The Student Councils at Columbia are organized groups of students charged with various responsibilities.
Each school council functions in its own specific way, generally with individual by-laws, constitutions, and election procedures. They generally, however, do not have statutory powers in the governance and administration of the university; rather, they exist at the pleasure of the respective deans of student affairs. By contrast, students representatives elected to the University Senate do have a voice in the governance and administration of the university.
List of student councils
Columbia has three undergraduate student councils, one for each undergraduate school, as follows:
- Columbia College Student Council (CCSC)
- Engineering Student Council (ESC)
- General Studies Student Council (GSSC)
In addition, Barnard College students are represented by the Student Government Association (SGA). It effectively shares coequal status with its Columbia counter-parts, and all four often operate in tandem.
From time to time, CCSC and ESC consider a merger, given the close integration of their respective student bodies, but usually concerns about the ability of a unified council (which would presumably be dominated by representatives from Columbia College) to properly represent the interests of engineering students, and preserving 'engineering identity' ends anything beyond preliminary discussion.
In addition to each school's top-level student council, the freshman through senior classes of CC, SEAS, and Barnard College each have their own class councils. These councils include a "class president" and other officers. They represent the interests of their respective class years, and organizing class-wide events like Lerner Pub for seniors or Winter Wonderland for freshmen. Class councils typically liaise with their respective school's top-level student council.
The functions of student councils are to:
- oversee and allocate funds from the student life fee to the student group governing boards, which in turn allocate funds to student groups
- pursue policy changes important to their constituents
- host programming of their own
- collaborate with each other on joint programming such as the Tree Lighting Ceremony and Homecoming events
- convey the feelings of the student body when consulted by senior administrators from time to time
The allocation of funds is perhaps the most important function. Each spring, at a meeting known as "F@CU", the councils divide out the proceeds of the student life fees between themselves and the student group governing boards.