Strengthening the Voice and Input of Students and Student Groups in Policy Decisions
One of 1U’s main goals for next year is to include students and students groups in all aspects of CCSC. This includes, but is not limited to, meeting regularly with relevant groups about the specific policy initiatives CCSC is working on, connecting groups with relevant administrators about the policies they are working on, and providing, as CCSC has done this year, a document where any student group can publicize their messages. After working with the Activities Board for two years, it has become clear to Nicole how important student groups are to life at Columbia, especially in how they can serve as a microphone for many marginalized students on campus.
1U will work to ensure that administrative transparency is prioritized next year. Whether it’s CCSC boiling down hierarchical changes explained in long emails or demanding an explanation for Bacchanal changes, 1U will work to ensure that the administration remains accountable to all students. For example, last year the Lit Hum syllabus was changed significantly, but no rationale was given. Though many student appreciated the change, this points to a larger issue of lack of transparency in administrative decisions.
People should know what CCSC has done, as well as what CCSC has not done. CCSC should be held to the same standard of accountability to which 1U wants to hold administrators. CCSC should publicize what projects its members are pursuing so that 1) students know what concerns are being addressed (if not solved) and what still needs to be tackled 2) CCSC increases its institutional memory and doesn’t repeat past efforts on projects from year to year and 3) students feel connected to the work that student council is doing and know who they could reach out to to get involved.
Better Advising for First-Year Students
Many fellowships and study abroad programs require students to begin planning as early as their first year. Whether this means that students need to start a language in their first semester or take specific classes for a fellowship, 1U will work with the Center for Student Advising and Office of Global Programs to secure earlier and consistent advising on fellowships and study abroad programs.
Additionally, 1U is committed to securing faculty advising for students earlier in their careers. This process will be greatly helped by the “shadow declaration” which 1U President Nicole Allicock secured this past year. This would allow first-year students to unofficially “declare” a major before their sophomore year. 1U would take this one step further to connect faculty in these departments to students.
Comprehensive Change to Career Services
While the Center for Career Education provides a number of helpful resources to students such as LionShare, mock interviews, and individual advising, 1U believes that there are areas for improvement within CCE which could greatly benefit everyday student life. Examples of these include targeted career advising earlier in a student’s four years, ensuring that website updates are amenable to students, and expanded resources for currently underrepresented industries. 1U will also support ongoing efforts to increase resources for low-income students at CCE. 1U is committed to releasing a comprehensive survey about CCE to identify other areas where students are dissatisfied, and prepare a list of proposals from this information.
Sending Checks to Students On Time
In conversations with various students on campus, one of the most common complaints of Columbia’s financial interactions with students has been late work study checks. At a university as wealthy as ours, a clerical error should not stand in between students’ hard work and compensation. 1U is committed to addressing the root of this problem - the scattered financial system at Columbia.
Prioritizing Experiences in Accessibility Conversations
Because of increased advocacy on the part of students, there are a number of ongoing efforts to make our campus more physically accessible. 1U will work to ensure that the voices and experiences of students who face these accessibility issues remain at the forefront of the continued conversation. We will also encourage student groups to make their events as accessible as possible by working with the groups themselves, and with the Office of Disability Services to better publicize their resources for events.
Establishing a Student Events Fund
Campus events often involve financial barriers that prevent students from participating. 1U believes that all students should have the opportunity to attend all campus events, regardless of their ability to pay. Building on current CCSC initiatives, 1U will work towards establishing a student events fund that will support the subsidization of event costs for students. 1U is committed to making sure that this events fund will be supported either by CCSC’s own surplus or by money from the administration, rather than a raise in student life fees.
Improving JCCC Organization and Communication
The Joint Council Co-Sponsorship Committee is a valuable resource for student groups to receive funding beyond their allocations, but there is currently a lack of organization and clarity in the JCCC application process. 1U will work on establishing a JCCC website and releasing data such as previously approved co-sponsorship amounts in comparison to requested amounts. 1U will also change the JCCC process for unrecognized groups so that they don’t have to apply through recognized student groups.
Streamlining Student Group Funding
Beyond JCCC, the overall student group financing process can currently be difficult to navigate and does not always fit the needs of student groups. 1U will work closely with ABC and SGB to streamline the various student group funds on campus and minimize redundancy in applications to different funds. 1U will also continue current work on improving student group storage options, as well as expanding the vendor list to allow for common uncovered expenditures like Facebook advertising.
Increase in Community-Oriented Events
1U will focus on planning more student body-wide events that bring students together to take a break from work and enjoy campus and NYC experiences together. While Homecoming and Bacchanal are now two of the major events that foster large-scale community, we intend to expand and create more events that are spirited and community-oriented by nature. Such events on campus might include spring food truck festivals, campus-wide picnics, and musical/dance performances and celebrations on the plaza. We also intend to sponsor events downtown to ensure students are getting off campus more often and taking a break from fast-paced life on campus. While we will undoubtedly stay true to Columbia College traditions and continue to plan events like Passport to Columbia and College Days, we also hope to create new events and traditions that might exist in perpetuity to fortify Columbia’s undergraduate community.
Hosting Events Co-Sponsored by the Deans
1U plans to work with relevant Deans to co-sponsor events which might better connect undergraduates with their administrative representation. Students and administrators alike are interested and eager to connect, but historically there has been a lack of communication across administrator-student lines. We will bring together administrators and students through events like a Dean’s Ice Skating in Central Park, a Dean-sponsored trip to Smorgasburg, and/or on-campus casual hangouts, celebrations, and meals with administrators. Deans like James Valentini and Cristen Kromm might join students at these events to skate together, eat together, and get to know one another better in an informal and friendly context. This will ideally help students to experience administrative accessibility and receptiveness.
Event Collaboration with Columbia Offices
CCSC has historically enjoyed working with the Office of Student Engagement to plan events throughout the year. We plan to continue and hopefully expand this relationship by collaborating more heavily on projects like Live at Lerner to ensure performances and other events are as relevant and fun for undergraduates as possible. While CCSC currently maintains a productive relationship with Student Engagement, we also intend to establish a connection with the Office of University Life, which oversees all undergraduate and graduate schools of Columbia. As an office dedicated to fostering positive student life across campus, it would be valuable to work together to make events that improve the student experience and general quality of life. While the office currently organizes exciting events like Awakening Our Democracy, we can collaborate with them and campus life committees from other Columbia schools to create more programming for the student body.
Connecting with Student Groups
Student Groups are a vital part of Columbia College student life, and a valuable voice that too often goes underrepresented. In order to make sure that all students are heard, 1U will schedule more frequent meetings with student groups. Student Groups will also have the opportunity to meet with the Communications committee weekly in the form of “office hours,” where they can discuss issues of booking space, finance, or any other concerns. In addition, student groups will be heard in the form of town hall meetings, held monthly. Each of these open forums will be structured around a specific issue, with the intent of getting real student opinion so that 1U can make change that matters.
A Clear Website that Helps Students Find What They Need
The VP of Communications is in charge of updating and maintaining the website—1U is committed to taking it to the next level. By providing a clear, navigable website platform, the CCSC website can offer more than CCSC’s Constitution, By-Laws, and weekly minutes. With the help of an appointed subcommittee, students will be able to access a variety of resources on the CCSC website, such as information on how to start a club or apply for funding, links to Columbia Advising, the new JCCC website, and many more.
Increasing Surveys and Polls Through CCSC Website and WTF Columbia
In order to most accurately hear the average student’s opinion on the work that CCSC is doing, 1U is committed to frequently running polls and surveys throughout the year. These polls provide CCSC with valuable information needed to make informed decisions about what students want. Additionally, we plan to reinstate What to Fix Columbia so that CCSC will be informed on topical issues across campus. 1U hopes to increase active student participation by holding these polls, surveys, and the What To Fix (WTF) Columbia page on CCSC’s updated website.
I’m Nicole Allicock, a sophomore in CC from the DC area, and a Linguistics major. I’m involved in CU Players and Columbia Musical Theater Society, am a proud member of Alpha Omicron Pi, and strongly believe that Ferris is the best dinning hall (shoutout to the pesto flatbread). I also currently serve as the Academic Affairs representative for CCSC and the secretary for the Activities Board at Columbia. Both of these roles have given me a sense of how student government works and how it can be used to make change for students. As a student, I see ways CCSC can be improved to better reflect our voices. Whether it’s through meeting with student groups about policy initiatives, setting up polling stations at our events, or surveying opinions on how to make improvements, we are committed to making sure students are heard.
I’m Abby Porter, CC’17, from Houston, Texas. When I’m not in class, some of my favorite things to do on campus are eating at Culinary Society events or trying (and failing) to learn Arabic. Since I’ve been at Columbia, I’ve worked as a member of the Coalition Against Sexual Violence, the Mental Health Taskforce, and CCSC. I have found that, without a doubt, our largest resource is our student body, and the diversity of opinions which Columbia students offer. There is no singular Columbia experience, and no “model Columbia student”. I think there's real value in bringing these different perspectives to council, and I hope to work with a wide variety of people on CCSC next year.
I’m Anuj Sharma, CC ‘17. I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area (go Warriors!!), and I’m currently studying Computer Science and Statistics. Around campus, I’m a member of Columbia Debate, on the board of the Columbia Data Science Society, and I recently worked to start the Columbia Social Entrepreneurship Group. I’ve also previously been involved in CCSC, as president of CC 2017 my freshman year. Through my experiences both inside and outside of CCSC, I’ve gained insight into how the group financing process at Columbia functions, as well as how it can be improved. I hope to be back on CCSC next year and lead the Finance Committee to make the process more efficient and transparent.
I'm Nathan Rosin, a sophomore in CC studying MESAAS and Business Management from Boston, Massachusetts. I love to dance in JJ’s Place and sometimes sing Taylor Swift in the shower. I’ve enjoyed serving the Class of 2018 this past year as an elected Rep, in addition to working with the Communications and Campus Life Committees to serve the student body at-large. I’ve also spent the year planning engaging events for residents of McBain Hall as the Hall Council President. I’m a proud member of the Advisory Board for the Undergraduate Recruitment Committee, the Days on Campus/Perspectives on Diversity planning team, the Columbia Bartending Agency, and the Columbia/Barnard Hillel Community. Whether it’s giving away hot cider in custom mugs or organizing the kickoff event for College Days, there’s nothing that puts a bigger smile on my face than fun and engaging events for students to take a break and enjoy themselves! 1U hopes to continue age-old CC traditions and create new ones to continue building community and celebrating our school.
I’m Joshua Sudman, a CC’17 student majoring in Economics-Political Science and the current CCSC Vice President of the Class of 2017. Since coming to Columbia College, I have become involved in Student Worker Solidarity, the Columbia Bartending Agency, and Greek life with both the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity and the Inter-Fraternal Council. Each of these organizations has exposed me to a diverse mixture of students from all walks of life on campus, and taught me the value each student’s opinion has on issues of policy, finance, and campus life at Columbia. I know the student voice matters, and that 1U will bring these voices into the conversation in order to improve the quality of life here at Columbia University.