April 17th, 2017 Meeting Minutes

 

Our first full meeting with the new Engineering Student Council of 2017-18!

Check out the minutes for our latest meeting above as well as the livestream of the meeting here.

Addendum to SAC’s Memorandum on Suicide Prevention and Student Wellness

In response to the recent chain of tragedies that have affected our campus community, the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) of the University Senate has composed an extensive memorandum to the Offices of the President and Provost on mental health, suicide prevention, and student wellness. In support of this memorandum, the Engineering Student Council has written an addendum, which we believe complements the recommendations in the SAC’s memorandum by offering recommendations for improving mental health and for responding to campus tragedy.

Read our addendum here, or over on the Policy Committee page. Also check out a related memorandum written by Sidney Perkins last year on mental health.

Regards,

ESC

January 30th, 2017 Meeting Minutes

Check out the minutes for our latest meeting above, or here, as well as the livestream of the meeting here.

In addition, ESC passed a resolution tonight. We encourage you to take a look through it, as it pertains to our interaction with the administration and the continuing dissonance between student needs and administrative actions with regards to initiatives on reducing student stress.

A Resolution on the Community Dissonance between Student Leaders and Administrators, which Contributes to a Culture of Stress on Columbia’s Campus

 

 

Policy Committee Project Tracker

In an effort both to increase our own transparency and to demystify the workings of the administration of Columbia, the Policy Committee is excited to announce the publication of our internal projects tracker.

Please note that we have removed the direct links to survey results, but we are working to include links to the ones whose results are public. All reports and resolutions remain linked.

Check out the project tracker here: Policy Committee Project Tracker, or on our Policy Committee webpage.

As always, we welcome any and all suggestions and feedback.

Cheers,

ESC Policy

ESC Statement on Wrestling Team

CW: Sexism, Racism, Misogyny, Homophobia

In light of recent events regarding the statements said in a forum by several senior members of the Columbia Men’s Wrestling Team, the Engineering Student Council stands with the communities that feel victimized, silenced, wronged, and unsafe. We stand with the survivors of sexual assault and the victims of racism, misogyny, sexism and homophobia . We will provide support in any way possible. No student should feel unsafe at any time on this campus, and we are acutely aware that the aforementioned statements force students to question the foundations on which their whole community is based.

ESC Statement on Election

CW: Election

As representatives of a diverse student body, we recognize the unrest that the current American political situation has generated within the Columbia community. Therefore, it has been our priority to provide unconditional support to every member of our community. As a way to provide immediate support, council reached out to faculty and administrators in order to care for the mental and emotional well being of those who are affected. Going forward, we will continue to be a resource to any student who needs it. The members of our Engineering Student Council will not tolerate hate, in either action or speech. We will intervene, not solely as bystanders, but as devoted, passionate members of this Columbia community, to ensure our community is a welcoming place for all members of our diverse and vibrant student body...

Who are Students with Disabilities?

Who are students with disabilities?

The connotation of the word disability for the general public is often a person who faces challenges when walking and uses a cane or wheelchair to get by; or someone who has an inconvenience physically interacting with the environment, whether it is through mobility or language. Although these are indeed defined as disabilities, they are just some of the many shapes that disabilities can take.

Therefore, describing a student who happens to have a disability does not necessarily depend on physical traits: according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, an individual with a disability is a person who has an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. This impairment might be physical or mental.

Most of us are familiar with physical disabilities, or those distinguishable through our senses, but we often disregard disabilities that are not readily apparent — the ones we can’t ‘see’. A huge range of disabilities currently recognized in today’s medical community are completely invisible and can hardly be reduced to an exhaustive definition or symptom. Chronic pain, for instance, may leave one capable some days and absolutely crushed on others. On the other hand, epilepsy can create a seizure with no warning whatsoever. Anxiety might stop someone from completing the simplest of tasks; and diabetes, which is often overlooked as a disability, can affect vision and cause fatigue.

Moreover, disabilities have no set timeline. They might be permanent, meaning they are always present, such as local and generalized paralysis and dyslexia; but they also might also be chronic, which means their symptoms repetitively ‘come and go’ with time, such as Crohn’s Disease or seizure disorders. A condition might affect a person from birth, like genetic conditions such as hereditary hearing loss and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or might develop later with age such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Consequently, there is no one sign or symptom to define a student with a disability. A student with a disability is anyone who falls under the umbrella of having a condition that affects their ability to interact with their internal or external environment.

The Office of Disability Services has resources on campus available for all students who experience any condition that might interfere with their development at Columbia. If you feel that you or someone you know might have a condition that qualifies as a disability, Disability Services has walk-in hours Monday through Friday with coordinators available to answer all your questions. The hours are listed in:

If you have any questions or concerns that could not be adequately addressed otherwise, feel free to reach out to ae2502@columbia.edu.

Columbia Space Initiative Shoots for the Moon with NASA

csi_mike_nbl

(left to right) Leon Kim, 2019 SEAS; Keenan Albee, 2017 SEAS; Julia Di, 2018 SEAS; Brian Smiley, 2016 CC; Kristina Andreyeva, 2017 SEAS; (postered) Tamas Savary, 2017 SEAS; Jorge Orbay, 2017 SEAS; Mike Massimino, 1984 SEAS

The Columbia Space Initiative (CSI) is a group of students of all backgrounds and majors dedicated to advancing space technology through the pursuit of technical projects and space-related programming. We are involved in everything from space mission design, high altitude balloon design, miniature satellite design, space industry outreach, model rocket launching, and more!

Over the summer, CSI competed in two challenges sponsored by NASA. The first, the Micro-G design challenge, involved designing, machining, and testing a space-related tool at NASA’s National Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL). In late May, CSI members visited the NBL. They had an asteroid anchor of their own design tested by professional divers. Their anchor had to hold at least 10 lbs of force when embedded into sand. It was able to withstand more than 30 lbs of force during testing!

The second challenge, the RASCAL challenge, involved designing a hypothetical mission plan for NASA. Team members designed a mission plan for visiting Deimos, one of Mars’ moons. The mission plan included technical outlines, budget specifics, and a timeline for completion. Team members were invited to Cape Canaveral in late June, where they presented their mission design to NASA judges and were awarded multiple honorable mentions!

Welcome to the Columbia Engineering Student Council Website!

logo

Hi everyone!

As your Engineering Student Council, our goal is to make the world a better place by empowering and enabling our engineers to fix the problems that they care about most. We’re looking forward to working with you throughout your time here at Columbia.

We’ll be updating the members pages with more information soon, as well as creating an area where we will publish our survey results. In the weeks to come, we’ll also be creating a better disabilities information page, and we’ve got a blog series planned for engineering student groups on campus.

Feel free to email esc@columbia.edu with any questions or concerns, or drop us a suggestion in our suggestion box when it comes online!

Sincerely,

The Members of Engineering Student Council

    

Blog

Are You at Risk for Heart Disease?

According to the Singapore Heart Foundation, sixteen people die from cardiovascular diseases every day in Singapore. While some of the things that put you at a greater risk for heart disease are things you cannot change (like age, sex, and genetics), there are far more things that you can control. Here is a list of things that can put you at risk for heart disease, as well as some tips on how to change them.

1. Smoking

Smoking can be one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco damages your heart and blood vessels. Tobacco tar can cause a clog in your arteries, which leads to plaque build-up, reducing blood flow and forcing your heart to pump harder.

Smoking puts you at risk not only for heart disease but also for other types of diseases like respiratory diseases and various cancers. Even alternatives, like smokeless tobacco, low-tar, and low-nicotine cigarettes can be harmful. Even secondhand smoke can be dangerous, raising the risk of heart disease in children and strangers. If you are a smoker, try asking your cardiologist for plans and programs to kick your habit of smoking.

2. Stagnant lifestyle

A stagnant lifestyle is another thing that puts you at risk for heart disease. Doctors recommend regular exercise at least thrice a week for twenty minutes. Your cardiologist may recommend aerobic exercises, as it is the best type of exercises to lower the risk of heart disease. Exercises like brisk walking, jogging, and swimming are good to keep your heart healthy. In addition to aerobic exercises, strength exercises for at least two days per week is a good way to keep a healthy heart.

Even if you don’t reach the required number of hours of exercise per week, shorter sets of workout can still be effective in curbing cardiovascular illness. If you have family history of such disease, get your heart treated by a doctor here in Singapore, and ask for advices about the exercises safe for you to do. Even with just five to ten minutes of brisk walk daily, it’s more than enough to lower your risk of heart ailment.

3. Diet

An active lifestyle paired with a healthy diet is one of the best things that you could do for your heart. A diet with a lot of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are good ways to protect your heart. Include beans, low-fat or fat-free dairy, and fish while avoiding salt and sugars. The biggest consideration you would have to make in your diet is the sources of fat in your food. Try to avoid unsaturated and trans-fat (like red meat, fried food, and baked products) and seek out plant-based fat (like avocado, nuts and olives). Fatty fish (like salmon and tuna) may also lower your risk of heart disease.

4. Manage your weight

While weight can be affected by genetic factors, there are still a lot of decisions that you could make to make sure that your weight stays in the healthy range. If you are particularly obese, you may need to go for regular heart check up and a heart screening in Singapore more often. However, your heart doctor can work with you to create a meal plan that prioritizes the health of your heart while considering your lifestyle and other illnesses.

5. Alcohol

While there are many studies stating that alcohol can be beneficial in moderation, these studies remain inconclusive. However, there is indisputable evidence that states that excessive drinking heightens your risk of heart disease, along with other diseases like liver and kidney complications. If you drink excessive levels of alcohol, it is a good idea to find a way to lessen your drinking.

6. Bad sleep patterns

A lack of sleep can cause a host of complications like a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, and depression, and heart disease. Making sure that you have a good sleep schedule can help your heart, along with other aspects of health. Waking up naturally, without the use of alarm clocks, is one of the ways that can help you have a better sleep pattern. Before sleeping, make sure that you stay away from artificial light, including electronics and light bulbs. Try to create a good sleep environment by keeping your room dark, cool, and quiet.

7. Stress

Stress can be detrimental to health in many aspects. In the physical sense, however, it mostly manifests as a heart problem, like arrhythmia or high blood pressure. Your heart specialist may recommend you a list of activities to manage your stress, like doing relaxation techniques or mindfulness meditation. Walks in nature can also help, as well as journaling.

8. Monitor blood pressure and cholesterol

High blood pressure or hypertension can put a huge pressure on your blood vessels. Although hypertension can be genetic, it can be curbed with the right diet and enough exercise. Abnormal levels of cholesterol can lead to high blood pressure, so it’s always in your best interest to make sure that your levels are monitored by a licensed physician.

There are numerous high-blood monitors available on the market that allows you to check your high blood pressure yourself. Paired with regular check-ups to your heart doctor in Singapore, you could make sure that your heart stays as healthy as it could be. Make sure that in every visit, you get check-ups of your weight, high blood pressure, and glucose levels. If necessary, your physician can refer you to a cardiologist who can give you a heart screening.

The best cardiologist will not only focus on treating symptoms of heart disease but will also work with you holistically to make sure that further complications do not arise. If necessary, you could ask your general physician for recommendations, or check the list at your local cardiology center.

An Outline of the 19 Urban Districts in Saigon

The quality and price range of the apartment rental in Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam, will depend on several factors but most expats forget that usually it is the proximity to the city center and facilities that make a lot of difference. For travelers in Vietnam who want to look for an affordable rental property, it is a good idea to look for deals outside the central districts, usually in the 5 rural districts and less busy urban districts.
 
To give you an idea what it’s like to rent apartment at HCMC, here is an overview of the 19 urban districts.
 
• District 1. It is considered the central hub for all commercial, industrial and administrative offices and is the fastest-growing city in Vietnam, rivaling that of Hanoi, the nation’s capital. With the number of attractions and establishments in the area, it is not surprising that condominium rental in district 1 or D1 is more expensive than in the surrounding districts. However, with the help of a great home renting agent in Ho Chi Minh City, it’s easier to find spaces for reasonable prices. Check out websites and see for yourself how many expat housing options you have for your budget.
 

 
• District 2. Priorities in foreign and local investment here in Vietnam has made district 2 an attractive alternative to District 1, especially with the better transportation projects. If you like the vibe of D1 but is intimidated by the prices, it is a viable option to lease a flat at district 2 here in HCMC. You can also find less expensive villa rental in this district, although the government is soon planning to put up more multi-story abode leasing zones. For expats, these projects will mean more options for accommodation, especially in areas with sizable foreign community.
 
• District 3. Less crowded than District 1, it is much easier to rent a place in D3 because there are a lot of options for travelers such as French-style villa rental and competitive apartment rates around this part of HCMC. The district is also known for its local and international cuisine.
 
• District 4. Considered the smallest of the urban districts in Ho Chi Minh City, District 4 is located right next to District 1. Tourists love this spot for its array of affordable choices for room rentals at gold view condo in Vietnam. This is the best place to look for a cheap place to live if you want to experience both the old and the new of the city.
 
• District 5. Named the Chinatown of Ho Chi Minh City because of its large community of Chinese immigrants, District 5 has a lot of shops, restaurants, and pagodas. You can look for an affordable Saigon apartment rental here and still travel to District 1 within a few minutes by car.
 

 
• District 6. This is also part of Cho Lon or Chinatown in Ho Chi Minh City. Anyone who wants to get to Districts 5 and 8 within a few minutes should consider D6 when looking for an apartment rental in Ho Chi Minh City. They are also known for their specialty goods and fruits.
 
• District 7. Considered the best place for expats, you might want to stay at D7 because of the variety of shops, restaurants, cafes, exhibits, shows, concerts, and nightlife in the district. If you want fully-serviced units or houses, this is the best place to rent an apartment here in the city.
 
• District 8. If you want to enjoy both the old and new traditions of the city, you can rent a house in District 8. It’s also one of the most accessible districts in the city, with connections to the major highways for public transport.
 
• District 9. Although not yet well-known to most travelers, District 9 has a lot of attractions for families and friends who want to get away from the hectic life in the busy districts. It also has one of the most affordable deals to rent apartment in Saigon.
 
• District 10. Low rental rates make district 10 an ideal place to rent a house if you are bringing with you your family or planning a get-together with friends or co-workers. Although there are fewer tourist attractions, District 10 has hospitals, schools, and universities.
 

• District 11. Saigon apartment rental rates in District 11 are much more affordable because it’s less busy than the central districts. However, it has attracted the interest of a lot of foreign workers, paving the way for more specialized shops and restaurants.
 
• District 12. It is much easier to look for special rates in District 12 than in the busy districts of Ho Chi Minh City, including dozens of villa rental options if you want to enjoy your vacation like a boss.
 
• Go Vap. It takes about an hour to get to District 1 from Go Vap, but it’s a lot quieter in the relaxed neighborhoods. It’s a good place to have walks with family or friends and to enjoy the local cuisine.
 
• Tan Binh. The district has everything you need without having to go to District 1, plus it will be easier to connect with the locals if you are a backpacker traveling in the country.
 

 
• Tan Phu. It will take 30 to 40 minutes travel to get to District 1 from Tan Phu District, but there are affordable rental deals if you want to stay in less crowded and less noisy neighborhoods.
 
• Binh Thanh. This district is full of mysteries to discover with its meandering streets and the variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants that dot the area. Food is good and affordable, and there are a lot of things to do here without the hassle of traffic and overcrowded streets.
 
• Phu Nhuan. It’s only ten minutes away from District 1 but the rental prices are more affordable if you need to rent apartment in Saigon. There are plenty of places to visit, too.
 
• Thu Duc. This district is known for the universities located nearby, and has a community of foreign students, teachers, and workers. Food and items are affordable, too.
 
• Binh Tan. Sometimes called the inner city of foreign workers, it borders Districts 6, 8, 12, and Tan Binh. It is also home to the most popular shopping center in Ho Chi Minh City and a major bus station if you want to easily travel to the other parts of the country.

Dos and Don’ts of Setting Up a Fire Alarm System

Mistakes should never be an option in fire protection in any type of building in Singapore. Any small error can cost damage to property and injuries to occupants, that is why every facet of the emergency procedure should be studied closely. Setting up an effective fire alarm system is a good start, but you need not stop there when it comes to safety.

Here are pointers to remember when it comes to fire protection.

• Do install fire suppression systems that will give you a chance to reduce damage to property and injuries. Fire suppression systems attempt to control or minimize the spread of fire and to isolate areas that are affected. These include the emergency elevators, sprinkler system, emergency doors, vent monitoring system for the air conditioning and ventilation, and others.
• Learn about the different detection and notification systems to better understand how an alarm works. Not all buildings are required to use the same layout and technology because the area, number of occupants, number of fire hazards, type of building, and the layout of the building should all be considered. Some buildings also require a different fire detector used in offices, restaurants, and public places.
• Consider using both visual and auditory notification systems such as sirens, flashing lights, and voice communication. In large buildings, it would also be practical to install a two-way radio communication to allow the personnel and other respondents to coordinate evacuation and control of fire.
• The alarm should be regularly inspected according to the set local regulations. Contact your fire alarm system in Singapore provider to schedule these inspections. Additionally, they are also responsible for the commercial system installation and maintenance.
• Do consider installing both automatic and manual siren if possible. Manual alarms can be used for other emergencies, too.

• Do maintain the extinguishers installed at strategic areas in the buildings as well as scheduling regular inspections for the foam systems or sprinklers. Ideally, a fire extinguisher should be available for occupants every 75 feet of space. The suppression systems must be checked if the valves still work and the drains are functioning when needed.
• Do keep all your documents, maintenance details, and repair reports of your warning system including false alarms, details of the scheduled inspections, and additions or upgrades to the system.
• Do test your alarm system and schedule evacuation drills so that the building occupants will remember what to do during emergencies.
• Make sure that all the employees or occupants in the building will know what to do in case of an emergency. They should be taught how to use the extinguisher, how to escort evacuees, where to go if there is a fire, and how to trigger a manual fire alarm.

• Do keep the detector system clean and operable at all times. Most false alarms are caused by a poorly-maintained smoke detector or heat sensor that may have been triggered by the accumulation of dirt and debris.
• Do not ignore the necessity for regular inspections of the fire system. Not only will you be violating the fire safety codes in Singapore, but you are risking the lives of the occupants in the building.
• Do not put off the inspections or change the schedule, because you will never know when something goes wrong. No one can predict when a fire will happen, but you should do your best to prevent it from happening.
• Do not forget to train the employees, residents, and other occupants for other types of emergencies besides fire. What makes the emergency alarm system so useful is that it can be a life-saver in other emergency situations such as earthquakes, extreme weather, and security threats.
• Do not assume that if one part of the system is working, the others work too. If an extinguisher has ever been used for example, it does not mean that it is guaranteed to work when needed.
• Do not forget to set up a system on how to contact the local fire department during emergencies. There are sophisticated alarm systems that will automatically contact the nearest fire department to save time.
• Do not block or close off emergency exits, stairs, and elevators. They must be clean, well-lighted, and operational at all times even if there is no emergency at all.
• Do not forget to install guides and signs on how to evacuate during emergencies so that the people will have an easier time getting out. There are guides on where to install the emergency lights and evacuation plans, usually near fire emergency boxes.
• Do not be cheap when it comes to safety. Life is not cheap.

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