For the newly elected Columbia Political Union (CPU) Executive Board, keeping up campus momentum in a non-election year may be one of the biggest challenges.
Sajaa Ahmed, CC ’10, Emily Chen, CC ’10, and Emily Shea, CC ’12, were elected general manager, director of operations, and treasurer, respectively, Friday evening. The almost entirely new board is now looking to get more involved in Columbia campus politics and to establish closer relationships with both political and non-political groups.
Ahmed, who is the current editor of the Columbia Political Review (CPR), said that one challenge for next year would be to keep up the campus momentum from the 2008 presidential elections.
As she makes the jump from editor of the CPR to CPU president, Ahmed will have to further bridge the gap between the publication and the group, which puts her in a different position than past presidents elected from within the organization.
“A lot of times, people don’t even know that CPU publishes,” Ahmed said, though as editor she has strived to emphasize the connection. CPR is now clearly labeled a union publication.
Her experience at the review may also help the CPU in “trying to get people to think about politics within the lens of Columbia,” which, she said, was one of her goals for the coming year. The CPU board, she said, would also push to create a greater sense of what being a member of the union means—as a non-partisan group that is composed of many students who are also active in more partisan campus groups, Ahmed said she thought that non-executive board members felt less of a connection to the union.
“I think that the reason we did have a lot of interest in particular is because it was an election year, and was such a historic election,” she said. The goal, she added, is to generate similar campus excitement with a fresh board and out-of-the-box thinking.
Alix Pianin can be reached at email@example.com