CUSS Presents: LoveBugs

Are you desperately waiting for Bachelor In Paradise? We have a quick fix for you. Be sure to check out CUSS on Facebook and Instagram—new videos coming very soon!

LoveBugs from Bwog on Vimeo.

Chopped: Italian-And-Freegan-Inspired Edition

Bwog Chopped is back after a long hiatus with Internal Editor Britt Fossum attempting to create a culinary masterpiece out of the bare cabinets of Arts Editor Joseph Powers. This week’s recipe is for those with a strong constitution and an excess of tomato soup.

Pappa al Pomodoro al Bwog

Pappa al Pomodoro al Bwog

I was told that all I would have to work with as ingredients today would be a 12 pack of Campbell’s tomato soup and some (high quality) vinegar and my wits. It turns out that my wits saved the day: I noticed an abandoned plate of deli sandwiches and a handful of ketchup packets on the table that proved to be key components of a “Pappa al Pomodoro” style soup served with cheesy toast. This is good comfort food for when you are seriously desperate, lazy, or procrastinating studying during finals week.

Ingredients and Kitchen Tools:

  • One can Campbell’s tomato soup
  • Tomato paste (if you’ve got some) or 8 ketchup packets (if you don’t)
  • One packet easy mac cheese powder
  • 2.5 abandoned deli sandwiches with cheese, tomatoes, and cold cuts
  • The dregs of a package of dry roasted edamame
  • Good olive oil and vinegar that Ina Garten would approve of
  • One spoon
  • Grater
  • Microwaveable bowl


  • Pick apart the sandwiches that you found laying on a table in Schapiro. Discard the meat and lettuce, keep the cheese/bread/tomatoes (ed note: this was when Joseph ducked out saying, “I can’t look at food that looks funny.” his loss.)
  • Chop the tomatoes finely and mix with some salt and vinegar to marinate.
  • Grate all three bottom halves of the sandwich rolls into your bowl and one of the top halves. Try to avoid slicing off a finger and discard any chunks of bread that are too soggy. Mix with the packet of cheese powder for depth of flavor.
  • Open one can of tomato soup and pour directly into bowl. Add olive oil by the Bwog shotglass until the mixture is smooth. Using olive oil instead of water helps disguise the MSG flavor of the canned tomato soup.
  • Microwave on high for 3 minutes, covered with a bit of paper towel to avoid splattering.
  • While the soup is heating up, turn the oven on pre-heating. Arrange the two remaining pieces of bread on a napkin and lightly brush with olive oil. Arrange the pieces of cheese salvaged from the sandwich to cover the entire surface of the bread. Place directly on oven rack.
  • Remove soup from microwave and stir. Stir in marinated tomatoes and heat for another 2 minutes until it reaches the temperature of molten lava.
  • Remove cheese toast from oven either when lightly browned on top or when you start smelling burning cheese.
  • Garnish soup with a bit of olive oil and a small handful of roasted edamame, for crunch. Artfully place cheese toast on top.
A Haiku About The Bwog Meeting Tonight
"That's a great fucking haiku"

“That’s a great fucking haiku”

A haiku about the weekly Bwog meeting that’s taking place tonight, which is open to the public, meaning that everyone should attend, especially because the semester is ending soon, and finals are coming, and you need to procrastinate more, and I need one more line otherwise the formatting on this post looks terrible:

Bwog meeting tonight,

At 7. Room 505,

Of Lerner. With snacks.

Daenerys Targaryen approves of this poem via Wikia

Bucket List: Parenting, Science and Responsive Cities
Is NYC a responsive city?

Is NYC a responsive city?

Bucket List represents the immense academic privilege we enjoy as Columbia students. Gear up for the last full week of classes with these enriching educational programs. Our recommendations are below, and you can find the rest of the list after the jump. As always, if we’ve made a mistake or left anything noteworthy off the list, please let us know in the comments. 


  • “No-Regrets Parenting: Making the Most of the 940 Saturdays of Childhood.” Tuesday 6:00 pm, James Room (Barnard Hall). Harley Rotbart.
  • “The Responsive Cities Initiative.” Tuesday 6:30-8:00 pm, Brown Institute for Media Innovation (Pulitzer). Lev Gonick, Brett Goldstein, Elin Katz, Jim Baller, Oliver Wise. Register.
  • “Writing About Global Science for the International Media.” Thursday 6:30-8:30 pm, 516 Hamilton. Naomi Oreskes, Lesley Jane SeymourRegister.

Learn about getting saved by a martyr, among other things, below the jump

From the Issue: Lerner’s Glass Ceiling
Illustration by Leila Mgaloblishvili, CC '16

Illustration by Leila Mgaloblishvili, CC ’16

As ever, honoring our dearest Mother Magazine, Bwog presents Blue and White contributor Mariam Elnozahy’s, BC ’16, investigation into CCSC’s demographic misrepresentation.

The Columbia College Student Council (CCSC) is elected by the student body (or the 40 percent who vote) every April. Its 25 members are tasked with representing Columbia College students. They are often invited to closed University functions and meet regularly with administrators to discuss policy changes, the campus climate, and the school community. At the end of every year, the council oversees the allocation of every student’s activity fee to student groups and uses part of the allocation to put on events. CCSC, in short, structurally possesses power and influence. The granting of this power is justified through the collective ritual of elections, which purports to involve all students at Columbia.

When students vote in council elections, they hope to vote for the candidate who best represents them: demographically, ideologically, and with regard to pertinent issues. Skewed demographics prevent the council from representing students adequately in terms of ideology or issues. CCSC’s demographics and Columbia’s demographics have not mirrored each other in recent years. But this year, the disconnect is more stark than ever, and the clearest gap between council demographics and the student body at large is gender. (For the purposes of this piece, the terms “men” and “women” refer to cisgender men and women.)

On April 1st 2015, as this issue went to press, the incoming CCSC executive board was elected. It was 80 percent male (and 100 percent Greek). This is a new trend: if we look at demographics from the past decade, we see that CCSC has, generally speaking, historically been constituted nearly equally of women and men. But the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 classes’ demographic makeup looks different. Columbia College women, who constitute 51 per cent of the student population, made up a little bit more than a third of the 2014-2015 CCSC membership. While they represent 44 percent of the 2015-2016 CCSC, in neither year did CCSC have a single female class president. In 2014-2015, there was no female at-large representative; in 2015-2016, there is just one.

“Confidence and fear”

An important part of the equation is who actually runs in the first place. At an Elections Board information session for the upcoming CCSC and Engineering Student Council (ESC) elections in March, of the 28 individuals in the room, only two prospective female candidates who were new to council came to find out how to get involved. In between bites of the free pizza and cozy banter amongst the individuals in the room (who mostly seemed to know each other already), prospective candidates (all male) inquired about the “perks” of being on Council and the privileges given to those who are elected. Neither of the female prospective candidates asked questions.

According to University Senator Jared Odessky, CC ’15, who has been involved with council for four years, “Confidence and fear play a big role in who decides to run or not run.” His choice of words is telling: a 2014 article in The Atlantic, “The Confidence Gap,” surveys social scientific literature of past decade to locate trend in literature women are less likely to sign up for opportunities than men, who are less likely to doubt themselves. While less likely to independently put themselves out there, women will take on those same responsibilities when asked.

When the time to run came this Spring, 16 women and 28 men ran. What had happened to the 28 to 2 men-to-women ratio of the interest meeting? Odessky observed that there’s “definitely a tokenization factor” in CCSC party formation. Rather than women independently deciding to run for class council or executive board and then forming a party, he said, “Often the people at the helm of a class council party will be white men who have the confidence to run at the head.” They then proceed to “select a vice president who diversifies their ticket,” he says. Odessky ran as president, with a female vice president, his freshman year. For the 2015-2016 academic year, this was only true of one of three classes; for 2014-2015, it was true of nobody. In both years, all of the class presidents were men.

Odessky says that these men “usually try to incorporate at least two women on their ballot.” These women are overwhelmingly class representatives (which constitute 54 percent of positions), rather than president or vice president. The trend prevailed this year: only one of the five candidates for class president was a woman, while nine of the twelve candidates for class representative were women. Correspondingly, out of all the eight candidates for at-large representative positions (which do not run under parties), two were women.

Click here to read more after the jump!

Bwoglines: Chain Reaction Edition
Setting off volcanoes around the world like

Setting off natural disasters around the world like

We’re not trying to freak you out or anything, but that magma expanse under our nation’s very own super volcano…Yeah, it’s a lot bigger than people thought. “How big can it be” you’re probably asking yourself. Well, scientists think there’s enough magma to fill the grand canyon more than 14 times. (CNN)

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake nearly leveled the country of Nepal on Saturday, leaving over 1,900 people dead. Additionally, four of the seven Unesco World Heritage sites in the areas were completely destroyed. (NYT)

As a result of that magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Nepal, several smaller earthquakes rippled through the region near the base of Mt. Everest, killing at least 17 climbers and injuring 37 others. (NYT)

By now you’ve probably already heard about Chile’s Calbuco Volcano, which shot out a plume of volcanic ash more than 6 miles high into the air. Pyroclastic flow. Lahar. Oh my. But did you know, scientists estimate the volcano will be actively erupting for several months? (Weather)

These might not all be correlated via Shutterstock

Health and Social Activism of Self-Identified Gay Men in Post-Socialist China

tiantianOn Thursday evening resident Bwogger Maddie Stearn attended a talk hosted by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute. She may have been there for a class, but she got a lot more out of the experience than a few extra credit points.

“Health and Social Activism of Self-Identified Gay Men in Post-Socialist China”

Don’t let the lengthy title scare you off. It’s actually a little surprising that the title wasn’t longer, considering that Tiantian Zheng has amassed such an incredible trove of knowledge from her fieldwork in China. Dr. Zheng, a professor of Anthropology at SUNY Cortland, visited the Weatherhead East Asian Institute to present her most recent work with an HIV/AIDS organization in Dalian, China. The talk was moderated by Dorothy Ko, a Professor of History at Barnard and affiliate of the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies department.

During her presentation, Dr. Zheng covered far more than health and social activism, weaving in discussions of police brutality, government intervention, and the complexities of identity. However, each topic is intricately entangled in the subtleties of the others, so her presentation never strayed from its original subject matter.

“When One Person Becomes Gay, the Whole Family Becomes Glorious.”

Dr. Zheng saw this quote on a poster during a gay rights march in Dalian. The quote is a parody of a government slogan that reads, “When One Person Becomes a Soldier, the Whole Family Becomes Glorious.” According to Dr. Zheng, not only is it not “glorious” when a family member comes out in China, but the family is usually shamed in the process. Dr. Zheng elaborated on this sense of shame, saying that a son’s primary duty is to have children, making it difficult for gay men to come out because they are effectively discontinuing the family line. Furthermore, the Chinese government essentially renders the gay community invisible, so the poster that Zheng saw was a way of reclaiming the gay identity by appropriating and disrupting government discourse.

Meanwhile, during that very same march the HIV/AIDS organization that Dr. Zheng was working with did not identify themselves as affiliated with the gay community. Prior to the march Dr. Zheng received warnings from friends, telling her it was unsafe to attend the event, as there was a high chance of violence. Dr. Zheng’s experience was quite the contrary, largely because so few organizations actually voiced their affiliations with the gay community. The intent of the march was to show solidarity with the global gay community, and some organizations even held up rainbow flags during the march (Dr. Zheng noted that rainbows are not related to gay rights in China), but the event was not really recognizable as a gay rights march and proceeded without much outside attention. Considering past issues with police in particular, it appears that such ambiguity is a survival technique.

“These people should be arrested and sent to jail.”

In response to police raids on gay hangouts, the leader of a gay rights organization released a surprising statement in which he condemned the victims of these raids. The leader was also a self-identified gay man, so his damning words seem counterproductive to say the least. During her presentation, Dr. Zheng read a portion of the press release from the organization:

Gay men visiting these types of places should be arrested. It is these gay men who have brought stigma to the gay community and created a bad image of the gay community. These people should be arrested and sent to jail. I need to speak the truth because I have been to these places and seen ugly scenes. I myself am a gay, but I know that as a gay we need to know decency.

This statement is even more astonishing considering the that police were known to use violence during their raids. The fact is, however, that this organization’s opinion was not even in the minority. Dr. Zheng spoke to the leader of the group she was working with, and he agreed with the other organization’s statement. These reactions, according to Dr. Zheng, speak to the Dalian moral order and self-censorship within the gay community.

“Mutual benefits and fragility”

Some of the tension between gay-rights organizations and the gay community can be attributed to the strenuous relationship that these same organizations have with local government. To begin with, these organizations’ affiliation with the gay community is hidden from the public sphere, as they are only allowed to exist in the name of AIDS prevention. Dr. Zheng also mentioned that only a handful of AIDS prevention organizations are able to legally register, and once they do they are prohibited from applying for global funding. The small number of registered organizations must then engage in a relationship with the local government characterized by “mutual benefits and fragility.” Local officials proceed to take credit for the successes of these grassroots AIDS prevention groups, while the groups in turn rely heavily on local officials to prevent the shut down of AIDS prevention operations.


Dr. Zheng’s work in Dalian is just the most recent of her fieldwork on the politics of sex and gender in post-socialist China. Her published works include Red Lights: The Lives of Sex Workers in Post-Socialist China, Sex-Trafficking, Human Rights, and Social Justice, and Tongzhi Living: Men Attracted to Men in Postsocialist China, among others.

Tiantian Zheng via SUNY Cortland

Challenge: Knobs And Handles

Take on the ultimate door knob and handle challenge. Test your knowledge of campus aesthetics! Impress your friends! Kill a minute!

Experiencing The Serpent At Minor Latham Playhouse
They're getting it on

It’s exactly what you think it is.

Thorny thespian Ross Chapman returns with another Barnard theatre review. Skewer him!

Today is the final day of the Barnard Senior Thesis Festival, where three seniors showed off their directing skills in three very different shows. I chose to see The Serpent, and another Bwogger should tell you about The Crazy Locomotive soon. The Serpent is certainly a showcase for a director, as it’s as subversive a play as you’ll see all year. Directed by Andrea Marquez, this show was more of an experience than a stage production. From the start, something was amiss. As people on stage where getting the set ready (the previous senior thesis play, Woyzeck, had ended ten minutes ago), the members of the cast were mingling with the audience in a noticeably uncomfortable way. They were talking to people who seemed to want privacy and stretching using the chairs of unsuspecting spectators.

Suddenly, drumming started from the stage, which whipped the face-painted actors into a frenzy. For most of the first scene, I had the suspicion that this play was an experiment in making the audience uncomfortable. If you want to see it tonight, you should make sure you’re not too jumpy. Most of the scenes are chronologically independent from each other, but the one structural touchstone is the Bible. The title denotes the serpent from the Garden of Eden, and the story continues (in some manner) from there until the story of Cain and Abel. Even these scenes, though, are hardly literal, and each biblical episode is broken up by other, often angsty scenes.

But what has happened to the theatre!?

Bwoglines: Addition Edition
Nothing so large!

Nothing so large!

Comcast + Time Warner = who cares? It isn’t happening. The $45 billion merger foundered in the face of harsh criticism from regulators and advocacy groups alike. Most arguments against the deal centered around the fact that, combined, the companies would control an outright majority of the broadband Internet market. (Christian Science Monitor)

Abercrombie & Fitch models + shirts = who cares? In an effort to refocus on its core products (i.e., not models’ chiseled abs), A&F will move towards selling clothes rather than attractive people. We’ll see. (Christian Science Monitor)

18 + 3 = Hawaii’s future smoking age. The state’s legislature passed the bill by a wide margin and it now goes to the state’s governor for final approval. If the bill is signed, Hawaii will become the first state to raise its smoking age to 21. (AP)

You + 10 grams of marijuana = a fine in Illinois. The state’s house passed a bill that would treat marijuana possession as a fineable misdemeanor rather than something warranting a court appearance. (Illinois State Journal-Register)

Dream child via Shutterstock

Wish Fulfillment
Pictured: experience soon to be recognized as partial fulfilment of  global core

Pictured: experience soon to be recognized as partial fulfillment of global core

This Friday evening, if you are looking for the latest scandal look elsewhere. Try most commented above. If you’re looking for compelling for campus thoughts on a complex issue, we recommend our article on food waste, from earlier today. If, however, you are a little bit tired and a little bit bored, and are browsing for a distraction, we offer you the following. Occasional studier and Bwog correspondent offers the following brief work of fiction.

Our people have not focused outwards in a long time, but, in telling our story, perhaps it is best to start there. Our eyes see only a haze of color, the meaning of which, its arrangement, its patterns, has long since been forgotten. At times considered beautiful, at times monstrous, now this sight is largely ignored.

We feel nothing. Change comes too slowly to notice.

The most interesting thing about the external, because it is its only discernible change, is the sound. A constant vibrating hum, it is at different points in our history, noticeably different, sometimes within the space of a single generation. It has been described, quite literally, as divine.

We were like you once, a part of the external world. Now we are removed from it, transcended, some have said.

Read on for a thrilling, Wednesday afternoon tale.

Columbia Announces 2015 Honorary Degree Winners
Andrea Elliott, this year's University Award Winner, also announced

Andrea Elliott, this year’s University Medal for Excellence Winner, also announced.

As of this afternoon, Columbia has announced this year’s list of honorary degree recipients, those individuals so distinguished in their fields that they are considered to have fulfilled the course work of a Columbia degree, or, it would seem, the wishes and dreams of those pursuing a Columbia degree.

Among this year’s honorees are the NIH director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, an Oscar award winning film director, a professor and leading writer in the field of American social history in the 20th century, an activist closely tied to the history of modern South Africa, a researcher driving efforts to understand American income inequality, and our very own board of trustees chair emeritus, an apparently high flying corporate powerhouse. The full list provided to us is below, and well worth a read.

Welcome to our ranks, honorary degree recipients. We like to think it’s pretty excellent company to keep, and your company doesn’t seem so poor either.

At the same time Columbia also announced  the winner of the annual University Medal for Excellence, Andrea Elliott, alumna and Valedictorian of the Journalism school. Ms. Elliott has, in the course of her career writing for the New York Times, pursued topics including poverty and homelessness in America and living as a Muslim post 9/11, among others. Her work has been widely recognized, winning her Pulitzer Prize in 2007, as well as a number of other prizes and notices of professional recognition described below.

Jump to the full list, and their many, many more accomplishments.

What’s For Dinner: FLIP, Accessibility, And Leftovers
What's for dinner?

What’s for dinner?

Recent months have brought low-income students’ straits to the attention of the greater campus and administration. Bwog Editor in Chief Taylor Grasdalen reports on the issue of food accessibility and what Columbia University students are doing to fix it.

Two weeks ago, the Columbia First-Generation Low-Income Partnership (FLIP) launched a campaign to promote their “Microfund,” intended to assist Columbia students with the costs of meeting relatively everyday needs. The “microgrants” indeed start small: a meal ($10), cold medicine ($15), and psychiatric care copay ($20); larger donations can afford students a week of groceries ($50), their cap and gown ($55), winter clothing ($100), or a visit to the emergency room ($250). As of today, $3,560 has been raised — surpassing the original $2,500 goal — and will begin to be granted on the basis of applications come fall 2015.

FLIP was founded only this past fall 2014, the product of many cross-University students’ shared concerns about the status and understanding — or lack thereof — they received from Columbia. Toni Airaksinen, BC ’18, and Maureen Lei, CC ’15 (though a junior graduating a year early), tell me that there exist “significant constituencies of low-income and first-generation students” presently underserved by the University. Not only is there a vastly “assumed financial ability,” but plenty of “assumed privilege.” These assumptions tax those FLIP seeks to represent, and this has played out popularly on their Columbia University Class Confessions Facebook page, where students submit anonymous confessions detailing their financial and social burdens.

“This isn’t normal,” Maureen says. She and Toni break down just how not-normal Columbia is with its (assumed) commonplace wealth and attitudes: most people in the United States are not of this stratum, do not have hundreds of dollars to spend on clothes and coffees and dinner, do not have a few thousand to spend on “travel.” Toni relays a story about one friend this fall who refused to believe that Toni couldn’t afford to take a quick vacation to Washington, D.C.; the friendship deteriorated with the onslaught of socioeconomic division between them. Maureen, unlike Toni, is not considered a low-income student and is not the first in her family to attend college, but relates instead to the cultural isolation many students feel, an isolation she sees as intersecting with FLIP and its goals. She is the daughter of Chinese parents, whom she describes as “social climbers,” highly educated yet thoroughly traditional; Maureen’s first language is not English, and she shares anecdotes about growing up with non-western eating utensils and not knowing “the difference between a cheeseburger and a hamburger.”

After the jump: where culture and cost collide, speaking with Sejal Singh and the dining halls.

Get Free Booze From Columbia With #WheresRoaree
he's ready to turn up

Does this look like the face of free booze

Okay, it doesn’t have to be booze. But it can be! Today is the day that your inbox has been reminding you of for weeks – the #WheresRoaree Student Scavenger Hunt! Today, Columbia Athletics will be giving away $325 worth of gift cards to Fairway Market, Morton Williams, and The Heights. There will be Roar-ee bobbleheads hidden all over the Morningside Heights campus. Approximately every half hour, starting at noon, Roaree Lion (through his Facebook page) will be delivering trivia clues to help you find them. (Weirdly, his profile calls him Roaree, but other promotional material calls him Roar-ee. We think it’s time to see his birth certificate.) Once you locate the bobblehead, you have to take a selfie with the doll at the location where you found it, and a shadowy figure from the Columbia administration will give you a gift card. The full rules of the event can be found here.

Since this is run through Athletics, we can assume that the trivia questions will be more about Columbia sports than the academic history of the FM radio (but if that is a question, the answer is almost definitely Philosophy Hall). Here are a few tips:

  • There will be, and we are willing to bet money on this, a hint about Lou Gehrig. The answer will probably either be this exact spot on the South Lawn, or the Lou Gehrig Lounge on the third floor of Dodge Fitness Center.
  • If you’re dedicated, try to pick a good spot to wait for the hints. While South Campus will probably be a popular place for bobbleheads, a waiting area like Lerner or Butler might be too far south if you have to get to a bobblehead from Dodge.
  • Consider going to the Athletics offices and pestering administrators for early hints. If Public Safety comes to drag you away, ask them for assistance, too.
  • While the hints are supposed to come out every half hour, they might actually show up a few minutes before they’re “supposed” to. Be quick on the refresh button, or click “Get Notifications” on Roar-ee’s Facebook page. Either way, always have Facebook open.
  • One of the gift cards will be worth $100. It won’t come out too soon in the day, so if you’re not down to search for the whole day, wait until about 3 pm for the big money.
  • We don’t actually know what the Roar-ee bobbleheads will look like. That photo is from 2007, and the bobbleheads are not currently stocked online in the Lion Store. Expect some of that familiar light blue, but otherwise, anything goes for the design of the dolls.

Good luck, Bwog readers, and happy searching!

Bwoglines: Let’s Stay In Our Rooms Forever Edition
Then there's the obvious reason: you won't have to leave bed.

Then there’s the obvious reason: you won’t have to leave bed.

In the rare case of Bwoglines delivering you news you might use, Chipotle is partnering with a delivery service. So that’s food taken care of. (New York Times)

As for the rest of your dietary needs, a new app released by the Federal government will tell you how to extend the shelf life of your perishables, sometimes by 18 months after the expiration date. You can live off that easy mac in your fridge for a while, we’re saying, after your Chipotle exhausts your bank account. (Fox News)

Apparently a significant portion of our sleep issues exist in our heads, and can by extension be dealt with by treating sleep as a mental exercise. And if there’s one thing Columbians love, it’s proving they can excel at mental exercises. Prove how smart you are. Sleep all day. (Huffington Post)

HBO is cracking down on Game of Thrones viewing parties at bars. Your dorm rooms will (probably not) inevitably follow. There is only pain for you in the world. Stay inside. (Chicago Tribune)

Sean Hannity would appear to be backing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker even before Walker announces his candidacy for President. This is definitive group that outside your room people talk about Sean Hannity, Scott Walker, and the 2016 Presidential campaign. You have been warned. (Breitbart)

Paradise, via Shutterstock