Four candidates are running for the General Studies Student Council’s president and vice president of policy positions.
Peter Nason, GS ’15, and Joshua Dominic, GS ’16, are running for president. Elizabeth Heyman, GS/JTS ’16, and Richard Thompson, GS ’17, are running for VP of policy.
Heyman was formerly running for VP of communications and Dominic was formerly running for VP of policy, but due to election requirements that presidential positions be contested, the two changed to their current candidacies.
Peter Nason, GS ’15
Currently the first-year class president, Nason hopes to improve community both within the GS student body and the University as a whole, provide more community spaces for students, improve financial aid for GS students, and create more transparency within the council.
“I’m running because I really believe in GS, and I think it’s an amazing thing,” Nason said. “And that as great as I think it is, I think it can be better.”
Nason wants to improve financial-aid opportunities for GS students. About 70 percent of the current GS population receives financial aid, but Nason wants to increase the amount available to students.
“I know a lot of students struggle that wind up taking time off,” he said. “Or almost have to leave school because they get to a certain point where their finances run out, and they can’t continue to fund their education.”
Nason suggested holding more fundraisers to raise money for GS-specific financial aid and proposed a resolution that would equalize financial assistance the school receives from the federal government with the other undergraduate schools.
Nason also wants to find ways to build community among students between schools. He proposed allowing GS students to attend first-year and sophomore formals and strengthening connections between GSSC and student groups like the Columbia University Family Support Network and MilVets.
Joshua Dominic, GS ’16
Dominic, currently GSSC’s four council representative, wants to build better connections among GSSC and the other student councils, improve students’ career resources, and focus council attention more on GS-specific issues.
“I was really excited to further some of the ideas I’ve had on council this year working with the different members, both within GSSC and within the other three undergraduate councils,” he said.
Dominic wants to organize more career-preparatory events and has already helped organize a workshop that helped advise women on professional dress.
He also wants to continue to improve integration among student councils as president—something he already works on as GSSC’s four council representative.
“One thing I’ve been working on is getting all the councils to know each other on more than a UNI-basis,” he said. “We had all the councils get together and just be college students, and it was pretty successful.”
Dominic proposed a number of events that would bring together students from all four undergraduate schools, including an all-school tailgating event. He also said that his personal connections with people in primarily GS groups like CUFSN and MilVets will help foster their participation in the council.
Elizabeth Heyman, GS/JTS ’16
Heyman, currently GSSC’s JTS students representative, said she wants to make information about discussion sections available during registration, extend the reading period before finals, and expand the council’s outreach into more diverse GS groups.
“My main goal is just making sure that everyone’s needs are heard, continuing the progress that’s happened this year with pushing resolution like CUFSN’s and the sexual assault,” Heyman said. “Really working on a campus-wide level to make sure that every single student has the representation that they need.”
Heyman said she will reach out to various student groups within GS to determine which policies will most benefit students.
“The main goal is to come to each group and say, ‘What are your main student concerns?’” she said.
Heyman also wants to help GS/JTS students better integrate themselves into the larger GS community by informing them about activities hosted by GSSC. She also proposed a number of quality-of-life improvements, like adding a phone charger to the GS lounge.
Richard Thompson, GS ’17
Thompson said he wants to encourage networking among GS students and push for policies proposed by GSSC to be implemented. He said he would use a balanced approach to addressing policy concerns.
“I am very thought-out. I don’t act upon haste. I take time to think things through, weighing the pros and cons of all that I do,” Thompson said.
Thompson hopes that as vice president of policy, more students will come to him with problems that they want resolved. He also wants to use GSSC’s resources to improve students’ quality of life.
He also said he supported GSSC’s recent resolution supporting CUFSN’s proposal to give students with families uniform stipends across the University.
“That’s really beautiful if you think about it, a college, an Ivy League college, helping students that have kids,” Thompson said.