Activities Board at Columbia

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The Activities Board at Columbia (ABC) is the largest of five governing boards that oversee undergraduate student groups on campus. As of Fall 2013, there are 155 organizations recognized by ABC, including cultural clubs, performance groups, publications, and special events. ABC recognition affords a group the right to officially use the Columbia name, access to space reservations, and a potential budget.

ABC consists of an internally elected Executive Board composed of four members, usually with prior experience on the board, thirteen Representatives-at-Large, elected by the officers of recognized clubs, and four liaisons from the General Studies, Columbia College, Engineering, and Student Government Association student councils. These twenty-one individuals are responsible for approving expenditures, advising recognized groups in cooperation with Student Development & Activities (SDA), and voting on the allocations to each group.

In December 2009, the board voted to create its first non-voting position, that of Director of Technology. The DoT is tasked with the upkeep of the ABC Website, which, since 2008, has been the backbone of the ABC financial system.


ABC was formed in the fall of 1998 following the dissolution of the Union of Student Organizations amidst accusations of favoritism, corruption, interfering in the minute affairs of student groups, seizing money and power for itself, etc. the previous spring. CCSC and ESC, which had formed the USO in order to delegate the allocation of Student Life Fees to student activities, organized the generically named Interim Governing Body (IGB) to draft a constitution for a new funding board at the beginning of the fall semester, and ABC was the result of their work. It was decided that Barnard would not fund ABC directly, as a vast majority of the groups at the time were not Barnard affiliated.

Funding Structure

There are three categories of recognition for student groups, Categories A, B, and C.

  • Category A: a more limited form of recognition generally reserved for newer or less active groups, as well as groups that do not require significant funding. Such organizations are allotted a maximum of $250 per semester. Newer groups often move out of this category after a successful few years upon their recognition.
  • Category B: the standard ABC group designation. Category B groups are required to submit a budget to the ABC in the spring for the upcoming year. Budget requests can be for any amount, but are subject to approval by ABC.
  • Category C: recognition category for "special" groups. These are groups such as heritage months or the Varsity Show that do not have programming throughout the entire year. These groups are allocated funds approximately a month prior to their event(s).

ABC has a complicated structure of allocations, and event approval that enable the board to serve as fiduciary for its groups, liaison with the administration, and solve problems within the bureaucratic structure. While the ABC traditionally has received much criticism for its shortcomings as a student-run organization, recent boards have worked to make the organization into an advocate for student groups with their efforts to build community on campus and encourage new events.

With new agreements between the councils and the ABC, instead of appealing to the ABC for additional funding, clubs will be encouraged to talk to the Joint Council Co-Sponsorship Committee (JCCC). The JCCC will grant appeals for unforeseen costs/circumstances, along with funding for new event ideas. Under the new agreement, the ABC plays a supporting role to clubs who wish to ask the JCCC for additional funding. The application for JCCC funding can be found on LionLink under the documents section of the Joint Finance Council page. This change was made due to the ABC's limited budget for appeals and the overlap in purpose for the ABC Appeals Committee and the JCCC.

Campus Perception

In the 2007 Varsity Show, ABC was portrayed as a maniacally greedy, evil organization that had started World War II and which denied student groups funding in order to reconstruct the orb that once sat atop the Sundial, so as to determine the location of Alexander Hamilton's treasure. The depiction is a result of the shortchanging many student groups feel at the hands of Columbia's administrative and student bureaucracy, of which ABC is an integral part.

6 years after this unfortunate depiction of the ABC in the Varsity Show, the ABC spent the Spring semester of 2013 focusing on reforms designed to address students' concerns over student bureaucracy. After a semester of discussion with student councils and club leaders, the ABC board members put forward their proposed reforms to all the ABC groups' approval at their Spring town hall. The ABC groups voted unanimously to make sweeping changes to the ABC constitution, instituting a system of direct democracy for the first time, establishing ABC Awards designed to give more money to successful groups (particularly the ones with lower allocation amounts), and changing the first line of Article I of the ABC constitution to state that "The ABC is an undergraduate governing board that operates on behalf of its constituent groups," as opposed to one that operates on behalf of the student councils.

Regarding other changes for ABC groups in the 2013-2014 Academic Year, after discussions with the SGA in 2012-2013, provided that they attend FUEL, all ABC groups can now program on Barnard's campus and enjoy usage of the free AV and Tech policy available there. The GBB holds make-up FUEL sessions for student groups that missed FUEL on its regular date.

The ABC has also created the Awards Committee and the Outreach Committee, designed to offer additional resources, information, and support for ABC groups. The Awards Committee will both recommend and review ABC groups for various awards, such as the "Best New Event Award" or the "Best New Group Award." The Outreach Committee exists to institutionalize the usage of new office hours and various forms of media to help and inform groups. These changes are reflective of ABC's ongoing efforts to alleviate student frustration at Columbia's administration and student bureaucracy, of which ABC is an integral part.

Executive Boards


Email abc_exec to reach all members of the current board.



  • President: Tony Lee CC '15
  • Vice President: Nikhil Krishnan CC '14
  • Treasurer: Ayo Yoshida-Are CC '15
  • Secretary: Sunny Singh CC '16


  • President: Saketh Kalathur CC ’13
  • Vice President: Julian Richardson CC ’14
  • Treasurer: Chloe Ruan SEAS '13
  • Secretary: Tony Lee CC ’15


  • President: Daniel Brown CC '12
  • Vice President: Saketh Kalathur CC '13
  • Treasurer: Chloe Ruan SEAS '13
  • Secretary: Christine Byun CC '14


  • President: Beezly Kiernan CC '11
  • Vice President: Eric Rosenberg CC '11
  • Treasurer: Brittany Ward SEAS '12
  • Secretary: Justin Kim SEAS '11

Spring 2010

  • President: Bill Jung CC '11
  • Vice President: Betty Kim CC '10
  • Treasurer: Nora Diamond CC '11
  • Secretary: Vikas Anand CC '11

Fall 2009

  • President: Scott St. Marie CC '10
  • Vice President: Betty Kim CC '10
  • Treasurer: Bill Jung CC '11
  • Secretary: Vikas Anand CC '11


  • President: Samantha John SEAS '09
  • Vice President: Grace Chan CC '09
  • Treasurer: Scott St. Marie CC '10
  • Secretary: Krissie Zambrano SEAS '09


  • President: Paula Cheng CC '08
  • Vice President: Dominic McClure CC '08
  • Treasurer: Jacob Weaver CC '09
  • Secretary: Samantha John SEAS '09


  • President: Keith Hernandez CC '07
  • Vice President: Lissy Hu CC '07
  • Treasurer: Angela Kou CC '08
  • Secretary: Allison Fortune CC '07


  • President: Stanley Tan CC '06
  • Vice President: Shyam Kadakia SEAS '06
  • Treasurer: Keith Hernandez CC '07
  • Secretary: Robert Wray CC '06


  • President: Christine Luu
  • Vice President: Alexander Yao
  • Treasurer: Sarah Fishbein
  • Secretary: Helen Lee


  • President: Scott Weiss
  • Vice President: Judy Choi
  • Treasurer: Christine Luu
  • Secretary: Katrina Rouse


  • President: Marva Brown
  • Vice President: Raj Patel
  • Treasurer: Scott Weiss & Somi Lee
  • Secretary: Judy Choi


  • President: Ishwara Glassman


  • President: Sofia Berger
  • Vice President: Ishwara Glassman
  • Treasurer: Rajesh Das
  • Secretary: Ellen Rubinstein


  • President: Sid Singh
  • Vice President: Raffaella Coelho
  • Treasurer: Ritesh Srivastava
  • Secretary: Ishwara Glassman


  • President: Alok Gupta
  • Vice President: Brian Shicoff
  • Treasurer: Ankit Mody
  • Secretary: Aaron Johnson

See also

External links