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File / Rya Inman

Many nominees expressed the desire to use their positions to foster a greater sense of community within General Studies.

The General Studies Student Council has appointed 15 new council members for this semester, including representatives for working students with families, students with disabilities, and students in dual B.A. and joint programs.

Unlike the other three undergraduate student councils, GSSC does not hold open council elections in the fall. Instead, students interested in holding a position must apply to become appointed.

After the GSSC executive board reviews these applications, it interviews all candidates and elects one to be nominated for the position. Nominated candidates make a brief presentation in front of the council at a general body meeting, and the council votes to either approve or deny the position in a closed session. A majority of votes is required for the nominee to be accepted into the council.

All open council spots have now been filled, except for the position of Jewish Theological Seminary Students Representative, which will be voted on next week. Some of the appointed positions are for specific class years, while others are for certain underrepresented groups within the General Studies community. These positions include the Students with Disabilities Representative and the Family and Working Students Representative, the latter being an especially important position as many General Studies students have families or full-time jobs.

Students with Disabilities Representative Jonathan Criswell, GS ’21, said he will aim to use his military experience to advocate for students who need disability accommodations.

“Having been in the Marine Corps, I remember seeing how those problems affected [soldiers’] lives and how they had to adapt their lives to these new issues,” Criswell said. “It gave me a sense of empathy for how lucky some of us are and what we can do to enable other students to be the best students they can possibly be and to help them be part of our community.”

Many nominees echoed the desire to use their positions to foster a greater sense of community within General Studies.

“A trend that I’ve noticed with the previous speeches is about really bringing people together, so whether it’s on student council, professors, or new people on campus, volunteering is a really good way to meet people,” Pawel Maslag, GS ’18 and the approved nominee for Community Service Representative, said.

The full list of approved nominees and their positions on council can be found below:

Chief of Communications—Cassidy Zhang

Senior Class Treasurer—Cesar Idarraga

Social Chair—Eren Villa

Chief of Finance—Jessica Kim

Senior Class VP—Lou Abramowicz

Treasurer—Eric Lunzer

Social Media Representative—Sitara Herur-Halbert

First Year Class President—Corie Hahn

First Year Class VP—Biao Huan Foo

First Year Class Treasurer—Dan Cao

Family and Working Students Representative—Julia Hewitt

Students with Disabilities Representative—Jonathan Criswell

Alumni Affairs Representative—Christopher Durham

Community Service Representative—Pawel Maslag

Dual BA/ Joint Program Representative—Irina Liu | @columbiaspec

gssc council elections general studies