A student council is an organized group of students, charged with various responsibilities including:
- Funding and sponsorship of student events
- Governance and oversight of student clubs and activities
- Representation of the student perspective in some policy issues
Student councils usually exist at the pleasure of a specific school's respective dean of student affairs. At the option of senior administrators, they are sometimes consulted on certain issues, but otherwise have no statutory powers in the governance and administration of the university.
The student council structure of Columbia calls for a specific student council for each of the four undergraduate schools at Columbia. Each school (CC, SEAS, GS, BC) has its own student council, each of which is free to function in its own specific way, including individual by-laws, constitutions, and election procedures.
While technically separate, the four councils collaborate on a great many projects, including many of the events that are known as campus traditions, such as the tree lighting ceremony and the events surrounding homecoming.
An attempt was made in 2013 to merge the CCSC and ESC.