The Blog


Earlier this evening, the Columbia Elections Board announced the winners of the Fall 2016 elections. We are excited to share the results below. Congratulations to the newly elected representatives.

CCSC 2020 President & Vice President

Siddharth Singh and James Ritchie

CCSC 2020 Class Representatives

Grant Pace

Danielle Resheff

Astrid Walker-Stewart

CCSC 2017 Representative

Tracy Ting Cao

CCSC Sandwich Ambassador

Joseph Villafane

ESC 2020 Class President

Ria Garg

ESC 2020 Class Vice President

Marisa Ngbemeneh

ESC 2020 Class Representatives

Joanna Paik

Abhishek Chakraborty

ESC 3-2 Representative

Priscilla Wang

ESC Disability and Accessibility Issues Representative

Adriana Echeverria

ESC International Students Representative

Pranav Arora

ESC University Senator

Izzet Kebudi

This Monday was highlighted by the first presidential debate. But sadly there is no television in the lounge of my residence hall, so I watched it on Facebook using my cellphone. I walked into an elevator, listening how Donald Trump say about his tax return, while another student bumped into the elevator with his cellphone displaying the same live video as mine. We caught each other’s eyes, and we smiled. And it was that moment I felt a strong connection with my peers, that we are the same species, that we care about the same issue.

Columbia has had a reputation for being politically active, and I know it especially true when I saw the crowd in Lerner’s piano lounge watching the presidential debate. We have different political groups. We have student government. We have campaigns and initiatives calling for political actions. All these things remind me that I am in a political atmosphere, and political discussion is a thing embedded in the practice of our community.

Aristotle says, remarkably, that “men are born political.” This statement is especially true in this time, where social media and internet expose us to a life with ever-growing political focus. The question for us, however, is not whether a political life matters, but rather in what way should political discussion integrated in our daily life. Should it be in a serious manner, as if we are talking politics in an academic setting and must pay attention to the details of the subject we are discussing, or should it be in an easygoing way where we treat political discussion as a daily routine that every person would take part in? Should we be scientific in our political life? Or should it just be about personal reaction?

I am not trying to answer these questions, as I believe different people could have different philosophy towards their lives, and what role does politics play in it. The more important thing is the fact that we are looking at the way we talk about politics in an introspective lens. Because of that, we know what position we are, and why we are at this position. It is this self-examining process that makes us better understand politics, and ultimately ourselves.

Coming from an applied math major, I always find that the most important thing in my study of math is not the solution to a problem, but rather the way that leads to the solution, and I think there is a similar thing in our political discussion. It is always easy to have an opinion, but it is hard, yet more importantly, to understand the reason behind the opinion. That is what this column is trying to achieve: it attempts to examine behind the kaleidoscope of opinions and ideas in politics, international relation, and economy, and provide insight into our understanding of our world and society.

Perspectives of a Math Major runs alternating Wednesdays. To submit a response, email submissions@columbialion.com

Meet Charlotte. Charlotte,  Morningside Heights born and raised, is a first year in Columbia College interested in studying History with a focus on Medieval Studies and Classics. We sat down with her to learn more about her goals while at Columbia and about her current passions.

What is your hometown?

New York, NY in MoHi. It’s going to college from across the street from where you grow up. But it’s interesting navigating a place you’ve known with a student life you’ve never experienced.

What are you current passions? How do you think you’ll pursue them on campus?

I went to LaGuardia to study visual arts. I love all kinds of arts but a lot of photography and graphic design. I might do photography and design for some clubs. I also want to try out theater. I think I also I want to join the ski team on campus. I’m auditioning for CMTS and KCST. And I might visit all the club info sessions. I want to just visit the club fair and learn from there.

Of everything you’ve worked on, volunteered for, and studied, what are you most proud of?

I was editor of my high school literary magazine. I basically did everything because I cared so much about it. When we transitioned from a yearly print to a blog, there was a great controversy (but unlike Blue and White, there wasn’t a divide). Being on people to create content, doing interviews, and dealing with a school that doesn’t care at times. Being able to find a club and get a position of power where you could go for it that I now cannot control and seeing that grow.

What are you interested in studying here? Why?

My intended degree is in history with a concentration with medieval studies and classics. I’ll be in school for a while. I want to be a historian, write books, and spend all of my time reading about christianization, paganism, and vikings, etc.

I became interested in it from two roads. One was mythology. I remembered asking my dad to teach me Latin because it seemed so cool. Now I’m taking Latin this semester because I want a more thorough understanding.  In terms of Greek and Roman mythology, Ajax has been my homie since 4th grade. I studied mythology from around the world and folklore. Really all of these stories. I went through  a lot of career ideas and a few ideas of what I wanted to with my career. I at one point wanted to do fashion and then looked at it and realized I’d be a walking panic attack.

I considered medicine and neuroscience and realized I didn’t want to do medical school. I then realized that my dad’s job as a historian was being a professional nerd. And then I realized that’s exactly what I wanted to be. My dad’s a historian and my mom’s an art historian so we’re quite a nerdy family.

This semester, I’m taking a lot of classics classes. I really want to take one called History of Cold. There’s a class about vampires. There’s a medieval Latin class and then all the graduate history classes.

What are you most nervous/anxious about (in regards to college, Columbia, NYC, etc)?

One thing I want to see is how my relationship with my neighborhood evolves. I’m in a new context in the exact same place. I want to see if I succumb to the Columbia bubble. I don’t know how permanent by desire to leave to other neighborhood changes. Will Westside seem like it’s too far in a few weeks? I hope not.

I also worry at times about finding your best friend in college. I’m already meeting people I like now so I’m getting less worried about that thankfully.

What are you most excited about (in regards to college, Columbia, NYC, etc)?

Everything. One of the best things about Columbia is the amount of opportunities. It’s all free (after tuition and selling your soul to FAFSA). I moved across the street and now can walk into Avery and look in the ancient art archives with my friends. There’s so many internships and having a .columbia.edu address opens a lot of doors. Everyone I talk to here is so interesting. It’s overwhelming how much stuff there is to do. I’m excited for such a packed schedule and to explore all of these opportunities.

Any goals you have in mind? 

  • I want to write a senior thesis.
  • I want to make use of the rare books and manuscripts library for said thesis.
  • I want to get really invested in a club or two, like I was in high school. I want to pour my heart and soul into something. If I become a columnist, I want to be able to get really invested in something worthwhile.
Throughout the semester, we’ll be featuring interviews from new students. To recommend someone for an interview or to become an interviewer for The Lion, email team@columbialion.com

Here at the Lion, we’re always looking for fresh perspectives on life at Columbia. This semester marks the debut of our columnist program, in which four writers help us view our community and our world through a different lens. Without further ado, here are our new columnists:

photoHeather is a junior in Columbia College, majoring in Neuroscience and Behavior. In addition to writing for the Lion, she is the Vice President of the Columbia Neuroscience Society, conducts neuroscience research at Columbia, and is a Tour Captain in the Undergraduate Recruitment Committee. While she originally hails from sunny San Diego, she’s adopted New York City as her home. In her words, her column will “use recent discoveries in psychology, neuroscience, and sociology to tackle modern issues, unravel common misconceptions, and search for a scientific solution to uniquely human problems.” Heather’s column will run alternating Mondays.

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Zhanna is a junior at Columbia College, majoring in architecture. She is Armenian, but was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. Her interests include anything from art history to mathematics, but she is particularly passionate about food, exciting new technologies, and 20th century avant-garde art and architecture. In her words, her column will “explore the architecture of Columbia’s campus from engineering, aesthetic, political, and functional points of view.” Zhanna’s column will run alternating Thursdays.

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Barry is a sophomore at SEAS majoring in Applied Math, with a minor in Political Science. Originally from Hangzhou, China, he enjoys exploring cross cultural adventures outside the quantitative field where he is studying. He is interested in topics of international relations, economy, scientific development, and traveling. During his free time, he likes cooking and playing guitar. In his words, he plans to write about “international relations, economic development, and culture in the eyes of a math guy.” Barry’s column will run alternating Wednesdays.

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Cesar is from Riverside, California. He is a first year in Columbia College who plans to study Economics. In high school, he attended workshops with the Press Enterprise (the main newspaper of his area of California), and was a part of a college access program at Pomona College for three years. These two experiences have impacted his world view significantly. Through these workshops, he learned how information that may often seem dry can be delivered effectively and precisely, while remaining interesting and engaging. His experiences at Pomona College have taught him to see things through a critical, but attentive lens. In his words, his column will be “mainly centered around educational equity, societal and cultural analysis, and, of course, economics.” Cesar’s column will run alternating Tuesdays.

 

Interested in writing for The Lion? Email submissions@columbialion.com for more information

As part of our elections coverage, The Lion is sharing responses from candidates about the following questions:

  1. What motivated you to run for this position?
  2. If elected, what would your goals be?
  3. What is something you want to fix at Columbia? How would you plan to address it?
  4. Any additional comments you would like to share with voters?

Below, you can find the candidate(s)’s unfiltered responses to help in deciding who you choose to vote for.

What motivated you to run for this position? 

Two main reasons: First, I have genuine need to help people, especially if there is some connection among us. That is obviously the case with SEAS 2020 students. Although we’ve only been together for a month, this is our family for the next four years of our lives. I want to be there for each and every one of them whenever they need help with an issue, have an idea, or simply want a friend to talk to—and make their freshman year the best experience. Second, I was president of my school’s student council, a very interesting experience where I design a whole new structure for the council that ended up being a success throughout the year. I knew from the start I wanted to be part of the council here at Columbia.

If elected, what would your goals be?

We want our class to shine. For that, we want to organize activities as the TedX SEAS 2020 talk and the information sessions of our major, current world engineering issues and facilities with Columbia in order to start building our path toward our future. We want to hear our class’ voices. The idea is to establish an active and personalized interaction with each student, listening to their ideas and concerns. Also, we dream about a much intimate relationship within the engineering class. Coming from a school where our class was as big as 31 people, I’m used to know everyone around me. Our SEAS class is about 10 times that number, but it is still my goal to make that family bond among us: get more involved with people within their field of study and with similar interests outside engineering.

What is something you want to fix at Columbia? How would you plan to address it?

Going back to the part of communication, I feel there is an incredible gap in the matter that might make the Columbia experience a little less enjoyable. In the debate today a party member said it was only “ideal” to establish a one-to-one relationship among engineers. I want to change that perspective and turn it into a reality. To address it, we are going to encourage all engineers to attend to our activities, we will be sending personal emails and having one-to-one conversations all year round, the SEAS lounge is also part of the plan. If the idea is getting to know each other, then that is the way!

Any additional comments you would like to share with voters?

I would like to say that, beyond our platform, is extremely important who you’re voting for. Plans can be repeated and shared from platform to platform, but the essence, identity and experience of a person cannot be mirrored on someone else. With that in mind, I would like to introduce myself a little more: I’m a very energetic, caring and joyful person with a constant positive attitude over whatever problem, regardless of the gravity. When I promise something, I will give every single part of me to fulfill it, with absolute dedication and, above all, love. I’m running for president because I can promise you help, a person you can reach to, a friend. So trust me, vote for E&B and you won’t regret it.