CCSC Interviews: The Party Bus Party (Bus)
Written by Bwog Staff
In this part in the series of interviews of the competing tickets for the upcoming CCSC elections on Tuesday, Bwog joins Nuriel Moghavem, Vikas Anand, Roxanne Unger, and Alex Kirk of the Party Bus Party (Bus), which is running for the 2011 Class Council.
How would you evaluate the job done by the current senior class council?
Nuriel (President): They’ve done a phenomenal job. Like what they did with 40s on 40: telling the school “screw you, we don’t want to be penned in,” was really nice. I think that’s kind of our motto for next year – to do things our way. That’s something that Cliff really blazed a trail for. I think we’re going to be doing a lot more innovative events next year. We have an idea for senior seminar open mics. The people in our class are really awesome and do cool things and we want to learn what those things are. It would give an opportunity for someone who’s really good at web design to teach web design to other CC students who might be interested. I brew beer in my free time, so I could teach that to other CC students. Just the idea of sharing our knowledge with each other and that kinda goes hand in hand with open mic events, which are really easy to put together. I’m kind of baffled why it hasn’t been put together already.
Alex (Class Representative): In the city, this year they did after parties for Lunar Gala. In Mark Johnson’s year they did a senior pub crawl, which I think we all agree would be really awesome. That previous year was really good about getting people off campus. They did bar specials on Bourbon Street, or 50 cent beer nights. We want to advocate for bars that are in 90s and 80s that are totally acceptable, which do all these specials and it’s like, why not have senior night at Lion’s Head which is like 2 blocks away, and they do dollar beer nights on Wednesdays.
Nuriel: Lerner Pub happens once a month down in the Lerner Party Space, and it’s free beer for seniors there. But we’re also thinking that once month we’d have a similar kind of pub night at pubs around the city. We could go to bars in Chelsea or the Lower East Side. I think that if we’re not getting seniors outside of Morningside Heights, we haven’t done our job well.
Alex: Yeah, and no offense to Columbia but Lerner Pub really sucks. So it’s not fun. At all. Being locked in the basement of Lerner with one beer per hour is not fun.
What experiences do each of your ticket members bring to the senior class council?
Roxanne (Class Representative): I’m one of the coordinators for COOP. It’s a great job because all we really need to make sure is that people have fun (and stay safe, of course). And don’t die. We’ve never had anyone die on us. So I have that experience keeping people alive.
Alex: I’ve done class council for two years – freshman and sophomore year. I also served on Campus Life. I had King’s Ball under my belt for two years and I planned other campus-wide events. And I’m co-president of Bacchanal. I’ve done planning for basically all of the largest events on campus, and fun stuff like bar parties. I also did Ivy Council and I am the chair of our D.C. conference, which we had 40 students across 5 councils. I spent a year and a half planning that whole entire conference. We had speakers from all over, like Kal Penn, the head of the White House interns, the Chief of Staff, the Secretary of Commerce…
Vikas (Class Representative): I’ve done two years on ABC, so I’m pretty well connected in terms of groups on campus. I know what kind of programming goes on in different groups, and how that’s done and funded. And I know about policy and what sort of policies are on campus. I’m also part of Bhangra and we put on one of the larger shows – Bhangra in the Heights – so I’ve done programming with that.
Nuriel: A lot of my experience is also programming-oriented. I coordinated COOP last year. I’m currently one of the VPs of CIRCA. We have our elections on Monday. I’m running for president. We host two major conferences here, so we’re programming really big conferences. And this year on CCSC I was the VP of Funding and one of my really big initiatives was called Project Grants. We realized that not all the great things that people want to do happen through clubs. A lot of the times students just want to do cool stuff. We’re giving them the power to do so, and helping them program. I’ve been working intermittently with those 6 groups over the past few weeks. There’s one group that wants to do foosball on College Walk, and we’re working with the administration to get them that space.
Zach [who’s running for VP but is studying abroad at London School of Economics this semester] has two big involvements. One is a program called Musical Mentor. They’re currently seeking community impact recognition. Actually one of the things that we want to do in our policy work is try to make it easier for clubs to get recognized. His organization goes to Harlem and teaches kids how to play musical instruments.
In light of the demise of a formal 40s on 40, and the ongoing War on Fun, what campus life events do you plan on holding next year, and how do you think current events like Lerner Pub could be improved?
Nuriel: This idea is still a twinkle in my eye, but what I really want for next year’s 40 is that we just order 200 cigars for freshmen. I mean for seniors.
Alex: Yes – we create a diversion. We’re going to get you freshmen CAVAed and we’re all just gunna drink in the ambulance and fill the IV bags with 40s.
Nuriel: I think it would be kind cool if we just replace one vice with the other, cuz literally there is nothing they can do to stop us from smoking cigars on the steps of Low. Unless the smoking ban happens. We’re not going to let that happen. 40s on 40 will happen. People can handle the beer on their own.
Roxanne: I like the idea of creating a diversion though.
Nuriel: Yeah we’ll have fakeouts. I mean honestly, these traditions are happening. I come from Biology, right. We had to adapt to our new environment of this predatory species. We’re going to evolve.
Alex: Oh my God no. Predatory species? Adapt to our environment? You did not just say that. She’s going to write that and people are going to be like, “No, I am not voting for this douchebag.”
Nuriel: But Lerner Pub – Lerner Pubs are still free beer. I think one of things that we can do with them is really amp them up, like making our Lerner Pub space to reflect other things that are going on campus. So instance, like the April Lerner Pub could be “pump up for Tamasha,” and different ones throughout the year. Like “pump up for Culture Shock.” And have those clubs come and be able to have sneak previews for seniors at the Lerner Pub. The Varsity Show, performing arts stuff on campus…not only are we not doing our job if we’re not getting seniors off campus, but if a senior graduates from here and still hasn’t gone to a performing arts show, or a culture show, that’s on us. That’s bad, because those things are incredible. And I think that having those clubs be able to come to Lerner Club, have a teaser for Seniors, will help seniors come to Lerner Pub and all hang out with each other, and have the turn out come up for Lerner Pub. But also then the turnout should be higher for the culture show or that performing arts event. So hopefully we can team up with other clubs for those kind of things…We’re all club leaders, one big different between us and the other party is that our immediate way of thinking is really clubs, on campus. Like thinking about organizations. The opposing party, I think they way that they think is immediately in terms of offices and programs of the university. And I think that’s a really stark difference between us.
Besides issues that are already being discussed by this year’s council (smoking ban, gender neutral housing, etc.), what do you think should be CCSC’s top new policy priority?
Vikas: I think the biggest thing that’s happening right now is the P-card system, which gives clubs a sort of debit card. It could help a lot in terms of our reimbursements.
Nuriel: This idea is kind of being floated: giving clubs purchasing cards so that they can make purchases on a debit card that’s linked to their club account. It’s not something that’s guaranteed to happen next year. It’s something that needs to be pushed. And it looks like there’s probably going to be a pilot program in the fall for it. Over the summer actually it’ll probably be piloted by NSOP, COOP and res programs. Then in the first semester, maybe 20 clubs might try it out. But what’s really going to happen is that they’re going to evaluate it and see whether this works for students or not. And our job is then going to be to say, “yeah, this works. This makes life a whole lot easier.” So pushing for that is one of our big policy things.
Vikas: Space is always a huge issue on campus. Some things are opening up in Schapiro and Broadway, but there isn’t really a consensus on what the space should be in terms of the university. ABC, CCSC, we all have ideas for it, but the administration’s kind of like, giving us obstacles. So I guess overcoming those, pushing for what we think is best for the students.
Nuriel: Another thing is also to make the club recognition process a little bit easier to navigate. Cuz right now people who want to start up a new club or in ABC, SGB or even Club Sports – it’s really tough to do so – to just sort of get on your feet. For any of these governing boards, for the most part, you need to have been active for a year before you even apply. But how can you be active for a year if you can’t reserve space, if you don’t have any money. I talked about the Project Grants idea, but a lot of the thinking that led to that idea was, how can we take ideas that are in people’s heads that they want to turn in student groups and give them an initial amount of funding to do something with. One of the ideas that we funded is a multi-lingual lit magazine called Babel. It’s not a student group. They’re just students. If that’s going to take off, they have some money to put out their first issue, to get people on board and interested in reading it, that could turn into a legitimate publication. Giving students the ability to make dreams into organizations. We’ve been working on getting them unused space in Hamilton that clubs aren’t using. That’s a huge first step. Getting the funding through the project grants. That’s another huge first step.
(In jest, of course) If you had to steal student government funds, what would you spend them on?
Nuriel: I probably shouldn’t be answering this question. I’m VP of Funding. I know the numbers…but anyways, more foosball tables. For sure. Airhockey tables too.
Roxanne: Or turn Lerner Ramps into a Slip and Slide.
Nuriel: If we had inflatable cushions you could go all the way down.
Roxanne: I think we have come to a consensus.
Alex: Glass House Rocks next year will be themed Slip and Slide.
Nuriel: We’ll make it so much easier for the seniors after us. We’re not going to take all of the administration’s shit. Well we’re going to be equal partners with them. We’re going to be communicating with them, we’ll be cooperating with them to the extent that we need to, but we have our own agenda, and it will sometimes run against their, and we’re just going to focus on making sure that ours takes the upper hand.
Alex: A lot of the things that people are continuing to throw are institutional events, like Lerner Pub or Senior Week – that’s all ruled by SDA. You go to SDA and you sign a form and sign up to work with the SDA to an event. It is all through them. We want events for us by us. For the people by the people. We wanna be FUBU. We should rename ourseves the FUBU party.
Nuriel: A lot of what the other party is focusing on is policy stuff. And that’s always successful because that’s really stuff that’s not in our hands. It’s in the faculty’s hands, not the students’. But when we talk about events that we can actually do, that’s in our hands. We’re talking about doing programming. We get good results. You can do that stuff.
Alex: And we all have really good experience with programming. Like COOP.
Nuriel: When you tell the school’s insurance office that you’re going to take 200 students out into the woods and you’re not going to hear from them for five days, they shit themselves.
Roxanne: But we do it every year.
Alex: We fight off bugs and rattlesnakes.
Nuriel: Actually we don’t fight the rattlesnakes – we make friends with them and use them on our side.
Roxanne: That’s off the record because we have a really good relationship with rattlesnakes right now.