GSSC was fairly short and more of the same this week, with the council voting to allocate funds toward events such as Snack Attacks, the GS Barnard picnic, and the like.
Highlights included a moderately long discussion about the process of allocating subsidized tickets for students for the GS Gala and a presentation about One for the World. GSSC meets every Tuesday at 8:15 pm in the Jed Satow Room.
GS Gala Subsidized Tickets
In the past, GSSC President Raisa Flor mentioned that there were about 48 subsidized tickets available to students. The requests this year totaled 77 from the official Google Form, with Raisa also receiving around 20 emails from students requesting subsidized tickets. This represents a significant increase from last year, which saw 43 requests for subsidized tickets. The council is unsure of why there is such a significant increase, but it may have something to do with Cipriani being more well known and/or clout than Guastavino’s (which is an incredible venue in its own right).
Additionally, Google Forms are fairly easy to fill out and are more impersonal, only asking for your name and uni. In past years, subsidized tickets were distributed to students who had to email the e-board, which essentially compelled students to jump through more hoops by writing an email. Although neither method explicitly asks about a student’s financial status whatsoever, writing an email to the e-board arguably creates more of a psychological barrier that would result in only students in actual financial need actually emailing to request a ticket. However, the inverse is probably also true, with the psychological barrier of emailing possibly preventing students in need from reaching out.
In any case, the number of requests for subsidized tickets as well as the actual number of subsidized tickets allocated by the council has both increased over the years; the council stated that requests for subsidized tickets used to float around 20. The council stated that while they would obviously love to fund tickets for all students, and even more quixotically, the dates and +1s of GS students, that is neither financially possible nor responsible. As such, the council tries their best to subsidize tickets as fairly as possible, despite possessing no financial knowledge of the students requesting.
To that end, the council attempts to prioritize seniors, especially those who have never attended a gala before. After that, they prioritize students in order of seniority, with a preference toward those who have never attended the gala, not received a subsidized ticket in the past, or have not already purchased a gala ticket for the same year. For the latter, this leaves students in an uncomfortable position, as students who are hoping for a subsidized ticket have to risk not going to the gala since ticket sales go live prior to the distribution of subsidized tickets and can sell out relatively quickly.
While council members have stated that students who have purchased gala tickets prior to requesting subsidized tickets are ostensibly able to pay for the tickets and able to attend without financial assistance, they are clearly forgetting that credit cards exist and being able to “purchase” (read: check out) a ticket does not preclude the scenario of $75 being a financial hardship.
The most plausible solution that the council is working toward would be for the financial aid office to determine which students are eligible and to handle the distribution of the subsidized tickets. As the financial aid office is able to more accurately determine which students are in the greatest need of these tickets, it only follows that they would be in charge of this instead of GSSC. The financial aid office may also be able to provide partially subsidized tickets; currently, the student council is unable to provide partially subsidized tickets because of the difficulties and complications in budgeting and planning that they would induce.
Notably, in the discussion regarding fairness and providing the same experience for all GS students, one council member noted that he would strongly prefer for any budgetary surpluses to be allocated toward the Food Pantry as opposed to additional subsidized tickets.
One for the World
One for the World is an organization that aims to tackle extreme poverty across the world. With extreme poverty being defined as living at or below $1.90 per day, One for the World works with Give Well to identify the top charities working to reduce mortality for children under the age of 5. Considering the overwhelming number of charities that exist, One for the World aims to tackle the paradox of choice that donors face.
Rather than donating a fixed amount as a one-time donation, One for the World requests that individuals can pledge to donate a percentage of their post-graduation income. The Columbia chapter of One for the World requested for a shoutout in the various GS email listservs.
Photo via Unsplash