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This article is for all those first-years that came with a bit too much Beyond

Becoming a first-year at Barnumbia meant lots of preparation; filling out housing and health forms, finding a roommate, registering for FYE/Core classes, and most importantly, dorm shopping. New Bwog Staff Writer Alicia Benis, a first-year herself, finds out what became of the many items friends, family, and Bed Bath and Beyond said we needed (but we don’t really, or do we?)

This summer, as I was getting ready to become a first-year at Barnard, I had one thing on my mind: dorm shopping. So many of my friends knew what they were getting for their dorms ever since they committed to their schools in April, but I decided to wait. For a while, I had planned out in my head what I wanted my dorm to look like: what color my comforter was going to be, what decorations I would have, what I wanted in my mini fridge, and all the other details.

I took a look on Barnard’s website to see what they recommended me to bring, and what not to bring, and it all seemed reasonable to me. The list was made up of things like bed sheets, clothes, towels, toiletries, shower shoes and caddy, decorations, desk supplies and other expected items. I therefore began looking for these things online, and I made some purchases. In the process, I talked to parents of friends also going away to college, and many of them suggested that I bring some things, which funnily enough, also appeared on Bed Bath and Beyond’s “Campus Checklist.” Many of these parents said that these were “super necessary.” They include:

  • A bed skirt
  • A mattress protector (and an additional two mattress pads)
  • Entire body pillows
  • Closet rods
  • Rolling storage carts
  • A million storage crates
  • Ottomans
  • A can opener (???)
  • An entire dish, cup and silverware set
  • Water filter
  • Command hooks
  • Scented…things?

Now, I understand that these sources don’t know the ins and outs of Barnumbia Res Life policies or what the rooms look like and what facilities are available. But some of the things on this list are clearly part of a consumerist trap that stores like BB&B want you, your parents, your friends and their parents to fall into. A bed skirt? Really? And an entire body pillow? (I mean, those can be useful, but ???) So, in order to see if these consumerist policies really work, I went in search of first-years who may or may not have gotten these extra supplies, and found out whether or not they have been useful or not.

I mean… did we really need 5 boxes of mac and cheese?



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According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way that a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyways.

We love our mom

bee stuff

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Meet Min Hwang, this week’s CU Women in STEM subject, budding civil engineer, and musician!

Bwog Science is back with CU Women in STEM, where we highlight the amazing women in science at Columbia. Today’s profile is from Min Hwang, SEAS ’19, who aims to combine her interests in civil engineering and computer science!

Major: Civil Engineering

What subjects are you interested in: Structural engineering, computer science, and the intersections of these two fields

How did you get interested in your subject? Can you remember the moment that got you hooked? Ever since I was three, my mom wanted a lawyer in the family and I did exactly opposite of what she wanted—which is to become an engineer! All semi-jokes aside, I encountered a problem in my calculus BC textbook that informed me that roads are made in parabolic shapes. This is so that when it rains, all the water can go to the side and people would be able to drive safely. In my short life on this earth, I never could have guessed that someone would put so much thought into something we take for granted. The responsibility and capacity to guarantee the safety of others is what attracted me to this field.

Most important research/extracurricular experiences so far: I had the amazing opportunity this summer to conduct research in a three person team at Thornton Tomasetti. I always sought opportunities to merge my two interests in structural engineering and computer science and this project was a perfect marriage of the two. I facilitated transfer learning in a neural network model from Tensorflow detection model zoo trained to detect a dataset of animals and household objects to detect damages in concrete structures. The long term goal of this research is to create an autonomous inspection device that would not only help with annual inspections of infrastructure but also with inspections and assessments of hard-to-reach areas affected by natural disasters.

Read more here if you want to be an icon too



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Since college students are categorically denied doggos on campus, I’ve found that the best place to get back in touch with the canine community is at Riverside Park. This weekend I profiled five of the best woofers — enjoy!

we out here gushing over gus

Meet Gus! He’s an 18 week-old German wirehaired pointer. His owner Alejandro knew he wanted this particular breed after years of visiting his uncle’s German wirehaired pointer in Spain. According to Alejandro, Gus “can go from an energy level of zero to ten just on a dime and back down.” “Is he a good boy?” I asked Alejandro, and he replied, “He’s a great boy.”


cooper is absolutely Excellent what do you mean

Here is Cooper, a two year-old Black Labrador, presumably mixed with another breed on account of his “long legs,” as his owner Susan notes. Cooper loves to poop in the middle of the street and sit in all the puddles he finds on his walks. Susan points to a particular spot in the park, labeling it as his favorite place to get wet. “He’ll just jet through it and water will come flying up,” she said. Cooper is also a “good boy,” according to Susan.

I see like 10 dogs a day I feel blessed. More after the jump



not my photo because when I made it I shoveled it into my mouth immediately

This is a delicious, dairy-free alternative to pesto alfredo! I guarantee it will be the easiest thing you cook this week and it’s perfect to make in big batches to store for the future.

 Avocado Pesto

 1 Avocado

Approx. 3 cups basil leaves

1 clove of garlic, grated

A handful of almonds, pine nuts, or walnuts, chopped finely

Juice of one lemon

Olive oil

Ricotta (optional)

Cherry tomatoes

If you are blessed enough to own a food processor, feel free to just toss the avocado, basil, garlic, and nuts together and think about how lucky enough you are not to have to meticulously chop the basil into tiny pieces like I did. Otherwise mash your avocado, season it with salt and pepper, and add lemon juice. Whisk in olive oil until is creamy and on the verge of liquidy. Chop your basil, nuts, and garlic and mix into your avocado mixture. Serve with pasta, on sandwiches, as a dip…get creative! Best served with some basil garnish—if you’re feeling fancy, chiffonade your basil leaves! Take a neat pile of leaves, roll them into a tiny joint, and chop then lengthwise. It’ll make those little strips that restaurants put on top of plates of pasta. I like to serve with pasta, cherry tomatoes, a dollop of ricotta on top, and fresh basil leaves.

Image via Flickr



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protect these tallbois; in other news, i miss nature (and central park doesn’t count sorry)

We’re back with Science Fair, Bwog’s weekly curated list of interesting STEM-related talks, symposiums, and events happening on campus. For science and non-science majors alike, our list will bring you events that will satisfy your scientific curiosity for everything from astronomy to zoology, and everything in between.

For anyone, related-majors and non-majors alike:

  • “The Process of Making Breakthroughs in Engineering,” Armstrong Memorial Lecture delivered by Thomas Kailath (Stanford)
    • 2-4pm, Tuesday, September 25, Schapiro CEPSR, Davis Auditorium; learn more here
    • Lecture Abstract: “This presumptuous title was first proposed as a challenge, followed by an irresistible bribe! Of course, there are no magic formulas for making breakthroughs in any field. However, it is possible to gain useful insights from past experiences. I will go over a few case histories and draw some pointers from them.”
  • Geriatric Medicine: From Classroom to Bench to Bedside
    • 11:30am-12:30pm, Thursday, September 27, Allan Rosenfield Building, Room 440 (Medical Campus); learn more here
    • Event description: “The Columbia Aging Center ( presents a seminar by Dr. Evelyn C. Granieri, Chief of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Aging. Dr. Granieri’s interests are in medical and geriatrics education, programmatic development, advocacy and interdisciplinary care of frail and vulnerable older adults.”
  • Regulation: The Responsible Control of Drugs – A Public Presentation of a New Report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy
    • 4-6pm, Wednesday, September 26, Faculty House, Floor 2; learn more here
    • Event description: “The new report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy provides a practical roadmap that details how governments can take control of currently illegal drug markets through responsible regulation, thereby weakening criminal organizations that now profit from them.”

Click here for events on climate change, RNA imaging, and the expansion of the universe



tbh Columbia, this is a really creepy picture for a talk on surveillance

Bucket List represents the intellectual privilege we enjoy as Columbia students. We do our very best to bring to your attention important guest lecturers and special events on campus. Our recommendations for this week are below, and the full list is after the jump. If you notice any events that have been left off the list, or if you have a correction, please let us know in the comments.


Clear your Wednesdays, folks.



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it is actually this lit

Bwog was dancin’ and jivin’ this weekend because of one special band. Come to our open meeting tonight at 9:00 pm in Lerner 510 and get groovy with us!

♫♪ Do you remember
The 23rd night of September?
Bwog was meetin’ in Lerner five one ten
While chasin’ the morning away
Our hearts were ringin’
At the time, 9:00 pm, that ideas were flingin’
As we pitched in the night, remember
How the grapes stole the night away, oh, yeah yeah yeah

Hey, hey, hey!
Ba-dee ya, say, do you remember?
Ba-dee ya, Bwoggin’ in September
Ba-dee ya, this will soon be underway

Ba duda, ba duda, ba duda, badu
Ba duda, badu, ba duda, badu
Ba duda, badu, ba duda

My thoughts are with you
Climbin’ ramps up in Lerner to see you
Only green grapes and love, remember
How we knew Bwog was here to say,
“hey guys we love your pitches shared in September,”
Cool ideas and chill peeps, remember
The meeting we share today ♫♪

Image via Wikimedia Commons plus personal flair



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snatch that tome right up

Happening in the WorldAn overloaded ferry capsized on Lake Victoria in Tanzania this past Thursday; the number of casualties has since climbed to 209. The exact cause of this disaster is not known yet, though initial reports indicated the ferry greatly exceeded its passenger limit.

Happening in the US: Homeowners rebuilding after the destruction of Hurricane Florence will be paying more for construction materials due to tariffs, despite being the ones who need them most. Lumber, aluminum, and steel — as well as gypsum (used in drywall), countertops, flooring, and furniture — will be 20-30% costlier. Here’s how to help victims of Florence.

Happening in NYC: The Independent Art Book Fair, an annual exhibition in Williamsburg for publishers, artist, and bookmakers, ends today. Also on our radar: another art book fair (ooh!) at MoMA PS1, the NY Art Book Fair hosted by Printed Matter. Photoville, the pop-up photography “village” in Brooklyn Bridge Plaza, ends today as well.

Happening on Campus: The 16th annual World Leaders Forum kicks off this Monday with a discussion on the EU by First VP of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans. Other featured speakers include Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand and President Carlos Alvarado Quesada of Costa Rica. If you got tickets, hooray! If not, join us. We’re also salty.

Overseen/Overheard: Water Bottle Man was back at it again on Thursday. Catch him on Low Steps absolutely demolishing those recycling bins.

Tweet of the Day:

Image via Independent Art Book Fair



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A sign your hypnotist is doing something wrong.

Remember those bizarre “PERFORMANCE” flyers that went up around campus in the first week? On Thursday, new Bwogger Chenoa Bunts-Anderson headed downtown to solve the mystery of “Text, Magic Performance”: a play written by a Columbia student and a recent alumnus for the Anthropology class of the same name. She gives her thoughts below.

Have you ever wondered what spending 90 minutes performing a three act show about performance might be like? Because, apparently, two Columbia students thought up exactly that. The interesting, bizarre, and surprisingly hilarious show Text, Magic, Performance explores the boundaries between deep contemplation and classic slapstick fun.

Text, Magic, Performance was written, directed by, and stars Nathaniel Jameson and Alex Saltiel, two Columbia students who apparently had trouble saying goodbye to class. Although originally written for Text, Magic, Performance (ANTH UN3947), an Anthropology class at Columbia, the play aims to present the relationship between states of mind and methods of presentation to a larger audience. As a Columbia University student, it proved to be an engaging project very relevant to topics explored in CU’s Core, while also being vaguely reminiscent of watching Black Mirror at 3 am.

While Text, Magic, Performance doesn’t necessarily provide any breakthroughs in thinking or deliver a long, heartfelt moral, it is an intriguing topic. Act 1 proved overly reliant on PowerPoint slides, and the actors’ motives were unclear. But Jameson and Saltiel were both clearly passionate and involved actors who were able to bring the quotes they read to life.

This Gentleman was very opinionated.

Much of the show was held up by the actors’ remarkable knack for humorous delivery and willingness to fall on the ground at any moment. The cast consisted of three characters, only two of whom were listed in the night’s billing. By providing scant information at the door and on posters, they created a surprising experience. Additional audience participation and a “silent” non-automated character in the form of a baby doll added those elements of pure weirdness often attributed to drama majors. The venue of The Tank, a small not-for-profit theater, aided in the creepy atmosphere of a room with a group of men wearing white, faceless masks.

Live accompaniment by “The Butler” featured music by Simon Broucke (CC ‘19), who also composed for the 124th Annual Varsity Show last Spring. Though music was present, the play largely relied upon a never-ending stream of dialogue. Text, Magic, Performance was clearly written from the limited perspective of two male college students, and relied too heavily on the mimicking of WikiHow steps displayed by projector. The shortcomings in the presentation of Act 1, the lack of depth for certain aspects discussed, and a generally inconclusive plot marked this as a classic student-written and performed piece. Nonetheless, the audience had a good time, laughing for almost all of the show’s 90 minutes. The show proved to be worth a short trip downtown and $5 admission price.

To enjoy philosophical concepts drawn out a little too much and incredibly engaging humor, go see Text, Magic, Performance’s last show tonight at 10:30 pm.

Images via Chenoa Bunts-Anderson



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A small piece of Minaya’s sprawling and evocative mural.

New Bwogger Flor Hodge walked one block to attend the Creative Conversation with Joiri Minaya concerning her new site-specific mural in the lobby of Miller Theatre Redecode II: La Dorada. Like Minaya, she is also Dominican-American.

The people above age 21 spread across the lobby awkwardly. They do not seem to understand how this conversation will take place – where the seating will be, where Minaya will stand when she speaks. In the meantime, they make sure to take advantage of the free wine. The mural covers the wall on the north side of the lobby, and continues onto the wall perpendicular to it on the eastern side. These two walls are separated from the south side by an arch and on the other side of the western wall are the stairs where people could go up and treat themselves to snacks and wine. The mural also covers the western wall located across from the stairs, also on the other side of the arch . Ultimately, they crowd near the doors in order to see the piece in as much fullness as they can.

I see a woman who looks like she could be my aunt’s daughter, but I don’t talk to her just yet. She ends up being Joiri Minaya, the Dominican-Artist whose mural is displayed in Miller Theatre lobby. Two or three people are at her heels and make small talk. They try to be as welcoming as possible. They praise the humble artist; she accepts it and treats them all warmly.

I bet you $1 your Art Hum professor hasn’t told you about her. After the event, I have a conversation with Minaya. She has been creating art for as long as she can remember, and she’s never had any doubts that that is the career she wanted to pursue. Her mother was worried about her becoming a starving artist and hoped she would pursue a more “normal” career in something like anthropology, but art was it for her. And her dedication has paid off.

Minaya talks about the significance of her project after the jump!



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caution, yikes

Columbia University very own Crime Blotter details the scoop of what is REALLY happening on campus. This week’s edition features Bwogger Leo Bevilacqua’s truly horrifying discovery. 

On May 20th, one resident of Wien 4 opened his door to a truly heinous sight. On either side of his door, two identical pools of vomit lay equidistant. Bemused, bothered and bewildered, this poor resident experienced something similar to what most contestants on the ill-fated game show on Nickelodeon: Legends of the Hidden Temple must have felt. With Indiana Jones-like stealth, the self-proclaimed “Wien-er” made his way to the shared bathroom where lo and behold another pool of tangerine, chunky vomit leaked out of a urinal.

The Wien community, not known for a luxurious accommodation despite the extra chandelier in its lounge, was shaken by the disturbance. Other residents shuddered as they carefully made their ways around the pools of puke. Desperation and dread seized the community, a dread far surpassing that when most of them learned of their housing assignments for the academic year.

Intrigued? Want the rest of the saga?



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we love space!

Astronomer and Linguist Mihir Kulkarni, a graduate student at Columbia University, spoke in Pupin Hall for the first big event hosted by Columbia Astronomy Outreach this academic year called “Clocks of the Universe.” The night consisted of a lecture, a 3D virtualization, and stargazing, which was unfortunately canceled due to weather. New Bwoggers Michael Beltz and Mary Clare Greenlees covered the event.

When walking into Pupin Friday night, there were signs directing us to the fourth floor, where we were told the lecture part of the program was going to be held. We were greeted by a graduate student, handing us a small survey to provide data for the Astronomy Outreach Program. Questions varying from how old you are, your occupation, and whether you learned anything from the lecture. We sat in the fifth row, in the middle for a perfect viewing experience. The audience is what shocked the most, there were young children there, groups of university students, and older adults. One of us is a potential Astrophysics major, while the other is potentially majoring in Civil Engineering. Having both come from STEM backgrounds, we thought that the event would be a lot of fun and teach us something new. The event began with a 45-minute lecture by Kulkarni about time. This lecture, which he called“Clocks of the Universe,” focused on how our concept of time has changed throughout history and how we can create a timescale by looking at the sky. We have 3 astronomical tellers of time: the day, the month, and the year. The day is represented by the time it takes for the earth to fully rotate: about 24 hours. The month is represented by the time it takes the moon to complete a lunar orbit around the earth. The year is commonly defined as about 365 days, represented by the time it takes the earth to orbit the sun.
Want to know more about what amazing time facts we learned?



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You wished you looked like this in 7th grade.

New York City is packed with amazing culture and inspiring art, but sometimes it’s difficult to break the Morningside-bubble and experience it all first-hand. “Where Art Thou” is a weekly guide to interesting and notable lectures, events, and performances for the literary/musically/theatrically-inclined on campus.

On Campus:

  • This Wednesday and Friday, head to the Miller Theater for the New York premiere of Proving Up, a new opera by Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek. Proving Up is the harrowing tale of a family in post-Civil War Nebraska pursuing the American Dream. Check the event page for ticket pricing.
  • Love films, but think they could be a little more? (I know, I miss Shrek 4D too.) Next Saturday, Sep 9, check out Raba at the Lenfest Center: a collection of cinema pieces performed with live musical accompaniment, described by textura as “a multi-dimensional presentation that feels expansive and inviting.”

Off Campus:

  • Quick! What was your favorite phase you went through as a teenager? If you said your pop punk/Avril Lavigne phase in 7th grade, you’re objectively right. Head downtown to Le Poisson Rouge to see Pop Punk High, an original musical comedy featuring skateboards, excessive eyeliner and the ghost of Avril Lavigne. Tickets from $25, check the site for dates.
  • Monday at 7pm, everyone’s favorite feminist bookstore Bluestockings is hosting Get On The Stage: an open mic showcasing the voices of trans, nonbinary and queer people of color. Check out the Facebook event page to become a speaker or attendee (free!)

She’s not dead, though? via Wikimedia Commons



the fancy general assembly

Happening in the World: A Kenyan high court lifted the ban on ‘Rafiki’, which focuses on a same-sex relationship between characters Kena and Ziki. The film was banned “due to its homosexual theme and clear intent to promote lesbianism in Kenya contrary to the law” as stated by the film board. The film was originally screened at the Cannes Film Festival because it was not allowed to be screened in Kenya. But it will be screened in Nairobi this week, making it eligible for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film.

Happening in the US: Earlier this month, The Sunspot Solar Observatory in Sacramento Peak, New Mexico was closed for 11 days for seemingly unknown reasons Many conspiracy theorists claimed that UFOs, aliens, and extraterrestrial activity were the cause of the closure. Unfortunately, it was discovered that the Observatory was closed because the FBI was investigating an individual using the Observatory’s internet to download and distribute child pornography.

Happening in NYC: The 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly began on Tuesday, causing a slew of street closures around Lower Manhattan in order to provide security and limit public interactions with the nearly 200 dignitaries that are expected to attend. Police have stated that they are aware of at least 60 protests that are occurring in the two weeks while the United Nations General Assembly will be in session.

Happening on Campus: Climate Week NYC is being kicked off on Monday with a panel called ‘Fighting Back Against Attacks on Climate Science.’ Panelists will discuss climate science’s relation to current policy debates. The event is on a registration basis, however, due to popular demand will also be live-streamed.

Documentary of the Week: NOVA: Treasures of the Earth (Gems), although all of the episodes in the Treasures of the Earth series are interesting, gems are super weird in how they are created and diamonds actually aren’t that rare (it’s just that one company has the monopoly over diamonds), but opal is! They are also pretty to look at.

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image via Bwog Archives

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