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Meet Piyushi Bishnoi – ESC Elections – VP, Student Life

Photo Courtesy Piyushi Bishnoi

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.  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 submissions@columbialion.com.

What motivated you to run for this position? 

Throughout my past five semesters on campus, I have been involved in many different types of clubs. Whether it be working with the Society of Women Engineers to plan coffee chats, or planning cool events with APAHM, I’ve seen so many ways ESC has been instrumental in making things happen. I was especially interested in ESC when Neha reached out to me last semester to apply for a project grant. I saw that there were students in ESC that wanted to make it easier for students to explore their passions and interests, but I also saw many areas where students weren’t having their voice heard. I decided to run for VP Student Life for this very reason: give every student a place to have their voice heard. If am elected as VP Student life, I will work with my committees on making policies that students want a reality.

If elected, what would your goals be?

Some of my goals include the availability of space, accessibility and inclusion, training during NSOP, enhancing student events, and making the overall Columbia experience more enjoyable!

Student clubs often struggle with finding places to practice or hold a meeting, when there actually may be locations available! I want to restructure the UEM system to allow for clubs to make their spaces available when they are done using it for the rest of the semester, so clubs can easily book this otherwise unused space. I also want to expand our space options to the Manhattanville campus, specifically already in-use buildings like the Mind, Brain, and Behavior institute. I also want to create a UEM-like system for booking space in Mudd, so SEAS students can take advantage of that space.

Students are coming from a variety of backgrounds and skill-sets when they first arrive at Columbia. I want to promote inclusion on Columbia’s campus by providing training on some introductory lessons that can make the first-year and transfer experience better. Some of these trainings include makerspace training classes, seminars on small project discussions for the Project Grants, and training on CLIC and CLIC lab usage so students are more comfortable going into their first semester.

Tis the SEASon, E-Week, and SEAS the Day are just a few of many exciting events that students look forward to, and there are some parts that I’d like to change to increase attendance at events. As VP Student Life, I’d like to introduce a Last-Lecture Series that begins during E-week where students can hear about what their favorite professors are doing in the industry or in their research. I’d also like to make Tis the SEASon an event that also includes the graduate community so we can network with a community right in our own backyard. Lastly, I’d like to increase the variety of alumni at Got Fu’d so more students have alumni to talk to!

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

ESC should represent the entire community, not just pockets of it, and I want to fix the lack of awareness of groups and individuals at Columbia who aren’t heard. Whether NSBE is hosting a great set of professionals at their meeting or a SWE member is making strides in the tech industry, I want to use ESC’s voice to make publicize these achievements. I also want to bring awareness to the issues some groups face that we may not be aware of, like the lack of accessibility in Columbia buildings and at events. I plan to address this concern by making small but meaningful changes in the way Columbia students view the community. Some examples of these changes are posting the accessibility information of ESC events on all flyers and event links, using the TVs in Mudd and NoCo to broadcast achievements of engineers of all backgrounds, and having events like a day where students use only wheelchair-accessible routes throughout campus to raise awareness of the challenge some students face.

Any additional comments you would like to share with voters?

This entire campaigning experience has been a lot of fun, and talking to different clubs on campus has brought to light the amazing diversity of individuals we have in SEAS. As your VP Student Life, I will work on getting to know what students want to make their Columbia experience as welcoming and exciting as it can be, and work on finding solutions for as many student life-related problems as I can! Oh, and go SEAS++!

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