal. My experience will help me continue to work for students next year. There will be no learning curve and I can get started on my policy ideas immediately.
- The most important issue to me right now is the student body’s relationship with Public Safety. This semester, Senator Jared Odessky and I began work on a project to stop the unfair charging of particular student groups for increased security based on whether or not their events’ content was “controversial”. Cultural and activists groups, in particular, have been affected. We’ve found that much of the burden of these fees is absorbed by the councils’ Security Fund, but it has been growing at an unsustainable rate (it’s grown 266% since it was created) and Public Safety is able to draw from it with no oversight from the councils. Next year, Jared and I will continue to work on this and will seek Security Fund reform to increase oversight, an advisory committee for Public Safety itself to institutionalize student feedback, specific criteria that determine security needs, and an end to the subjective targeting of “controversial” content.
- I think I basically covered this above. To reiterate, yes I have been involved in campus politics before. I’m currently serving in the position I’m running for and have been involved in many policy discussions on campus, most recently the Housing key borrowing policy I described above. I’ve also been heavily involved in the renovation process, advocating for more group study spaces and gender inclusive bathrooms. The big thing for me right now is the Public Safety project.
- Charles Sanky
- I bring the fresh perspective of a student who shares all the same grievances with Columbia University student services. However, I serve in many of these departments and have an important, intimate understanding of how each of these departments function. As a result, this unique perspective would serve as an incredible aid in the development of strategies to provide better resources and service to the student body. At Columbia and through this position of Student Service Representative, I hope to continue building an integrated, spirited community that genuinely fosters student growth, leadership, and expression.
- If elected to the position of Student Services Representative, I aim to fight for undergraduate students to be involved in discussions of how space is allocated among campus departments and offices and in the construction of the Manhattanville campus and the upcoming Lerner Hall renovation. Co-curricular activities often struggle to find space for their members to grow outside the classroom. We need to examine how our limited space is divided and utilized to best serve the Columbia community. Students need a true student center that serves as a space for the celebration for student work. We are often not informed of our power to genuinely create change, and I know that holding open conversations with the student body can revolutionize the role undergraduates share in our university, not just with regards to limited space, but in all aspects of life at Columbia. In addition, I look forward to working with the Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT) Advisory Board and its corresponding committee in the University Senate to improve reaction time to technological issues, work toward a single login for all websites on the CUIT domain, and heighten awareness of CUIT resources available to all students. In addition, the CCSC has been working for a few month to attempt to develop a mentorship program for new students. I believe this can be interwoven into the fabric of the New Student Orientation Program, and I plan to implement such a program and determine if there truly is an interest or need for such a structure.
- I am a Columbia College sophomore from Long Island in New York, currently studying psychology and business. I aspire to become a physician and eventually work in health policy. As an active musician, I served this year as Co-President of the Columbia University Wind Ensemble and as Worship Team Leader of the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. I also served on the committee that planned and lead the 2013 New Student Orientation Program (NSOP) for new students to Columbia University last year, where I worked toward creating a welcoming and supportive campus community. I am proud to have been selected as the 2014 NSOP Student Chair, where I will oversee all aspects of Columbia College and Columbia Engineering Orientation. I also volunteer as a member of Columbia University Emergency Medical Services, where I serves on the ambulance corps as an Emergency Medical Technician. In addition, I work for Columbia University Information Technology, where I help maintain Columbia University computer, printer, projector, and other technological systems as both a field operations associate and laboratory consultant. I have a great working relationship with many campus administrators in various departments as well as members of CCSC and the University Senate, with whom I have discussed many student issues and provided advice and insight without holding a formal position. I actively work with student and administrative leaders to make Columbia University become more sensitive to the needs of students and to initiate improvements to each student’s quality of life.
- Mikhail Klimentov
- Many candidates will have similar ideas for fixing certain problems. This is only natural—we all love Columbia and we all want what’s best for it. However, I bring a unique approach and a sense of initiative to the office of Student Services Representative. As a columnist for The Spectator, I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with a number of students about a variety of complicated and often very personal subjects, ranging from the work-study program to mental health and CPS. As Student Services Representative, I would continue this kind of outreach to ensure I remain connected to students and hear their concerns. For many at Columbia, CCSC is often out of sight and out of mind; I hope to make students more involved in substantive reforms and make certain that CCSC is working on issues that matter to students.
- One issue that I’m particularly invested in is mental health and Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) at Columbia. CPS offices hold very strange hours, the CPS website is a disaster to navigate, and the problems with forced medical leave and the subsequent issues with housing are particularly egregious. The health of Columbians should be prioritized, and yet many of our peer institutions are doing much more, and are much more effective for their students on that front. I’m also very interested in tech at Columbia. Most students visit at least one Columbia website over the course of their day. These websites are absolutely essential to the student body, yet they remain antiquated and lack many crucial features, such as mobile functionality and basic inter-site consistency. As a Computer Science major and Visual Arts concentrator, I would be invested in ushering in a new fleet of well-designed Columbia websites. We’re one of the best universities in the world, but our websites are difficult to navigate and, at times, embarrassing. We have burgeoning entrepreneurial and computer science communities at Columbia—I’d make sure that the administration both acknowledged and encouraged student efforts to develop apps and websites for the community.
- In campus politics, I believe that initiative matters just as much as experience. As a columnist for The Spectator, I have extensively researched and conducted a number of interviews to understand student concerns on many different issues, including mental health on campus, Columbia’s Counseling and Psychological Services, and work-study opportunities. What’s important is that after conducting this outreach-driven research, I’ve taken the initiative on issues important to students. For example, with CPS, the problems with mental health on campus were already very real too me, and I was inspired with a sense of urgency after speaking to students who had sought help for similar problems in the past. So, I reached out to members of CCSC, GSSC, and the University Senate, to petition for change and to work on compiling a comprehensive list of reforms. I managed to do that much as a “CCSC outsider;” I’m excited by the prospect of what I can do as an elected representative.
ESC Executive Board
Out of the Blue
All of us have worked extensively on council in each of the four pillars (Finance, Student Life, Policy, and Communications), and therefore have the institutional knowledge to effectively facilitate current projects while pursuing our new initiatives. In addition we have been working on our platform extensively since last semester, and have already made significant progress towards some of our goals, such as providing wireless density data from CUIT to monitor real-time library capacity.
There are several important items on the agenda for our party next year. In addition to expanding on new initiatives such as the ESC Project Grants and Sustainable Labs Initiative, we will be looking to provide better workspaces for students by renovating NoCo with additional group study areas, more accessible charging ports, and slip-proof flooring. Furthermore, we’d like to empower students to build innovative ideas through an expansion of Project Grants and new Makerspaces on campus. Finally, we would like to explore new interfaces for alumni to learn about, interact with, and support student groups.
Our party consists entirely of individuals who have dedicated a significant amount of time to ESC in the past. While experience doesn’t always equate to success, we are passionate about helping our fellow engineers and have led several past ESC initiatives such as Project Grants, Honor Code, the ESC website redesign, the Engineering Group Travel Fund, Sustainable Labs Initiative, a review of undergrad/grad grading curves, and a host of SEAS 150th anniversary events. We remain committed to our goals in this coming year, and hope to continue working on projects that directly benefit SEAS students.
ESC 2015 Class Council
- This will be the Class of 2015’s senior year, and we are extremely enthusiastic about this opportunity to serve our class. We are a group of experienced individuals who have been involved in student council before, and we are dedicated to the student body.
- Integrating different communities on campus is one of our main goals. We also want to create strong programming for this upcoming year, including events that are targeted towards career development and wellness. There are many things regarding housing, dining and facilities that could improve the undergraduate experience, and we plan on continuing to reach out to the student body and addressing these issues with faculty.
- Shensi Ding has served as Vice President for the SEAS Class of 2015 for the last three years, and has been involved in a multitude of committees and initiatives. Gil Feig was elected as a Class Representative this past year, was an active member of the appointed council the year prior to that, and is heavily involved in the dining advisory committee. Adam Sherman was a Class Representative this year and Andrew Ryder has been an involved member of the appointed council.
ESC 2016 Class Council
- In addition to having two current council members on board, we have two new council members (Joshua and Ravish) who give our party a fresh perspective. They provide us with a new lens to look through in terms of providing the viewpoint of the students themselves (outside of council) as well as that of transfer students, two areas which we feel are necessary to focus on going forward in order to ensure that the entire class of 2016 is heard. We love to get input from people who aren’t on council, and the fact that we have new members who have the passion and initiative to join council is definitely promising.
- The Class of 2016 has just declared majors, so ensuring that we plan and host events that cater to the changing needs of students is a must. This means focusing on career-oriented events such as networking, mixers with faculty and employers, and more events focusing on the majors themselves. We also believe in the importance of ensuring that student wellness and student life are held to a high standard within our class, in order to form a strong community within the Class of 2016. What’s important to our peers is important to us.
- Half of our party serves on the current Class of 2016 council and the majority of our party has been a part of the extended, appointed Class of 2016 council. Through these experiences we have learned the importance of reaching out and communicating with our class to understand their concerns, as well as the need to be transparent at all times. As veterans, we also understand the process through which one can affect policy, as well as the process through which we can hold successful events.
ESC 2017 Class Council
Our party has a unique blend of people with council experience and people with fresh perspectives that they bring from other student groups on campus. Just a few of the organizations the four of us are involved in are RHLO, ESC, Res. Inc., CSC, EWB, CU Wushu, Bach Society, URC, and more! Robert and Jonathan’s knowledge of the inner workings of student council balanced with Neha and Sid’s new ideas and willingness to change the status quo will ensure a successful sophomore year for the SEAS Class of 2017.
We want to foster a greater sense of community within the SEAS Class of 2017 through large scale events like outdoor games to help integrate transfer students at the beginning of the year, a spring formal, a campus-wide “Amazing Race,” and more! We want to make the major selection process as easy as possible, and one great idea we have is to create a “Mudd Open House” in which sophomores can visit professors in specific departments, learn about departmental culture, and experience majors in a hands-on way by visiting labs and other spaces. Additionally, we want to create a centralized online resource bank that can serve as a starting point for all Columbia students wishing to take advantage of the many resources and opportunities Columbia has to offer. Above all, we feel the most important issue student council faces is to remain accessible to the students it serves, and in order to remain accessible, Blue SEAS commits to maintaining regular office hours in which students can drop by, express their thoughts and concerns, and help us create a great sophomore year!
- Robert Adelson is currently the President of the SEAS Class of 2017, and Jonathan Barrios is Vice President of the SEAS Class of 2017. Together they have been active in the Communications and Student Life Committees and have also participated in the Finance and Policy Committees whenever possible. Neha Jain and Sid Perkins have not previously been involved in campus politics before but have engaged in the events that ESC has put on and are excited to work with ESC in the future if elected!
Spirit of SEAS
The Spirit of SEAS brings a fresh new perspective to a lot of the issues that have historically plagued the student council. We bring a lot of energy, ideas, and initiative. We want to work to make the council more approachable, more fun, and most of all, more student-oriented. We humbly admit that we do not have everything figured out, but we promise to reach out to students and determine their needs and their solutions as best as possible. We also want to open up the student council’s financial and organizational resources to the bright ideas that our many student organizations come up with and perhaps cannot take to fruition on their own. We believe it is our job to be a council for the students, not just a council that vicariously deals with student issues in a distant setting. Overall, we want to focus on the most important issues to the student body and work collaboratively and tirelessly to improve every student’s quality of life.
- From our experiences, we find that the salient issues on campus fall into four major categories: budget, student life, transparency, and events. The first, budget reform, is essential and a source of criticism that the student council frequently faces. We feel that we would like to decrease the number of student council proprietary events and instead focus on co-sponsoring the great events and initiatives that student organizations propose, particularly events that benefit many students such as study breaks, influential speakers, and career or major guidance events. We would also like to increase revenue by monetizing student council communication and events through sponsorships. We feel that these reforms will help ease the concern of finances that hinder the tremendous ideas of student groups. We also focus on student life reforms such as adjusting the temporary ID time allotment and charges to be more considerate of students who live far away or lead busy lifestyles. Ensuring that the ongoing Lerner Hall renovations incorporate more study and leisure spaces for students is also a top priority. We also want to work with dining to establish a suitable or more fluid meal plan rollover system that benefits all parties involved. Finally, the Spirit of SEAS takes transparency very seriously. We want to establish a strong two-way communication about student council issues and gather as much feedback about the work we are doing. We also want to market council events better and improve budget transparency. The student council is an extension of the student body, and we want to ensure that we are as transparent and receptive as possible to the talented and dynamic students of SEAS and Columbia University.
None of the three of us have taken part in student council priorly, but we feel that this offers a unique opportunity and perspective for the future. Many of the executive positions and at-large representatives are incumbents on the council, so the continuity of the positive aspects of the student council will continue to be present. We do, however, feel that with our new perspectives, we can help positively impact the council in ways that they have struggled with in the past. We are all very involved and well-connected students, and we feel that what we offer is a new level of understanding of the issues and struggles of students. In particular, we want to focus on more relevant and helpful programming for the students and the removal of the perceived separation between the student body and the student council, which we feel should be tightly linked. We are hard-working and diligent, and are excited for a chance to take part in student council in a way that combines its strengths with ours for the best possible benefit of the student body.
ESC University Senator
- Jillian Ross
- The issues presented at the University Senate require a long-term approach, a true understanding of how to navigate the Columbia bureaucracy, and experience with working with the other schools of Columbia University. I have acquired these unique set of skills from my experience as the former Class of 2016 President and as the Student Body Vice President of Communications on the Engineering Student Council. I will be able to serve out the full two-year term to work on my platform, work closely with the Engineering Student Council as a unit, and advocate for the interests of the undergraduate SEAS population.
- My platform includes pushing for a more open senate and expanding the number of student staffers, a critical step to increasing Senate transparency and engaging the student body. I also plan sending out monthly newsletters to the student body detailing my initiatives and progress. As an involved member of the Coalition Against Sexual Violence (CASV), I’ve lead the efforts to revamp the training Residential Advisors receive with respect to sexual assault. As a current Resident Advisor, I was able to see this need to improve training for the benefit of our community. As Senator, I plan to advocate for sexual assault transparency and Title IX Compliance. In terms of technology, I plan to push for more open data for student use. For SEAS specific issues, I would push for ways SEAS students can better utilize the global centers in order to take advantage of a wonderful international network, investigate the different grading curves for graduate and undergraduate SEAS students in the same classes and work with the Education Committee to ensure that the Honor Code that ESC has so diligently worked on is implemented smoothly within the Engineering School. I also plan to work with the Morningside Student Space Initiative to ensure that space needs are met and that the interests of SEAS are properly represented in the Manhattanville expansion. I would also ensure that the Quality of Life survey results are productive, impactful, and enhance the community. In regards to administrative policy, I will encourage administrators to divest from the prison industry and encourage an open dialogue between students and administrators regarding investments. A detailed outline of my platform can be located on my person Senate website: www.columbiaelections.com/
- As a Residential Advisor, sister of Delta Gamma, Executive Board member of the National Society of Black Engineers, member of multicultural organizations such as the Black Students Organization, and former Varsity athlete, I am truly committed to improving the Columbia community and possess a passion for enhancing the Columbia experience. My involvement in different organizations outside of student government such as Greek Life, athletics, and multicultural, give me a unique and valuable perspective into the different pieces that make up this great University. This valuable knowledge will allow me to be a true representative of the students in Senate and push for the issues that matter most to us students.
- Michelle Haines (no response)
ESC Academic Affairs Representative
- Cathy Jin
I have prior experience working with council and different areas, and I really value student feedback and opinions. As a hardworking and enthusiastic individual, I would definitely make sure to make substantial changes to SEAS academic life.
- As Academic Affairs Rep, there are three things I am focused on: advising, registration & SSOL, and classes/major requirement fulfillments. CSA is one of the best resources we have on campus, and yet not enough students have a close relationship with their several advisors—I want to change the dynamic between students and advisors to make it a closer and more tight-knit community. Regarding registration and SSOL, the online system could be improved in so many ways (to name a few: the Waitlist option, P/D/F uncovering for SEAS students, credit limitations). Major declaration is also a big part of academic life, and the process should become more transparent, which is something I hope to work on with CSA. The newly devised Honor Code is something that I am also looking to integrate into the Columbia community.
- I have been on the ESC Class of 2016 extended council for the past two years, and this year I am thrilled to also be a member of the Finance committee.
- Harry Munroe
- I bring to this campaign passion for my school, ideas to improve our academics, and the experience and ability to implement my ideas successfully. During my last year on the ESC Policy Committee I have helped draft multiple pieces of legislation to benefit our students. I hope to use my experience and ideas to benefit students next year as Academic Affairs Rep.
- I am interested in improving academic life in SEAS and at Columbia through academic policies, increasing learning space and developing our learning community to benefit our engineers. Policies: I am working on a policy to fix grading curves for engineering classes. This will be an important step to making our academics work better for us so we can get rewarded for our hard work instead of being hurt by a curve while keeping our classes challenging and encouraging us to learn. Space: I want to make Lerner more accessible as a student space for learning, studying and socializing. I am on a task force to restructure the building and I will push to increase both group study space and space for reducing stress and promoting health. Community: I will work to expand departmental advising and extend departmental resources to underclassmen so that our students feel included and accepted. I also am in discussion with David Vallancourt to ensure that Art of Engineering works for our students.
- I have been a Class Rep on ESC 2017 this last year. I have also worked with the Policy Committee on a wide variety of topics. I understand the system and I can navigate the bureaucracy of Columbia to push initiatives that directly improve the lives of my constituents. Let’s #TakeBack our school and make it work as well as possible.
ESC Sustainability Liaison
- Siddharth Ramakrishnan
- I plan on bringing a passion for the environment along with my work ethic as new ESC Sustainability Liaison. I have some good ideas for ways to get the campus more involved in environmental sustainability here on campus and in the Morningside area, and I really would like to get them out there to make a difference.
- The most important thing to me is giving knowledge and power to the students here so everyone can make their own impact on helping the environment in their own way. I want to try to get more money for the Green Fund, which funds student projects that are environmentally focused. This along with setting up guest lectures about current issues in the environment will give students both information about what they can do and a means to make a change.
- I do not have experience in student politics. I never got into it back in high school, but now it seems like an interesting opportunity. I hope it turns out to be pretty exciting!
- Shane Cho (no response)
ESC’s CCSC Liaison
- Ankit Shah (no response)
- Radhe Patel
- I think I bring seniority/campus experience to the table. As a rising senior I’ve seen a lot of different aspects of the Columbia community though my many roles over the years. For instance, I’ve wrestled with SACBO as past treasurer for Engineers Without Borders, I’ve seen different student Wellness initiatives come and go as an RA, and I’ve come to understand how CC-SEAS intersections affect SEAS students in different ways.
- I want to work on providing support for 4-1 students and SEAS students considering minors. I think these are initiatives where ESC could really use CCSC mentorship and collaboration. I think we need to put more programs and events in place to help 4-1 students transition from SEAS in to CC their 5th year (and have information sessions where CC students talk about their academic lives so students on the fence can get more info). We should also have similar events for minor exploration- many SEAS students realize too late that they have an interest in Philosophy or Econ for example, because our 1st year is so busy with Chem/Physics/Calc/Prereq-polloza. Having an informal session where students can talk to CC students about what they study might inform and encourage them to try new classes sooner. I also want to work on creating a more comprehensive database of CC/SEAS lab opportunities and open up certain classes and funds (that are CC only or CC priority) to SEAS students. You can read more here: http://radhepatel.com/
- I am new to student council and formal campus politics, but I have experience on eboards of both historically SEAS dominant and CC dominant clubs. I’m determined to hit the ground running by speaking with leaders who have more extensive council experience.
hand model via Shutterstock