Updated, 3:15 a.m.
Election results for the Columbia College Student Council and the Engineering Student Council were released Wednesday with few surprises, considering that most major positions went uncontested.
The It’s Always Sunny at Columbia party, led by president-elect Daphne Chen, CC ’14, ran unopposed and won the election for CCSC executive board, while the PSet 150 party, led by Siddhant Bhatt, SEAS ’14, won the election for ESC executive board.
In perhaps the most high-profile contested race, Jared Odessky, CC ’15, won the election for Columbia College’s open University Senate seat, defeating David Froomkin, CC ’15.
Odessky, who is the current vice president of communications, said that he was flyering up until two hours before the race ended because he was so unsure of the results.
“I really had no idea what the outcome was going to be,” he said. “David really presented some fresh ideas and he had a lot of support behind him.”
Odessky said that his experience on the council definitely helped to distinguish him from Froomkin, who has never served on CCSC before.
“I think David's message about the democratic culture is important, and a lot of the criticism is validated when people haven't really done anything with their position on campus,” he said. “Even with a position on the inside this year, I’ve taken advantage of the resources available to me and I’ve helped undergraduate students. I hope to continue to serve students on the senate.”
Froomkin said that he had called Odessky earlier in the night to congratulate him, and hopes to work with him in the future.
“I told him that I think he’d do a fantastic job as senator,” he said. “I think Jared has done a great job in his tenure on CCSC and that rightfully helped him in this race.”
Even though he won’t be serving on the senate, Froomkin said that he will continue to address what he considers to be a “democratic deficit” on Columbia’s campus.
“I do think we need to continue the conversation about Columbia’s democratic deficit,” he said. “I will continue my work to address those issues as an outsider. I think it’s clear that a lot of students feel disenfranchised by the system, and that’s evident by the low voter turnout.”
In the ESC elections, 32.7 percent of the student body voted, while in the CCSC elections, turnout was 28.7 percent.
For CCSC, the executive board will be rounded out by Bob Sun, CC ’14 and vice president-elect of policy, Peter Bailinson, CC ’16 and vice president-elect of communications, Noah Swartz, CC ’16 and vice president-elect of finance, and Briana Saddler, CC ’14 and vice president-elect of campus life.
Chen said that even though her party was running unopposed, she still wanted to campaign for votes and ask students for their ideas.
“We spent the past week dorm storming, going to Ferris, asking students what they think,” she said. “We heard all these new ideas ... We were taking this very seriously.”
The It’s Always Sunny in Columbia party has four main points, Chen said—increasing transparency, accessing resources and technology, advocating for Columbia College, and improving the campus experience. Part of the access, Bailinson, a Spectator development associate, said, is just letting students know what resources were available to them.
“I want to focus on making connections between the resources that already exist on campus and students,” he said. “One of the great things about Columbia is that a lot of these things already exist. I want to make it easier for students to connect with those resources.”
Bailinson, who made national headlines earlier this semester when he became the face of Columbia’s Nutella frenzy, said that he’s looking forward to working on important issues.
“I'm not sure if I'm ever going to live down the Nutella,” he said. “What people have been telling me is that when employers search my name forever, they're going to see it ... I'm excited to get my name out there on issues that are more important, but I took it as something funny."
On the ESC executive board, Bhatt will be joined by Tanya Shah, SEAS ’14 and vice president-elect of policy, Brian Wu, SEAS ’15 and vice president-elect of finance, Rushal Rege, SEAS ’14 and vice president-elect of student life, and Jillian Ross, SEAS ’16 and vice president-elect of communications (defeating Matthew Sheridan, SEAS ’16, who ran independently for the communications post).
Bhatt said that even though his party ran unopposed, he wanted to reach out to as many people as possible and show that they were accountable during the campaign.
The party’s platform consisted of three pillars, he said—representing SEAS students, making the council more efficient, and representing engineering student groups.
Bhatt said he chose his fellow party members based on his desire for a diverse executive board, with people from different class years and levels of experience with the council—a mix of seasoned and fresh perspectives, he said.
“When we came together, we often discussed what our ideal Columbia would be,” he said.
During Sunday night's debate, Chen announced that a task force was being formed to explore the possibility of merging CCSC and ESC. Bhatt said he found the idea of a merger exciting, even though there are still many issues the task force would have to consider before it could happen.
"It’s an exciting time. A lot of changes are happening," he said. "There are some big tasks that we’re hoping to explore and we'll see what works best."
Class of 2014 President-elect Daniel O’Leary, SEAS ’14, said he’s already pre-calendared seven events for the fall semester, noted that the top priority of the class of 2014 council is events for the senior class.
“There are just a ton of events that make senior year amazing,” he said. “We want to make sure that we execute these events very well.”
O’Leary also said that his main focus in ESC will be to streamline processes for student groups and give them the flexibility that can be lost amid bureaucratic inefficiencies.
Aside from ESC's professional development and alumni affairs representative position, all of the at-large positions had uncontested races.
Janiel Li, SEAS ’15, won the election for professional development and alumni affairs representative against Aditya Naganath, SEAS ’15. The current Student Governing Association liaison for ESC, Li said he had to campaign much more aggressively this time around because his race was contested, unlike last year.
“I put a lot more effort in flyering and creating Facebook pages, and getting the word out to have people vote," he said. "I also wanted to make sure that I structured my platform very specifically.”
Li said that he is more focused on the alumni affairs part of his title than the professional development part, and that he wants to expand programs that allow students to connect with alumni for career guidance.
“It’s all about what experience the alumni had, and how they can show a realistic view of the opportunities students have out of college," he said. Whatever "direction students should go, whether it’d be industry or research, they can have input from alumni."
Abby Abrams contributed reporting.
Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story stated that Loxley Bennett, CC ’15, was the only winner in the election for CCSC student services representatives. The second-place candidate, Chris Godshall, CC ’15, also won. Also, an earlier version of this story gave Brianna Saddler's class year as CC ’15. It is actually CC ’14. Spectator regrets the errors.