Teji Vijayakumar ’24 and Chukwuma Orji ’24

Chukwuma Orji ’24 and Teji Vijayakumar ’24

Emma Asher

Meet Teji Vijayakumar ’24 (she/her), president of the 2023–24 Columbia College Student Council Executive Board, and Chukwuma Orji ’24 (he/him), VP policy of the 2023–24 Executive Board. CCSC members are elected to serve as representatives on the students’ behalf and to advocate for those students to the wider University community. Vijayakumar is a double major in computer science and visual art and Orji is a cognitive science major with a concentration in computer science.

What are you hoping to accomplish with CCSC this year?

Vijayakumar: We have a lot of goals! I’m so excited about making healthcare more transparent and accessible on campus — a lot of students don’t really understand how medical insurance works or what is or isn’t covered. We want to address and try to expand this as much as possible. I’m also really excited for smaller events that I hope will build spirit and community. Little seasonal events, like Easter egg hunts or snowman-making contests or a Butler haunted house!

Orji: We’re looking at class registration and how we can make that an easier process; we’re in our senior year, and sometimes people are still getting in to only one class that they need, which can be frustrating and stressful! And we’re also continuing conversations about how we can improve mental health on campus, like how we can make resources more accessible and how we can raise awareness of the options for seeking help.

What’s been your favorite class so far?

Vijayakumar: I took a class last Spring, “Epic India: The Rama Story in Visual Art,” taught by Professor Subhashini Kaligotla. It was amazing. We basically spent the whole semester talking about and looking at one Hindu epic, the Ramayana, and ways it has been portrayed in paintings, cartoons, movies, animation and so on. Alongside the visuals, we also read a bunch of essays and several translations and retellings of the Ramayana. So, really just becoming extremely familiar with this one story has been super, super rewarding and engaging.

How do you like to take advantage of being in New York City?

Orji: I’m a fiend for restaurants and cafes; if I have a free hour or two, I will pick a random location and just see what’s there. I love how many different options there are for food and drinks in New York, so I just like to see as many as I can.

Outside of CCSC, what extracurriculars do you participate in on campus?

Orji: I’m part of the Columbia Bartending Agency, which is super exciting. You take a mixology class, and you can get certified and do different gigs with a lot of alums.

Vijayakumar: I’m on a dance team called Taal. It’s a South Asian classical fusion dance team, and I love it. It’s so much of my life! We choreograph everything together and are a really tight-knit group!