CCSC Bureau Chief Adam Kluge returns for his weekly ramblings about the political underbelly that is the Columbia College Student Council.

As is the case with any overworked, underpaid student at this institution, this past week was busy. As midterms begin to rear their ugly head and the weather seems to shift between abso-fucking-lutely not and hell yes, spring, it felt only natural that the flu I had the privilege of enjoying last week would manifest into a delightful sinus infection over the course of the last several days.

Given this exciting second round of medical mischief, I spent much of this weekend cooped up in my bed, attempting to return to a state of well-being. For this reason, my reporting on the inner-workings of the Columbia College Student Council are based upon the livestream posted to CCSC’s Facebook page (Expert Tip: If you are interested in student government, but a Sunday night in Lerner sounds like the worst thing, CCSC posts all of their meetings on their page for the general public. I highly recommend you check out this super helpful resource). While it was not the same as flashing a smile at VP of Policy Henry Feldman (CC ’21), who has absolutely no idea who I am, or admiring CCSC President Patricia Granda-Malaver (CC ’20) from afar, the meeting was still full of vital information.

So, let’s do this thing…

In the world of general updates, this week’s meeting began with a congratulations on an extremely successful Glass House Rocks event this past Thursday, 2/20, which took over Lerner Hall all evening in an explosion of color, music, dance, and support for a more sustainable Columbia and community. Additionally, CCSC will be partnering with the Columbia Food Pantry for this year’s Hunger Awareness Week event, which will be themed around Mardi Gras, beginning at the end of this month. Keep an eye on social media, as representatives should have shared more specific information pertaining to this extremely important programming on food scarcity and resources on campus and beyond.

University Senator Heven Haile announced that her joint report with Race & Ethnicity representative Colby King, presented to the University Senate, was extremely successful, with more information to come later this week. University Senator Ramsay Eyre spoke about an upcoming initiative concerning students in Columbia College with children, and the role of parents in the Columbia community. First Generation and Low-Income Students representative Jaine Archambeau recently met with Columbia Dining about a potential restructuring of the meal plan system, which would create a more affordable and accessible food system. Gender and Sexuality representative Kwolanne Felix met with LGBT@Columbia coordinator Vanessa Gonzalez-Siegel, about ways in which CCSC can further partner with LGBT programming at Columbia. Furthermore, Felix spoke briefly about the upcoming panel on international queer identity, which will be held in March. International Students representative Joon Baek is going to meet with the head of the Columbia Registrar to speak about a shift in Columbia Student Directories in order to consider improving the safety and security surrounding the publication of student addresses. Additionally, Baek spoke about a potential information session concerning international student work and employment at Columbia. Pre-Professional representative Brooks Rubin met with CCE last week to discuss ways to make their events (panels, career fairs, career showcases, etc.), more public and advertised to the greater Columbia population. Race & Ethnicity representative Colby King also recently met with various organizations across campus about potential shifts for more inclusive options, such as disparities in housing selection.

In the world of individual class councils, Senior Class President James Ritchie explained that all spaces have been booked for Senior Week, and pools for Senior Swim have been reserved. Get pumped, seniors! Junior Class President Maryam Elsayed explained that the Class of 2021 is working on a financial restructuring as well as a potential upcoming initiative that would likely include discounted tickets to museums in the city. Sophomore Class President Andy Baran explained that an email will be out soon concerning new class apparel, so make sure to share your feedback on that, and also reminded the room that the Major Declaration Period for Sophomores in Columbia College will be March 10-13. Finally, resident CCSC star Elle King, President of the Class of 2023, explained that 25 sets of discounted Literature Humanities books were given out last week, and also introduced plans to hold an Open Mic night this Thursday, 2/27. Gender and Sexuality representative Felix suggested that King look into potentially holding the event in the Postcrypt Coffeehouse space in the basement of St. Paul’s Chapel, though this has not yet been confirmed.

In the world of Executive Board updates, President Granda-Malaver reminded the council to publicize the upcoming Hunger Awareness Week event. Additionally, VP of Policy Henry Feldman asked that students across Columbia answer the currently circulating survey on textbook affordability as part of a partnership with Barnes & Noble. Make sure to fill out that survey, in order to make sure this initiative is taken seriously by Columbia administration! 

Senior Class President James Ritchie mentioned a potential upcoming service week event, with more information coming on that particular subject. As always, volunteer work is integral to the success of the Columbia community and the general Morningside Heights region—make sure to continually seek out these opportunities!

Representatives from CCSC are also working on meeting with Columbia Health to discuss classes with a zero-absence attendance policy, in order to continue pushing for a change in this (likely prohibited and definitely unethical) policy.

In the world of more general agenda items, CCSC voted to nominate an interim VP of Campus Life while Jesus Guerra-Ocampo recovers from a recent medical procedure. Sophomore Class representative Leighlani Sanchez, who was integral to the success of the Glass House Rocks event, was nominated by the general council in a unanimous vote. Guerra-Ocampo should return in March following spring break. There was also further conversation related to recent xenophobic events concerning anti-Semitism and racist events in Butler Library concerning the novel coronavirus. CCSC motioned to vote on sharing initiatives related to furthering tolerance on campus on its respective social media pages. Felix also gave updates on a potential co-sponsorship of an event with the Latinx communities on campus and in New York, related to the intersection of Latin American communities and queer and transgender identities. Through CCSC’s at-large funding, Felix mentioned potentially allocating $250 to place towards this event. The motion passed through a vote by the entire council. Baek also spoke about at-large allocation for a town hall being held on March 4, which will include a series of scholars and professionals, as well as student speakers, concerning questions related to issues of international student identity at Columbia. As with Felix’s initiative, this motion also passed in a vote by CCSC. FGLI Representative Archambeau also mentioned the survey on textbook affordability, whose success is contingent on diverse data and support from the CC and SEAS population. Archambeau asked for a $500 at-large allocation that would be part of incentivizing students to take the survey, with the chance at potential prizes including food items and two sets of AirPods for certain Columbia students. This request came with a great deal of discourse.

There were, of course, other small items of conversation and deliberation, but my Ben & Jerry’s is currently calling my name. If you are interested in asking about CCSC coverage or have any questions about my role in the reporting on student governmental affairs, I can likely be found blowing my nose somewhere on campus.

Until next week…

Image via Bwog archive