During its last meeting of the semester, the Columbia College Student Council appointed five new representatives to fill seats left empty by students leaving the council.
The new members will replace Sabina Jones, CC ’20, Ben Kaplan, CC ’20, Sara Radway, CC ’21, Joyce Tan, CC ’21, and Nikola Danev, CC ’20 in their roles as representatives for the classes of 2020 and 2021, alumni affairs representative, gender and sexuality Representative, and international students representative. Last year, CCSC also had to appoint members to fill positions left vacant by members leaving to study abroad or for other personal commitments.
CCSC President Jordan Singer, CC ’19, said that while departures do not affect the actual functions of the council, if representatives leave halfway through the year, their replacements are only voted on by council members.
“As someone who did come in through the appointment process, I think there is still potential for this to be an opportunity and to bring new voices. It doesn’t necessarily disrupt the proceedings of the council … [but] students vote with an expectation that a particular representative will be their representative for an entire year, and I think there’s where the issue lies,” Singer said.
While no members are leaving the Engineering Student Council next spring, ESC is looking to fill three positions that have remained empty since the spring 2018 elections: namely, representatives for disability and accessibility, gender identity and sexuality, and racial diversity and inclusivity.
Despite representing a student body roughly a third of the size of Columbia College, ESC has a greater number of at-large representatives than CCSC—13 in ESC compared to 10 in CCSC—a number which has been steadily increasing on both councils over the past several years.
“We still will have conversations about if we do want to keep all the positions the same. We’re going to continue to do that. … We do have a lot of members [on the] council,” ESC President Ria Garg, SEAS ’20, said.
In addition to appointing new members, both councils have made progress on plans for a number of their initiatives, which include creating new event programming boards, addressing student financial needs, and working on campus sustainability.
Both councils have made plans to create programming boards, which will be charged with planning, creating, and implementing new events for the student body. Despite conversations regarding possible joint programming at the start of the semester, both councils have decided to pursue separate initiatives, although council leaders stated that they are open to future collaboration.
This semester, CCSC was able to fund several new initiatives due to a budget surplus from an rise in student life fees. The council spent $2,560 of its budget surplus to fund the Morningside Heights Community Supported Agriculture, a group that provides produce to students and residents of Morningside Heights. It has also agreed to spend $5,000 on a new subsidized MetroCard program for next semester, which will supply low-income students with free MetroCards.
CCSC will have the opportunity to have the Development Office fundraise on their behalf next February. The council released a survey asking Columbia College students to select the areas of student life most important to them in order to determine how these extra funds will be spent.
ESC Vice President for Policy Adekunle Balogun, SEAS ’20, initially sought to revive Columbia’s Green Fund, which used to fund sustainability projects on campus. However, together with ESC Sustainability Representative Amar Bhardwaj, SEAS ’20, Balogun has instead proposed the “Columbia as a Living Lab,” which will serve as a space where students can pitch sustainability projects and be connected with both administration and funding.
“The rebranding of [the Green Fund] as [“Columbia as a Living Lab”] is to more so emphasize that sustainability is a partnership between different groups on campus, which is something that the Green Fund lacked,” Balogun said.
The application to join ESC is live and can be found here.
The new members of CCSC are as follows:
2020 Class Representative:
2021 Class Representative:
Alumni Affairs Representative:
Gender and Sexuality Representative:
International Students Representative:
Beom Joon Baek