Monthly Archive: December 2017

Dec

29

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Earlier this morning, we received notice that Columbia College sophomore Gage Bellitto has passed away as a result of an opioid overdose. Gage had transferred to CC this fall from Bates College, and was a resident of Carlton Arms. A lifetime resident of Bronxville, he was a 2016 graduate of Bronxville High School and played on the Varsity Baseball Team.

In Dean Valentini’s email to CC and SEAS students, he passed along information from Gage’s family: the family will be receiving visitors today (December 29), at the Fred H. McGrath & Son Funeral Home in Bronxville, NY from w to 4 pm and 6 to 8 pm, and will hold the Mass of Christian Burial on tomorrow (Saturday, December 30) at the Church of St. Joseph’s in Bronxville, NY at 10:45 am.

“I encourage you to rely on your family and friends for support, whether you are on-campus or traveling, as well as to take advantage of local resources as needed,” Dean Valentini wrote. Counselors and advisors from Columbia CPS, Health Services, the Office of the University Chaplain, and the Berick Center for Student Advising all have extended on-call hours through Tuesday, January 2, and will have regular hours in effect after that. More details on all of these services are included later in this post. In addition, students on still on campus can reach out to Residential Life staff; on-call information is posted in residence halls.

Our deepest condolences go to Gage’s family and friends.

Read Dean Valentini’s email and see contact information for campus services

Dec

21

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The sun sets over another semester

So much happened this semester, from protests of CUCR speakers to sexual assault scandals to marching band victories. As you head home for winter break (or finish up your last final paper), take a moment to relive it all with our bi-annual semester in review.

To start the new semester, we decided to change up our Bwoglines format so that it now includes national and international news. The dirty Carman that we remember got an unexpected upgrade (or at least, some of it did). Spec was forced to leave their 111th street office, and later moved to Riverside Church. Suzanne Goldberg and Barnard’s new president, Sian Beilock, ensured the protection of undocumented students’ physical safety and personal information.

Bwog does videos now! Barnard students are only allowed in JJ’s until 1 am. We tried to brainstorm ways to handle being trapped in a hurricane during one of the worst seasons in history. We investigated the new Halloween pop-up store on Broadway and found some pretty creepy things. Before Columbia Crushes, there was Barnard/Columbia Missed Connections. Law and Order: SVU also decided that 1020 was worth having on their show.  We tested Columbia students to see how much they really know about their university. Ferris started cracking down with a new bouncer. Apparently there was a gorilla in the package center?

But that’s just September…

Dec

21

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Three times the Bridgette for three times the wisdom

This Senior Wisdom is from Bridgette Tolbert, WBAR star and one of the finest photographers on Bwog’s Social Media Team.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Bridgette Tolbert. Columbia College. Economics. Los Angeles, California!

Claim to fame: Starbucks addict and host of “Bridgette” on WBAR!

Where are you going? I’m taking a much needed vacay and then coming back to New York to work on some passion projects.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2021?

1. Whatever happens to you happens for you. Learn from the highs and the lows and know that you can handle anything that comes your way.

2. Try out anything and everything and don’t be afraid to step away from something if it doesn’t make you happy.

3. You have a lot more power in this community than you may think. If you think that could be changed or improved, don’t just complain about it. Set up a meeting with the appropriate person and share your ideas! You’ll never know where that could take you.

“Back in my day…” KDR parties were always packed and Cannon’s existed/was the best campus bar.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: Before we filmed this segment, Wendy Williams (one of my faves) told me that if she had a daughter she’d want her to be just like me.

What was your favorite class at Columbia? I have so many! Drugs and Behavior with Dr. Carl Hart, Economics of Life with Professor Daniel Hamermesh, Inequalities of U.S. Law and Society with Professor John Salyer, Principles of Econ/Sports Economics with Professor Sunil Gulati, Introduction to African-American Studies with Professor Josef Sorett and the Modern Caribbean with Professor Natasha Lightfoot.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? What would Rihanna do?

One thing to do before graduating: Drink a Smirnoff Ice in PrezBo’s mansion.

Any regrets? The times I stopped fighting for myself, any time I did not shoot my shot, and definitely that time I won a Columbia crewneck from CSSC my freshman year and forgot to pick it up ☹

Also, I didn’t know what a Canada Goose was before I arrived on campus in 2014 which I definitely regret because they used to sell a pink version of the Kensington Parka which I totally would have purchased because pink is my favorite color and it honestly would have changed my life.

Photo via Bridgette Tolbert

Dec

21

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You’re at the holiday/end of the semester party for a club that you’ve been at least tangentially a part of all semester. You’ve showed up to at least a couple meetings and you can definitely name at least half the people in this room…at least a quarter of the people in this room. Before you can think about that for too long, your friend drags you over to the drinks and starts handing you one right after the other.

The calm before the storm.

Before the hour’s out, you’re down five shots of peppermint vodka in the name of being “festive” and you can barely stand. With your friend’s help, you stumble over to an unoccupied chair shoved in a corner. You don’t know it at the time, but this will be your home for the rest of the night. The rest of the party plays out before you like a holiday play; even in your drunken stupor, you know exactly how it will end, but you have no idea how you’re going to get there.

“All I Want For Christmas Is You” starts playing. You aren’t sure this is the type of song you’re supposed to twerk to, but some people who definitely shouldn’t be testing that hypothesis are. You try to look away, but it’s like watching a train wreck (or someone trying to consume an entire bowl of Ferris pasta). Luckily, it looks like there’s a small crowd taking a video in the corner, so others will be forced to feel your pain via Snapchat story.

It gets weirder…

Dec

21

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Hannah, on the natural wind machine of the Amsterdam bridge

Hannah Lindsey’s Senior Wisdom has some worthy advice, but the bulk of it is devoted to oral sex v. cheese in one of the most involved analyses we’ve ever seen.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Hannah Lindsey; Columbia College; English; Houston, TX.

Claim to fame: Only spending 2.5 years on Columbia campus, almost all of it in the Writers House lounge. Also, editing sex novels.

Where are you going? Home! For a couple years, anyway.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2021?

1. Find a place to take a bath.

2. Study abroad.

3. Write it down.

“Back in my day…” Cannons, Bacchanal, no fried macaroni and cheese at JJ’s.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: Someone out there in the world has probably masturbated to a novel I helped shape. You’re welcome.

Hannah’s favorite Columbia class and more…

Dec

21

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Hanukkah’s already over and it’s fewer than 100 hours until Christmas, but some poor, unfortunate souls are still taking finals. If this applies to you, stay strong. This is the end. 

Who would win: 300 thread count or 2000 page count?

Bwogline: A car has rammed into pedestrians in Melbourne, in what police are calling a deliberate, but not terror-related, attack. So far, several injuries but no deaths have been reported. (CNN)

Study Tip: Go old-school and sleep on your dictionary, which is probably more comfortable than your mattress after the topper slid off and you were too lazy to fix it. For STEM majors, use a literal, physical hard drive.

Procrastination Tip: Watch all the stuff leaving Netflix in 2018, including Mean Girls and Pulp Fiction. Also ponder whose brilliant idea it was to remove Love, Actually in November and put it back on in January.

Music: An astro final is today, so take in some tunes from the Starman.

Overseen: A look of pure awe on a kid’s face at The Nutcracker as the tree grew. Extremely cute and nostalgia inducing.

Happy Holidays!

Dec

20

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Zooming into the new year like

As finals season wraps up, we here at Bwog are rethinking, reevaluating, and reflecting on the weird, sad, dangerous, crazy year that was 2017. Feel free to add your own in the comments!

In 2017, we hope to leave behind:

  • Iphone X
  • Our exes
  • Our grades from this semester
  • The wishy-washiness of the Columbia administration
  • The ants in our rooms
  • Ann Coulter, just because she sucks (lol)
  • Tinder
  • Unironic Dab
  • Spec

In 2018, we wanna see:

  • Commitment
  • More Wonder Woman (Hello, Gal Gadot?)
  • A steady income
  • The implosion of the Republican Party
  • Our friends graduating!
  • Women of color elected to Congress
  • New friends
  • Congress flipping from red to blue
  • Ironic Dab
  • Bwog

Dec

20

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Pictured: The Perfect Specimen (See? Jenny isn’t the only Shitty Photoshopper on Bwog!)

I’ve been through a lot with my laptop: endless Netflix binges and college applications, unfortunate spills and learning new skills. The laptop is the extension of the self, and your choice in decoration says more about you than your search history. Here’s what your laptop stickers say about you. 

No Decoration

If your laptop isn’t decorated at all, it can mean a few things. Maybe you’re waiting to settle down with the right sticker. Maybe you’re just a fan of brutalism (hopefully not). Maybe you just see a laptop as a cold, austere machine not deserving of human love. In any case, you probably need to spend less time on schoolwork and get out more. The world is waiting for you to paint it with your own colors, just as your laptop is waiting for you to decorate it. Also, this isn’t your laptop. You took the wrong one when you left Butler at 4 am last night.

Stickers From Startups/Corporations

What up, my blockchain! It’s been so long since I’ve gotten to synergy with you. Free markets. Anyway, if you’ve got a lot of Y-Combinastic stickers on your laptop, it probably means you’re a tech- or business-oriented youngster waiting to take out your Tesla and take on the world. The humanities are garbage. VC you on the flippity-flop!

Body-Wide Cover, Especially The Ones With A Marble Or Wood Texture

Ugh, sorry you had to read that STEM part. As a distinguished scholar of the humanities, you balk at the idea of gaudy decorations like the ones on Achilleus’s shield and instead go for a more refined, yet unique look, the kind that makes other people say “I’ll have a Venti Macchiato, please.” Keep working on your novel!

Body-Wide Cover With Stickers Underneath

Barista in the streets, freak in the sheets.

Politics/Media Stickers

Because it’s not enough that you mention [Hillary Clinton/Bernie Sanders/Donald Trump/Your Local Congressperson Or State Representative] to your friends both online and off every five seconds during election season, you deserve to immortalize your devotion and broadcast it to the world. You didn’t phonebank as much as you could’ve, but I’m sure the $5 from that sticker purchase went much further in the hands of those Russian agents. Every vote counts!

Pop Culture

Woah, you watch The Office too? It’s like my favorite show! Prison Mike, am I right? Haha. Just a Jim looking for my Pam. Central Perk! I’m such an April but I wish I was a Leslie when it came to schoolwork! This choice of decoration is legen…wait for it… dary! These are all substitutes for a personality! Save me! Please save me! Note: We do not want to read your fanfic. 

Fuck Spec Sticker

You are the epitome of desirability. You downloaded Tinder once but your phone literally overheated from the number of matches rolling in. You never have to search for a seat in Butler, people nearly trip over themselves giving you prime real estate. Whenever you walk by the farmers’ market on Broadway, free samples are literally hurled at your head. Does it take a lot of effort being that effortlessly perfect?

 

Dec

20

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I’m pretty sure it was Plato who once said, “bitches love elevated surfaces” (or something like that). The phrase rings true for a reason: at a crowded party, elevated surfaces provide a vantage point, a spotlight, and most importantly, space to breathe. Because elevated surfaces are a hot commodity that’s sometimes hard to come by at parties, I’ve come up with some alternative elevated surfaces that you probably haven’t thought of before. 

1. Hanging from the cabinets like they’re monkey bars. You’ve tried dancing on tables, counters, and even armchairs. But have you ever considered hanging off the top of cabinets? Cabinets can conveniently found in any EC suite, and using your God-given limbs to hang off of them is a surefire way to get you noticed at any party.

2. Bring your own folding stool. Why struggle to find an elevated surface, when you can bring your own? This is a great investment for only a little less than $20! Plus, it has even more, undervalued uses: bring it to Ref when you can’t find seating!

2a. Literal stilts. Along the lines of our last suggestion, why not just go all out and bring some literal stilts? Just like any good elevated surface, stilts provide attention, a view, and space.

3. A pile of the host’s textbooks. Since morality clearly no longer exists during parties, search the suite/brownstone/dorm room for textbooks to form a tall book tower in the middle of the dance floor. Look, an elevated surface!

4. The shelves. Partygoers often neglect shelves in favor of their more famous older brothers, the table and the countertop. No longer. 2018 will be the year of the shelf. Simply push everything off the shelf and viola – you have an elevated surface to dance on.

5. The air ventilation system. If the suite/brownstone/dorm room has a ventilation shaft in the ceiling, just climb into the ventilation system! This is perhaps the most elevated elevated surface you can get. If you want to make an entrance, just open the air vent from the inside and fall right out. This option is high-risk, but with certainly high returns.

I spent way too much time on these edits via Pixabay and Bwog Archives

Dec

20

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Blurry & beautiful

Our Senior Wisdom for today is from Fahmida Hussain, who hasn’t paid for her textbooks, loves Pisticci, and misses a better Midnight Breakfast.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Fahmida Hussain, Barnard College, Economics major, WGSS minor, Paterson, NJ

Claim to fame: I haven’t paid for a single textbook during my time here!

Where are you going? I’m going nowhere fast if I’m being honest. Just kidding–I’m going home at the end of this semester, back to Jersey to see my family!!!

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2021?

1. One thing I learned at Columbia was how to find and utilize the resources available to me. There’s borrow direct, there’s interlibrary loan, there’s library reserves, and there’s soooo many PDFs available online that you can find a lot of books you need for classes without spending a fortune. There’s laptop chargers you can borrow from Butler if you lose yours. There are tutoring centers, the ERC (which is so amazing), research librarians, and so many other people out there who just want to help, so make sure to reach out!

More advice (what else?) after the jump

Dec

20

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Just act as confident as this girl is, and you can do anything

Come on, Columbia! Whether you have three finals to go, five thousand words to write in five hours, or a long flight back home, you can make it through this! You’re almost there!

Bwogline: Imagine paying $91 million for your housing. One mystery buyer did just that; they paid a total of $91.12 million for a three-unit condo combination on the 92nd and 93rd floors of 432 Park Avenue, the tallest residential building in the Western hemisphere. (NY Post)

Study Tip: Try studying somewhere off campus. Finding seats in Butler gets really exhausting after a while, so get a new spot instead, whether it’s a coffee shop, a diner, or a sunny spot in the park. We’d particularly recommend the large New York Public Library next to Bryant Park – you can browse through the Holiday Market on your way back to campus as a reward to yourself.

Music: This song, on repeat, for ten hours. You won’t regret it.

Procrastination: Turn off your wifi, and play a few rounds of the “there is no internet connection” dinosaur game on Google Chrome. (If you’re unfamiliar with this game: just hit the up arrow on your keyboard when you get to the screen with the dinosaur. It’s pretty self-explanatory from there on out.) Then keep the wifi off, and study with no distractions.

Overheard: “God is also banned by Suzanne Goldberg.”

Power pose? via publicdomainpictures.net

Dec

19

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Legend has it that Columbia’s lawns are always green because of the fees the school charges to any company that wants to film there. Truth or urban legend? You decide!

These lawns are green… perhaps too green…

Gossip Girl: Nate, Serena, and Blair all end up at Columbia, shown via exterior shots. Not sure why any of them thought Columbia was fabulous enough to hold them, but I would be a lot more likely to go to class if a Chace Crawford look-alike were there.

Spiderman: Shots of Columbia feature in all three Tobey Maguire–era Spiderman movies. Unlike the stunningly attractive Nate, Serena, and Blair, Peter Parker would blend in perfectly with the Columbia student body. He’d be that guy you stared at in lecture, wondering if he was actually cute or just a little weird-looking.

Mistress America: This film about a Barnard student and starring Greta Gerwig (BC ’06) features scenes in the Quad, the Diana, and Hewitt dining hall, among other Barnard locations. While it briefly touches on the Barnumbia relationship, it doesn’t seem to understand it any more than we do.

How I Met Your Mother: For three seasons, Ted is an architecture professor at Columbia. Like most films and shows on this list, the exterior shots are genuine Columbia, but the interior shots are not. The fictional students are actually fairly Columbia-esque, abandoning his class to protest.

Ghostbusters (1984): The famous trio of Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, and Egon Spengler are originally Columbia professors before they get fired and pursue their true calling. While no Columbia buildings are mentioned by name, “Weaver Hall” is actually Havemeyer wearing a really lazy disguise. (They just changed a plaque.)

Ghostbusters (2016): In a nod to the original, Erin Gilbert is also a disgraced Columbia professor, and there are some exterior shots of Columbia. As soon as they show an interior shot of “Columbia,” the illusion is broken—her office is way too clean.

Kill Your Darlings: A story about one of Columbia’s most famous and least-acknowledged alumni, Allen Ginsberg, Kill Your Darlings has exterior shots of Columbia galore. The palatial interiors, which are intended to be Columbia circa the 1940s are a far cry from John Jay as it currently stands. And a scene in which Ginsberg and others replace rare books on display in the library with pornographic ones could never actually happen at Columbia today—students studying in Butler would shush them for being too boisterous.

Simon (1980): This little-known movie stars Alan Arkin (of Argo and Little Miss Sunshine) as Simon, a Columbia professor who is brainwashed by the Institute for Advanced Concepts into thinking he’s an alien being who has to improve the world. The movie’s best scene takes place in 309 Havemeyer. Simon is in the midst of an inspiring lecture on the necessity of creative thinking when one of the few students raises her hand and asks, “Is this going to be on the final?” Same girl, same.

Suspicious lawns via Archives.

Dec

19

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Can’t wait to melt into our beds when we get home

Starting this Friday (or perhaps starting already, if you’re lucky), you have an entire month to sleep, procrastinate, and sleep more, to recuperate from this crushing semester and prepare for the spring. In the interests of Columbia students taking advantage of the Netflix subscriptions that have been lying unused for the past few weeks, Bwog has compiled a list of our top recommendations for what you should watch, read, and listen to over this winter break.

Watch:

  • The Crown (Netflix): one Bwogger’s English colloquium professor mentioned this show in class, and because she takes that professor’s recommendation on pretty much everything, she started watching it after her exam yesterday. It’s pretty compelling, and the music is gorgeous.
  • Riverdale (season one is on Netflix, season two is on Netflix in certain countries, not including the US; both seasons are on the CW) : really good for wasting your brainpower and feeling really stupid, which is necessary after finals.
  • The Great British Baking Show: the best and most positive/wholesome cooking show on Netflix.
  • Bojack Horseman (Netflix): Lots of people have been referencing it, but it’s worth a watch on its own merit. It’s really sarcastic and funny while also being poignant and, to be completely honest, a total mindfuck.
  • Pride (movie): Tells the story of a group of gay guys and lesbians in 1980s Britain who start supporting a town of Welsh miners on strike. A really heartwarming movie, with some great funny parts.
  • Dear White People (Netflix): only 10 30-minute episodes so it’s really easy to binge. It’s well-acted, super cinematic, and engages some really pertinent issues head-on.
  • Galavant: only two seasons of a fun musical comedy that honestly deserved better.
  • The Magicians: Now that you’re in college, you’ve graduated from fantasies of magical boarding school to magical undergrad. This is Syfy’s only redeemable show, about the magical Ivy League (???), in case you needed to be validated by going to an Ivy when your relatives ask you what you’ve accomplished so far.
  • Lost: While it may seem like a knockoff Castaway, or that passé show from the 2000’s, Lost is a must-see. Amazingly interconnected story lines. You’ll get addicted to it, but it’s 6 seasons each containing at least 17 45 minute episodes, so good luck finishing over break.
  • Brooklyn Nine Nine: Rosa Diaz is bi. You don’t need any more reason to watch this show (although we could give you about a hundred more).

Suggestions for things to read and listen to after the jump

Dec

19

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Yesterday, Dr. William Harris, a Columbia professor of Greco-Roman history, retired, as was announced in an email to students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. This retirement was part of the settlement of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed in October. An anonymous graduate student alleged that Dr. Harris repeatedly kissed and groped her, requested sexual intercourse, and disparaged her to other members of the department when she refused. She reported his behavior to colleagues and university officials, then sued the university when she was unsatisfied with the response she received. Several other students have since come forward with similar accusations against Dr. Harris.

The lawyer representing this anonymous student claimed that this retirement is a victory, as the New York Times reported. But it is in actuality more of a formality, as Dr. Harris stepped down from teaching and student advising on October 30, after news of the lawsuit became public.

In the email announcing Dr. Harris’ retirement, GSAS Deans David Madigan and Carlos Alonso wrote that they are “deeply committed to supporting all of [their] students, protecting them from harassment of any kind, and ensuring that [their] academic community is a safe and respectful place.” But these words ring hollow when one considers the fact that Dr. Harris “continued to spend time” in the history department offices in Fayerweather after he stepped down from teaching, yet did not face any consequences from Columbia, according to Kellen Heniford, a student of this department.

“I cannot overstate what a punch in the gut it has been – what kind of literal, visceral pain it has caused – to me and to other female students to have seen Richard Harris in the physical spaces of the [history] department over the past several months,” Heniford said.

Dr. Harris was teaching an undergraduate lecture course earlier this semester, and stepped down from it along with his other academic duties on October 30. He is listed in the Columbia directory as a professor in the history department, not a graduate-specific professor. However, undergrad students were not notified of Dr. Harris’ retirement, and were generally kept in the dark about the ongoing lawsuit.

UPDATE, 3:20 pm: We have received a statement from Olga Brudastova, a PhD student in Civil Engineering and GWC Bargaining Committee Member, on behalf of the GWC-UAW union. Brudastova wrote that the way in which Columbia has handled this case “further highlight the flaws in the existing system that so often fails to protect members of the Columbia community against sexual assault and harassment.” She also expressed that the graduate student union hopes to negotiate for “stronger protections and recourse against sexual harassment,” and will do so if Columbia recognizes their vote to unionize.

Read the email sent to GSAS students and the full statement from GWC-UAW after the jump

Dec

19

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Annie, ft. more snow than ever sticks around on campus

Our next December Senior Wisdom is from Annie Bryan, who has published a lot of writing during her time at Columbia (including a book, a play, and some pieces for Spec).

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Annie Bryan, Columbia College, Creative Writing, Vienna, VA

Claim to Fame: The boring stuff is that I published a book, published a play, and interned in newsrooms a lot. But more interestingly, I got the Spectator in a 3-year-long legal battle with Columbia Administration for a piece I wrote freshman year. The court dismissed it, twice.

Where are you going? I’m starting a job in January writing and editing for The Skimm, whose office is down in the Flatiron district. And I’m moving allllll the wayyyyy to a new apartment… a block away from campus. I chose to live near campus so that I can still live out some semblance of a senior spring while working in the city… so please keep inviting me to stuff?

More wisdom after the jump

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