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ESC Discusses Money And Minecraft

This week in ESC (the only student council currently having open meetings), they discuss various possible reimbursement and ESC funds. They also talk about how best to build Columbia in Minecraft. ESC Bureau Chief Lori Luo reports.

Position Updates: Reimbursements
President Alina Ying and VP Finance Sophia Sagandyk met with Dean Kromm to discuss various reimbursements that could be given to students. One of the ones discussed was a Student Life fee reimbursement from extraneous council and governing board funds. Dean Kromm said that she will discuss this with a committee that is currently working on all financial concerns and reimbursements.

Similarly, Ying and Sangandyk also brought up student concerns with the two storage companies overcharging for moving out. As of now, students can only directly reach out to the financial aid office and the cc-seas email. There is no university wide avenue or initiative yet that could help students. Furthermore, VP Policy Estevan Mesa is also looking into this issue, specifically the financial and emotional burdens students and families have felt due to miscommunications from Columbia’s emails. One example of miscommunication regarding whether Columbia would pay for moving fees and how the five hundred dollars offered would work. Mesa also emailed the CCSC VP Policy regarding help in investigating this problem.

Regarding a possible tuition reimbursement, Ying reported that the administration’s stance is currently a firm and complete “no” for any tuition reimbursements as students are currently receiving credits for the classes they are taking. While tuition reimbursement may be impossible, ESC is considering trying to get specific line items reimbursed. Mesa mentioned that Academic Affairs Representative James Wang suggested lab fees as a possibly refundable line item, especially for chemistry and physics labs where students can no longer use the equipment and materials the fees cover.

Rolling Over Class Council Funds
This discussion was spearheaded by the Class of 2023 Class Council, who asked if it would be possible to roll over unused class council funds from this year to next year. Given that they had a lot of their funds originally tied up in events for the spring that have since been cancelled, they felt that these unused funds could be best used by next year’s class council in their events.

VP Finance Sophia Sagandyk said the feasibility of this idea depended partially on what happens to the student life fee (whether it gets reimbursed or not). Furthermore, class council funds usually go back to the main ESC account at the end of the year, where they are redistributed. Sangandyk concluded that she and President Alina Ying would reconsider closer to F@CU.

Ying asked if Class of 2023 still want the amount to be rolled over to next year if the student life fee was refunded as the refunded student life fee would be from. Class of 2023 Class President Avi Gupta answered that he thought if the student life fee, if it was to be refunded, would be prorated. Under those circumstances, Class of 2023 could return a third of their funds, since they had barely touched them at all. Of course, if it wasn’t possible to roll over their funds, Gupta said it would be possible for them to spend it via apparel or giveaways, but that he felt it would be best for next year’s class council to have the funds.

Ying also asked if returning some percent and keeping another percent for the next year’s council would be a good solution. Gupta felt that solution would be fair. Mainly, he emphasized that he wants the money to go back to the students and that he doesn’t want to needlessly spend the money to prevent losing it.

Columbia in Minecraft
Class of 2020 Class President Sambhav Jain brought up an article he saw about University of Pennsylvania students who built their whole campus in minecraft. Similarly, he remembered that a club had also built Low Library in minecraft as well. Jain felt that since Columbia’s campus is relatively small and easier to build, it would be nice to have one central group work together to build campus in minecraft.

Class of 2023 Vice President Angel Mancera asked if Jain would work in conjunction with the minecraft club, of which Jain said he wasn’t aware existed. Since Mancera also knows the cofounder of the club, Jain asked if he would like to take on the planning since Mancera also likely knows more about minecraft than Jain, who has never played. President Alina Ying also mentioned that a group she is in started working on building campus and that she can also connect with Mancera’s friend.

A Note About Elections
ESC has moved all elections to the beginning of the fall semester. However, SGA and CCSC are having e-board only elections since both student councils have graduating seniors. GSSC will be having elections on the usual timeline.

What minecraft Columbia might look like via Flickr

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