Last night, while students crammed into Butler to start the homework they pretended didn’t exist this past Saturday and one Bwogger strutted around in shorts because, and we quote, “summer starts after Bacchanal,” a few student council candidates had more political goals on their minds. Voting opened for Columbia College Student Council, Engineering Student Council, and other CC and SEAS student council positions at about 11:30 pm yesterday. A few hours before that, several of the running candidates spoke to the Bwog editorial team in order to present their platforms and answer our questions. During those meetings, we were particularly impressed by the CU Roar party: Jordan Singer, CC ‘19, for CCSC president; Elise Morgan Fuller, CC ‘19, for VP Policy; Adam Resheff, CC ‘19, for VP Finance; Sim Mander, CC ‘20, for VP Campus Life; and Isabella Lajara, CC ‘20, for VP Communications. We endorse this party for CCSC because we are confident in these candidates’ ideas for improving key areas of student life and fostering a more active campus community.
Much of CU Roar’s platform focuses on collaboration between different departments or groups, a facet often missing from the Columbia bureaucracy. Jordan Singer spoke about internal coordination between institutional resources such as CPS and ODS and with student groups active in mental health dialogues. She also explained plans to increase mentorship opportunities for students through surveys and more deliberate matching of students with faculty mentors, who would be able to help them navigate specific departments within Columbia and opportunities in their fields.
CU Roar also plans to increase engagement at Columbia by promoting inclusivity in student groups and at events. Adam Resheff explained his plan to objectively evaluate student groups in order to determine how open each group is to new students. His metrics, developed along with other CCSC members, have split groups into different categories, Resheff said, so that, say, an elite performance group that holds auditions only once a year is not evaluated along the same lines as a large, identity-based group for which all meetings are open. Once clubs were evaluated, the results would be publicized by CCSC (and maybe by Bwog!), so that students interested in getting more involved on campus would be fully informed about the breadth of their options. Resheff is also committed to expanding CCSC-sponsored events, to host fewer events that truly bring all of Columbia together rather than spreading CCSC’s budget thin on many events with low attendance. (He assured us that there would still be plenty of free swag for everyone.)
We were particularly impressed by CU Roar’s answer when we asked why they had specifically reached out to Bwog for endorsement. They spoke about the importance of platforms for student council members to actively engage with students outside of those government systems, to find out how students are perceiving their work and evaluate whether initiatives are having the desired effect. Isabella Lajara specifically mentioned her plan to hold CCSC more accountable through partnering with student journalism groups; she would release a timeline of the council’s long-term goals at the beginning of the semester, then encourage journalists to push the council to stay on track throughout the coming months.
Above all, CU Roar wants to promote conversation and connection at Columbia. Whether this is through increasing opportunities for critical engagement in Global Core classes, alerting incoming first-years to their chances at getting onto the debate team, or simply increasing the amount of free T-shirts at Tree Lighting, CU Roar is committed to increasing space for Columbia students to connect with their fellow students, and they have specific plans to work towards these goals. But whether or not you support CU Roar, be sure to vote in the elections – happening right now until Wednesday at 5 pm.
Betsy Ladyzhets, Editor in Chief
Victoria Arancio, Managing Editor
Sarah Kinney, Internal Editor
Youngweon Lee, Social Media Editor
Photo via CU Roar Facebook page