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Spreading Cheer With CCSC

CCSC Bureau Chief returns for his final post of the semester, focusing heavily on holiday spirit, the tireless efforts of our elected officials, and the ongoing frenzy that is the room where it happens.

Well, the time has come. The semester is drawing to a close. Students across the various Columbia schools are cracking open their Yerba Mate, popping in a few melatonin, and beginning their systematic pore over textbooks and assigned readings. Finals season, as usual, is a stress-ridden snowstorm, physically symbolized by the wintry weather that has begun to reveal itself to the Morningside Heights community.

This time of year also means the inevitable hiatus of the Columbia College Student Council. That is, until the many representatives and leaders of our collective society return in January to their usual discourse and decision-making. Regardless, I will certainly miss their energy in the weeks of break to come, and look forward to returning to the lauded seats of the Satow Room in just no time at all.

Alright, enough about that… on to tonight’s final CCSC General Body Meeting of the semester.

Upon entering the Satow Room, representatives were greeted with their own wrapped bags of holiday treats and trifles, courtesy of their Council leaders. The gesture was warmly received, and even I will admit that it comes in as a close second to the cupcakes that celebrated Sarah Radway’s birthday so many weeks ago.

In the world of major updates:

  • VP of Campus Life Jesus Guerra Ocampo (CC ’20) spoke about the success of last week’s tree lighting, which was met my unanimous applause and uproar from the rest of the Council
  • University Senator Ramsay Eyre reflected on the success of the recycling bins in dorm rooms initiative, as well as his excitement regarding greater efforts for voter education on campus in the coming year
  • Academic Affairs representative Zayba Qamar talked about the success of conversations related to diversity that have defined discourse over the last semester
  • Alumni Affairs representative Yasna Vismale spoke about upcoming programming in February (so keep an eye/ear out for that!!)
  • Financial Security and First Generation representative Jaine Archambeau spoke about efforts for inclusive and expanded dining options in the coming months, specifically pertaining to on-campus dining options for international students and other Columbia students who remain on campus during breaks
  • Gender and Sexuality representative Kwolanne Felix explained that the recently formed Task Force has gone ahead to use funding and recent conversation to focus upon food scarcity and availability, as well as the provision of hot meals during the impending Winter Break
  • Various representatives spoke about the connections that they were able to form with other members of CCSC over the course of the semester — truly adorable dialogue, which surely warmed the frozen hearts of all those in the room

In the world of individual class councils, Senior Class President James Ritchie spoke about how pleased he was about further work on the Housing Equity Project, as well as the Class of 2020’s excitement regarding planning for next semester’s Senior Week. Junior Class President Riley Swain talked about the success of Postcards and Pastries event, which was held on Sunday. Over 50 people attended, and a raffle for AirPod Pros was also administered as part of the programming. Andy Baran, Resident CCSC Comedian and Sophomore Class President, was unfortunately absent, but representatives from the Class of 2022 expressed excitement regarding the success of the succulent event held earlier in the semester, as well as the upcoming Study Break programming being held after the CC final. Additionally, Class of 2023 representatives will be handing out Candy Grams throughout this week, using the funding to purchase and provide LitHum books for low-income students.

And now *drumroll*, the Executive Board…

VP of Policy Henry Feldman (CC ’21) spoke about the ongoing Meal Plan Restructuring program, focused upon the incorporation of an opt-out option. Additionally, the Barnes and Noble Textbook Accessibility project is currently being developed, with more information to come in the coming months. The queen herself, President Patricia Granda-Malaver (CC ’20), shared her own satisfaction with the ongoing projects focused on accessibility over the course of the semester (i.e. MetroCards, Task Forces, etc.), while also announcing that there will be ONE additional day for students to obtain the remaining MetroCards. VP of Finance Sarah Radway (CC ’21) will be meeting with CCIT on Wednesday, in relation to the development of her application focused on Columbia life and finances. There will also be a meeting related to funding in the coming months (keep an eye out for that programming as well). Finally, VP of Communications Blessing Utomi (CC ’22) mentioned continued work related to CC communications reports for the semester, and also expressed his own joy related to the Tree Lighting (find the photos on the CCSC Facebook page!) Next semester, Utomi will begin working with Columbia Health to speak about how their initiatives might be better articulated to the general student body, and information on that will be given out next semester.

Beyond the world of major updates, there was more conversation on housing security and options over the Winter Break, as well as announcements regarding a plan that would provide more food for students over the break. There will be an email sent out to the faculty-in-residence and the various directors of housing at Columbia, explaining CCSC’s strong support of events over the break providing a significant amount of food for students staying in the city.

There was also conversation pertaining to the way in which referendums can be proposed to the CCSC representatives, and the many members of CCSC expressed their own thoughts on a referendum related to elections that would provide a democratic focus for CCSC.

Essentially, if there was a word to describe tonight’s meeting, it would be joy. Or maybe discourse. Always discourse.

Now, pour yourself a cup of cocoa (or RedBull…I don’t know your story), reflect on your own semesters, and kick finals’ ass! Happy Holidays, and I can’t wait to return for more reporting next semester!

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