Actual photograph of Raisa bringing down the hammer/gavel

Our gallant and fearless GSSC Bureau Chief Andrew Chee braved the torrential downpour to give y’all the rundown of breaking news from the General Studies Student Council! Let’s just pretend that it was not drizzling lightly by the time he walked over to Lerner. Tonight’s highlights include a Q&A with GS Dean Lisa Rosen-Metsch, GS ’90, and additional nominees to the council.

GSSC kept it healthy today with fruits and fresh veggies for the meeting. President Raisa Flor, GS ’19, had to bust out the gavel just to get everyone away from the food and right into business.

Q&A With the Dean 

Our lovely GS Lisa Rosen-Metsch dropped by for a Q&A session about updates since she became Dean in January, as well as plans for the future. As a quick refresher, Dean Rosen-Metsch is an alumna of General Studies, majoring in sociology in the first dual degree program of the dual BA/Jewish Theological Seminary. She is now a sociologist who has done work with public health, most notably regarding the HIV/AID epidemic, and she was the chair of the department of sociomedical sciences at Mailman, where she currently serves as a professor.

For this fall semester, Dean Rosen-Metsch noted that we have 710 new GS students, including 118 veterans, 117 in the Postbac Premed program, 4 students from the Trinity College Dublin/GS dual BA program, as well as students from a multitude of various backgrounds, such as ballet dancers, writers, athletes, models, teachers, musicians, designers, journalists, engineers, entrepreneurs, investment bankers, real estate agents, and workers in construction, hospitality, government, and nonprofits. Just to give a sense of the achievements of the incoming class of GS students, Dean Rosen-Metsch mentioned one new student, an Olympian who won the US National Championship for show jumping in 2012 and competed in London as youngest ever member of US Olympic Equestrian team! Excited to see you all on campus and welcome!

Updates since Dean Rosen-Metsch has taken office include:

  • Inviting students’ families to attend NSOP this year
  • 56% response rate from the GS student survey over the summer, with the data to be unveiled at a future meeting to effect new policies and support systems on campus for students

Goals for the future:

  • New center coming for veteran integration
  • Fundraising, specifically for financial aid and housing
  • Further assisting students with families and children
  • Tackling food insecurity through events with the Dean (with additional events to come at various times of the day to better serve the GS community)
  • Helping people who were formerly incarcerated with integration into the GS community
  • Engaging of communities such as postbac students, female veterans
  • Reallocation of space in Uris Hall (with GS interests in mind) when Columbia Business School relocates to Manhattanville
  • Development of alumni relations

Lastly, during the Q&A, Dean Rosen-Metsch made sure to emphasize that improving funding and financial aid with regard to tuition and housing is a top priority. Fundraising by students is unfortunately prohibited, but Dean Rosen-Metsch was quick to note that she is willing to discuss fundraising strategies and ideas with students. One student also wondered where the elusive GS shirts were to be found in the bookstore; turns out they sold out already! The GS shirts will definitely make a return, so check back soon!

Student Council Retreat

Raisa Flor is currently planning the GSSC retreat for October 13 with Eric Lunzer, VP of Finance. In addition to team building and mentoring exercises, the retreat will include bowling! Gee, really wish I was on student council now! Maybe I should apply for a position next semester.


GSSC is looking for tech associates to join! Tech associates are non-voting positions that assist with designing the website, editing videos and photos, and ultimately helping out the council while also building their own skills. If this sounds like it could be you, shoot them an email at Furthermore, there are open positions on the council; details regarding applications will be out shortly for those interested. Lastly, the Monthly Owl, which is the monthly email for recapping and planning ahead, is looking for student submissions, including articles, upcoming events, and so on. Be on the lookout for submission forms and get involved!


Bacchanal’s planning and funding has changed, and the student councils are involved now. GS tends to have low attendance at Bacchanal, and so the amount of funds allocated toward Bacchanal is reflective of that. Voting on Bacchanal planning and funding to follow soon.

Campus Life

Fun stuff on campus is what we live for! Some events in the making by Campus Life include a Dancing in the Rain event with hot chocolate – vegan and og, a Shabbat dinner on October 19 with JTS, roller skating, a Halloween party, and events related to the talents of the General Studies community. Most notably, Basketball Mania is working with the student council committees, with some serious prizes for the half court shots such as potentially $10,000 or tuition! Details and prizes are not finalized yet, so don’t hold your breath, but you should also start practicing now.

Appointing Nominees

Veteran Student Rep – Josh Lefkow

Josh was a marine for four years before he enrolled at Columbia. It’s his second semester here on campus. He’s green as grass, but eager to learn, stating, “I may not be that good at it but I’m better than nobody.” Well said!

Jewish Theological Seminary Rep – Daniella Bernstein

Daniella is a sophomore in the JTS program, and she’s running for the position because a lot of her classmates were really involved in JTS but not with Columbia/GS and she wants to change that. Some events she has in mind to assist with integration include a GS blind dating event, where people sign up to go on lunch dates (read: platonic) with strangers to meet new people. Food and friendship, clearly a winner.

Chief of Campus Life – Yasmeen Ibrahim

As a senior and an RA, Yasmeen has a lot of experience on campus and interacting with her fellow students. She feels that her experience as an RA qualifies her because of the event planning and interpersonal skills required for the job, and that planning events for campus life is essentially the same thing but on a larger scale. Sounds like she’s the perfect candidate to me.

Public Comment

Thibault of NY Marathon for Kids for Cancer has raised $2500 for each runner on his team. With GS, he has raised $1200. He is requesting donations for his team, so feel free to contact him or Raisa for a link to donate.

That just about wraps it up for tonight! Join me next week as I pray they bring in some greasy unhealthy food.

Is this what the US Olympic Equestrian team all looks like via Shutterstock

Raisa the Goddess of Thunder via Shutterstock