Apr

17

From the Issue: Stephan Vincenzo, Campus Character

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The April issue of the Blue and White is out and about! If you haven’t yet cracked open its new, glossy cover, here’s another preview of what’s inside: a profile of campus character Stephan Vincenzo.


Stephan Vincenzo 

Stephan Vincenzo, né Jose Stephan Perez, CC ’12, learned about Carman Hall in the sixth grade. Touring Columbia with his great uncle, he glimpsed his future: “It’s not the prettiest dorm, but if you want good times, live in Carman,” his sibyllic uncle told him. Later, while tending to his great uncle on his deathbed, Vincenzo swore to him that he would someday attend Columbia. Carman has been on his mind ever since.

      Vincenzo takes dorm living seriously, as evidenced by the name of his party production company: 11th Floor Entertainment. Before he had even moved in, he became notorious for coordinating an orientation week party at a club downtown, for which 1,400 guests confirmed their attendance on Facebook— perhaps lured by his promise of “Open bar!!! srry no alcohol.” For such a bold move, Vincenzo achieved instant fame. His imposing social presence has already spawned caricatures in The Fed and is the inspiration for the character “Vincent Stephanzo” in this year’s Varsity Show.

      Vincenzo’s 6’2” stature, mid-back length brown hair, and penchant for oversize beaded necklaces enhance his eccentric image, but the most enduring expression of his originality is his adopted name. “Jose Perez is the Spanish equivalent of John Smith,” he explains. “I don’t know anybody with the name Stephan.” (He added “Vincenzo” as an homage to Al Capone’s brother, James.)

      Vincenzo is proud of his name and the cult of personality that he’s inspired, but not all of his classmates have been as supportive. After the Bwog posted updates about his infamous “Open bar” bash, the half-Colombian, half-Mexican Vincenzo read comments on the site that characterized him as an “affirmative action case.” “I’m from the South, so I’m used to racism… but [the Bwog comments] broke my heart. I’ve been discriminated against, but I’m not gonna lie, it still hurts just as much as the first time,” he says.

      The monarch of social butterflies, Stephan is an intense communicator: he interacts with nearly everyone he comes across, grilling acquaintances with a million questions a minute about their various goings on, all while never breaking eye contact. Though fans sometimes ask him for pictures, few have recognized him for his loftier pursuits—for example, his poetry, which has been published in the Columbia Daily Spectator. “Even though you’re in the midst of all these people knowing your name… you can be really lonely,” he observes.

      Indeed, the prevailing view of Vincenzo as a party animal has hindered his social savvy where it may matter most: with girls. He says that the Columbia women who catch his eye believe they “know all about” him as a “player,” and that the ladies who frequent the nightlife scene aren’t the ones he’s interested in anyway. “You can find a quality girl at a church, in a library, studying, Barnes & Noble—not at a club. Beautiful, glamorous club chicks, there’s a thousand of them. For a moment they’re cool, but I like individuals that I can engage with intellectually.”

      According to Vincenzo, his cerebral tendencies made him something of an anomaly in his hometown of Atlanta. “A lot of my friends got involved heavily with drugs, a lot of my friends dropped out of school, ended up in jail, ended up in gangs.” During his first semester at Columbia, he struggled with both his “really humble upbringing” and his campus infamy. “I didn’t participate in class. It was intimidating as hell,” he recalls. “I just thought, ‘Oh my God, these people are just waiting for me to say something stupid.’”

      And yet Vincenzo has no regrets. “If I could go back, I would throw the same party. I would’ve still done the same thing,” he says. “That’s just the price you pay.” 

Tony Gong, with illustrations by Maxine Keyes

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26 Comments

  1. Oh dear God:  

    That sketch you guys are using for your picture with this article is terrifying. Jesus Christ.

  2. 1318  

    I sort of felt bad for this guy. He wanted to socialize/throw a party and celebrate Columbia, Bwog got wind of it, and naturally Bwogger-sharks began to circle.

    Then I remembered that he wrote a poem and has a pony tail, and I began to circle too.

  3. yoyoyo  

    i stopped reading when this post seemed to gesture at the idea that publishing a poem in the spectator would lend anyone (human or not) any sort of credibility.

  4. dear god

    that is a terrible drawing

  5. wow  

    bwog comments force me to confront the fact most of this student body is composed of douchebags. it's really fucking sad.

    honestly, people bash this guy because it's cool to do so. spend any amount of time with him and you'll immediately find he's got a magnetic personality. he's probably one of the most genuine, open, friendly people at this school, but that makes people here uncomfortable, so they make fun.

    i understand why they say high school never ends

  6. stop hating  

    I've met Stephan twice, and he still greets me by name every time I see him around campus. He's one of the more engaging people I've met here, and instead of keeping it in his little clique like most people, he'll actually talk to you.

    The guy is genuinely nice and interesting, which is more than I can say for 95% of the student body here.

  7. wowwwww  

    no one thinks you're cool just because you can come up with something "wittily scathing" to respond with...

    I bet half of the smarties with their cynical retorts have never even met the kid

  8. i have met him  

    at my friend's party last semester and he was douche and needs to wash and cut his hair. It would okay if his hair was long if he washed it regularly so it wasn't so damn greasy. It was repulsive.

  9. Here's an Idea  

    They should do a "campus character" on the campus character artist, and make him/her look as ugly as (s)he makes everyone else look. I'm dead serious.

  10. bwog  

    né is really spelled née

  11. the truth is  

    We all feel strangely curious to find what the inner workings of his mind are. Aren't we all fascinated by the turbo-narcissicism, the sheer power of his confidence, the way in which he will probably not fit on campus? I'd like to know just what the fuck are the motives of his actions. I see him in john jay and i think, you are my hero. Too bad i feel embarrassed to be seen talking to you.

  12. ...  

    i'm sorry, normally i wouldn't add to a bwog pile on, but this picture you've provided is absolutely outrageous. who the fuck is your portrait artist, blue and white? this is the second time in a row you've placed an article online where the accompanying picture makes the subject look like a mutant in high relief. out of over 6,000 undergraduates this is the best artist you could find?

  13. obviously  

    like any good cover, its meant to be satirical. so stfu everyone that is too stupid to appreciate a quality commentary on stephan's inner character

  14. well  

    i, for one, find it pretty impressive that he got a Campus Character profile as a freshman.

  15. hah  

    the illustration does reflect the sleazy douchebag that he is.

  16. anon  

    that picture doesn't look like him...at all. weird...bwog illustrations are usually up to par. did someone purposely do so, or did you get a new artist who was slightly drunk and finished in under one minute? (hey I just thought of something--that's most Columbia guys' idea of a hot romp on a Saturday night)

  17. 2012'er  

    Stephan -- you the man. Keep doing what you're doing. Your real friends got your back.

  18. 2012er  

    He is the friendliest guy I have met at Columbia. I can't say there is a single nasty thing I can say about him because hes a genuinely nice person. The article was right on point, that he talks to EVERYBODY he meets. Once I was hanging with him and some friends in his room and I read the note he had on his wall "My philosophy is easy, it's kindness"- Ghandi. This is who stephan is and he doesn't respond to these attacks on him with anger but simply, "they broke my heart." Jesus christ columbia, grow up.

  19. 2012er

    He's seems to be a pretty cool fella.. He was trying to reach out to everyone before school started; would make a great politician I believe.

  20. Man, he is a good guy...  

    I met him, before I even knew who he was( as a campus character). Probably the most approachable person I have come in to contact with. He is real, and holds conversations with people, even people he has just met. Anyways, funny article, but hideous picture.

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