The need for a strong advocate for engineering students was a recurring theme on Sunday afternoon in School of Engineering and Applied Science class council and University senate candidates' speeches.
Senate candidates vowed to represent SEAS students well in the majority-faculty body, while council candidates outlined initiatives to bring their classes closer together.
Out of the 11 categories, only the races for the undergraduate seat on the University senate and for the class of 2015 council are contested.
Joshua Boggs, SEAS ’15, leads the incumbent Kung Fu Pandas as the party’s presidential candidate, with Shensi Ding, SEAS ’15, running for vice president, and Manali Yavatkar, SEAS ’15, and Edward Zahrebelski, SEAS ’15, running for representatives. The group faces CE Change, led by Tanay Doctor, SEAS ’15, as the presidential candidate, Andre Paiva, SEAS ’15, running for vice president, and Aditya Naganath, SEAS ’15, running for representative.
“This year we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work, and we’ve learned how to operate within the administration, especially for events,” Boggs said.
He stressed his party’s plans to endorse endeavors led by engineering students, promote student wellness through health initiatives and entertaining events, and continue to work with the Center for Career Education and Center for Student Advising.
He particularly emphasized their focus on “collaboration events,” citing an example of an event that his council planned with CCE this year in order to show SEAS students how to best find internships that were geared toward first-years.
CE Charge’s biggest points center around smaller but more specific changes: establishing a “fair registration system” through which students who get later registration times have an equal opportunity to get the classes they want, creating an Internet forum for SEAS students in which they could ask upperclassmen for advice and post information and reviews regarding certain classes, and holding a textbook sale to make the book-buying process cheaper and easier.
“The primary role of the engineering council is to build community, and to represent the interests of the SEAS community to the administration, plus organizing events that are fun, educational, and career-building,” Doctor said.
Current ESC Vice President for Policy Logan Donovan, SEAS ’13, Adam Hadar, SEAS ’15, and Class of 2014 President Akshay Shah, SEAS ’14, are running for SEAS representative to the University senate.
“On the senate there’s, percentage-wise, very few students versus faculty administrators,” Donovan said. “I think it takes someone with a lot of experience and who invests a lot of effort into Columbia already.”
Donovan’s platform includes making plans to ensure that undergraduates benefit from the new space in Manhattanville, as well as getting a pass/fail option and an expanded selection of non-tech electives for SEAS.
Hadar cited his eight years as an Eagle Scout as experience that qualifies him for the position.
“I’m a committed and spirited person,” he said. “I’d try again and again to make the SEAS position known to the senate.”
Hadar said that he would advocate for the renovation of Carleton Lounge as a central location for engineers to increase school spirit.
Shah’s three-pronged platform includes encouraging the collaboration of SEAS students to work with different schools and student groups at Columbia, making course evaluations public, and advocating for space allocations on the new Manhattanville campus to reflect SEAS students’ needs.
“The majority body in the senate is the faculty and on many occasions, they may or may not care for the views of the students,” Shah said. “One of the biggest challenges is that I’d have to fight against other bodies in the University for the benefit of the students, but I have the passion and I’m a go-getter.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article referred to a candidate debate, rather than candidate speeches. Spectator regrets the error.