GSSC got interactive at their last assembly, and Bureau Chief/Wednesday Wastrel Joe Milholland was on hand to witness the outpouring of ideas. Directories only slightly less creepy than directory.columbia.edu, visiting Buddhist monks, and “GS Singles Mingle” (perhaps the most highly anticipated social event of the semester, as of now) await!
A searchable directory of student leaders and changers to peer advisors were the two major topics brought up at the General Studies Student Council (GSSC) town hall on Tuesday night.
Eschewing the usual format of their weekly meetings, GSSC invited GS student groups to bring questions and concerns to their general body meeting.
Student Leader Directory
First up was Erin Giventer, who first had a question from a peer advising team, asking if it was possible to have a searchable database of student leaders from GS clubs with information on the various positions within the club. Giventer said it could potentially be created by either someone on GSSC or through a paid work-study job.
The goal of such a database, Giventer said, would be so that students with specific goals (she brought up the idea of regular potluck dinner) could find groups on campus they could work with towards those goals.
In response, GSSC President Elizabeth Heyman brought up the idea of a blog on GSSC’s website that any student group could add to, and Alumni Affairs Rep Hannah Germond thinks that the official General Studies website should list GS-recognized groups. Multicultural Affairs Rep Vida Biggins suggested a FAQ page.
GSSC also debated how much information such a database would give out. VP of Policy Michael Neier suggested that it should be opt-in for students who wouldn’t want their names or UNIs revealed. Giventer said that the names of the club members were not as important as the roles of the members. Senior Class President Jin Han suggested just the group emails could be put up.
Funding from GS
The council also discussed another question from Giventer about how students should come to GS to get co-sponsorship funding and how such processes usually play out.
VP of Finance Dalitso Nkhoma said that students should reach out to the Finance Committee. Nkhoma said the Finance Committee could also give advice on other resources for funding around campus.
The next question came from a GS Peer Advisor who asked if the council could do anything about the increase of traffic to Peer Advising. He wanted to know if GSSC could do anything to spread peer advising knowledge more widely and if they could help reduce long lines at their office. Specifically, he noted the high demand of one-on-one conferences. He believed that Peer Advising has enough advisors, but they need to reach more students, noting that commuter students were not being served as much as other students.
GSSC members suggested a number of ways that Peer Advising could spread its advice. A common suggestion was that Peer Advising answer and publicize frequently asked questions online via methods like Facebook, Piazza, and Reddit.
At the end of the town hall, several GSSC members announced several events/projects they were working on:
- Academic Affairs Rep Ramond Curtis is looking for app developers to make an app for students to easily access academic resources that are difficult to access via Columbia’s websites.
- Wellness Rep Pierce Levin will have office hours in the fireplace room of Earl Hall Thursdays from 6-10pm. He will also be hosting Buddhist monks from Blue Cliff Monastery and a substance abuse speaker later in the semester.
- Multicultural Affairs Rep Vida Biggins wants to promote Students of Color Alliance (SOCA), whose website is socalliance.edu.
- International Students Rep Matt Quek is looking to bring in a lawyer in international law for students with immigration issues.
- Community Service Rep Tyler Bechard is planning a carnation delivery to Amsterdam nursing home around Valentine’s Day, and a community dinner at St. Critstopher’s later in February.
- According to VP of Campus Life Jade LeCascarino, GSSC will be hosting a Valentine’s Day event tentatively called “GS Singles Mingle” (all are invited).
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