Your Councils Say Hello
Written by Bwog Staff
Your student council presidents want to say hello! Read on:
Maddy Popkin, SGA President
Hey First Years!
Welcome to Barnard. Whether the college application process was the most stressful few months of your life, or you’re the first one in your family to go to college, or you’re just returning from a year away from academics, we’re psyched to have you. And congratulations on getting here! Seriously.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned about Barnard is that this place is what you make it.
Starting college is an incredible opportunity to be who you want to be, to study what makes you excited to get out of bed for an 8 a.m. class, to surround yourself with people who are positive and constructive presences in your life.
For me, that has meant finding intentional communities to be a part of. Joining and taking on a leadership role in Q, our queer group, being a peer educator for Well-Woman, our health and wellness office, and choosing to study what makes me feel fulfilled, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.
The most challenging and recent experience that this lesson has led me to is my role as the President of the Student Government Association. As an organization that advocates for student needs and facilitates communication between the student body and the administration, joining SGA is a great place to start creating your Barnard experience.
I haven’t been involved in student government since the 5th grade, and as a first year I NEVER thought I would be taking this on. But I have already found it to be an incredible platform for collaboration, active engagement with my community, and impactful change.
So! Even if SGA may not have been what you would’ve joined in high school–or if you were your high school’s student body president–stop by and see us at any one of our NSOP events to learn more about what we do, or just to get to know some friendly faces around campus.
Good luck, you’ll be great, don’t be afraid to reach out for support when you need it, and enjoy!!
Sidd Bhatt, ESC President
Greetings SEAS Class of 2017, Transfer, Combined Plan & 3-2 Students! Welcome to your new home and the most rewarding years of your life. You have been welcomed by many and praised for making it here enough times in the past week so I’ll jump past that part.
All of us upperclassmen are really excited to get to know you and have you involved in the many organizations we are a part of (both on- and off- campus), classes we take, and “weekend activities” we partake in. As you start your first year at Columbia, take some time to think about what you are looking for from your adventure here. There are opportunities for every single one of you to achieve your dreams.
If there is one piece of advice I could share with you, it would be that you should try to meet as many people as possible and keep in mind that your best resources on campus are fellow Columbians. With any issue you face or question you have unanswered, look out for a fellow Columbia student, older or younger, who may have gone through a similar experience in the past. We are all in this together!
As I take your leave, make sure to look out for free food and Columbia swag, explore the city, refuse to take no for an answer without reasoning, work hard, play hard, make lifelong friends, get involved with the Engineering Student Council (“ESC”), and read ESC emails! See you on the Steps or in Mudd soon!
Daphne Chen, CCSC President
On behalf of the Columbia College Student Council (CCSC), welcome! Bwog has asked me to share a few words on this momentous occasion, so here is what little wisdom I have to offer:
Look bouncers in the eye with confidence. Know the year you graduated college. Leave 15 minutes early if you have a class on the 5th-8th floors of Hamilton. Take 4 classes per semester, and skip the History of the Peloponnesian Wars. Just skip it. On the other hand, don’t blow off lectures. Go to class. DO IT. Even if you just sit and listen, you will learn and retain more than you expect. If you wait until almost closing time at Café East, the sushi is half-off or free. Don’t ask a SEAS kid to build you a plane. They don’t know how to sometimes and this makes them mad. ;)
Don’t sweat it if you don’t find your “group” immediately. Join a club or three. There is no better way to meet a diverse group of people with similar interests. If you’re uncertain, CCSC is always a good place to start. As you adjust to college life, take care of yourself physically and mentally and take care of one another as well. Reach out to your friends, teachers, advisers, student council, or administrators if you or someone you know needs a helping hand. That’s what we’re here for.
Most of all, get ready for a breathtaking four years. WELCOME to Columbia University in the City of New York. We are so glad to have you here.
Hannah Germond, GSSC President
Welcome to Columbia, GS First Years!
Congratulations on your admission into one of the greatest universities in the world! On behalf of the student body of the School of General Studies, I want to say how honored and excited we are to have you here. You are now part of a community that will support your academic aspirations, while encouraging you to push the horizon of your own capabilities.
First, what exactly is the General Studies Student Council and what can we do for you? The GSSC is here to represent your voice, both within our school and within the greater Columbia and alumni communities. We plan social, academic, networking, and philanthropic events and help shape university policy based on student input. We value your ideas and feedback, so come to a Student Council meeting (Tuesdays, 7:35 p.m., Satow Room in Lerner Hall) or get in touch via email ([email protected]).
Second, my advice to you: Leave this university better than you found it. Get involved. Don’t walk across the stage on graduation day without having seen the outside of a library. Join a club or sports team; get active with GSSC or the Columbia Milvets; volunteer for GS Alliance or Columbia University Family Support Network events; have coffee with our Deans or rooftop drinks with our alumni.
Third, take pride in your school but don’t forget to befriend students from the other schools. Yes, GS is incredibly diverse. We are the JTS and Postbac Premed students, the dual-degree students from Sciences Po and City University of Hong Kong. However, make sure to engage with the greater diversity of our university and fully embrace the excellence that is our community. The four councils of Columbia will be collaborating at new levels this year, leaving you no option but to meet the incredible students of Columbia College, SEAS, and Barnard!
I leave you with one final charge: Enter the gates of Columbia University not as students, but as future alumni. Walk through campus today and envision your return. Plant the seeds of school pride early and water them with the camaraderie of classmates and that school pride will flourish and blossom during your time here. I am your Student Body President, but I am also a fellow student and hopefully, a future friend. I am here if you need anything ([email protected]), and I look forward to meeting you over the course of the academic year.
This is the start of something great, First Years. I wish you all the very best in your journey. Cheers!