Dean of the School of General Studies Lisa Rosen-Metsch highlighted the school’s successful Giving Day performance during an appearance at the General Studies Student Council meeting on Tuesday night.
Rosen-Metsch has made fundraising a centerpiece of her tenure as dean since she took the position in 2017, highlighting the need to address financial insecurity for General Studies students. Unlike undergraduates at Columbia College and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, General Studies students do not receive need-blind financial aid.
At the meeting, she highlighted the school’s growth in development compared with recent years, citing increased student participation in fundraising efforts and this year’s record-breaking Giving Day total, over $100,000 more than last year’s total, which was itself $100,000 more than the year before.
“So we are really now going up $100,000 each year. I hope we’re gonna make that even climb higher because we all know that the highest priority for our school … is to increase our financial aid,” she said.
Rosen-Metsch also highlighted the success of Columbia’s Center for Veteran Transition and Integration, reflecting another focus under her tenure: veteran support. General Studies was historically founded to accommodate GI Bill beneficiaries in 1947, and to date boasts the highest population of veterans among any Ivy League school. The CVTI, an initiative that helps veterans integrate into colleges and the workforce nationwide, was founded in 2017 due in part to the efforts of former General Studies Dean Peter Awn.
She mentioned that last year the CVTI had raised only around a thousand dollars on Giving Day, while this year, it raised $151,643.
General Studies University Senator and co-chair of the Student Affairs Committee Jonathan Criswell, GS ’21, also gave updates on his work in the Senate.
Criswell spoke about the formation of several new subcommittees, including one focusing on obstacles faced by first-generation and low-income students, in addition to a new health and wellness subcommittee to focus on issues such as food insecurity and access to Dodge Fitness Center. Criswell also mentioned the formation of a childcare committee, as well as the possibility of a town hall to gather perspectives regarding the needs of students with children.
He made special note of the recent recognition of Indigenous People’s’ Day by Columbia’s University Senate, and highlighted the work of the Native American Council for its activism in pushing for recognition of the holiday at a university level over a number of years. The resolution was drafted by the Student Affairs Committee in collaboration with the Commission on Diversity.
“[We were] coordinating with [the Commission on Diversity] to try to create the best resolution that we could that would pass also, and it was much more difficult than we thought it would be,” Criswell said. “But I’m really proud to say that it just passed in the Senate, and so the University Senate now recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”