It may be SAD season, but CCSC isn’t deterred. Nadra Rahman reports from the field.
In CCSC’s third meeting of the year, the body moves past setting the tone and starts making big moves—like funding a schoolwide farmshare, co-sponsoring an upcoming event by the Food Pantry, and having animated back-and-forth about NSOP.
CCSC started off the night by asking members to think about a potential add-on to NSOP—opt-in programming during the Labor Day weekend that would encourage small group interactions and community-building activities. The conversation around this was wide-ranging, as conversations about NSOP tend to be, from bashing COÖP to…bashing COÖP.
There were a few thoughts on the prospect of tacking on more programming after NSOP. One camp advocated for focusing on the events and programming we already have during NSOP and making them more engaging and small group-oriented. VP Finance Adam Resheff voiced a desire to start “tradition-building” during NSOP by organizing large scale games and events like color wars, in the hopes that this would inspire a sense of unity along the lines of pre-orientation programs like COÖP or CUE. He said, “The reason I felt excluded [when I started] was because of how good [COÖP] was.” Disability Services Rep Aaron Liberman suggested weaving in more small group outings throughout NSOP (including mini-COÖPs like day hikes) that would provide students with more intimate experiences while allowing them to explore the city.
Former OLs on Council felt similarly, pointing out that NSOP is an exhausting experience; new students often stop showing up for events as the week goes on. Would there even be any interest for events the weekend after? 2020 Rep Patricia Malaver said this time was often used by students to explore the city on their own, while 2021 Rep Aja Johnson said others used it to prep for the academic year ahead and get into the appropriate headspace.
And who would facilitate these programs? Already overworked OLs? (2020 President James Ritchie suggested OLs would “drop like flies” from the program if it were extended by 3 days.)
Another camp suggested that such programming might continue to foster the divisions forged by pre-orientation programs. One rep called these programs “cliquey” and “irritating” when trying to make new friends. Though USenator Alfredo Dominguez voiced concerns about the accessibility of Labor Day weekend programming, VP Policy Elise Fuller said that such programming was indeed envisioned as being an alternative to students who could not afford or otherwise participate in pre-orientation.
Finally, a number of students felt that money should instead go to expanding existing pre-orientation programs, either by providing more spots, subsidizing costs, or creating new programs that would cater to different interests like art and music. As Liberman and others pointed out, however, not everyone is able to attend pre-orientation, whether due to logistics, personal interest, or financial considerations, and similar activities should be available even to those who did not.
Other ideas floated around (like implementing more floor bonding activities) but no consensus was reached. The Policy Committee will take insights from the discussion to present more ideas to the administration regarding the restructuring of NSOP.
From Farm To CCSC Table
2019 President Mina Mahmood presented an initiative that her class had put in motion the previous year, and which she hoped to expand with the help of CCSC funding. Last year, 2019 launched a partnership with the Morningside Heights Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) which allowed students to access weekly drop-offs of fresh fruits and vegetables for $230 a semester. Each farmshare bundle is meant to feed four people, meaning that the cost per person for a semester is $57.50, without subsidy.
Last night, Mahmood proposed expanding the program across grade levels and making it more accessible to food-insecure students by subsidizing the cost—so each person would pay $20. On the low end, this would require a commitment of $8,000 from the CC Reserve Fund to serve 180 students, and on the high end $10,000 to serve 228 students. According to VP Finance Adam Resheff, the CC Reserve Fund has more than enough money to meet all of our needs, including potential unanticipated costs for Bacchanal; he supported Mahmood’s proposal, calling it “a worthwhile use of our funds.”
2021 Rep Sarah Radway questioned how the program would be guaranteed to serve financially insecure/food-insecure students, given that information about students’ finances is kept confidential. Mahmood replied that when interest had exceeded available spots the previous year, she had asked those who did not truly need the program to opt out. This helped get numbers back to a feasible level. In the audience, Co-Founder of the Food Pantry Michael Higgins suggested implementing a lottery system instead in these situations.
While these details need to be ironed out, members voted unanimously to approve the program, with funding in the amount of $8,000 to $10,000 based on program participation. Look out for interest forms soon!
- During the meeting, CCSC unanimously approved a $100 financial co-sponsorship of the Food Pantry at Columbia’s upcoming silent auction. The silent auction will take place on Wednesday, October 10 in Lerner 555.
- Finance: VP Adam Resheff met with the treasurers of Bacchanal to ensure that all parties agree on the numbers. In an upcoming meeting, the four councils will finalize financial contributions towards Bacchanal—most likely by agreeing to fund in proportion to attendees from each school.
- Policy: The committee is discussing the expansion of subsidized summer housing for Work Exemption Program recipients with administrators (namely VP for Campus Services Scott Wright).
- Student Services: Rep Henry Feldman met with representatives from FLIP, discussing the potential revitalization of the CU Meal Share Facebook page and the accompanying app. Rep Monique Harmon asked for suggestions for the future renovation of Hartley’s sky lounge, explaining that several ideas had already been bandied around, including the transformation of the space into a gym.
- Class of 2020: The class is holding an event for Mean Girls Day on Wednesday, October 3 (obviously!). Students are encouraged to send photos of themselves wearing pink to the class’s Instagram—winners will win tickets to the Mean Girls musical on Broadway.
- Class of 2019: According to 2019 President Mina Mahmood, the class council is “working with this guy named Woody” to set up an online storefront for class apparel.
- Class of 2021: President Prem Thakkar relayed former 2020 President Sid Singh’s respects to the collected body, prompting mass confusion.
- Campus Life: Will……..Mozzarella Monday return?