New Columbia College Student Council initiatives will provide financial and institutional support for students in the coming year, including a travel fund for student activities, an alumni fund for campus organizations, and faculty and alumni mentorship programs.
With a recent spike in the number of officially recognized student groups—from 149 to 160 last year alone—that has outpaced the growth of governing boards’ allocations, funding has thinned, prompting action from CCSC.
Following a proposal from CCSC, Dean of Columbia College James Valentini agreed to allocate $39,000 to a newly created Travel Fund, making it three times bigger than its counterpart, the SEAS Dean Travel Fund, which is funded by both Engineering Student Council and the Dean of Engineering. Columbia College’s student population is 2.3 times that of the engineering school.
The new fund will only be available to Columbia College students for university-related travel, including travel with university-recognized groups and for university-related programs.
CCSC’s Vice President for Policy Nicole Allicock, CC ’18, hopes that the fund will ease financial pressures on the Joint Council Co-sponsorship Committee and allow for greater spending elsewhere. JCCC’s budget, which currently covers costs from student groups in all four undergraduate schools, is approximately the same size as the new Travel Fund’s.
“JCCC itself, our own fund, had been strained because of the demand for travel funding,” CCSC Vice President for Finance Adam Resheff, CC ’19, said. “[The new travel fund] really will offset a number of costs that student groups are facing.”
CCSC President Nathan Rosin, CC ’18, has expressed a willingness to work with other councils, like General Studies Student Council or Barnard’s Student Government Association, which might want to institute travel funds of their own.
“We would be more than happy to talk to, and even collaborate with, any of the other councils if they’re interested in speaking with their dean’s office about potentially creating a similar system,” Rosin said.
The new fund will be overseen by the Travel Fund Committee, made up of Resheff, CCSC adviser Josh Lucas, and CCSC Student Services Representative Toqa Badran, CC ’19.
In an effort to further lower costs faced by student groups and boost alumni engagement, CCSC will also aim to institute a system wherein recent CC graduates can donate money to help support clubs on campus. The logistics of this Alumni Fund haven’t been solidified yet, but it will either contribute directly to the governing boards of student organizations or fund facilities and securities costs, which would allow organizations to use the Student Activities Fees to host events throughout the year.
CCSC has also launched the Faculty Mentorship Program, in its inaugural year, which offers semester-long mentorships in the arts and sciences for juniors and seniors in Columbia College or the School of General Studies. Registration goes live here on Oct. 3 at 12:00 p.m.