The Blog


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. For more information, email submissions@columbialion.com.

What motivated you to run for this position? 

I was part of the student council in high school for all four years, and I served as president for the last two years of high school. Naturally, I wanted to run for student council at Columbia too. As an international student, I can directly experience the vast difference in academics and cultures that my fellow international classmates have to adjust to. As the International Students Representative for SEAS, I hope to give all the international students a voice that matters as well as try to solve some of the problems that we face in various aspects of college.

If elected, what would your goals be?

Some of the issues that I hope to address are:

Offer subsidized summer housing to international students – Many internationals prefer to stay back in New York during breaks as traveling back to their home country is expensive. I hope to build upon the model Barnard uses to provide their students researching or interning in New York with subsidized summer housing and offer the same to the international community at Columbia.

Build a directory dedicated to on-campus jobs available to international students – Many of these jobs have certain limitations that do not allow internationals to apply, and as a result, it is difficult to find jobs that international students are eligible for. I hope to create a directory specifically for jobs available to international students and provide detailed instructions for applying to them. I hope that this will make the process of searching for an on-campus job easier for international students.

Create easy-to-comprehend academic integrity and Optional Practical Training (OPT) guides – This is something that at least I was worried about even before starting college! I spoke to a lot of people and researched a lot, but I could only obtain documents that explain both of them in a very complex manner. Since they are a very big part of international students’ lives, I hope to create guides that are easy-to-comprehend and layman-friendly so that internationals have to worry no longer about both of them.

Offer one-to-one peer mentoring – The best sources of advice for me have been international upperclassmen because they went through all the problems with adjusting to the culture and academics a while back. I hope to connect each underclassman with an upperclassman (if possible, from the same country) so that underclassmen have someone to relate to and talk to whenever they feel that they need help with any aspects of college.

Monthly stress buster events – What is the point of having such a diverse class if we do not celebrate all the cultures that help constitute it? I hope to host monthly events with themes from different nationalities every time so that students in our community get to know their classmates and their culture better. At the same time, the event will offer them a break from academics and give them time to have some fun.

International student friendly class placement criteria – I believe that the current placement system is biased towards students who have taken the AP, IB or the A level examinations. Students who have not taken one of the tests mentioned above have to take a placement exam regardless of their past standing in the subjects they were being tested on. Working with the academic departments, I hope to broaden the criteria for exemption from introductory classes so that internationals can easily take higher level classes without having to take placement tests.

In addition to these goals, I will always be working to bring about any change that a fellow international student in SEAS suggests.

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

My goals address some issues that I hope to fix at Columbia. Ultimately, I want to create a better academic and social experience for the international community in SEAS.

Any additional comments you would like to share with voters?

While I am a first-year, I believe that I can do as good a job as any sophomore, junior or senior could, if not better. I have had enough experience with student council in high school to know how to work my way around administrations, and I’m willing to work as hard as it takes to ensure that our (the international students’) voices are heard, and efforts are made to incorporate changes that we ask for.

And DJ Khaled endorsed me (http://imgur.com/rtML8dO)

Columbia students, Dan Burkhardt (GS ’17) and Melody Yeung (GS ’17), have released what they have described as “the first iMessage App made for and by Columbia students.” With this new application, you have access to a slew of stickers to use to describe life on campus.

From their App’s description:

“CUStickers is a sticker pack app created by fellow Columbia students for the community here at Columbia University. Use our take on the Lion like reaction gifs or use the locations stickers to let people know where to find you on campus or send someone a Prezbo.”

Once you have downloaded the application, you will have access to the entire collection of stickers through iMessage.

Here are some examples of stickers available in the application:

Photos Courtesy of CUStickers Team

Photos Courtesy of CUStickers Team

 

The app is available for free for iPhone users and can be found here.

 

Meet Bunmi. Bunmi, a first-year in Columbia Engineering, is originally from a suburb about 30 minutes outside of Atlanta, Georgia. We sat down with him to learn more about his interests in Biomedical Engineering and some of his goals while at Columbia.

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

I really got into Spanish in 8th grade. I want to minor in Spanish and my roommate is from Spain so I want to pursue it and practice. The language is incredibly useful especially in the Atlanta area. It came naturally to me and I love it.

I am also definitely interested in research. I want to keep trying to do that on campus once I learn how to balance my school and research. In high school, we had senior projects to help you explore careers. Since I was interested in medicine, I did a psychological study in my high school to study the factors correlated with intelligence. I used my high school as the sample size and looked at factors like race and GPA. I learned race and bilingualism didn’t play a significant factor. The main things were income and extracurricular activities. When you have more money you can do more things. Part of the project is a product, presentation, and a paper. So I wanted to see how we could improve underperforming schools. It came down to private or public funding of summer programs and extracurricular activities.

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

I was a part of my church leadership group. It was a good way to give back to the community in a non-academic, scientific way. It was humbling to be a mentor and I’d want to do that here even if its not from a religious connotation. On campus, I want to join Peer Health Exchange and tutor program, Engineering without Borders and definitely Matriculate. I’d like to get into the city and help in low-income programs.

What are you interested in studying here? Why?

I want to study Biomedical Engineering (on the pre-med track) and Spanish. For the longest time, my friends loved Grey’s Anatomy. I originally refused to watch it, but when I did, I loved it. I love the idea of devoting your life to other people’s lives. I originally wanted to be a pilot. In 7th grade, we once did a dissection of a chicken and no one else could figure out how to do it. When I could, my teacher recommended I be a surgeon. That got me thinking maybe I should do that and pursue it. Even though its a big sacrifice, I still want to do it and help people.

In high school, I took Physics C. Even though it was super hard, it was cool to see how practical it was. BME adds another perspective to being a doctor. I hope it gives me a different perspective to being a surgeon and what I want to do.

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

It’s going to be a big jump to high school. NYC is a lot more diverse. I grew up near Atlanta and thought I knew city life, but when I laded here it was NYC times 10. I don’t want to get bogged down studying or going off campus to much. I want to learn everything I need to know and learn while exploring.

I want to get into all five boroughs eventually. I want to try all the ethnic cuisine here that I never have had in Atlanta. I want to try a lot of new things.

My sister’s very very into Broadway and I want to see more shows and get into the art scene more.

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

I want to structure myself in new ways. Being around so many different people (international, LGBTQ, etc.) and learning all these new backgrounds. I’m excited to pursue higher education and physics and get out of my comfort zone for the first time in my life. It’ll be nice to just try something. Things are always happening here in NYC and people are open-minded compared to more conservative, traditional Atlanta. All things even, I definitely love New York a lot more than Atlanta…

Any goals you have in mind? 

I hope to be a neurosurgeon at a teaching hospital in 10-13 years. I definitely want to get into global outreach (whether with Doctors without Borders or on my own). I want to be in research wherever I am. I want to do things that helps others, not that just things that make money. I don’t have a career goal, but I want to know what is the best I can give.

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

Meet Tevis. Tevis, a first-year in Columbia College is originally from Hurricane, West Virginia. We sat down with him to learn more about his interests in Economics and some of his goals while at Columbia.

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

I have a few that come to mind. I love singing and want to join an a cappella group at some point. I really like playing piano, so I might take some lessons here if possible. I like making people laugh and entertaining people. Mostly helping people.

When I was younger, I always asked others about the stock market. Then I finally looked at YouTube, read some articles and took AP Macro and Micro online and realized I really love it. That’s why I want to study Economics here.

Also, I’d love to start a lip sync battle club on campus. I would be fun. I am only really good at one song, but I’m learning some new songs right now.

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

I’m happy I was the only student from my high school to come to an Ivy League and/or New York City. People in my hometown initially were shocked that I did not choose to go to school in West Virginia because of scholarship opportunities, but Columbia was my dream school.

I first visited New York in the third grade and ever since then, I’ve always wanted to live in the city. Throughout the years, I’ve visited multiple metropolitan areas (except for LA) and realized I want to go to a good university in a metropolitan area.  Then, I toured on campus (shoutout to URC tour guide Jess Hui (CC ’18)) who heavily influenced my decision to want to come here. She encouraged me, saying that I could succeed. I felt like I had a chance because I might be able to get in Early Decision. And it worked out thankfully. A lot of people from small towns want to dream about life in the big city and I’m so excited to be here. There are so many opportunities [in NYC]. Seeing websites like Lionshare, I was amazed by the numerous amount of resources here [at Columbia] that I couldn’t fathom having in West Virginia.

My end goal is to work on Board of Governors or the Federal Reserve of NYC with my buddy Alexander Hamilton.

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

My grades. But that’ll work out. Obviously everyone here likely came from the top of their classes. I remember that high school felt a lot easier, but we’ll see what happens. Also, stress.

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

Probably looking at all the clubs and activities and internships. There’s so much to do here and it’s so overwhelming to figure out what to do.

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

In an email to students this evening, Dean of Barnard College, Avis Hinkson, announced the rollout of the new P/D/F policy effective immediately for Barnard students. The major change of this new policy is that students will now be able to uncover grades from classes that they initially chose to Pass/Fail. This brings the new policy in line with the current standards in Columbia College.

The full email can be found below:

Dear Barnard Students,

I write to inform you that, effective Fall 2016, the College will implement a new policy regarding Pass/D/Fail.

This policy, passed by a vote of the Faculty on May 2, 2016, will replace the old policy for all students.

The major change that defines the new policy is the removal of the restriction against uncovering grades. Effective Fall 2016, all students who elect P/D/F will be able to uncover their grade until the program filing deadline of the semester following the one in which P/D/F was elected.

The new and current policy may be found at http://barnard.edu/registrar/barnard-coursework/pass-d-fail, and additional important details are outlined.

The Committee on Instruction (COI) and the Faculty are pleased with these changes and look forward to implementing the new policy.

Thank you, and have a wonderful semester.

Respectfully,

Avis Hinkson
Dean of the College