Five Questions with The Clear Party
Written by Bwog Staff
In a two-part series on the eve of CCSC Elections, Bwog sat down with the dueling slates for 2010 Class Council. Below is our interview with Cliff Massey, Eve Phan, Asher Grodman, Ruqayyah Abdul-Karim, and Lena Fan of The Clear Party. CC juniors can also read our debate coverage, and can find our first interview, with The Party Party, here. Voting begins tomorrow.
“You’re running against a party with several incumbents – what do you think is the importance of experience on the council, and what experience do you bring to the council?”
Cliff: For us, we think that real experience comes from being members of a diverse cross-section of the student body, of putting lots of events of different areas.
Asher: Class council and the events at Columbia are often the same thing over and over again, and to people inside of it, they’re think about doing these. And so when you’re within, you’re lacking at just those events, but with us, we look at branching out.
Cliff: We understand what goes into planning an event – we’ve reserved space, we’ve know what administrators to talk to. So in that sense we have a lot of experience for what takes up much of the class council’s time.
What is your opinion of the “War on Fun,” and how do you plan to improve next year’s senior class events?
Cliff: We all have our own separate experiences in working with the “war on fun.” As head of ABC’s Policy committee, I’ve worked on the alcohol policy for groups, and I know how groups can be frustrated with certain requirements like proctors and so forth. In terms of actual groups and actual events, our actual goal is to push the administration for the return of 40s on 40. While I thought that the “Senior Playpen” was fun, we’re looking into increasing the variety of alcohol and live performances.
Eve: Yeah, if Lerner Pub has to have a one drink per hour ratio, then we want people to stay in between.
Asher: But with all this, we need to also look at branching out, and making people aware of what’s going on on campus All of us are from different backgrounds, from frats and cultural groups, and we all bring different experiences.
Lena: As for residential policies, I think that while the new alcohol policy will be favorably received by seniors, and will go some way to reducing the belief that the school is “attacking” them or something.
With concerns about the endowment, if CCSC were forced to make budget cuts, what would be your first priority to keep fully funded?
Cliff: The first priority to be funded properly is probably going to be the traditional events like Lerner Pubs. Lerner Pubs, because it’s a four council event, is important because senior year should involve all the schools. Another area of our platform that we really feel strongly about is career services.
Ruqayyah: Basically we want every senior to be equipped with basic skills when they graduate. I remember reading about CCE promoting a Columbia teaching Columbians program, and we’d love to do that within our own class. We met a senior while dormstorming who wanted to teach computer languages – a skill many of his classmates would find useful. Another example is the online career fairs – I for one couldn’t attend the premed career fair at the start of the semester, and having the specific information on the website could help.
Eve: We also have the idea of major networking nights, where students from different majors can hang out, share ideas, and network.
Lena: So in that sense using the resources that already exist, which actually keeps more money from being spent.
Asher: And we can extend that to groups as well, with performing arts groups sharing space with study breaks for example. That promotes the arts groups, as well as the group holding the study break, and less food needs to be bought, and less space reserved.
Cliff: And that kind of hits on one of our main philosophies as a ticket: council should act as one of those areas that all these diverse areas of groups and students can be tied together.
Asher: I lived in McBain last year, and all the time people complained about leftover food from a study break. Often, those breaks were held by one group only, and that waste could be lessened if we bring more groups together to hold study breaks.
What relationship do you hope to have with next year’s executive board?
Cliff: The relationship we hope to have next year is of course a close relationship, and especially as the senior class council, with three years of experience as Columbians under our belts, we want to get involved with those individual policy committees. We’ve talked about expanding cosponsorships, for example, so that CCSC can help out even more. I know most of the members of the exec board from class or from working with them: I’ve worked with Sue Yang in the past, I’m on ABC with Nuriel, and I’ve been discussing a campus life ideas with Daisy for several weeks, as you can see from our ideas.
Asher: One idea is bringing more student groups to Bacchanal, getting more live performances and so forth. And what’s important for us is the memories of stuff like Senior Week and Lerner Pub.
Cliff: This is not to say that we’ll neglect policy, but that’s of course the responsibility first and foremost of the VP for Policy. We’ll be the voice of the senior class’s ideas, but we also want to make sure that their year is memorable.
Lena: And it’s about not just connecting groups, but people, so I’ve been talking with SEAS 2010 to do more events together, and we’re definitely looking forward to putting those on.
What would you like to improve on from this past year’s council?
Ruqayyah: In general, I just didn’t really know what class council did, and I feel like if you want to be a representative of a class, people should be able to know who you are and how to approach you, and I’d like for us to be people that students can approach and we can help right away.
Asher: Right now, there are systems for communication, but they’re laid back and most people aren’t aware that they exist. I had no intention of getting involved until I was talking with Cliff and I realized that class council can be a mechanism to bring everyone together. One example is athletes, which the council didn’t really work with this year, and people just need to be pushed to realize how fun these events can be.
Cliff: Yeah, I didn’t realize how fun the basketball games until I started going. The really important thing here is that we know that we’re not the only ones who can plan events, and we want people to come to us with these great ideas, and we can use our resources to make those events even better.
Asher: Yeah, right now, athletes and performing groups and frats just sort of do their own thing, not aware that others can come in and help out with.