Founded in September 2005, the CUSP Alliance became a structure through which Scholars are empowered in their own Program under the direct guidance and supervision of the CUSP Executive Council (comprised of CUSP administratiors, CUSP BOA members, Scholar Alumni, and former presidents of the CUSP Alliance), and encouraged to be active collaborators in brainstorming and implementing new projects. This Scholar leadership upholds the CUSP Leadership Pillar and was initially conceptualized and implemented by the CUSP administration as a natural extension and enhancement of the original Scholars Advisory Board (a panel of twelve Scholars appointed to the Board by application, who acted as liaisons between the Scholars and the Office and helped brainstorm ideas for the Program). Scholars immediately participated and assumed leadership roles with an unforeseen vigor. Formerly known as the Scholars Governing Board & Scholars Advisory Council, the CUSP Alliance renamed itself to distinguish the organization as a collective of like minds inclusive of not only Scholars, but also their growing supporters in the Columbia community. Currently, the CUSP Alliance consists of 9 officer positions.
The purpose of the CUSP Alliance is to place the Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program in the hands of the Scholars by recognizing and formalizing a core of proactive Scholar leaders who desire to play an integral role in developing the Program. The CUSP Alliance offers the Scholars creative and constructive opportunities to serve as ambassadors between the CUSP administration, the Scholar population, and the greater Columbia, New York City, and global communities. They integrate the ideals of the four pillars--Academic Excellence, Leadership, Civic Engagement, and Global Awareness--into their processes of thought and action, promoting awareness and pedagogical engagement within and beyond the Scholar community. The Scholars in the CUSP Alliance develop invaluable leadership skills through a series of training sessions. They gain experience organizing and facilitating long-term community and civic programming that serves not only as an opportunity to foster a sense of community within CUSP but as one of many examples of the powerful results possible through application of CUSP ideologies.
MEET THE ALLIANCE (2014-2015)
Eric Tong, Chair - is majoring in Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science. In addition to serving on the board for the Columbia Scholars Alliance, Eric works as a resident adviser for the Living Learning Center, and a researcher in Columbia's Cell Engineering Laboratory where he studies cartilage engineering. Eric is also a founding member of the Columbia University Maker Space, and has helped transform an empty room into a space with all the tools needed for any Columbia student can build personal projects or work on design challenges. On weekends, he spends his time working as an SAT classroom instructor, playing the piano, or practicing Martial Arts. Eric delights in taking on new challenges and experiences, whether it is chaperoning a group of exchange students through Super Bowl Boulevard in Times Square, or providing therapeutic music for the patients at St. Luke's Hospital. Having grown up in Florida, Eric misses his fantastic family and the warm weather. Eric hopes to continue to facilitate the Alliance's programs growth through new initiatives.
Charles Sanky, a junior in Columbia College from Long Island, New York, studies psychology and business management. As an active musician, Charles is the Vice-President of the Columbia University Wind Ensemble and serves as Worship Team Leader and Ignite Coordinator of the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. Charles also served on the New Student Orientation Program Committee for the past two years, where he worked toward creating a welcoming and supportive campus community through his role as Academic & Educational Programming Coordinator and Student Chair. Charles volunteers as an Emergency Medical Technician through Columbia University Emergency Medical Services, and works through the NY EMS Special Operations Division. In addition, he works for Columbia University Information Technology, where he helps maintain on-campus technological systems. He also serves as a Student Services Representative on Columbia College Student Council. In his spare time, Charles enjoys running, swimming, reading, practicing martial arts, performing, and listening to music and Ted talks. He is grateful for his wonderful, encouraging family and friends. Charles aspires to become a physician and eventually work in health policy. In the meantime, he is grateful to be a part of furthering the Columbia University community!
Before attending Columbia University, Erman Sener lived in Istanbul, Turkey and studied at The Koç High School, from where he graduated with academic high honors. As a junior in the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, Erman is majoring in Operations Research-Engineering Management Systems (OR:EMS) with minors in Economics and Entrepreneurship. His interests are varied, including International Relations, Political Science, and Computer Science. In addition to continuing his academic studies, Erman has also taken active role in both on and off-campus organizations. He worked for a nonprofit, The Light Millennium, that operates under the United Nations Department of Public Information (UN-DPI) during his second year at Columbia. Additionally, he is a member of the CUSP Alliance, the Vice-President of the Columbia Turkish Students, and a representative at the Activities Board at Columbia. Erman wants to continue taking responsibilities in these organizations for he believes that he can learn, develop, and practice important skills that will help him to reach his goals in the future. Erman has also participated in European Youth Parliament conferences –a model European Parliament simulation that fosters inter-cultural dialogue and discussion of political issues among youth- where he was inspired to facilitate and improve dialogue between individuals from different backgrounds. In his free time, he likes to visit the museums and art galleries in the city, to discover new restaurants, and to go to music concerts and operas. He is interested in pursuing a career in finance after he graduates.
Anu Akinbamidele is a fourth year Kluge scholar majoring in Economics and Philosophy. She is a Residential Advisor in an upperclassmen dorm, and one of Columbia University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs Under1Roof facilitators. She is also a student study abroad peer advisor and works in the Office of Global Programs. Anu traveled abroad in the spring semester of her junior year to Copenhagen, Denmark, otherwise she is a full CUSP Alliance veteran, and has been on the Alliance since her first year at Columbia. Earlier in the fall, Anu held an outing to the Frick’s Senior Night at the Frick Museum. Anu looks forward to holding more outings and is excited about her final year at Columbia.