Nov

22

CCSC: Student Initiatives, Housing, and Unpaid Bills

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"I'll be your cuddle buddy"

Senior Satow Correspondents Sarah Ngu and Maren Killackey report from this week’s CCSC meeting. They recap a student-run wellness initiative, financial aid communication and reform, the possibility of junior regroup during housing, a vegan composter, and brownstones for general lottery.

Student Wellness Project

Karishma Habbu, the Student Services Rep, and Wilfred Chan,  yourCCSC.com webmaster, unveiled the Student Wellness Project to CCSC. Chan and a number of students met soon after the death of Tina Bu to discuss how to best address long-standing wellness issues on campus. “Wellness is basically you at your best… It is marked by balanced quality of life and a sense of well-being,” Chan told CCSC at Sunday’s meeting, listing all the dimensions of wellness (mental, physical, financial, spiritual, social, etc). He continued, “A lot of students tend to take [wellness] for granted,” accepting it as a reality of life at a tough school like Columbia. But wellness, as the SWP aims to emphasize, should instead be thought of as a fundamental right.

They have already met with Dean Valentini, Dean Shollenberger, Dean Martinez and Dr. Richard Eichler (the director of Columbia Psychological Services) and have been personally recruiting interested students; it’s open for anyone to join in. The Project’s long-term aim is to provide a bridge between students and resources available to them, and further to improve these resources.

A few goals that are currently underway:

  • Student-run wellness website that centralizes resources and encourages discussion
  • Student-led committee that publishes an annual report on Columbia’s community wellness
  • Improved wellness training programs for NSOP and ResLife
  • Peer-to-peer mentoring
  • Puppy therapy!

The SWP meets every Tuesday at 10pm in 522 Kent. Contact Wilfred or Karishma for more information on SWP and how to join in. The Student Wellness Project is involved with the CU Student Forum, a growing gathering of individual students who want to address major issues on campus like lacking student space.

Financial Aid

750 students were unable to register for classes this semester because they had a $1,000 unpaid balance for tuition payment—this is a standard Columbia policy. The Financial Aid office sent multiple e-mails notifying students of the outstanding bill, but most ignored them. A Council member countered, saying that when he tried to rectify the situation he was redirected to three different offices, none of whom really knew what was going on. Some students said that although they received the email they didn’t know it meant that they couldn’t register.

Student Development Affairs and Financial Aid are partnering with the councils to submit the Financial Aid Office to a systematic review process similar to that conducted of CSA last semester. It would include discussions, surveys and focus groups.

Housing

Junior Re-group

Council voiced near unanimous support for an option that would allow Juniors to regroup at the end of suite selection and double up to take remaining suites. It remains to be seen if administration will implement such a policy.

Composting

The long-awaited composter, destined for installation in the basement of Ruggles, will be up and running sometime next year. Only vegetable waste —no dairy, meat, or oil—can be used. The composter will first be opened up to dining halls, then to campus groups, and after a few weeks, to individuals.

Brownstones

The brownstones that Columbia just acquired will not be opened up for general lottery. Located on 113th St. between Broadway and Riverside, the former nunnery will be re-designed to create singles and doubles for 70 people. KevSho previously stated that these would be Student Affairs confirms that these will be reserved for new Living Learning special interest housing.

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9 Comments

  1. Anonymous  

    congrats, CU environmentalists, on FINALLY getting that damned composter okayed.

  2. HI  

    Actually there are hundred of students who weren't able to register for classes BECAUSE WE HAVEN'T RECEIVED OUR FINANCIAL AID YET. Hence, can't pay our bills. Hence, can't sign up for classes. Thanks Columbia.

    • Anonymous  

      The thing that irks me is that they wait until just before registration to put these holds on the accounts, when I'm fairly sure they know that an account will be over the allowed $1000. For me, they put the hold on Wednesday (11/9) giving me two business days to figure out what I had to get fixed, since my student loan hadn't been disbursed, and then getting that all done. The thing is though that everyone else who had an account hold got notified around the same time and that just creates a clusterfuck of people contacting Student Financial Services and Financial Aid trying to remedy their situation, or, as noted in this post, people didn't even know they had a hold. It just seems like they are creating an inefficient system for themselves; if they like dealing with a shitload of upset students in the time span of 2-3 days, they've created a nice system for that.

      If they just gave students more time to react to the hold (read: NOT DAYS BEFORE REGISTRATION) or found a better way of flagging accounts who receive financial aid and being conscious of the fact that the outstanding hold is due to not receiving funds, the whole problem would be fixed. But as it stands now, it's fucking ridiculous.

  3. Anonymous

    tl;dr PUPPY THERAPY oh shit

  4. um, what about alice  

    So maybe because I know people that work there... but, what about alice? Don't they have a ton of stuff to support wellness? It seems like everyone I know talks about it at some point. I just looked at their website - there is a ton of stuff that supports wellness

    http://health.columbia.edu/services/alice

  5. Anonymous

    Why don't we have the option of a dorm where pets could live with students? they have it at stanford.

  6. zomg  

    that puppy is ADORABLE

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