Senior Wisdom: Jimmy Vielkind

Written by

Ah, the bittersweetness of perspective…here’s the next installment of Bwog’s Senior Wisdom series.  This time, on- and off-campus journalist Jimmy Vielkind C’07 is in the hot seat.

Claims to fame:

As a Spectator reporter and later city editor, training editor, and contributing editor, I forced a genuine public debate about Columbia’s proposed Manhattanville expansion. I also launched La Pagina, a weekly Spanish-language flyer to better serve readers who live around Columbia, about 40% of whom speak Spanish. It made Spectator the first bilingual college paper in the country. As an intern for the Daily News, I’ve done everything from cover Cory Lidle’s plane crash to grill Alan Hevesi. And I’ve got Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s left golf shoe to prove it.

Preferred swim test stroke?

Side stroke. I used to be a lifeguard, but now when I get in the water I tend to just putter.

What are three things you learned at Columbia?

(1) It took me a while to realize that there are no clear resolutions to the difficult questions and issues that confront society, just better and different ways of understanding something. The more people who are seeing something from all sides, the more likely we’ll keep moving–slowly–toward resolution. Shouting loudly about one particular course of action or set of values and approaching ideas or issues combatively usually isn’t productive.

(2) The sky is brighter, the wind colder, and your thinking clearer walking the streets between 3-5 a.m.

(3) For a good time, dial 212.531.0383.

Justify your existence in 30 words or less.

If a tree falls in the woods, and a reporter isn’t around to see it, interview witnesses, cajole loved ones into providing biographical details, demand an explanation and hold those in power accountable for changes to prevent future fallings, then did it really fall? And would it really matter if it did? Fuck; that’s 53.

What was your favorite controversy in your time at Columbia?

The “we are being silenced” demonstrations in the spring of 2004 were elegant and powerful, and showed me how a coordinated protest can be a strong tool for leveraging change among both those in power and one’s peers. While the resolution was imperfect, Columbia got an Office of Multicultural Affairs to finally serve as a dedicated party for dealing with–and hopefully preventing–the series of deplorable events that led to that demonstration.

Which professor do you think would be the best kisser?

Dan O’Flaherty. Duh.

What percentage of seniors do you think are virgins?

Why, 100% of course. (Hi Mom!)

Would you rather permanently give up oral sex or cheese?

Cheese. When we were younger, my brother would sometimes microwave slices of American and eat the resulting goop right off the plate. I nearly puked. The memory still haunts me.

Days on campus memory?

My enginerd father couldn’t quite wrap his head around the notion that people could get liberal arts degrees and be, well, non-enginerds. He was giving me shit about it during an alumni panel where all the guys speaking were basically unemployed or “dabbling in consulting.” I remember the last guy on the panel was a tad rotund, and was feeling really blue until he introduced himself as “Jerrold Nadler, Member of Congress.” It was the best toldyaso elbow I’ve ever thrown.


wish I’d moved more out of my comfort zone and gotten to know more of my classmates. Also, I never heard the Columbia Orchestra play, and I never joined CUMB. I never led a protest rally. I never took a Foner lecture, or Washburn’s jazz, or Bollinger, or Bakhli, or…..


Tags: ,


  1. wait

    I'm supposed to call Taqueria for a good time???

    Jimmy, I love you, but seriously. After 4 years of knowing you, you get serious and philosophical in a bwog column? Wtf?

    I aughta pop you in the face for lauding the OMA.

  2. I have

    I have never seen anyone reading la pagina

  3. CML  

    Shekitka: You know, it really doesn't matter what you major in as an undergraduate.

    Vielkind: Try telling that to my dad.

    Or maybe it was the other way around.

  4. splendid  

    That is a wonderful photo of Mr. Vielkind.

  5. ugh  

    bwog...could you please profile someone who isn't utterly pretentious??

  6. Jimmy?  

    cool kid... bad ass bartender.

  7. dear jimmy

    it is okay that you missed washburne's jazz class. honestly.

  8. jimmy  

    jimmy is a writer in every sense of the word.

    aow aow.

  9. fan  

    Jimmy is awesome.

  10. awesome  

    amazing that he managed to make such dumb questions actually interesting.

  11. wow  

    he is pretty annoyingly into himself....and crazily corny. cliche cliche cliche

    • Right, but  

      Everyone on this goddamn campus is annoyingly into themselves—you and me included. As a friend and student journalist, though, Jimmy has few equals.

  12. saw jimmy  

    on the steps today and he told me about his front page on the daily news but not the bwog post?? shocked and appalled.

    anyway, jimmy, i was skeptical you got all serious for this... but you pulled it off with finesse. (i think it helps that i largely agree with you.) that takes more courage than the sarcastic bs i pull in my upcoming senior wisdom entry.

  13. He looks

    He looks like he was dropped on his head as a baby. What a writer, though. What a shitty, shitty writer. And did he actually have a byline on the cover of the Post?

  14. lala  

    damn spec people like ragging on each other

  15. this picture  

    lacks jimmy's signature fedora. and that is sad. but all said, that is not all that sad. i just like that fedora, it is jimmy.

  16. dsz  

    I mean, I suppose by commenting I'm just as much to blame as everyone else in these snarky comment exchanges, but come ON guys. Jimmy's cool. And even if he wasn't, who the fuck are you to judge? You're sitting in your room in your underwear reading a campus gossip blog. Please.

  17. lol  

    no hes actually not cool. and he's a good writer?! did u read his piece on his last name like last week? good lord. the combination of some inexplicable egomania (I kind of have to agree with his looking lik he was perhaos dropped on his head at a very young age) with just shitty writing makes it really difficult to even get through. no way everyone at columbia is either this into themselves or this corny- just an exceptionally bad combination here

  18. i love  

    i love borderline illiterate bwog comments that complain about how bad a writer someone is.

    'u' stay strong, "i kind of have to agree with his looking lik he was perhaos dropped on his head at a very young age) with just shitty writing makes it really difficult to even get through"-guy

  19. jimmy is

    an only an ok writer. most of it is image.

  20. Flasher

    I heard he likes showing 'it' to people in the Butler men's room.

  21. this is a bit late  

    in all honesty, does he think he knows it all? he discredits anyone at the snap of a finger based on frivolous peeves and ignorance caused by his arrogance. what would make me want to read his stories, based on this information? ah of course, that sensationalist writing of his.

    jimmy, if you're reading, learn *this* from your time at columbia: take your arrogance down a few notches. you might have done well with your time here, but you're still just another stupid kid. in addition, you might want to look into not slouching and sticking your neck forward when you walk- it causes serious neck problems later down the road.

  22. OH MY GOD!



  23. somebody  

    this guy is awesome! people need to stop sipping on the haterade.

  24. Hmm..  

    "haterade" .. jimmy, is that you?

© 2006-2015 Blue and White Publishing Inc.