Vote Now!

green-voteVoting Begins!

Open now until Wednesday 4/6 at 11:30 PM
Click here for the link

To all current SUMA students: Please Vote! The SUMA student community is an important and unique aspect of the SUMA experience. The Student Association plays an integral role in the development of this community.

As SUMA students, this is your opportunity to elect the members of the board that will serve in the development of the SUMA student community.

Cheryl Poccia
Lindsay Ferzoco

Vice President of Academic Affairs 
Donald Wissell
Leticia Valadez

Vice President of Events
Sargam Saraf
Hilary A Osborn

Co-Vice Presidents of Communications  
Jordan Chan
Amanda Stevens

Vice President of Community Outreach 
Modou Cham


President Candidate: Cheryl Poccia

CherylPicture My name is Cheryl Poccia and I am running for SUMASA Board President. This past year I have been on the board as the VP of Finance specializing in the organization, planning and administrative responsibilities of the board. Along with the SUMASA board of 2016, we have tenaciously developed an outline and strategy that will be more efficient and effective over the coming year focusing on networking events and professional development. Class of 2017 will bring this next year to a whole new level for the SUMA program. As President; I have built the network and resources needed to execute our goals; below is a brief overview of the leadership I plan to bring along with the new members of the board.
1. Collaboration with faculty, students and other programs.
2. Communication across the program and with School of Professional Studies and the Earth Institute.
3. Improving the alumni/student directory.
4. Monthly events available for SUMA students that focus on cultural outings, semester gatherings, networking, career services, alumni inclusion and educational development.
5. Planning and executing the 2017 Symposium.


President Candidate: Lindsay Ferzoco

Lindsay FerzocoMy name is Lindsay Ferzoco and I am running for SUMASA President. As a part time student, I leaned on SUMASA events to meet fellow classmates in my first semester and it has been an integral part of my personal growth and experience at Columbia. My ability to communicate effectively, delegate, and manage multiple projects is evident in my professional experience. As president, I am looking forward to driving the following vision:

– Increase participation by taking a personal approach to planning and communicating events. Participation and effective student feedback is crucial in achieving our collective goals.
– Foster the creativity of our current students by collaborating with the forward looking and visionary individuals we have in our program. I want to partner with student initiatives to help them not only reach a broader audience, but also showcase the talent and highlight the value of our program.
– Lastly, overall transparency of SUMASA bylaws will go a long way in advancing the interests of our program as a whole. This includes making the bylaws of our organization public and limiting the term of board positions to one year so as to give incoming students the chance to participate in leadership opportunities. I strongly believe that with a structured approach to our board, we can ensure a result driven organization.

As SUMASA President, I will be a strong advocate of our student body and lead a board that has meaningful impact. I want to create an organization that thrives on student participation, feedback, and creativity. I hope that you will vote for me to represent your interests.


VP Academic Affairs Candidate: Donald Wissell

Don Wissell Professionally, I grew up in Financial Services working for larger investment firms.  I have been pursuing a M.S. in Sustainability Management to apply my skill set toward a new field to me, Sustainability.  The underlying skills required for both disciplines have many parallels:  innovative thinking; analysis/problem solving; complex project management; relevant marketing plans; implementation of new technologies; and public education.  As I pursue this goal in finding a new path I realize that Columbia University provides many opportunities for us to find our way in this evolving field.  I have continuously been encouraged by this program and its drive to have students attain the knowledge and skills they need to hit the ground running in the real world.  In short our success is their success.  In representing fellow student colleagues as a liaison to help the administration to develop the program curriculum I feel well suited to give constructive feedback and encourage a networking environment that is critical to our development.  One event I found particularly helpful was the Course Speed Dating and thought a quarterly cocktail party with faculty and invited industry guests could be very helpful in bridging student industry interest and goals with the curriculum providers.


VP Academic Affairs Candidate: Leticia Valadez

leticia neves My name is Leticia Valadez, I’m on my second semester in SUMA and I’m running for the SUMASA board VP of Academic Affairs. I see this position as a bridge between students, faculty, professionals and the SPS Administration. In order to really give the SUMA students a competitive advantage the program has to offer classes and workshops that will keep up with the diverse and fast growing trends of the market. As the VP of Academic Affairs I think it’s crucial to reach out to students and find out about what they’d like to see in the program.

Since my first semester I’ve been very active as a volunteer with the current SUMASA board through all of the events that they have organized. I’ve also attended many events and workshops from other schools and organizations, and they gave me some great ideas of workshops that could meet SUMA students’ needs/interests. I think it’s important for SUMA to have a closer relationship with other Columbia departments in order to expand our network and share knowledge, since we have so many common interests with the Business School and SIPA, for example. I’d also like to see more hard skills based workshops such as LEED, GIS, excel, and statistical software as a means to improve students’ performance, engagement and learning experience.


VP Communications Candidate: Amanda Stevens

amanda stevensI am seeking the Co-VP of communications position with SUMASA. I have a strong background in analytics and in SUMA to focus on using data to help design effective messaging and compelling stories. The communications role gives me the opportunity to apply these skills in the day-to-day – the website, newsletter and social media update – using my experiences coordinating multi-media messaging as a project manager for WRI and a member of the student sustainability team at my undergraduate.
I also see an opportunity for this communications role to help enhance all of our experiences in SUMA by supporting a collective identity. Our program is made up of incredibly diverse students, however, we are all here because we have the same roots – a desire to change society in meaningful ways. Sometimes our differences make it hard for us to come together physically and communications can help build our identity virtually. I see opportunity to increase the value of our education and our networks by (1) Using data to design effective and influential communications through surveys and systematic personal outreach; (2) Use social media to help us get to know each other outside class and events. Campaigns on twitter and Instagram, as well as virtual competitions can promote remote discussion and engagement, giving us shared experiences.

The ability to participate in improving our collective experience and community is exciting to me. Through this role, I hope to apply my organizational and community engagement skills to building on the future of SUMA.


VP Communications Candidate: Jordan Chan

jordan chan I am honored to be considered for the role of Co-VP of Communications on the SUMASA Board. If elected, I aim to assist the SUMASA program gain greater visibility via developing and promoting events, and provide enhanced opportunities for student engagement. I will collaborate with the board to continue to develop a strong and consistent brand via the website, newsletters, and external communications. Additionally, I would like to leverage existing social media networks and campus communication channels to help students identify sustainability related opportunities and events both on and off campus.

In my undergraduate career, my experience as President of the student chapter of the US Green Building Council and Secretary of Sustainability in the Student Government have provided me with leadership skills that will help me succeed as the Co-VP of Communications, if elected. More specifically, as President I developed content for the Facebook page and the University campus website. As Secretary of Sustainability, I developed and promoted sustainability initiatives and events, and with campus and local media outlets. Additionally, my current work at PepsiCo has provided me with experience developing consumer facing sustainability programs.

If elected, I will be committed to the success of the SUMA program. My apologies for being unable to attend the Candidates Night, but unfortunately I had a prior commitment. Please feel free to email me with any questions! (


VP Events Candidate: Sargam Saraf

With prior event planning experience as a student leader and a sense of professionalism, I am qualified to be your next VP of events. I am Sargam Saraf, a first year SUMA student with a vision to serve our excellent student body better. My past leadership experiences has prepared me better to bring in events focused on three areas: personal growth, professional development and cultural engagement.

I see SUMASA as a platform to execute events catering to both the full-time and the part-time students. The events I plan to organize will range from sustaining the weekly mixers to a new Mentor-Mentee pairing between existing and incoming students based on academic goals and interests, hosting alumni meetups for better understanding of the industry and opportunities to co-hosting events with NYC-based schools with similar missions, from enjoying the diversity amongst our robust student body has to offer by engaging in socio-political discussions to enjoying all the different cuisines at restaurants in New York!  With the help of SUMASA and NYC Bhangra, I am already co-hosting a Holi event in the last week of April. I am also actively planning with the PR league at NYU to conduct a Crisis Communications Panel with companies like General Motors, Ford, Johnson and Johnson etc.

My candidacy is based on your support and my inspiration to serve you better – I will establish a transparent medium between the student body and VP of events. I wish to open up surveys (including an anonymous option) to get healthy feedback and strive for an enriching (and most importantly, fun) overall SUMA experience.
If you wish to see someone that works hard, smart and effectively, pleases VOTE FOR ME to be on the student board for the upcoming year.

VP Events Candidate: Hilary A Osborn

What I’ve come to find as I’ve met my SUMA classmates, worked alongside them, and spent time getting to know them outside of the classroom, is that we are a part of an extraordinarily diverse group within the SUMA program. We all have unique stories, and we all bring our own individual perspective to the table in regards to our visions for sustainability and its applications in the future.

My vision for SUMASA going forward is to organize events that showcase that the vast breadth of possibility with these studies and this degree. I believe collaborations between SUMASA and other student organizations, like SUMANI, like Women in Sustainability, are key to organizing successful events. I want to organize events that solidify our professional network that we are building within our program, as peers, classmates, and future coworkers and fellow professionals. SUMASA has already established the tradition of Happy Hours and other events that allow us to connect with our fellow SUMA students outside the classroom, in a less formal setting, in the many wonderfully quirky restaurants and dive bars in New York City, and I have every intention of keeping that tradition alive. I want to build on it with events for SUMA that promote team building, like ropes courses upstate, cooking classes offered by restaurants with a focus on locally sources ingredients, and other unique opportunities to solidify our community in different contexts.I also want to focus on our involvement in the community of New York City, in regards to our social responsibility and civic contributions. For example, volunteering in groups for things like park maintenance with the NYC parks department, or doing youth outreach and education in environmental health and safety. I strongly believe that we need to work even harder in our pursuit to engage the entirety of SUMA, both part and full time students. I want to be available for students to reach out about events they want to see planned, and also I want to understand what students want out of events, what will compel them to come. I have some experience in event planning, and would relish the opportunity to gain more. I have a broad network here that I’ve established as I’ve been building my career. I’ve volunteered for the city, and I worked on the NYC bicycle share expansion efforts. I’m currently working to develop a sustainable practices workshop for artists in association with a company called Chashama. I would bring a different kind of positive energy and potential to the board. I’m passionate about tapping in to the needs of students that are seeking context in the professional realm of sustainability. The way to do that is to organize a wide range of opportunities for networking and gaining insight from professionals, whether they be alums, other Ivy League students, or any of the incredible types of people that are working in NYC. In conclusion, vote for me!


VP Community Outreach Candidate: Modou Cham

Hello SUMA students, my name is Modou Cham and I’m from The Gambia. I was raised in Pennsylvania and I have been living in New York City for about two and a half years. I currently work for World Information Transfer, a non-profit NGO that promotes environmental health, literacy, and sustainable development at the United Nations.  I’m running to be the next VP of Community Outreach on the SUMASA Board. My goal is to take SUMASA outside Columbia and into the diverse world of sustainability in New York City by engaging with various organizations in the sustainability communities. This will help SUMASA gain more knowledge of the city’s sustainability scene. I believe this can be done through volunteering, networking events, seminars, speaking engagements and internship opportunities, which can all lead to more employment opportunities in the field of sustainability for SUMA students.

Further, since joining the SUMA program, I have encountered numerous individuals who are interested in the program and I encouraged them to apply to the program. I believe as the VP of community outreach, I can also help bring more talented students to the program. For example, this past October, an intern at the UN I work with told me about his interest in our program, I encouraged and guided him throughout his application process and he was thankfully accepted. My overall goal is to act as a liaison officer and bridge the gap between the SUMA program and the opportunities in sustainability New York City offers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s