Bwog presents the first installment of today’s series of interviews of the competing tickets for the upcoming CCSC elections on Tuesday. The Naked Party, comprised of Eugenio Suarez, Opal Hoyt, Laura Gabriele, Beezly Kiernan, and Stephanie Wilhelm, are campaigning for the executive board based on ‘accessibility, transparency and accountability, as well as innovation.’ Check back with us the rest of the day as we interview the other CCSC parties.
How would you evaluate the job done by the current student council, especially the current executive board?
Eugenio: Sue Yang has had a lot of great ideas, and all of them are on the table, but she has not had the time nor the resources to see all of them through.
Beezly: She’s done a fabulous job, and we want to continue her legacy. She has done wonders for the image of student council, and developed ties with the administration. I think we now need to be more assertive with the administration.
Stephanie: Sue Yang has done a really great job of making the administration understand what we want, but the administration needs to understand why they should take our opinion into consideration. They’ve also done a really great job with the CCSC cafés, getting people to come and say what they think.
Eugenio: Our rationality has been heard, but not the emotion that is motivating it, and why we matter… There’s only so far you can push, but there are different ways of pushing, different angles you can approach from.In light of the struggles over the academic calendar, gender neutral housing, and other issues, what sort of relationship do you envision for your exec board with the Columbia administration?
Beezly: We do need to be more assertive. We need to come to the table with specific demands. We need to do a better job at communicating how students really feel.
Opal: There’s a difference between telling them what we want and showing them why our opinion matters.
Eugenio: We want to reclaim the student council from the administration.
What campus life events do you plan on holding next year?
Opal: Right now I’m working with CU Records. People do so many amazing things but they are all isolated events. We need to create an atmosphere that says, this is why you need to come to our campus. I’d really like to increase our off-campus relations. We need to make other people come to see Columbia. We want school spirit to be more incorporated with the city in general. We want to make it more possible to have outdoor events. It’s really hard to create awareness when everything is inside.
Laura: We are working to make CU Travels happen. Our aim is to provide subsidized trips for students to get off campus and outside the city. It would also foster school spirit to travel in groups and get perspective on places off campus and out of New York.
Besides issues that are already being discussed by this year’s council (smoking ban, gender neutral housing, etc.), what would be your board’s top new policy priority?
Eugenio: Our priorities are based on what’s most feasible. The Core Lounge would be great and we feel it is extremely important to have a communal space. However in terms of feasibility that would be extremely difficult, so that’s a long-term goal. I think the fundamental problem is the lack of information that’s flowing between the students and the administration.
Opal: Not one of the bullet points on our ticket stands above the rest, but the most important goal is to increase communication. Any parts of any of our projects that we can make happen, and that also increase communication, they’re the top priority.
Beezly: You can focus on one policy really hard, but if the administration bars it, then it bars it.
Laura: One strength of our platform is that we’re not thinking just about a one-year life-span of one governing council. These are projects that we want to initiate, and even if they don’t come to fruition while we’re here, we want to get them rolling and hope that future councils want to continue them.
What experiences do each of your ticket members bring to the CCSC executive board?
Eugenio: I was a representative and then Treasurer for the Student Governing Board, I’ve also worked for the Office of Public Affairs and Communications.
Opal: Right now I’m the vice-president of CU Records, and I also work for the CU Arts Initiative
Stephanie: I’ve been involved with student council for the past three years. I’m also the president of the Economics Society, and the vice-president of the Finance of the Ivy Council.
Laura: Despite being a CC student I’ve served on ESC for two years, and the Student Life Committee for one. I’m also the Vice President of the French Cultural Society.
Beezly: This past year I was secretary of SGB and treasurer of the Campus Life Committee for CCSC.