We, the CCSC Executive Board, have decided to make some changes to the council meetings on Sunday nights. In the interest of telling students exactly what we are planning and where it all originated from, we published the following editorial in the spectator on Friday. You can view the article here, or simply read on below.
Let’s rewind back to December of last year. It was a warm Sunday morning, and the five of us had decided to meet at Deluxe to discuss the past semester. We had been in conversation with one another and with the rest of CCSC for the last few weeks, trying to evaluate our performance thus far. That morning, however, it became clear that the problem wasn’t so much what we had done during the semester, but what we hadn’t done.
Yes, we had accomplished some of our policy goals, helping to implement waitlists for course registration and reworking the housing system for juniors and sophomores. Our new website, yourCCSC.com, gave us a fresh brand and was quickly filling up with content, like our promised budget breakdowns. And traditional campus events like the tree lighting ceremony had gone off without a hitch. To be honest, we had done what was expected of us: run the council’s day-to-day operations without any major screw-ups and make some attempts to throw in a few new ideas.
But what we’d been struggling with all semester was that even though our work had been satisfactory, we weren’t happy. We saw a malaise among the general board, with council members not engaging with the issues or participating in events. We found our usual Sunday night meetings to be unproductive and inefficient, filled with informational updates that could have been distributed some other way. We finally realized that a decision had to be made, and if we really wanted to kick-start CCSC and chart a new path, we would have to do more. We decided that the key to shifting our tired mindset would be a radical change to our general board meetings.
Fast-forward to the present.
We want to use our time on Sunday nights in wholly new ways to solicit feedback from students and engage in fruitful discussions with different stakeholders about important campus issues. This past week, we hosted our first town hall, “What’s Wrong, Columbia?,” bringing together students from across campus to list any and all of their complaints. On Sunday, we’ll be going door-to-door in residence halls, educating students about our existence and our goals while collecting opinions and concerns. And this is just the beginning of what we want to promote this semester: a renewed effort to improve student life with CCSC leading the charge.
We believe that our standing committees are where real actions are taken and decisions are made, and this varied meeting structure is meant to provide them with new information on the opinions of students and administrators. Every initiative undertaken on Sunday nights will result in some future action, spearheaded by the policy committee or independent representatives on the council. Addressing significant issues during meetings and following up with tangible plans will be CCSC’s new mode of operation.
As part of this massive overhaul in meeting structure, Sunday night meetings will no longer be mandatory for elected council members. We want student government leaders to be willing to work on behalf of their constituents, but we’re not going to force them. Not only does this move put the onus back on the individual and require more proactive involvement, but when everyone in the room is actually interested in being there, conversations are more focused and productive. We know that students elected a talented and committed group of people to represent them last spring, and through these changes, we want to guarantee that they are engaged to the fullest extent. Attendance on Sunday nights no longer suffices as fulfilling our responsibility to students, and we are dedicated to ensuring that we as CCSC members are going above and beyond.
CCSC should be a space where students’ interests are represented and heard. Meetings with mundane updates and discussions that simply skirt over important topics are not a good use of anyone’s time. And so, the decision to change. The decision to interact with students more directly. The decision to tackle complicated issues through comprehensive and frank discussions with all stakeholders. The decision to break away from the conventional, and find innovative ways to do our jobs better. We have made a decision to change in order to return student government to the students. We want to know how we can help, so go think it over and let us know. Try Deluxe—it worked for us.