Adam Kuerbitz was there!

Last night’s CCSC meeting was a whopper, clocking in at just over an hour and a half. President Learned Foote opened the meeting with a discussion of the recent drama surrounding the council elections, particularly among first-year students. He specifically mentioned Grace Bickers’ recent op-ed piece in Spec about the need for a freshmen orientation to CCSC before elections. Council members discussed the possibility of reinstituting an orientation begun by former CCSC President Sue Yang CC’10, but there was also a consensus that confusion over the political process at Columbia is inevitable among first-year students. The council plans to continue the discussion next week.

Monique Rinere, Dean of Advising and Associate Dean of Student Affairs, then spoke about reform in the Center for Student Advising. While an informal poll of people at the meeting revealed that most students know their adviser’s name and have visited the new advising center, few report having a positive advising experience in college. Dean Rinere, who came to Columbia last year from Harvard where she began the undergraduate advising program and served as advising dean, seemed genuinely concerned about students’ lackluster experience and listened to suggestions including follow-up emails and more assessment of advisers. Following up on the Advising Partnership, a set of expectations of students and advisers released this year, Dean Rinere emphasized the need for greater collaboration between Directors of Undergraduate
Studies and CSA advisers. She welcomes further student suggestions.

Next came the weekly rigmarole about meal plans, but this time with good news. The most recent CCSC meal plan poll, sent out this week, reveals that more students approve of the current options and fewer disapprove, a new trend in the polling data. The poll also showed that many students want another dining hall open on weekends to relieve congestion around Ferris Booth. The council is waiting to collect more information before making an official recommendation.

The meeting closed with the council voting by an overwhelming majority to support the new Eco-Takeout container system in John Jay Dining Hall. Under the new system students can purchase a reusable takeout receptacle for $5 (students with meal plans receive them free of charge) or pay a small fee to use the disposable, clunky plastic boxes. Despite concerns that more students eating at Ferris Booth, which uses disposable dishes and silverware, mitigates the benefits of the program, the entire council voted to pass the measure with one member abstaining and one voting nay. The new plan is part of the PlaNYC carbon reduction goal, Mayor Bloomberg’s program to reduce carbon emissions 30% by 2030.

Bloomberg and Prezbo: the newest Planeteers.