Photo Courtesy Jason Hagani
As part of our elections coverage, The Lion is sharing responses from candidates about the following questions:
- What motivated you to run for this position?
- If elected, what would your goals be?
- What is something you want to fix at Columbia? How would you plan to address it?
- 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. The Lion has yet to endorse any candidate at this time and the views below do not necessarily represent the views of our team. For more information, email email@example.com.
1. I decided to run for the University Senate because I want to do everything in my power to make Columbia College and the University the best place it can be. I realized through my work on student government for four years in high school that I greatly enjoy making change that betters the entire community. As a current Freshman I have an advantage; I’ll have the potential for three years (instead of one or two) to work towards long-term goals. With that increased time, I can work harder and longer than most to accomplish real reform.
2. As your Senator, my foremost goal will be to address the needs of the students, and make sure their voice is heard when making the policy that shapes their lives at Columbia. I want to start by creating comprehensive reform that improves campus access and awareness for students with disabilities, eradicates the effect of food insecurity within the University, and makes Columbia a more sustainable and greener institution. But there are many more issues that need to be tackled, and my goal is to get to all of them. With the potential for three years on the Senate, I’ll have plenty of time to achieve my goals and more.
3. While Columbia is an outstanding institution, there are nonetheless many ways it can be improved. There are myriad topics that must be discussed and addressed, such as food insecurity, campus accessibility for disabled students, and University accountability and transparency. But because there is nothing more important than preserving the environment, the issue I’m most passionate about is sustainability. Columbia is a leader in climate change research, it’s a fact that makes me proud to be a Columbian. But the lack of sustainable initiatives on campus, combined with the administration’s continuing investment in the fossil fuel industry means change is necessary. It’s time for the University to practice what its research preaches. There are many things we can do to become a more environmentally friendly University.
For example, I will work to make composting a regular procedure in dining halls and dormitories in order to drastically decrease the amount of waste Columbia produces. The administration continues to make excuses for why composting has yet to be implemented on campus, but with some dedication and effort I know it can be done. In addition, I will push for the installation of sensor-activated LED lights in all buildings in order to reduce energy intake and our carbon footprint. Finally, I will work with Columbia’s Earth Institute and faculty, among others, to formulate a mandatory NSOP program that educates incoming Freshmen on the importance of sustainability and what they must do to help. Columbia has a unique opportunity: as an exceptional university in an urban environment we can act as a model for sustainability to institutions all over the world. If we can do it, who can’t? We must do everything we can to help our planet, and as Senator I will work tirelessly to ensure that a greener campus is achieved.
4. Meaningful reform is an uphill battle. Creating change as your Senator won’t be easy, nor will it be accomplished tomorrow. I’m in it for the long haul. With that being said, I want to remind all students to take the time to exercise their right to vote. It is no secret that this year the election board did an atrocious job publicizing elections and candidate registration, a serious issue I plan to tackle head-on as your Senator. But despite that lack of advertisement, it is crucial to remember that electing students to government positions is an incredibly important responsibility that all of us should undertake. Voting online is easy and takes less than ten minutes. Lastly, I want to urge my fellow students to cast their votes based on whom they believe is the most dedicated to fighting for innovation – not just for today’s Columbia, but for the Columbia of the future. I believe I am that candidate, and I hope to receive your vote.