Daily Archive: November 21, 2017

Nov

21

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One of the things we’re thankful for: the velour track suits sold at the campus store

As is our tradition at the beginning of Thanksgiving Break, Bwog has compiled a list of the many things we’re thankful for this fall, ranging from parents to booze to cats. Comment what you’re thankful for below, if you feel so inclined – this is the last chance you’ll get to comment on one of our posts before Monday.

People

  • Big hugs from people who genuinely care about you
  • The fact that my relationship with my father has improved to the point where I’m actually looking forward to spending Thanksgiving at his house.
  • My therapist
  • The 110 security guards
  • All the people who have gone out of their way to make me feel super welcome here
  • Buds who will drop what they’re doing to take you to the doctors
  • The friends who pulled me out of a lake
  • My girlfriend
  • Finn’s roommate’s cat
  • People who comment on my fanfiction years after it was published
  • My succulents that have survived
  • The people who work at Ferris
  • My dog still being alive even though she’s 15
  • Family
  • My Lit Hum teacher/Lit Hum in general
  • Mutual crushes
  • Hand holding
  • All the first-years who’ve joined student groups I’m in & the enthusiasm they bring
  • My roommate
  • The fact no one from my high school goes here, so I never have to see any of those people again
  • Subway musicians
  • Best friends and new friends
  • My mom

Places & Things after the jump!

Nov

21

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Your SO flying back to school

If you’re one of the many who stuck with your high school sweetheart after graduation, you’re probably feeling ready to dump them just about now. Maybe you’ve found yourself ignoring their calls so you can go to that EC party. Maybe you’re sick of having to catch them up on all the slang that once sounded foreign but now rolls off your tongue–words like Prezbo, DSpar, SIPA, CAVA, etc. Maybe you’re just bored of a relationship that seems to exist solely of text messages and Skype calls where you run out of things to say after 20 minutes. You’ve also probably been dreaming of stacks hookups with your not-quite-so platonic study buddy. And now that you’ll finally be in the same place as your SO for the first time since August, there’s no better time to end it once and for all.

First, it’s absolutely necessary to see them in person. It will likely solidify your conviction that you and your soon-to-be ex have grown too far apart to make it as a couple. Plus, don’t be that jerk who breaks up with someone over text.

After you’ve broached the topic of your relationship, you might find that they’ve been feeling the same way. If that’s the case, you can both happily go your separate ways. If they don’t want to break up, than unfortunately, you’re the bad guy in this case. We recommend not telling them that you want to break up because there are way cuter people in much closer proximity. Instead, say you want to focus on academics, or the new clubs you’ve joined, or that you don’t want to be tied to your hometown anymore.

No matter what you say, they’ll probably be upset. Let them get out all their anger and hurt. This is the hardest part, but if it’s going on way too long you can always use the excuse of family obligations to leave before they actually run out of steam.

Congratulations! You’ve executed a successful turkey drop. If that sounds like too much emotional effort, you can always not say anything and hope they dump you first.

 

Nov

21

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Money Money Money – ABBA

Barnard Bwogger Dassi Karp covered this week’s SGA meeting which was rather interesting as it covered Barnard’s budget, expenditure and food insecurity. 

It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for: the return of the administrative guests. This week, Barnard’s Student Government Association welcome Chief Operating Officer Robert Goldberg and VP Finance Eileen DiBenedetto to explain to Rep Council about Barnard’s budget and revenue sources. This may seem like a dry topic. It is. And the information has not really changed since the Goldberg and DiBenedetto gave the same presentation last year. Its a really important topic, though. Students need to better understand what kinds of funds Barnard can and does access when they make demands of the administration. Many of the Rep Council members (about a third) were conspicuously absent last night, and didn’t get a chance to hear that sweet sweet info. But, as Goldberg explained, “right before break is a good time to talk about finances.” So here it goes:

Barnard’s budget this year was about $207.7 million. About half of that money goes to salaries and benefits for faculty, staff, and administrators. “This makes sense,” said Goldberg, “because this is a people-driven organization.” About a quarter of the money goes to financial aid. Because of Barnard’s need-blind admissions policy, there is no specific budget set for financial aid, and it changes according to the needs of that year’s students. A smaller portion of the budget goes to non-personal expenditures, like gas and electricity bills. Four and a half percent is spend on debt services on loans taken out in the past, for building projects such as Sulzberger Tower and the Diana Center. Goldberg was careful to note that the new Milstein Center (Barnard’s new library, whose wooden-look exterior gives it a decidedly Noah’s Ark vibe) was largely financed by private donations, and does not have more than a two percent impact on the yearly budget.

Goldberg and DiBenedetto also explained that Barnard’s revenue is largely tuition based, with 80% coming from tuition and student fees. Only 7% of revenue comes from the endowment, and a comparable amount comes from private giving. The rest is made up of state and private grants. Compared to its academic peers–such as other ivies and prominent liberal arts colleges, Barnard has a very small endowment.

They also tried to explain how tuition rates are set. Each year, Barnard’s financial team works to try to perdict expenses for the next year. Some expenses are fixed, for example built in salary escalations. They also look into recruitment and retention numbers and student services requirements. They present a report to the Board of Trustees in March, and work to refine the numbers through the spring. “We don’t want to charge any more money than we have to,” Goldberg tried to assure Rep Council (and whoever is listening to the livestream, and you, dear reader). The financial team tries to find places to cut back on expenses wherever possible. “Evie will know what this sounds like,” remarked Goldberg of SGA’s VP Finance Evie McCorkle.

Evie, who can be counted on to ask the hard questions, asked if Goldberg had any predictions for when the endowment will be big enough for a tuition freeze. He did not. He did explain that the College is not doing badly financially, and that the “future of funding is actually very bright.” Other questions from Rep Council members were answered in turn, including explanations from Goldberg that “we’re not making money on meal plans” (who is though? I think someone must be) and “we’re painfully aware that the infrastructure is aging” (looking at you, 600 pipes).

Besides listening dutifully to the financial presentation, Rep Council also voted to form an ad hoc committee about food insecurity. The proposed committee would work to determine the depth and instance of food insecurity and Barnard, come up with recommendations to combat the problem, and create a report of resources and findings. The motion to form the committee passed unanimously. Applications to join will be coming out soon.

  • There are a lot of other SGA Announcements:
    Rep for Academic Affairs Shoshana Edelman is leaving to study abroad next semester. Applications for her position will be out soon.
  • All Rep Council members are now required to make external announcements at meetings, even when they have nothing to say. I can imagine this may cause an interesting problem at some point. For now, it just served to make the announcement portion of the meeting a bit longer.
  •  Evie McCorkle announced the recipients of the fall capital investment fund, which is determined by members of the four school’s class councils. Money was awarded to eleven different groups, including the Columbia Super Smash Bros Club. I might have to go check that one out.
    In the Desserts After Dark survey, many students indicated that they were not aware of the options available to help them if they were food insecure. Rep for Student Health Services Val Jaharis had compiled a nice infographic that explains the options, which you can check out on Facebook.
  • Barnard’s emergency points program is open. If you are food insecure, you can go to Diana 301 and get yourself some points. First come, first serve.

Image via WikiCommons

 

Nov

21

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When Thanksgiving break comes quicker than the 1 train

Despite the short nature of this weeks ESC meeting and the fast approaching Thanksgiving break, Bureau Chief Finn Klauber does not disappoint with his report on this weeks happenings of the engineering community.

President Aida Lu

President Lu met with both Dean Brovman, SEAS Associate Dean for Undergraduate Student Affairs, and Scott Wright, Vice President for Campus Services. The discussion with Dean Brovman consisted of updates to the SEAS faculty tech talks, improvements to the SEAS study abroad experience, and concerns raised at last week’s meeting regarding Engineeers Without Borders’ funding issues. The discussion with Scott Wright, on the other hand, mostly related to Lerner updates. The Lerner space changes, which were discussed in the last few meetings of both CCSC and ESC, are continuing with renovations of Lerner elevators. Already, one elevator has been shut down for these renovations, which will continue for the next year at least; the elevators are being gutted entirely and modernized in succession. Furthermore, Wright is already investigating the implementation of a dishwasher in Ferris via an ongoing study. Finally, Summer projects for Columbia will include renovations of Woodbridge and Hartley, with the addition of disability access to Wallach and Hartley.

Vice President Policy Zoha Qamar

Although VP Qamar was absent yesterday, various council members took over for her updates. Regarding the Academic Success Program, Qamar met with Dean Morrison, SEAS Vice Dean of Undergraduate Programs. They determined that writing a proposal to expand ASP is the next best step. This proposal will outline the current objectives of ASP, what ASP’s future holds, student testimony, and pricing. VP Qamar also met with Dean Brovman regarding Global Programs and SEAS study abroad, who was enthusiastic about ESC’s “mock study abroad” pamphlets which outline how a SEAS student can organize their class schedule and requirements to study abroad at specific institutions.

VP Student Life Ben Barton

VP Barton discussed the first meeting of the new University Life Events Council—a new and well-funded body which is supposed to create new events and traditions for the “entire Columbia community.” They hope to maintain four large events per year. At the last meeting, specifically, they drafted mock ideas for new events.

University Senator Izzet Kebudi

Senator Kebudi also discussed the changes in Lerner, renovations which are supposed to begin imminently. The LGBT and student of colour spaces are almost ready, but instituting more changes would create a “domino effect.” Specifically, because they do not want to eliminate any reservable student space during construction, they plan to convert the Lerner computer room into reservable space to offset the elimination of the East and West Ramp Lounges. The computer lab, however, has to be moved into the AV tech room, where the air ventilation is less than ideal. A team of architects and engineers are currently working on this problem. When they finish—hopefully by April—the room switches can finally take effect.

Miscellanious Updates:

  • ESC is hoping to run a “TedX type of event” with about six presenters. This would be a short event, with a headliner, a professor, and then students or student groups. At the moment, however, it’s still just an idea.
  • Overheard during meeting: “When people heard [Got] FU’d they thought ‘got fucked up.'”
  • The Academic Freedom Resolution, which has been bouncing around the University Senate for about a year in one form or another, is delayed once again. It makes us wonder how hard it really is to plainly state Columbia’s policy regarding academic freedom.
  • The 2019 Class Council held a meeting with a 1968 alumnus, who recounted an old Columbia tradition from the 50’s and 60’s that the Junior class may try to bring back in a lesser form. Back in the day, the SEAS Junior class would spend the five weeks after school ended out in the woods, living and camping together. This was called “Camp Columbia.” Honestly, it sounds really fun.
  • Dean Brovman was interested in ESC’s input regarding future faculty tech talk ideas. Suggestions from ESC included: the 3d printing of food and soft materials, AI, modernization of healthcare, nano materials, 3d animation, digital health, cryptocurrency, organic electronics, and the use of nanoparticles to fight autoimmune diseases.

Nov

21

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How seniors dispersed wisdom before Bwog

Do you know a senior who did something monumental during their time at Columbia? A senior who went above and beyond to make their club or organization memorable? A senior who can always cheer you up with a hug or a bad pun? A senior who is graduating at the end of this semester?

If you know anyone who fits any of those above descriptions (but mostly the last one), they’re the kind of person we might want to give a Senior Wisdom. For first-years, transfer students, and any other folks new to Bwog: Senior Wisdoms are a series of short interview-type posts with graduating seniors in which they, well, share their wisdom. Take a look at some past examples if you want to get a better idea.

To nominate someone, hit us up with their name, school, uni, and a brief description explaining why you think they deserve a Senior Wisdom. Email us at tips@bwog.com or use our anonymous form. Remember that we are currently only accepting nominations for seniors who are graduating at the end of this (fall 2017) semester. The deadline is Friday, December 8 at 11:59 pm.

Wisdom via Wikipedia

Nov

21

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Happening in the World: Collapse of coalition talks within Germany has led to Chancellor Angela Merkel hinting at a potential election rather than work with a minority government. (The Guardian)

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? I know it’s definitely not my train!

Happening in the U.S: For a bit of doom and gloom before your holiday break, the Trump administration has decided not to renew Temporary Protected Status for nearly 60,000 Haitians. The Department of Homeland Security have defended this decision by asserting the conditions created by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist. (The Washington Post)

Happening in NYC: This one’s for all of you who have ever had the misfortune of using the subway. Following research into  New York’s failing transportation system which found delays were up by 4.5%, the Riders Alliance plan to distribute ‘subway delay action kits‘ in the hope of implementing change. (CBS)

Happening on Campus: If you’re not heading home for Thanksgiving Break, pop over to the Miller Theatre at 6pm to see the Brooklyn-based Brazilian band Regional de NY in concert.

Food of the day: Head on down to Milano Market’s deli counter and pretend you cooked a Thanksgiving brunch, literally everything there is so good.

Image via WikiCommons 

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