ESC, etc.: The 2012 Candidate Forum
Written by Bwog Staff
Bwog’s Fu Foundation Bureau Chief Sean Zimmermann actually sat through the Night of 1,000 Speeches, or ESC’s 2012 candidate forum. His report, and some admittedly sub-par cameraphone pictures, follow.
Gimmicks and costumes dominated the Engineering Student Council forum today, as each of the first year candidates concluded their campaigns with formal speeches. This year’s parties were: FuReal, Red, White, & Fu, Super Fu, Pirates of the SEAS, and JK. There were also unaffiliated candidates running in each category. The predominant themes of the speeches were expanding campus WiFi, improving food/dinning services, and building up the Columbia/SEAS community.
Some quick observations, by the numbers:
- 0: Female presidential candidates
- 2: Male vice-presidential candidates
- 4: Candidates in costume (Spiderman, Arthur the Aardvark, and two pirates)
- 1: Gandhi quote
- 1: AWOL candidate (apparently complications stranded our hero in New Jersey)
- Nathan Lee (FuReal): Promised to promote and maintain community within both the SEAS community and the larger Columbia community. His (and his party’s) strongest point was the idea of a SEAS student mentoring program: freshmen students could seek help from upperclassman for anything from hard problem set to trouble making friends in a new environment.
- Nathan Levick (Red, White, and Fu): Promised better WiFi around campus, more research/internships for freshmen students, and more CC/SEAS interaction.
- Derrick Fu (Super Fu): Began by telling how Super Fu came into existence; his story involved a dark night, elevators, canned beverages, and ninjas. Proposed later Butler hours, more CC/SEAS interaction, better/cheaper John Jay food, longer JJ’s Place hours, Better WiFi, and microwaves on all Carman floors. Described self as “devilishly good-looking.”
- Gregory Feldman (Pirates of the SEAS): Wearing a pirate hat and an eye patch, this presidential hopeful promised to lead us through stormy seas (get it?) by eliminating early fire drills, opening the often-closed fields in front of Butler, and proposed class-wide study breaks with “boat-loads of free food” (get it?).
- Joseph Barakat (JK): Given his “Why so serious?” posters, Bwog was surprised he was not in costume. However, he had made solid points by promising to improve class registration so SEAS students are not forced out of electives because of pre-registered classes. Also promised breakfast stations in Carman and Furnald, better pest control, and call ahead at JJ’s. Says he’s serious about change.
- Benjamin Malec (Unaffiliated): Only candidate who wore a name tag. Promised beautification (“Mudd, as beautiful as it is, it isn’t really that beautiful”), culture, and efficiency. Said he wanted to improve SEAS pride, fix slippery steps at Butler, put staplers in the computer labs, fix Hartley pool tables, and allow curtains in the dorms.
When Q&A rolled around and candidates were asked about funding for WiFi, curtains in Mudd, breakfast stations and the like, most fumbled for specifics. There were mentions of LiveStrong-type bracelets and bake sales.
- Fatima Dicko (FuReal): Proposed engineering lotteries for necessities, such as TI-89s. Also promised to help break down CC/SEAS barrier and create a food delivery service during exam week.
- David Gu (Red, White, and Fu): Described platform as one for “comprehensive change.” Two major initiatives were to upgrade the Columbia technology network to defeat the “monster that is the Ethernet cable,” and to build a more comprehensive research program for undergrads.
- Jessica Wu (Super Fu): The ninja in her running mate’s story, she promised more cross majoring and cross registration between SEAS and CC students, and a better transfer process between SEAS/CC because, “we’re 18” and we don’t know exactly what we want to do. For stress-busting brainstorming activity, she noted she liked swimming, and NYU’s Milk and Cookies club, and suggested ESC combine the two for a stress-busting milk and cookies swimming party.
- Katherine Chan (JK): As was consistent with the JK party platform, she pushed for environmental initiatives. She also said she’d deal with the bedbug problem (of which she herself was a victim) and install change machines in the laundry rooms.
- Anmol Gupta (Unaffiliated): Wore a full body Spiderman costume to signify what he feels Columbia is missing most: school spirit. Also, provocatively said the lack of WiFi is good because it forces people out of their rooms and causes them to meet people.
Your reps (two will be elected):
- Judy Kim (FuReal): Promised screens in dorms, cheaper textbooks, and multiple swipes for the same meal. Says she feels she would best help the community as a representative.
- Ryan Mulvey (FuReal): Promised to voice all student complaints to administration, looked forward to working on sponsorship committee to help build up community and implement his party’s upper-classmen advising program.
- Eric Tang (Red, White, and Fu): Said his, and his party’s, platform points were: a better learning environment, WiFi, and better events. He describes himself as someone who is a “disgrace to Asians everywhere” because he can’t play Frisbee, and admits that he has no sense of time (what became apparent when the moderator cut him off).
- Mailing Wu (Red, White, and Fu): AWOL.
- Eric Hams (Super Fu): Promised more SEAS pride, identity, and unity. Says he understands how to serve his community well. Also promised to get more SEAS-specific merchandise for the bookstore.
- Xin Zhang (Independent): Came in singing theme from Arthur and Friends (you probably watched it when you were younger; if you don’t remember it, Google). She claimed we were all “Busters, Brains, Francines” (those are friends of Arthur’s). Also proposed improving food quality in John Jay.
As is traditional in freshman elections, many of the candidates spent a great deal of their allotted time rattling off their resumes, making the rookie mistake in overlooking that we all got in to Columbia, we all worked hard, we all had to balance SATs with clubs and schoolwork.
Because of student council rules, the campaign does not officially end until 11:59pm tonight, so it appears candidates have decided to dedicate the last few hours to plastering their posters over their competitors’.
Voting takes place on September 24th and 25th.