gssc Archive

Apr

27

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No stress, just puppies

No stress, just puppies

It’s the last meeting of the year! Bwogger Jennifer Nugent refrains from shouting “School’s out!” and reports back on budgets, events, and constitutional changes to member positions.

What starts with a president’s puppy, ends with heartfelt speeches, and is punctuated by rounds of applause? The final full meeting of the General Studies Student Council! Every member was proud of their work and the team as a whole, which was expressed after every briefing and was heartily agreed upon by the other members of the council. Bwog and students alike will miss the presidential puns, the carefully chosen memes, and surprising productivity of the current GSSC members. However, all this nostalgia did not come at the expense of a predictably packed meeting.

  • Finance: Announced a final co-sponshorship for the new GS mentorship program’s end-of-year celebration for mentors and mentees. Finance also presented their year in numbers—the simplification being that their starting funds totaled about $388,000 and they left about $8,000 to add to next year’s school allotment.
  • Campus Life: Don’t forget! Passover lunch today, a GSSC-SGA picnic (so suck it mainstream Columbia students) coming soon, and the essential finals snack attacks. For the snack attack, a menu will be released soon, but the overall theme is international cuisine.

There are a few other matters of note

Apr

20

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ALL the food

Foodbank is here! (not really this buffet).

Perhaps disoriented by the room change, the GSSC meeting was surprisingly short. And you don’t have to miss a single second: wily correspondent Jennifer Nugent was on the scene and taking notes.

Last night’s General Studies Student Council (GSSC) meeting was off to a raucous start with a room change to Pupin. Latecomers even fell into the classic Columbia trap—navigating through Schermerhorn when it’s half-closed. As the GSSC meeting continued, members sped through the agenda but still hit some big issues.

The first issue discussed was the student sit-in and GSSC’s position on the issue of divestment and the students’ actions. For those not intimately involved in the details of GS life, the current elections included a referendum to gauge where students stood on the issue of divestment—which caused quite a stir on the GS Facebook group. The council decided to wait for the results of the referendum before deciding where to stand as an organization so that they could better represent student voices.

At a meeting with Dean Hartford, it was decided that students taking a voluntary leave of absence for mental health reasons would still have access to CPS.

A few matters of note after the jump

Apr

18

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Last night, the Columbia Elections Board ruled to disqualify General Studies Student Council University Senator Candidate Jeffrey Solazzi GS ’18 from the race, effective immediately.

This decision was a result of remarks made by Solazzi at a debate yesterday afternoon. In Solazzi’s introductory statement, he mentioned another candidate, Ramond Curtis: “I’m someone that’s really committed to making the school better, and I want the best for this school. If I didn’t think I was the best candidate for this position, I’d step down. I’ve heard from Sean Ryan, next year’s chair of the Student Affairs committee, that Ramond is crap.” This statement is in violation of the Senate Election Rules outlined in a packet distributed to all candidates, which state that “it is strictly prohibited to demean any other candidate.”

We reached out to Solazzi, and he said: “I don’t think I personally attacked Ramond’s character…My intent in making that comment was to demonstrate that I have better working relationships with next year’s Senate members.” It is worth noting that the disqualification decision was made by the Elections Board, which is run by CC and SEAS students, despite the fact that Solazzi is a GS student running for a GSSC position.

Since all Senate voting is done by preferential balloting (voters can list their choices in order), any votes already cast listing Solazzi as a first choice will drop down to those voters’ second choice candidates.

You can read the full press release from the Columbia Elections Board below.

Official statement after the jump

Apr

13

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Riding the gala high

Riding the Gala high

Observant to a fault, witchy Romane Thomas listened in on last night’s meeting of the General Studies Student Council (GSSC), where topics of discussion ranged from self-congratulation to teaching awards.

“You killed it, you killed it, you killed it!”

President Elizabeth Heyman congratulated the Campus Life pole and its Social Chair on their organization of the most successful Gala yet. VP of Campus Life Dennis Zhao stated that he could not “reiterate enough the amazing job that you did.” He pointed out that he had received “amazing feedback from students and alumni” who said that this was the best Gala they had been to in years. Zhao also used his time to remind the council that GS Faculty Appreciation Day was coming up on April 15. In order to survive finals, Campus Life is organizing two weeks of international style Snack Attacks starting in May.

Elections and Endorsements

President Heyman reminded the council that “elections are happening, campaigning is happening.” She stated that a large number of people were campaigning which was a testament both to the great advertisement of the elections and to the “fact that we did a great job this year.” She also warned the council that members were prohibited from endorsing candidates in their capacity as council members. Although there was some debate about what council members were allowed to do as student and private individuals, VP of policy Michael Neier added that “according to the by-laws there can be no public endorsement from people on council.”

There are other cool things in store!

Apr

6

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srsly how often have we used this image

We still think this is what student council looks like

CCSC, ESC, and University Senator results are out. We’ll skip the fluff – here’s your new student council! Some big positions are listed here, and every position’s full election results are at the bottom of the post.

CCSC Executive Board:

President: Nicole Allicock (1U Party)
VP of Policy: Abby Porter (1U Party)
VP of Finance: Anuj Sharma (1U Party)
VP of Communications: Josh Sudman (1U Party)
VP of Campus Life: Nathan Rosin (1U Party)

ESC Executive Board:

President: Neha Jain (SEAS++)
VP of Policy: Sidney Perkins (SEAS 101)
VP of Finance: Aida Lu (SEAS++)
VP of Communications: Anthony Kim (SEAS++)
VP of Student Life: Piyushi Bishnoi (SEAS++)

CC University Senator:

Josh Schenk
Jay Rappaport

ESC University Senator:

Luis Rivera

Check out all of the winners here.

Apr

6

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April Fools at GSSC!

April Fools at GSSC!

GSSC isn’t afraid to have a little fun…but that doesn’t always result in a balanced budget. Winsome Wednesday contributor Romane Thomas reports back on the goings-on at GSSC, from poorly Photoshopped images and website redesigns to frisbee games and Gala drama.

Last night, General Studies Student Council (GSSC) started off celebrating April Fools by putting up a beautifully photo shopped photograph of its e-board members as anime characters. However, having a laugh did not stop GSSC from discussing important (?) topics like the Henry Moore statue and Gala updates.

President Elizabeth Heyman started the meeting off by showing her enthusiasm at a “very well attended council meeting.” She reminded the council that elections were coming up next week and that the “intent to run” form was due by 11:59 pm on Thursday night. In addition, VP of Finance Dalitso Nkhoma announced that the GSSC would subsidize campaigns for e-board candidates starting with this upcoming election.

No one is safe from #henrymoore #statue #drama

Mar

30

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and so are we

GSSC is a hard core Lions fan

GSSC was understandably consumed by basketball mania last night (s/o to a sports team that doesn’t suck!), but they managed to cram a lot of important information into the thirty minutes that they convened. Seasoned operative Romane Thomas reports back with everything you need to know about the election, upcoming gala, and fun events.

Yesterday night, General Studies Student Council exited Lerner only 30 minutes after the beginning of the meeting to witness Columbia basketball win at Dodge. As President Elizabeth Heyman put it: “Our team is kicking ass, everyone should go.” Thankfully we managed to get all the relevant deets down before they rushed out.

Vice President of Campus Life Dennis Zhao reminded the council that the Shabbat Dinner is taking place on Friday. He asked the council to help volunteer for the dinner and to spread the word about the event since 70 spots are still open. He also warned the council that their reserved spots for Gala would be given away to the general student population if they did not claim them soon.

Let’s cool it down a little…

Mar

29

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fix it Ben, you gotta

fix things Ben, you gotta

Earlier tonight, Bwog was tipped about various members of CCSC, ESC, and GSSC voicing concerns about the Columbia Political Union’s newfound influence over the upcoming student council election process.

The Columbia Elections Board (CEB), which was founded in 2013 “to conduct and publicize student council elections on campus,” is currently made up of four students, according to the CCSC Spring 2016 Elections Packet, of whom two are on the executive board of the Columbia Political Union (CPU). Given CEB’s founding just a couple years ago, CPU’s exact relationship with the group remains largely unclear to the student body.

According to Adil Mughal, CC ’17, CEB “might disqualify a quarter of the candidates, and they aren’t letting more people register.” If the Elections Board follows through with this action, CPU will essentially have control over this year’s ballot. There are currently seven positions on CCSC with candidates running uncontested, as well as eight positions on ESC and four positions on GSSC, both of which also contain an open seat on the University Senate.

In order to mitigate the number of candidates running for positions uncontested, student councils hope to allow students to re-register in parties. Mughal went on to clarify that “because you have to have a President and Vice President running together on the same ticket, [CEB] may disqualify the students running against CCSC 2017 candidates Jordana Narin/Brennon Mendez. The Elections Board didn’t specify that rule to candidates registering.”

Councils also took issue with the way CEB handled promotion of this year’s election registration. Because of past criticisms over student government exclusivity, councils were looking to expand their reach in the undergraduate community by encouraging a larger number of students to run this year. They believe CEB did a poor job of promoting candidate registration to the student body, inconsistently posting in different class-specific Facebook groups and failing to publish the registration link to their official Facebook page until hours before registration closed.

According to Mughal, CPU’s Membership Director “refuses to admit that the [Columbia Elections Board] did anything wrong, and thinks that [re-]opening registration is too much of a hassle.”

Update (11:51 pm): The original post contained misinformation from Spectator, which falsely reported that CEB chose not to use the University Senate listserv to share registration information for the first time.

Update (4/30, 11:03 pm): Emails from CPU have attempted to clarify the relationship between CPU and CEB; apparently, there have been no changes to the election process, but CPU has been hosting information about the elections on CEB’s behalf in order to promote civic engagement. CPU’s role is “purely publicity,” while we are told CEB is completely in charge of running the election, and is independent of CPU.

Fix it Ben via Ben’s Facebook

Mar

28

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who we unfortunately have yet to see on the list of candidates

Who we unfortunately have yet to see on the list of candidates

If your housing situation and the Bacchanal war on fun didn’t make life feel enough like an ABC soap opera, don’t worry. Election season is arriving like spring, and soon you will be able to consume the drama from ESC, CCSC, and, now that its deadline for candidacy has passed, GSSC. Find the complete list of candidates after the jump

SENIOR CLASS PRESIDENT
Franklin Forbes
Party: (no party declared)

STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT
Anthony Salamone
Party: Perseverance
Oybek Nazarov
Party: Central Asian Students Association

More future leaders

Mar

23

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Two olives makes it even more classy

Two olives makes it even more classy

A spontaneous change of venue for the General Studies Student Council set staff writer Romane Thomas on a wild goose chase across campus, but she made it on time to give you all the details. Don’t miss all the website layout discussion ;)

Last night, sporting a post spring break tan, the GSSC talked Gala, website and Spring Break in 516 Hamilton.

The New Website

President Elizabeth Heyman opened the meeting with an update about the soon to be completed new GSSC website. She informed the Council that the E-Board had been able to meet with Dean Hartford to discuss the website and to give the Dean a chance to contribute to the upcoming GSSC survey, which Multicultural Affairs Rep. Vida Biggins is currently drafting. “It was a productive conversation,” said Heyman.

The GSSC also discussed layout options for its new website. Jade Le-Cascarino, newly appointed Vice President of Communication, proposed two types of options: classic or interactive templates.

One council member pointed out that an interactive layout “may not be as intuitive as a classic layout.” Others also expressed their fear that a more elaborate website design may look unappealing on mobile. VP of Campus Life Dennis Zhao explained that the layouts were made to work on mobile, whether interactive or classic. Vida Biggins argued in favor of the interactive template as students are more likely to come back to the website if the layout is appealing. In the end, the Student Council approved an interactive layout.

Okay, but what about the gala?

Mar

9

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Why does no one read our emails?

Why does no one read our emails?

GSSC got heated up, but in a mild enough way. Romane Thomas was on hand to witness the combustive, creative energy of the Council, and reports back on newsletters, Spring Break, and snack attacks.

Yesterday night neither midterms nor the flu kept a reduced General Studies Student Council (GSSC) from talking awards, menus, and Owl analytics at its usual secret meeting place on the 5th floor of Lerner.

This week Jade Le-Cascarino announced that work was underway for the new GS Website and that a meeting with the GS Administration’s Communication Team has been set up this week. As the new VP of Communication, Le-Cascarino set out to reform the Weekly Owl. By reforming the old format, she was able to collect data on the views of the weekly newsletter. According to the analytics, last week’s weekly owl was read 67 times, 12 of which were “probably my own views”, Le-Cascarino stated. In order to centralize information from the GSSC, the communication team took the initiative to reattach the Weekly Liz to the Owl. Le Cascarino pointed out that “with the new analytics we can track the traction of the Owl” and thus be able to determine the impact of the information sent. VP of Policy Michael Neier stated that focusing on the analytics may be less important than actually “getting people to read the Owl.” That view was seconded by University Senator Katharine Celentano.

Prizes and money matters after the jump!

Feb

17

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What is rap doing to our nation

What is rap doing to our nation

Upheaval, new faces, rap music, and fractions were what best characterized last night’s GSSC’s meeting, at least according to our resident Roone reporter, Romane Thomas. With a notable lack of alliteration, she breezily gives us all the deets.

Yesterday night’s General Studies Student Council (GSSC) meeting turned theatrical when the student council moved from its normal meeting room to the Roone Arledge Cinema in Lerner and was provided with an unexpected rap soundtrack from the performances in the auditorium next door.

All the drama did not deter the General Studies Student Council (GSSC) from accepting 3 ½ new members (don’t worry, we’ll explain):

  • The open Chief of Policy position will be filled by Michael Higgins, a sophomore specializing in urban studies.
  • A.J. Lardo will fill the vacant Chief of Finance position and is excited to apply his financial skills to the job.
  • The Social Media Representative position will be filled by Karlee Rodrigues. Karlee was asked, “How much weight will you put into MySpace?” “None,” she replied. Good answer.
  • Due to the formal resignation of the Vice President of Communication, the position remained vacant until GSSC’s very own Jade Le-Cascarino (hence the 3½), former VP of Campus Life, was chosen to fill the position. She stated that although she enjoyed her former pole she believed that “better communication could greatly improve campus life.”

Events and tampons after the jump

Feb

10

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It is time that makes us human

It is time that makes us human

Last night’s GSSC meeting proved to be a quick in-and-out, and Bwog neophyte Romane Thomas was on hand to witness the historic occasion. But don’t be fooled! Issues of substance were still discussed.

On Tuesday night the General Studies Student Council (GSSC) broke a record for shortest meeting ever. Although the session only lasted 25 minutes, the audience was updated on most of the undergoing projects and policies.

After congratulating the Campus Life Pole for their successful Lunar New Year celebration, the council voted on an initiative to cosponsor a GS Six Flags trip, allowing the event to rent buses for the 50 people attending. VP of Finance Dalitso Nkhoma commented that the event was unfortunately sold out, but that perhaps more open slots would be available next year. The council also agreed to cosponsor a mental health conference, as part of Mental Health Week, which is unfolding from February 15 to February 22.

VP of Campus Life Jade Le-Cascarino encouraged the council to spread the word about the Singles Mingle event happening on February 11th from 8 pm to 10 pm at Amity Hall. GSSC has approved a budget of $1,600 for the event, which includes 150 drink tickets. Student Body President Elizabeth Heyman stated that this was everyone’s chance to “party like you are forever alone.”

Reminders and updates after the jump!

Feb

3

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We are so excited to be mentored!!

We are so excited about being mentored!!

Intrepid new Bwoggers Romane Thomas and Jennifer Nugent ventured into the depths of bureaucracy at the latest GSSC meeting, where branded staplers, website updates, and breathless anticipation for Valentine’s Day were in abundance. Here’s their report.

After a Student Council retreat last Saturday and last week’s forum/town hall meeting, the General Studies Student Council (GSSC) progressed on a number of projects and channeled the initiatives discussed into new projects.

New mentorship program

Before the official start of the meeting, an upperclassman in the audience presented his project for a new mentorship program for GS students. Beyond academic and administrative help, the mentor (a third- or fourth-year) would introduce the mentee (a first-year) to their social circle, major, and extracurricular activities, with the aim of helping the mentee integrate into the GS community. Students would be paired up based on major and background. More information on signing up should be available soon.

Constitution Amended

A motion was made by Veteran Students Rep Michael Neier to amend the Student Council Constitution; he wanted to move the representatives of niche populations at GS (including the International Students Rep and Veteran Students Rep, among others) from the Campus Life pole to the Policy pole. University Senator Katharine Celentano pointed out that this was a logical change due to the need to hear the voice of all GS students regarding policy. A divided Student Council passed the motion.

More updates (especially on that website) after the jump!

Jan

27

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Scrap the singles event--use the student leader directory to find your someone special

Scrap the singles event–use the student leader directory to find your someone special

GSSC got interactive at their last assembly, and Bureau Chief/Wednesday Wastrel Joe Milholland was on hand to witness the outpouring of ideas. Directories only slightly less creepy than directory.columbia.edu, visiting Buddhist monks, and “GS Singles Mingle” (perhaps the most highly anticipated social event of the semester, as of now) await!

A searchable directory of student leaders and changers to peer advisors were the two major topics brought up at the General Studies Student Council (GSSC) town hall on Tuesday night.

Eschewing the usual format of their weekly meetings, GSSC invited GS student groups to bring questions and concerns to their general body meeting.

Student Leader Directory

First up was Erin Giventer, who first had a question from a peer advising team, asking if it was possible to have a searchable database of student leaders from GS clubs with information on the various positions within the club. Giventer said it could potentially be created by either someone on GSSC or through a paid work-study job.

The goal of such a database, Giventer said, would be so that students with specific goals (she brought up the idea of regular potluck dinner) could find groups on campus they could work with towards those goals.

Directories don’t just exist for stalking

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