Dane Cook reports.

This Monday’s SGA meeting featured special guest and master of alliteration Professor Kathryn Kolbert. Recently appointed as the director of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies, Professor Kolbert spoke at length about the Athena Center’s soon-to-be-launched leadership program. Aiming to improve leadership training both inside and outside of the classroom, the program will bestow the coveted ‘Athena Scholar’ distinction on participants’ transcripts.  The program will have four main requirements, including a curriculum of approved courses, an internship or mentoring activity, and an off-campus independent leadership project.

“Leadership is something you learn to do, and therefore keeping the program open to as many students as possible is my goal,” Kolbert explained. She explicitly extended an open invitation to the council for input and involvement and hopes the program will reflect students’ wants and needs as accurately as possible. Moreover, Kolbert intends to include a student advisory board that will aid in shaping the program alongside the faculty advisory committee and an alumni council, as well as a board of women leaders around the country. By creating such a collaborative project, the Athena Center aspires to reach beyond any given pool of participants to the Barnard community at large: “I’m hoping more than anything that we create at Barnard the ethic that leadership involves not only the current group, but also the next group.” 

After a brief Q & A, Professor Kolbert graciously expressed her gratitude for SGA’s efficiency. As she bid farewell, she praised, “Thank you for keeping questions short so I can catch the Eagles game,” before qualifying, “You better watch it,  because I’m an Phillies fan too.”

The council also voted to recognize the collaborative student dance group COLAB as an official club. Already in existence for two years, COLAB has been performing on campus but only recently sought student council recognition. 

Whitney Hoot, SGA’s correspondent to the School of General Studies student council, reported they have launched their new website entitled ‘General Studies Lounge’. Also, GSSC’s latest policy initiative is to gain swipe access to all University buildings, including residence halls – which has so far been denied.  

Bwog was kicked out early this week, as the council closed the remainder of the meeting to the press for their mid-semester review. However, Rachel Gashkoff briefly updated SGA on Basketball Mania, which is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 12.  The council wondered how the enthusiasm displayed at the event could infuse the rest of the season. Perhaps Columbia students just need a little direction: this year’s Basketball Mania may feature a new call-and-response cheer for those who need a structured opportunity to express their school spirit.