Tag: Alliance

The Lion asked candidates to tell us about their campaigns to give us insight into their aspirations and motivations for running. Here is what members of the party Alliance had to say:

Nathan Rosin

Are you affiliated with a party, and if so, which one?

Alliance

What position are you running for, and what motivated you to run for it?

I’m running to be the next CCSC President with my party, Alliance!  I initially decided that I wanted to be a part of council because I thought it would give me the chance to make changes that would help people feel a stronger cohesive community on campus. Through my years on council, I’ve learned that we have an important and relevant voice in planning events and shaping University policies. I’ve had the privilege of serving on council the past three years and contributing to the community in a variety of ways through my different positions. Just this past year, I’ve taken the lead on organizing and executing campus-wide events, working with my committee and other councils to bring experiences like Homecoming, Tree Lighting, College Days, and Silent Disco to the Columbia community, to name a few.Up until this point, I have worked tirelessly to build community on Columbia’s campus, largely from a programmatic perspective – looking forward, I would love to expand my reach to building and changing community from an institutional and systematic perspective in addition to a programmatic one.

If elected, what would your goals be? How do you plan to actually achieve them?

We are very focused on bringing the intersection of identity and mental health on campus to the forefront of discussions pertaining to mental health. Beyond the buzzword, we recognize that mental health affects people of different identities in unique and specific ways, which call for policy changes that uniquely recognize these individual needs and cater to them specifically and directly. Given the especially trying year on Columbia’s Campus, and the administration’s recent efforts to improve mental health here, we will ensure that the specific and individual needs of students from different backgrounds are expressly considered in making new policy. In the same way that the new students of color and LGBTQ+ spaces have been promised in Lerner, we will work together with other identity-based groups to ensure that their needs for mental health and well being are being served by the administration. More specifically, we intend to host open Town Halls with Deans Valentini, Aquino, and Kromm where students will have the opportunity to directly convey to administrators what their specific needs are regarding mental health and what they think the administration can do to best support them.

Our most tangible goal is to establish an alumni-council student group fund that will expand student group funding allocations and allow for new and innovative programming across campus. We have already met with the alumni office to lay the groundwork for the fund and we see it as a two-step process. The first will be to build a platform, through which alumni and other interested parties can financially engage directly with student groups to fund small-scale new projects on campus. The second is to work with the alumni office to build and even endow a fund (working off the model of Yale College Council’s new endowment) that will act as a more constant a solid source of larger-scale new funding for student groups to present innovative initiatives. The goal is to make it such that we can increase student group allocations without having to increase the student life fee in tuition to do so! We have already built a database of Council alumni who might support the seeds for the fund, and have begun conversations with the alumni office to reach out further and connect student groups with people across their network.

We will also work with Dean Kromm and the Office of Undergraduate Student Life to expand funding for pre-orientation programs like COOP, ISOP, and CUE and carry those strong community experiences through NSOP and students’ first months on campus. We recognize that while community exists in strong small pockets at Columbia, for some who don’t find a strong small community it can be easy to fall through the cracks. By expanding pre-orientation programming so more students can participate, thereby building close and strong community early, and revamping NSOP and the first month on campus, we aim to restructure students’ experiences here from day one so people feel stronger cohesion and support as early as possible.

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

Throughout my time here I have been acutely focused on the sense of community (or lack thereof) that Columbia students feel on campus. I want to work towards creating a Columbia where community isn’t just a series of dotted experiences, but is a cohesive lifestyle that permeates everyday life on campus. I think that improving funding and expanding programming for student groups and student council is a great first step, but we need to even work beyond that to create a general feeling of cohesive community, because one more event isn’t going to change the Columbia community insofar as how students feel about the life they live for their entire four years here. I think we can build towards this goal with a twofold approach – the first is to tackle mental health concerns on campus from both a reactionary and preventative perspective, and the second is to work with the Offices of Undergraduate Student Life and University Life to build consistent programming and communications from the University that set the stage for a stronger community experience. For the first goal, we will work with Counseling and Psychological services to improve reactionary measures to mental health issues (including shorter wait times for appointments, online signups, increased number of clinicians from underrepresented backgrounds, consistent communications to student body from CPS and Ask Alice! etc.) but also preventative measures where we can tackle mental health and stress at the root (by shrinking the core syllabus, training faculty on mental health awareness, etc.). For the second goal, we will act as advisers to the aforementioned offices to help them build programming that is more relevant to what students want rather than just what the administration decides it wants to do for programming by itself (by building a student advisory board for events programming with the offices, etc.)

Any additional comments you would like to share with voters?

We are super excited to be running this year and truly believe that our experience sets us up to effectively carry out important and necessary changes for the Columbia community. Given our work thus far, we believe we have the clearest image of what is and isn’t feasible from a council perspective, and have made an active decision to make promises that we know we can follow through on. By meeting with administrators and student groups to discuss our ideas and workshop them into something we all believe can be made into reality, we believe we are set to actually make real changes on this campus, beyond giant promises that might not be fulfilled, so people will actually feel like council is successfully serving them. You can find our platform and bios here!

Alex Cedar

My name is Alex Cedar, and I am running to be the next VP for Campus Life of CCSC, with Alliance for CCSC Executive Board. Our party includes Nathan Rosin (President), Nicole Allicock (VP Policy), Heloise Taillet (VP Finance) and Sreya Pinnamaneni (VP Communications).

I was motivated to run for VP Campus Life as I am truly passionate about ensuring that Columbia College students are getting the most out of their time here, and to make sure that the events that CCSC and the University arrange for undergraduates are as attractive to students as possible. Having served on the Campus Life committee for the past year, I took a leading role in organizing events including Homecoming, Tree Lighting and College Days. 

If I am elected, my overarching goal is to engage as many CC students as possible in meaningful and frequent events and programming led by the campus life committee. I will do this by increasing the amount of campus life events to two each week. Alliance wants to supplement the large-scale traditional events like Homecoming, College Days and Tree-Lighting with smaller scale events (like snack breaks in Butler and movie screenings) designed to foster community and give students the chance to take a break. This will require more people to be appointed to the Campus Life committee, however it is a feasible way of increasing the involvement the the Campus Life committee plays. Alliance will also hold a Fall Bacchanal-esque concert at the Baker Athletics Complex after the Homecoming Game. While a Fall Bacchanal on Low Steps remains (to quote an administrator with whom I met) impossible, a concert at Baker is much more financially viable, and the university is much more likely to allow it to happen, given the security, infrastructure and logistical services already in place for the football game. An Alliance CCSC E-board would collaborate with Columbia AthleticsJCCC, the Bacchanal Committee, the other three undergraduate councils as well as the university administration to stage this concert, thus generating interest in the Homecoming weekend and creating a festival-like atmosphere.

Something I would like to fix at Columbia is the lack of recreational space for undergraduates. Lerner is not fit for purpose as a student center, as it plays the role of an administrative and bureaucratic building more than a place to have fun with friends. JJs serves the purpose of a late-night hangout spot, however it requires money to enter, thus making it exclusive and inaccessible to the whole undergraduate population. Alliance will create more undergraduate recreational space by designating certain rooms in Lerner and in residence halls to be used for recreational purposes on a regular basis. For example, this could involve music and dancing in the Lerner Party Space every Saturday night, or a movie screening in John Jay Lounge every Sunday.

You can find the complete Alliance platform at http://alliance-for-ccsc.webflow.io/ !

Nicole Allicock

Are you affiliated with a party, and if so, which one?

Alliance

What position are you running for, and what motivated you to run for it? 

I was motivated to run for Vice President for Policy because I want to dedicate my senior year to focusing on and seeing through the policies I have been working on these past three years on CCSC. My favorite part of being on CCSC has always been hearing a friend talk about a problem or seeing a post on Facebook and knowing that there is something I can do to impact that change. Though I have felt with my time as President, I have been able to facilitate conversations and initiatives as well as effectively communicate to administrators the needs of the student body, as VP Policy, I hope to spend more of my time crafting proposals, continuing advocacy for ongoing projects, and beginning new initiatives.

If elected, what would your goals be? How do you plan to actually achieve them?

The main goal of Alliance is to build a community of allies which contains two parts, building community and engaging in allyship. 

For the former, Alliance hopes to both address the current atmosphere of poor mental health and stop it from pervading into future years. By instituting faculty mental health training we can ensure that every member of the community, whether student, faculty, staff, or administrator, is actively engaged in building a stronger and healthier community. Currently, all Columbia College staff are receiving mental health training. Alliance hopes to advocate for a training that would allow staff to not only be able to recognize signs of distress, but to also be able to have a conversation about mental health with a student. By advocating for shrinking the Core syllabus, Alliance hopes to stop the stress culture before it begins in a student’s very first semester wherein every student is expected to read 100 pages for a single class. With the review of the Lit Hum syllabus coming up next semester, we hope to actually achieve this goal by speaking with the Deans and professors who directly oversee this process and expanding the voices involved in the conversation to students.

Allyship can apply to many individual identities, but in addition to under-represented ethnic minorities and LGBTQ students, Alliance would also like to focus on survivors of sexual assault and students affected by ongoing political obstacles occurring outside of the university. We are proposing a four year suite of training for all students first beginning with bystander intervention for first-years, then intimate partner violence amongst students and within student groups for sophomores, then identity intersectionality in the conversation of sexual assault for juniors, and sexual violence and bystander intervention beyond Columbia for seniors. Alliance hopes to work with the Title IX coordinator and campus advocacy and activist groups to revamp the Sexual Respect Initiative to include all students, rather than just the same group of “student leaders” after freshman year, and to build on each training rather than repeat the same content, Alliance hopes to improve the campus culture around sexual violence, engage all students on its many levels, and help them build actual skills. Secondly, by working to ensure that students impacted by federal policies around undocumented and international students are included in the University’s conversations both broadly and on a policy level, Alliance hopes to make sure that these students are not hindered by their status in their pursuits at Columbia. 

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

I would like to fix the level of intellectual engagement Columbia students have with non-Western cultures. In the current iteration of the Global Core, the lack of clearly articulated goals makes it so that students are unsure what they are supposed to be learning and often go into the classes looking for the easy A rather than engaging with the content. I hope to remedy this by advocating for one of the Global Core courses to be a seminar. Though students can and will still be looking for easier classes to balance out their workloads, in a 22 person discussion based format, students will have to discuss and critically engage with the primary material of a non-Western culture and in speaking about them, engage their own identities and viewpoints. Although many of the lecture courses are very interesting, they often do not require more than passive receipt of information. Running parallel to the 6 semester-long discussion based Western portion of the Core (Lit Hum, CC, Art Hum, Music Hum), I believe this adjustment will more clearly define what the Global ‘Core’ is supposed to be and ensure that every students who graduates from Columbia has had to actively discuss a non-Western culture as well as enjoy closer interaction with the faculty who teach them.

Any additional comments you would like to share with voters?

Alliance is committed to making change on campus, has feasible policy ideas, and knowledge of what exists already and what is yet to be done. I have been working on students council since coming to Columbia with policies like recurring Writing Center appointments for First-Generation students, shadow declaring to connect students with their departments earlier, and administrative funding to support student group travel alongside smaller initiatives like getting the Ferris omelette bar open later, increasing the number of printers on campus and working with EcoReps to institute sustainability talks in the first floor meeting for incoming first-years. I hope to apply this same dedication next year as VP Policy with the rest of my party Alliance. Voting starts Wednesday!

Sreya Pinnamaneni

My name is Sreya Pinnamaneni, and I am a first-year in Columbia College running for CCSC Executive Board with my party, Alliance. I am running for VP Communications, and I was motivated to run for this position as I found a pathway to implement my ideas for reform — tangible mental health, funding, and administrative transparency changes — that is tied to experienced, qualified leaders. Nicole Allicock and Nathan Rosin, our President and VP Policy candidates, have already served on CCSC Exec, and have the insights and connections with administrations to put concrete changes forward. My own ideas for communications and service have been influenced by my involvement on campus, and I chose to run for VP Communications to voice my frustrations through different labels I identify with on campus – a female, a student of color, a sexual consent educator, a public speaking coach, and a mental health advocate. I have lived through the difficult transition period that Columbia must unfortunately claim, and I view CCSC as a medium to bring about real reforms for Columbia College students. 

If elected, my goals are primarily administrative transparency, student group funding transparency, and uplifting student voices. Alliance is in contact with deans and administrators, planning to achieve these goals by setting up an approved schedule for open Town Halls (between, for example, student leaders and President Bollinger/Dean Valentini), allocating specific advisors for marginalized and international students, and meeting with the F@CU facilitators to clarify the Funding at Columbia University process for student groups and class councils alike. Unlike other platforms, we are working to ensure student funding outside of student life, ensuring that student groups feel financially comfortable and are able to voice their needs and concerns.

My goals as VP Communications are unique in this sense — Alliance leaves no room for empty promises of unverifiable concerts or vague online submissions, but rather seeks approaches such as in-person student-administrative consulting and faculty mental health training. Our approach channels our brand: we strive for genuine, bottom-up coalition building on campus and aim to put student needs before all else. With the experience and resources necessary to implement our goals, we can envision a Columbia where every student feels safe and accounted for. 

Heloise Taillet

My name is Heloise and I’m a Junior in CC running for VP Finance with ALLI?NCE.

After spending freshman and sophomore year on class council, I decided to take a break to focus on my studies. Over the year, I realized how much I missed taking part in all the discussions/decisions that shape our Columbia community. Since I’m an Economics-Mathematics major with a few finance internships under my belt, I thought it would be most appropriate to rejoin student council as VP Finance.

A few projects I have in mind for next year’s Finance Committee include:

  • Working with our VP Comms, Sreya, to improve transparency with regards to the F@CU process. We want students to understand how student councils use/distribute the $1million+ generated from student life fees.
  • Expanding current efforts to address food insecurity and provide affordable eating options both on and around campus. Finding the best solutions for our school would involve working in collaboration with the Sandwich Ambassador, First-Generation/Low-Income Partnership, Columbia University Dining, and the Columbia University Food Bank, as well as researching how other schools adress and mitigate food insecurity.
  • Implementing/managing a Columbia crowdfunding platform (on our CCSC website) to finance and encourage creative, community-oriented projects. 
  • Organizing workshops & compiling/adapting resources to improve students’ financial literacy skills (aka day-to-day budgeting, taking out loans, filing taxes, choosing a credit card, saving for the future)
  • Creating a fund where alumni can finance small-scale student/student group projects directly

I hope that my party will help change the pervasive stress culture that everyone on this campus knows so well. Though my party has a number of ideas on how to adress this, as VP Finance, I hope to alleviate financial stress by increasing revenue streams (i.e. Student Group Fund, Columbia KickStarter) for student/student group projects, advocating for/providing support for students affected by food insecurity, and offering students money management tips through workshops/adapted resources.

For the voters:

Nathan (President), Nicole (VP Policy), Alex (VP Campus Life), and Sreya (VP Comms) are some of the sweetest, smartest, and most dedicated people on this campus, and I encourage you all to take a second to learn about how they each have already helped/would like to help improve our campus.