Although there was only a small showing of the general student body, all elected members of CCSC managed to brave the high winds and… well, high winds for the regular Sunday night meeting. In light of the two week hiatus, there was a lot on the agenda including a number of updates from Class Councils, Senators, liaisons and the Executive Board as well as three resolutions and a presentation on the Office of Environmental Stewardship. Bwog’s Student Council Aficionado Maren Killackey reports.
2013: will be having a Halloween event on Wednesday. They have also confirmed their speaker for the next Professor speaker series event (on Nov. 28) as Dr. Frances Negron-Muntaner who is, among a number of things, director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race.
2014: will be partnering with Ferris Reel to host a screening of “Batman Begins”
2015: has their Tips for Treats event on Lerner ramps next Wednesday where students will be given candy in exchange for writing out tips for initiatives or events the 2015 Council should look into. Council has booked Roone Auditorium for Nov. 14 and will be hosting some sort Ben & Jerry’s event with 1000 free servings. Council also discussed the possibility of allowing students to come in their pajamas and so might title the event “BJs in Your PJs.” Title was quickly nixed.
2016: chose all 10 members of the appointed council and has precalendared space for next semester
Senators: had their second plenary meeting of the year where the smoking ban was reintroduced. They also heard a presentation on online education and how to tailor it to students as opposed to the massive open online courses (MOOCs) which are open to the public. They also discussed the formation of an intergraduate school council that would focus on programming (a la Fall Festival), which would then expand to being a university-wide council. Lastly, Senate has been looking into more campus resources for students who are parents.
ABC liaison: people still aren’t using LionLink, prompting questions from the greater Council, namely, what the hell is LionLink?
E-board: Student Project Grant applications went out last night and will be due back Nov. 18. This will be the only time during the year the Finance Committee will be receiving SPG applications, so even if your event is planned for next semester, get your app in now. On Nov. 14 there will be a How to Make a Difference event during which CCSC will release their How To guides on WikiCU.
CCSC heard a presentation on the Office of Environmental Stewardship, or rather about the problems OES has been having and what it ideally should be. Among a number of things, OES faces a lack of funds, administrative clout, visibility among students, and clear goals with solid metrics. As sustainability is becoming a bigger and bigger issue and has is having more of an effect on where students choose to go to college, having a strong environmental sustainability record can be an asset to admissions.
As things stand, Columbia ranks among the bottom of schools that have been making radical changes towards becoming environmentally sustainable and though the school did sign PlaNYC, a contract that requires signees to reduce emissions 30% by 2017, administratively, we’ve done squat towards it. Student groups like EcoReps have been instrumental in raising awareness about environmental issues, hosting events, etc. as well as getting The Rocket (EcoReps’ beloved composter) on campus, the first among urban universities and colleges in the States. However, when it comes to effecting infrastructural change, that’s where an Office would be most beneficial.
Some of the proposed alterations to the OES’s mission would be to create programs that would put Columbia at the forefront of sustainability, conduct R&D on these programs and others around the country it would then pitch to other Offices and Departments, provide consultancy to students on how to “green” their events, and establish a “directing” committee composed of students and administrators. Also, ideally staff would be bolstered from the current three and one pseudo-vacancy (up until 2007 the Office had four staff members), new staff being both professional and work-study.
Ultimately, all the presenters were asking for was for CCSC to throw their weight behind the idea of strengthening the OES in the ways laid out in the presentation. Should the Council agree, they’d draw up a resolution with CCSC President Karishma Habbu that would be presented to the general body. When that’s passed, they’d present it to Scott Wright who would then, hopefully, go to work on it.
JJ Study Space Proposal:
Given a rather successful trial period of keeping John Jay open late as a study space, the council decided on a resolution that would continue to keep the dining hall open until 1 am. Some council members were wary of the fact that at this point CCSC and ESC are the only councils paying into the $3,500 half of what it costs to pay students to clean JJ up at night. VP Finance Daphne Chen kindly reminded everyone that the Council is running a surplus this year to the tune of $100,000. The resolution passed unanimously.
Arts Initiative Proposal:
From his self-described “kind of depressing” presentation on the state of the Arts Initiative, VP Policy Will Hughes presented a proposal on what the Council would formally do about it. Various administrative changes were suggested including the creation of an advisory committee, but other more dramatic changes included the removal of CUArts current head in favor of one who is less… conflicted. While the Council recognized the political implications of the suggested solutions (namely the fact that CUArts’ current condition is sad and affecting the student body negatively), they decided to table the resolution until they mull over the language and exact solutions proposed. In the meantime, students can show their support of CUArts by signing the Save the Arts Initiative at www.savetheartsinitiative.org.
Alumni Affairs Rep Proposal:
Recognizing that ESC and GSC both have elected Alumni Affairs liaisons, CCSC 2015 President Loxley Bennet presented a proposal that would effectively demonstrate the Council’s support of the idea of having one of their own, but not about what language exactly would be put into CCSC’s constitution. Because people were not yet willing to support changes to the constitution, this resolution too was tabled.
awkward Batman impersonator via Shutterstock