Category: Columbia

The Lion asked candidates to tell us about their campaigns to give us insight into their aspirations and motivations for running. Here is what Briley Lewis had to say:

My name is Briley Lewis – I’m a junior in Columbia college majoring in astrophysics, and I am running for Academic Affairs Representative (no party affiliation). I am running for academic affairs rep for two reasons mainly: 1. It is the position I currently hold on CCSC (I was elected this semester in a special election, because the previous rep graduated early) and I feel that I want/need more time to finish up the initiatives I have been working on and to start new ones. 2. I want to do this because I care about the community here, and I feel that I have experience and skills that can really make concrete changes for the better. Academics is the main reason why we’re all here, and it’s important that we as students have a voice in shaping our education.

My main goals are: 1. Mental health awareness and support, including coordinating opportunities for workshops and collaborations between CPS and student groups on campus and continuing the campus-wide discussion on this issue; 2. Expanding access to student research and unpaid internships, especially through reducing the Summer and Semester Work Contributions and/or expanding the Work Exemption Program; 3. Increasing access to faculty mentorship and streamlining the advising process, making it easier to find who can help students with a given academic/career situation. I know that to achieve these things I’ll need to work closely with many administrators and faculty, and I plan to do so. Many groups/offices on campus are trying to achieve these same goals as I, so instead of starting from the ground up I plan to work closely with them and work together (for example, Alice Health, the new working group on mental health, and of course CPS are working on initiatives already – it wouldn’t make sense to start from scratch, but instead help harness those resources and guide them in the direction students want). As far as research and the summer work contribution, I know that students and faculty alike are dealing with this issue, and harnessing that broad base of support for this initiative would help it become reality.

I am qualified, experienced, and passionate about both helping the Columbia community and about the importance of education in which the students have an active role in shaping their curriculum and experience. Over the past few years, I have served as president of BlueShift (the Columbia Astronomy Club) and more recently this semester I have been the Academic Affairs Rep on CCSC – these experiences have taught me a great deal about how to get things done here and how to navigate the bureaucracy, and also I have seen many different perspectives on the educational experience here at Columbia. I would be honored to have the opportunity to give back to my community in the capacity of this role on CCSC, and I promise to be committed, thorough, and responsive to the community in all I do as academic affairs representative if elected.

We sat down with Zachary Skypeck (CC’20), member of the heavyweight rowing team and current candidate for CCSC Alumni Affairs Representative.

What motivated you to run for this position?

All throughout high school I was very interested in becoming involved in student government but I had so many things going on that I just never really found time for it. Having been in leadership positions before in different clubs and athletics teams, I found that Columbia would be a good environment for me to capitalize upon my desire to be a leader and to become involved in student government.

If elected, what would your goals be?

My biggest goal would be to centralize a mentorship program that has easier accessibility than the ones we have in place right now. There’s Columbia College Women – that’s a big one. There’s a lot of easy pairing between women students and alumni. I would like to have a system like that for the entire student body, that would be the most important thing. I think that bringing all alumni into that would forge relationships and reconnect them to the school which could be beneficial in other ways.

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

As a student-athlete myself, I see all the time student-athlete alumni are very willing to help with internships and job opportunities once they’ve graduated, and we get emails all the time about different opportunities that are available. I don’t see that as much in the general student body, and I think that a better job could be done of making those connections. It’s the same thing as the mentorship program, making connections between alumni and students; and helping forge a path to success through the alumni network.

Any additional comments you would like to share with voters?

“A vote for me is a vote for the people!”

Remember to vote in the CCSC elections! Voting begins April 19th.

Photo by James Xue (SEAS ’17)

Beginning today, sophomores in CC and SEAS can start signing up for classes on SSOL, which you’ve hopefully already imported from Vergil at this point. While you might think you have thin pickings since both rising seniors and juniors have already picked their classes, don’t be afraid, sophomores. You’re still ahead of the first-years who don’t get to register until NSOP. (Remember those times?)

Just because you’ve risen to sophomore status does not mean you necessarily know what courses you should/want to take. If you’re still unsure, we have a LionGuide to help you with that.

And may the waitlist be ever in your favor.

Photo courtesy of Startup Stock Photos.

Starting this morning (or afternoon if the course selection gods did not hear your prayers), rising juniors in CC and SEAS can begin registering for classes on SSOL. (Don’t forget to import your classes from Vergil first, though!)

With majors now officially declared, hopefully it will be easy for you all to select your courses. However, if you’re still unsure of what classes you want to take, we have a LionGuide to help you with that.

If you don’t need help because you’ve had your whole schedule planned out since you got here, congratulations and don’t let a waitlist stop you from achieving your schedule dreams.

In other news, rising sophomores who also had registration times listed for tomorrow will unfortunately have to wait another day to finalize their schedules. This is according to this year’s ESC Class of 2020 President, Ria Garg, who posted the following message in the Class of 2020 Facebook page:

There was an error on SSOL, Rising sophomore’s registration date is Wednesday, April 19th, NOT April 18th.

Your registration time will be the same as what was listed under the registration time of the 18th.

****EDIT: so we believe in order to change the date of registration, the registrar had to rerun programs that determined registration times. So whatever registration time displayed on SSOL for you, we believe is your final registration time.
Hopefully nothing changes

~ESC 2020

While this may be annoying for rising sophomores, it means less registration competition for rising juniors, which is something rising sophomores will undoubtedly be thankful for a year from now.

 

Updated: 4/18/19, 3:48 PM

Graphic made by Laura Elizabeth Hand, CC’19

“I’m just too busy.”

“Can’t; got to go to Butler.”

“Just because you want me to come doesn’t mean I will.”

For most Columbia students, keeping track of the number of times their friends and classmates have “flaked” on them or turned down their offers to hang out because of their “busyness” is an impossible task. This can easily be seen in both conversations with peers and the stark difference between the number of people who sign up for events at Columbia versus the number of people who actually show up. As a student body, we are each obsessed with the idea that we do not have downtime. You always need to be working and getting ahead while also espousing the idea that you’re failing all your classes and cannot find enough hours in the day to sleep, let alone let loose and fun. Despite the constant Spec op-eds and Facebook rants bemoaning Columbia’s stress culture and lacking mental health resources, when it comes to us individually doing our parts to remedy the problems we continue to critique, we don’t because we value our own reasons for being stressed above others’ reasons.

“I need to get into medical school.”

“I care about my education.”

“I have to get a 4.0; I’m trying to get into a good law school.”

In each one of these sentiments, we create a metaphorical barrier, an us versus them mentality. We perpetuate the idea that there is a goal we need to constantly struggle to capture and that to a certain extent, those around us are trying to distract us from it.

But what does it mean to be busy? How can we both enjoy the benefits of being students living and learning in America’s busiest city while also capturing these goals? In many ways, we should look to the message encapsulated in Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical, “Sunday in the Park with George.”

For those who have not heard of the show before, it follows the artistic process of famous artist Georges Seurat as he creates and develops the painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” Throughout the first act, Seurat is completely fixated on drawing sketches of the people who are ultimately portrayed in his famous painting. As he works on the piece and obsesses over “Finishing the Hat”, he fails to consider the lives and feelings of those around him.

“Finishing the Hat” performed by Jake Gyllenhaal

 

In particular, the audience is exposed to the romantic relationship between Seurat and Dot, the latter being the role played by Ashford. Gyllenhaal who plays his role perfectly as he time and time again dismisses and chides Dot as she complains about having to stand still under the hot sun while Seurat sketches her. Seurat’s goal is to develop a work of art completely like no other. He has had the idea and now is steadfast in achieving its completion. Despite listening to complaints from his love Dot, Seurat does not truly hear and process them as they conflict with his direct desires. Dot even tells him:

Yes, George, run to your work.
Hide behind your painting.
I have come to tell you I am leaving because I thought you might
care to know-foolish of me, because you care about nothing-

In being so passionate about his goal, he forgets the people in his own life. As the plot develops and Dot eventually moves on, after realizing she cannot stay with Seurat, he still fails to address it, instead retreating further into his work.

Like a Columbia student dedicating so much time to their specific craft, they lean on it as their excuse and crutch. Just as Seurat in the production cannot escape his work, we too cannot see beyond our work: our looming deadlines, upcoming exams, next club/board/committee/council meetings, impending fellowship and scholarship applications, and imminent job and internship interviews. The list of work we each have goes on and on, adding to our lists of reasons to skip that food truck fair in Brooklyn we talked with our friends about for months, or miss seeing that old friend who is visiting NYC over break, or cancel plans to go to that free (or extremely cheap) event that we RSVP’d to as going on Facebook. We look at the world and people around us in the same manner that Dot describes as being characteristic of George:

As if he sees you and he doesn’t all at once.

Instead of fully valuing those around us and the opportunities we have, we simply ignore them — out of sight out of mind — and obsess over our work. And while we did come here to learn, we need to really understand that there is more to a Columbia education than just mentally locking ourselves into libraries and priding ourselves in unhealthy sleep habits.

As students, we need to break out of using our work and goals as an excuse. Dedicate more time to trying something new, leaving Butler and going off-campus, finding the color and lights that can brighten our days rather than groveling. As much as having dreams and passions is great, so is being able to explore new topics and brighten the day of others by just listening to them and putting in the effort to get to know more about them and their passions.

Tickets to “Sunday in the Park with George” can be purchased here. Performances run until April 23rd, 2017.