Meet the Candidates

Meet the Candidates

The following are the candidates for Spring 2020 CCSC E-Board elections:

Candidates

  • Biography

    My name is Travis Nelson and I am a junior from Hempstead, NY. I am a proud first generation low income student, Questbridge Scholar, and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. Over the last three years I have served in various capacities working to make Columbia a more equitable, inclusive and at times fun environment. My experience has made me a serious advocate for building a stronger sense of community at Columbia and driven my ambition to be your next Vice President of Campus Life. Through this role I hope to stimulate a healthy, engaging and robust campus life.

    Platform

    As VP Campus Life I plan to:

     

    Support Community Traditions:

    During such difficult times we hope to support the amazing Columbia traditions that build community. We acknowledge that we aren’t sure what the future holds, but we know that our Columbia community will find important ways to connect. We hope to continue our traditions of Homecoming, the Tree Lighting, and Glass House Rocks in the capacities we can through proper planning and funding. 

     

    Set New Precedents:

    As Pre-Professional Representative of the Activities Board at Columbia, I recognized four new student groups that responded to the needs of our most marginalized students and worked with the finance committee to establish the Community Programming Fund, providing additional funding to student groups that hosted events designed to foster inclusivity within the Columbia community. Furthermore, as the Multicultural Greek Council President, I established a new programming week to build camaraderie, supported IGC initiatives such as Greek Night, and hosted two Homecoming Yard Shows with various campus partners. 

     

    We plan to support large student group events on campus and advocate for greater inclusivity in said events so that they are open to the entire Columbia undergraduate student body and representative of our diverse community.

     

    Land Acknowledgements:

    We plan to incorporate land acknowledgments for all CCSC events. This practice not only commemorates and recognizes the indigenous groups who occupied that land but acknowledges their erasure from the spaces we are privileged to now call home.

     

    Civic Engagement:

    In light of the 2020 election, we hope to support Voting Week and other voter registration efforts to foster a stronger spirit of civic engagement on campus and amongst our student body.

     

  • Biography

    Hi all! My name is Sophia Adeghe and I am a freshman in CC studying Economics. I am originally from Brooklyn, New York but grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Around campus, I am in many cultural clubs like the Black Students Organization, African Students Association, and Haitian Students Association. I also served on the Policy Committee and Finance Committee of CCSC this year and through this have learned how I think I can best make change on campus. I am running for VP Finance because I believe we can advocate for and support students through our finances and spending.

    Platform

    Institutionalize Metrocard Initiative: 

    The Columbia Experience is one of the most memorable parts of being a CC student. This includes lively on-campus events, and engaging with New York City. We hope to bring this experience to every student regardless of financial background. We will do this by expanding and institutionalizing the Metrocard Initiative. This successful initiative has allowed students to access museums, events, and the beautiful sights New York has to offer. By institutionalizing the effort, Columbia College will be able to expand the reach of the initiative beyond student council. 

     

    Subsidizing Campus Events: 

    We hope to work with clubs on campus to make their amazing events accessible to all. Due to the clubs’ limited funds, ticketed events are needed. However, by working with these clubs, CCSC will be able to subsidize the cost of events, or buy a number of tickets to distribute. This will ease the financial burden from clubs, while allowing high-need students to engage with the community

     

    Co-Sponsorship Opportunities:

    Supporting the amazing work clubs do through finances is necessary as they contribute to campus culture. Beyond advocating for fair funding practices, we also hope to expand co-sponsorship opportunities. Communicating what opportunities are available, and how to access them is key, as we encourage organizations to take advantage of these funds. We also hope to encourage CCSC members to put on events with clubs to foster collaboration. 

     

    Expanding Student Group Funding:

    Clubs on campus make up a huge part of the Columbia experience. They offer a sense of community through identity, shared interest, and career paths. They are integral to students’ extracurricular success. Funding them at the appropriate level is imperative to a healthy campus culture. Bringing more money to F@CU and the governing boards to expand club funding will ensure the campus experience students deserve.

     

  • Biography

    My name is Sina Fayaz Monfared and I am a rising sophomore in Columbia College majoring in History. I spend my free time reading novels in Riverside Park, working out in Dodge, and hanging out in Butler Café. If elected as your VP Campus Life, I will work diligently with the Race and Ethnicity Representative and multicultural clubs to embrace the diversity of Columbia’s student body. My personal experiences as a first-generation, immigrant, student of color will inform my vision on CCSC to create a warm and inclusive environment. I hope to help implement meaningful changes to improve Columbia!

    Platform

    Enhancing Columbia Spirit through School-wide Events:

    I am deeply committed to furthering our sense of community by increasing the number of student-run events throughout the semester. This would include events such as a large concert after homecoming, campus-wide Super Smash Brothers and chess tournaments, and a week long school-wide scavenger hunt, hosting games on the Butler lawns and putting more board games and video games in student lounges. 

     

    Highlighting student student body’s diversity through organizing school-wide celebration of ethnic and international events:

    As both an international student and immigrant, I feel that Columbia can do a much better job at appreciating the diversity of its student body. As your VP Campus Life, I will work with cultural clubs to facilitate commemoration of cultural and religious events such as Ramadan, the Lunar New Year, International Women's Day, and Kwanzaa.

     

    Subsidizing graduate school application fees and standardized testing:

    I believe that no one should be held back from achieving their full academic potential for financial reasons. Like many other low-income students at Columbia College, I constantly worry about being able to finance my education at Columbia. Aside from that, students face expensive  test fees, which gives them unnecessary anxiety. I hope to reduce the pressure on financially vulnerable students who are pursuing graduate studies by lowering these expenses. 

     

    Assistance over breaks: 

    It is simply impossible for many of us to return home over break. I believe that Columbia needs to do more to care for students who must stay on campus for the entire school year. Columbia College must do everything in its power to accommodate students who depend on the university for assistance during times of vulnerability. These accommodations must go beyond providing food; they should also include gatherings to celebrate the New Year as well as other holidays. 

     

  • Biography

    Hi! I'm Rads (she/her). I’ve been on 2022 Class Council for two years. I'm most proud of leading the Butler Banner Project, focused on uplifting marginalized women of color writers. I received the 2020 Barnard Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Grant for documenting and enhancing student activist work. I’ve worked with CPS and ODS to improve their services, from an outside referral program to an equitable disability housing system. I've met with countless departments and administrators, giving me deep institutional knowledge.

    As soon as we get back to campus, you can find me waiting in line for Ferris grilled cheese.

    Platform

    I want to restructure CCSC’s Policy committee around collaboration and efficacy.

     

    CU on Houseparty! plans to focus on:

     

    Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    – Collaborating with cultural organizations to help fund, organize, and publicize the many valuable events they put on

    – Building off work done by other CCSC members to increase meeting spaces for identity-based groups

     

    Financial Accessibility

    – Covering co-pays for students meeting with outside mental health practitioners

    – Subsidizing NYC cultural events (museums, shows, day hikes––you name it!)

    – Designing financial literacy and financial aid officer assignment programs to help students navigate their aid

    – Expanding CCSC’s Metrocard Program to increase the number of swipes and students on the program

    – Addressing food insecurity by expanding the Columbia farmshare program and the free food events during winter break

     

    Mental Health + Wellness

    – Working with CPS and the Office of Disability Services (ODS) to establish an excused absence and delayed deadline system for students dealing with mental health issues

    – Fighting stress culture in the libraries with initiatives like the Butler Meme Gallery and adding bean bags + exercise balls to the reading rooms

    – Helping students return from medical leave by creating a system where they could opt-in to be paired with CPS counselors or other students in similar situations to ease their transition back into Columbia 

    – Partnering with SHIFT to continue advocating for faculty and TAs to attend trainings on helping students dealing with mental health issues 

     

    COVID-19 Response for Spring + Summer 2020

    – Instituting a one-time Summer Work Exemption Grant for summer 2020 to cover the expected summer earnings student contribution for students who receive financial aid, in a similar form as Barnard

    – Scheduling an in-person commencement for the Class of 2020 next academic year

    – Developing a resources grant for students to buy technology, school supplies, and other materials they need for remote learning

     

    http://tinyurl.com/cuonhouseparty

     

     

  • Biography

    My name is Marilyn Santo and I am a freshman at Columbia. I currently live in West Virginia, but have lived in multiple states and have lived in Cameroon for 10 years. All of this has given me perspective and shaped my view on life. Having lived in multiple places, I have had the opportunity to interact with a variety of people and this has broadened my perspective. I am a premedical student majoring in Chemistry. Additionally, I am a part of Columbia's Brazilian Jiu Jitsu club, Peer Health Exchange group, Model UN, and dance club.

    Platform

    My goal is to bridge the gap between students and advocate for the needs and wants of the student body. I plan on using my platform to build a community in which ideas can be freely shared. During such a pressing time in the midst of a pandemic, it is essential that all voices are heard equally. So as the Vice President of Communications, I will ensure that we bridge this communication gap among students. Some key goals include ensuring that all students have a say in important decisions that affect student life, finding ways to help students severely impacted by the coronavirus, and bringing in new ideas to ensure that students feel included and that diversity is represented and celebrated on campus. Lastly, many resources on campus go unnoticed. I will be sure to find better ways of communicating these resources to students. Join me in the change we are about to make.

  • Biography

    I am Kwolanne Felix, and I hope to represent you as President of the Student Council. I am a current Sophomore studying History, and have a keen interest in international politics and gender equality. As I have served as the Gender and Sexuality Representative for 3 semesters, I have learned so much about this institution. It hasn’t always been easy but my favorite part is collaborating with others to push for the policies we deserve. Especially for policies that demand a dynamic and multifaceted approach, working in coalition with others has been key to my success.

    Platform

    In our different experiences advocating for strong policies as CCSC members, we have learned so much from our service to the student body. Which is why in our approach to inclusive policies, we must acknowledge the need for collaboration. Inclusion and diversity are more than buzzwords — they are reflected dynamically in our vision and work we intend to do in every e-board position. 

     

    A Culture of Inclusive, Collaborative Policies:

     

    CU Soon hopes that inclusion isn't reduced to a subsection of our work, and aims to reflect this in our policy approach by expanding the reach of the Inclusion and Diversity Task Force, founded by Kwolanne. We acknowledge that CCSC is not the only body working on important policies, and hope to build a culture of collaboration with various student leaders and organizations addressing marginalized students’ experiences. This includes working to expand the Inclusion and Diversity Task Force initiatives, such as free meals over Winter Break and pushing for more reasonable definitions surrounding sexual consent (based on meeting with No Red Tape), and Brandon’s work with SHIFT’s (Mental Health Task Force) Faculty Relations team.

     

    These efforts will help institutionalize a culture of inclusion and collaboration. 

     

    Peer Mentorship:

     

    We want to spearhead a CC Peer Major Mentorship program, inspired by the existing program in SEAS, Brandon’s involvement in Columbia Mentoring Initiative (CMI), and internal groundwork created by Brandon and current Academic Affairs Rep Zayba Qamar. We envision juniors/seniors being matched with first-years/sophomores to build cross-year community and support students through academic and career guidance. 

     

    Internal Reforms:

     

    To ensure that Council members can perform their jobs better, we hope to implement trainings introducing Policy Committee members to how administration is organized/structured, reinforce internal guidelines to reduce issues such as co-optation of other members’ initiatives, and create more cross-committee collaboration within council.

     

  • Biography

    Hey! I’m Krishna, and I’m a sophomore from Tampa, Florida. Although transfer students form a substantial part of Columbia’s community, we lack representation in many facets of Columbia life. Transferring into Columbia, I knew I wanted to join CCSC, but found it difficult to research how to run or even what CCSC did! I’m running in Communications because I want to ensure that never happens to another student. I believe that my experience in the Asian-American Alliance and managing social media for SHARP gives me effective digital communications experience that would make me a strong candidate for VP of Communications.

    Platform

    In conjunction with CU Soon’s broader efforts to create a culture of collaboration and make CCSC a more equitable space, as Vice President of Communications, I plan on:

    • Organizing our website in order to make sure information about elections, policies, and meeting minutes is always accurate and available to students. 
    • Active communications with student media outlets about initiatives in CCSC so that readers of student media can stay up to date with the latest that CCSC is doing. This would involve more direct communication and engagement with student journalist groups in order to facilitate effective communication between CCSC and the Student Body 
      • This would involve the coverage of committee meetings, and not just G-Body meetings so that the student body can get a comprehensive picture of everything that CCSC undertakes. I would also be willing to do interviews or talk to student media outlets personally about current events within CCSC, because communications are also about ensuring durable relationships and creating a precedent of collaboration between CCSC and student groups. 
    • Making CCSC more accessible to transfer students- not just that they know CCSC exists, but also that they have the knowledge necessary to earn their own spots on CCSC so that the needs of the transfer community can be represented directly on the Student Council. 
    • Creating a digital space where the opinions, needs and grievances of students can be heard and responded to by members of CCSC - this could potentially take the form of an online google form, or a “digital hotline” where we could view student demands. 
    • Revamping social media presence to consolidate information and make our presence more active, and to make sure CC students are actually aware of events and services that CC offers - I believe my experience managing social media for my a capella group on campus, Columbia SHARP, proves I have what it takes to not only run social media engagement, but keep users engaged and active with our platform

     

  • Biography 

    Hi! I'm Justin (he/they) and I am a first-year studying Creative Writing and Political Science. I am currently the Vice President for the class of 2023 and have served on the campus life committee for the past school year. During my time on CCSC, I worked on planning events for the first-year class that included a lot of Shake Shack and Hungarian Pastries and worked on projects focused on financial accessibility. As VP Campus Life, I hope to make more space for the QTPOC community on campus and continue my work in financial accessibility.

    Platform

    CU on Houseparty! plans to focus on:

     

    Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    – Collaborating with cultural organizations to help fund, organize, and publicize the many valuable events they put on

    – Building off work done by other CCSC members to increase meeting spaces for identity-based groups

     

    Financial Accessibility

    – Covering co-pays for students meeting with outside mental health practitioners

    – Subsidizing NYC cultural events (museums, broadway shows, day hikes––you name it!)

    – Designing financial literacy and financial aid officer assignment programs to help students navigate their aid

     

    Mental Health + Wellness

    – Working with CPS and the Office of Disability Services (ODS) to establish an excused absence and delayed deadline system for students dealing with mental health issues

    – Fighting stress culture in the libraries with initiatives like the Butler Meme Gallery and adding bean bags + exercise balls to the reading rooms

     

    COVID-19 Response for Spring + Summer 2020

    – Instituting a one-time Summer Work Exemption Grant for summer 2020 to cover the expected summer earnings student contribution for students who receive financial aid, in a similar form as Barnard

    – Scheduling an in-person commencement for the Class of 2020 during Homecoming

    – Developing a resources grant for students to buy technology, school supplies, and other materials they need to learn from home

     

    As VP Campus Life, I will plan:

    TOWN HALLS

    Twice a semester, we would convene a Town Hall including administrators, CCSC, students, and representatives of student groups, to discuss issues on campus and ways we can solve them.

    MID-SIZED EVENTS

    Building off the co-sponsorship program from last year, we would want to help student groups with the planning and publicizing aspect of their events, in order to increase attendance at the

    Especially partnering with underfunded groups to boost their events

    Also partnering with cultural organizations to support the many different communities represented on campus

     

  • Biography

    Coming from South Korea, I (he/his) served in the Republic of Korea Army at the DMZ. I am the international student representative in CCSC. To help international students to work at internships, I have advocated for CPT. To address food insecurity over winter break, I hosted food events and created calendars that listed other free food opportunities. I have also hosted international alumni networking panels with CCE, Visa Q&A events with ISSO, and international student town hall. Finally, I advocated for cancellation of in-person classes at the beginning of COVID-19, greater transparency about move-out process, and pass/fail options.

    Platform

    As president, my biggest priority will be focused on whether Columbia resumes in-person or online Fall 2020. With the current pandemic, it is impossible to predict what form Fall 2020 will take place. Thus, using our ticket’s experience, we will make sure that at every step of Columbia’s decision-making process, we’ll advocate on your behalf what is the best choice for students. We got a detailed plan both for in-person and online Fall 2020 here (https://tinyurl.com/cuonhouseparty).

     

    Top 5 Policies when campus resumes:

    -Continuing the dialogue with graduating seniors to have in-person commencement sometime during next academic year

    -Host commemorative events for university facilities and dining hall staff who is still working on-campus

    -Expanding CCSC’s Co-sponsorship fund to support student club’s events and utilize our listserv to actively promote more student clubs

    -Designing financial literacy and financial aid officer assignment programs to help students navigate their aid

    -Convening a town hall including administrators, students, and student groups to discuss issues on campus and ways we can solve them.

     

    Top 5 Policies when Columbia is online:

    -Developing a resources grant for students to buy technology, school supplies, and other materials they need for remote learning

    -Ensuring the administration reduces tuition to a justifiable amount for Fall Zoom 2020 and that these changes reflect properly in terms on financial aid

    -Using the Fall 2020 Campus Life budget to purchase Zoom Pro accounts for every Columbia student group

    -Implementing a co-op program where students can get academic credits for work they do while having a leave of absence 

    -Hosting a virtual club fair at the beginning of the semester

     

    In these perilous times, it requires active leadership to advocate for students. Whether Columbia is online or on-campus, we will do our duty to improve our community. CU on Houseparty! is prepared to tackle this situation. 

  • Biography

    Hey y'all! My name is Emma (she/her) and I'm a sophomore studying Economics and English. I want to be your VP Finance because as a Questbridge Scholar, I know how much stronger we are as a collective when each of our peers is equipped to excel. My experience covering financial aid, food insecurity, and the Core for Spec ensures I have the institutional knowledge to source, design, and implement the changes students need. Furthermore, my work with the EcoReps Green Sale and Columbia for Carbon Neutrality demonstrates my investment in and commitment to a sustainable, equitable community.

    Platform

    CU on Houseparty! plans to focus on:

    1. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    a. Collaborating with cultural organizations to help fund, organize, and publicize the many valuable events they put on

    b. Building off work done by other CCSC members to increase meeting spaces for identity-based groups

    2. Financial Accessibility

    a. Covering co-pays for students meeting with outside mental health practitioners

    b. Subsidizing NYC cultural events (museums, broadway shows, day hikes––you name it!)

    c. Designing financial literacy and financial aid officer assignment programs to help students navigate their aid

    3. Mental Health + Wellness

    a. Working with CPS and the Office of Disability Services (ODS) to establish an excused absence and delayed deadline system for students dealing with mental health issues

    b. Fighting stress culture in the libraries with initiatives like the Butler Meme Gallery and adding bean bags + exercise balls to the reading rooms

    4. COVID-19 Response for Spring + Summer 2020

    a. Instituting a one-time Summer Work Exemption Grant for summer 2020 to cover the expected summer earnings student contribution for students who receive financial aid, in a similar form as Barnard

    b. Scheduling an in-person commencement for the Class of 2020 during Homecoming

    c. Developing a resources grant for students to buy technology, school supplies, and other materials they need to learn from home

     

    I will advocate for Columbia College to follow Barnard's lead and replace the summer earnings student contribution with a one-time Summer Work Exemption Grant. To further alleviate the anxiety of this unprecedented moment, I will collaborate with Undergraduate Financial Aid to pair students with assigned financial aid officers, a system already established at peer institutions. Everyone deserves equal access to the greatest city in the world when we all return: I plan to allocate the current budget surplus towards expanding the subsidized Metrocard and farm share programs, and piloting a program to cover the co-pays of Aetna-network mental health practitioners.

     

  • Biography

    Hey there! My name is Brandon and I’m a sophomore from Northern California. I’m running for VP Policy to improve student experiences on an institutional level and facilitate CCSC’s different policy-related initiatives. Through my current roles as sophomore class representative and a Queer/Trans Advisory Board member, I have learned the importance of amplifying rather than co-opting student voices, and collaborating with groups who are already doing great advocacy work. Next year, I hope to continue my work on mental health and LGBTQ+ issues, and use our administrative access to support initiatives from other council members and the wider community.

    Platform

    In our different experiences advocating for strong policies as CCSC members, we have learned so much from our service to the student body. Which is why in our approach to inclusive policies, we must acknowledge the need for collaboration. Inclusion and diversity are more than buzzwords — they are reflected dynamically in our vision and work we intend to do in every e-board position. 

     

    A Culture of Inclusive, Collaborative Policies:

     

    CU Soon hopes that inclusion isn't reduced to a subsection of our work, and aims to reflect this in our policy approach by expanding the reach of the Inclusion and Diversity Task Force, founded by Kwolanne. We acknowledge that CCSC is not the only body working on important policies, and hope to build a culture of collaboration with various student leaders and organizations addressing marginalized students’ experiences. This includes working to expand Task Force initiatives, such as free meals over Winter Break and pushing for more reasonable definitions surrounding sexual consent (based on meeting with No Red Tape), and Brandon’s work with SHIFT/Mental Health Task Force Faculty Relations team.

     

    These efforts will help institutionalize a culture of inclusion and collaboration. 

     

    Peer Mentorship:

     

    We want to spearhead a CC Peer Major Mentorship program, inspired by the existing program in SEAS, Brandon’s involvement in Columbia Mentoring Initiative (CMI), and internal groundwork created by Brandon and current Academic Affairs Representative Zayba Qamar. We envision juniors/seniors being matched with first-years/sophomores to build cross-year community and support students through academic and career guidance. 

     

    Internal Reforms:

     

    To ensure that Council members can perform their jobs better, we hope to implement trainings introducing Policy Committee members to how administration is organized/structured, reinforce internal guidelines to reduce issues such as co-optation of other members’ initiatives, and create more cross-committee collaboration within council.

     

  • Biography

    A rising junior, majoring in History and Political Science, Adam is an avid consumer of all things creative and community-oriented. He is actively involved with on-campus theatre and acappella, writes for the Columbia Political Review, and serves as the bureau chief for Bwog's coverage of CCSC. Adam is passionate about human rights/advocacy, and volunteers with Amnesty International, the Justice-in-Education Initiative at Riker's Island, and Voting Week. He also serves as Programming Chair for the University Life Events Council, allowing him to create/support inclusive social programming across Columbia (including his chairing Low Lounge and Drag Bingo w/ Miz Cracker).

    Platform

    As a transfer student to Columbia College, my platform is built upon a simple model: STAND, or Support, Togetherness, Accessibility, New Ideas, and Diversity. When I arrived at Columbia in August, I was acutely aware of the strengths that are unique to Columbia - an enduring sense of community, an endless ability for students to become involved in on-campus programming and events, and a steadfast commitment to the academic rigor that will better our collective societies. Through my news coverage of CCSC during the last two semesters, as well as through my work leading the University Life Events Council, I have realized Columbia's ability and potential to continue to grow as a united community. As VP of Campus Life, I intend to STAND Supportive of my peers, through a push for increased academic and mental health resources. I intend to STAND Together with my fellow representatives, through greater CCSC visibility on campus, and increasingly strong relationships with the Food Pantry, the CQA, FGLI student programming, and co-sponsorships with student activities across our campuses. Additionally, I want to create a CCSC that STANDs accessible to the entirety of the Columbia population. I intend to bridge the gap between student government and the student population, in order to assure that the work of CCSC is never done in a vacuum. Furthermore, I intend to STAND for New Ideas, in order to advocate for programming that highlights transfer students and students on non-linear academic paths. Finally, I intend to STAND Diverse in using my voice on the CCSC Executive Board to institute programming that highlights the diverse social, cultural, and educational voices that make our campus tapestry vibrant. I will use my experience leading the ULEC to assure CC represents all student populations, creating programming that emphasizes the differences that make Columbia College strong.

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