The Great Debate: Renting Vs. Buying Books
Old books have character!

Old books have character!

Have you been debating whether you should rent or buy the Lit Hum box set from the bookstore or Book Culture? Are they rip offs or actually good deals? Wondering how you should acquire textbooks and other books for classes?

Renting the Lit Hum box set can be a good idea–you get all of your books at once and avoid the package center line, but you don’t get to add a stack of the classics to your future bookshelf. Actually buying the Lit Hum box set from the bookstore is not the best idea, nor is it your most cost-effective option. Not only are you spending more money than you need to, you also can’t account for any changes your professor makes to the syllabus, and nobody is really going to put those books on their mahogany bookshelves when they’re older. While Bwog really has no input on whether buying or renting books is the better option, as it is up to individual preference, pretty much anything is better than buying from the school bookstore, unless convenience is your only consideration.

We recommend instead:

  • Rent from Amazon
  • Buy used from sites like Amazon, eBay, Abe Books, or the website of any large used bookstore
  • Buy from a local store like Book Culture. Bonus: Book Culture sorts books by professor to make easier to find the specific edition they put on the syllabus.
  • Search the internet for PDFs of shorter texts. It’s a great alternative to buying ridiculously priced Cambridge University Press philosophy texts (of which you will read at most 10 pages)
  • Ask around for upperclassmen looking to sell their old textbooks, since many are too lazy to post on Facebook pages
  • Keep an eye out for PDF versions of textbooks. Bwog once found a PDF of the intro orgo textbook saved to a computer in the Hartley computer lounge.
  • Use the course reserve textbooks–although you will have to stay in the library to work on your problem set or whatever. The Barnard, Math, and Engineering libraries are the ones most likely to have the kinds of textbooks that you will only want to use for problem sets (physics, general chemistry, calculus).
  • The Hartley sky lounge also has a stockpile of intro level textbooks.

And even if you end up sinking too much money into your books for this year, keep them in decent condition and you can always resell them. You’ll pocket the most money by selling directly to someone you know instead of going through a bookstore.

An ancient tome via Wikimedia.

Boringside: Not Just The Same Ole Same Ole

Just when you were trying to settle back into your old groove, a few small changes around campus are forcing you into a new groove. For a full list of dorm improvements, see the Housing website.


AskBwog: Chairs And Their Wheels
columbia is trying to be more like 19th century france

Rolling chairs are ~retro~

Dear Bwog,

What’s the deal with the rolling chairs? Does everyone have to get one?

I like rocking like a grandpa in my old chair.

- Declare Chair Repair Unfair


Dear Declare,

From what Bwog has been able to discover, some dorms had all of their old desk chairs replaced with the new rolling model over the summer. Others still haven’t made the switch. And in a few, facilities seems to have gotten halfway through the replacement process. Ultimately, we suspect everyone will have to make the switch. As the saying goes, “Gather ye rocking chairs while ye may….” Enjoy those fleeting moments with your chair while you can, and hope that your dorm doesn’t make the switch for another semester or two.

For those of you whose chairs have already met their untimely doom, the easiest way to get your chair back may be to see if a friend in your building, or a nearby building, still has the old model and wants to trade. Bwog has to agree that the new chairs are much flightier than the old model. When it comes to standing on your desk chair to hang some string lights, you can plan for the rock, but you can’t plan for the spin.


What happens when you get gout via Wikimedia.

PSA: Double-Sided Printing
Your new worst enemy

Your new worst enemy

In case you were planning to print anything, you know, ever, you should probably be aware that double-sided printing is no longer a more cost-efficient option. The print quota has been counting double-sided pages as two pages, rather than one.

However, the CUIT print quota info page still maintains that the “Quota is measured per sheet of paper printed, not per printed side.” It’s unclear whether this is a glitch, or the new world order (but probably a glitch). For those of you who hate the environment and have been engaging in a campaign to kill as many trees as possible through single-sided printing, you can rejoice now that the paper-saving, double-sided-printing environmental justice warriors have to use just as much of their print quota as you do.

We are reaching out to CUIT for comment and will keep you updated.

Update (1:35 pm): Columbia libraries tweeted this at us:

This is some solace, but Bwog already blew through its weekly and half of its semesterly quota printing recruitment flyers. If you’re listening, CUIT, we’d be so happy if we could have back our pages that were taken away from us. Thanks a bunch.

Update (8:25 p.m.): CUIT reached out to let us know that “as of approximately 4:00 p.m., the issue has been resolved, and all of our NINJa printing stations should now report student print quota accurately.” Also, they’re crediting the pages back to students who report incorrect counts to Way to go, CUIT.

An angry behemoth via Wikimedia.

Call For Opening Remarks

It’s the first day of classes, and you know what that means… another year, another set of professors trying to trick you into not dropping their class. For the next few days, all professors are legally obligated to pepper their lectures and discussion comments with droll jokes, sage advice, and complete non sequiturs. They may do it to hold your interest, but we prefer to think they also do it to be featured on Bwog. So give ‘em what they want, and send those wisecracks and words of wisdom to Bonus points if your professor references Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda.”

Bwoglines: Little Towns, Big Scandal Edition
This bird is the size of a large scandal

This bird is the size of a large scandal

In Rotherham, England, police are accused of intentionally failing to investigate several men who abused and sexually assaulted groups of teenage girls (NY Times).

In Novoazovsk, Ukraine, Russia may have sent its troops, but residents are still unsure why their town made front-page news (Al Jazeera).

In Alabama’s 26th district, Republican state legislators are in trouble after concentrating black residents there to create a 75% black district surrounded by majority-white districts (USA Today).

And in Waldo, Florida, the Florida Inspector General is investigating the large number of traffic tickets, partly due to a two-mile stretch of highway that includes six speed changes (Seattle PI).

A scandalous bird via Wikimedia.

Green Sale Happening Now
This is the line, so get there soon! And wear a hat, it's sunny.

This was the line.

The EcoReps Green Sale for upperclassmen is happening today until 4:00 in Wien Lounge. The EcoReps are selling gently-used items like fridges, lamps, shelves and fans that they rescued from the trash heap. It’s basically like an ASPCA for old dorm furniture, except adopting a fridge is much less responsibility than adopting a puppy, and it’s not against the law to abandon it again at the end of the year. So there’s no downside.

Also, the line is very long, so bring some water and a hat.

Campus Activists Create “Disorientation Guide”

disorientation guideVarious student activist groups have created a “Disorientation Guide” for Columbia University to inform new students about activist and left-wing issues surrounding the university.

The guide, which can be viewed here, was made by “student activists committed to supporting a culture of dissent and politicization on Columbia’s campus” with contributions from members of groups such as Student Worker Solidarity, No Red Tape, and Columbia Prison Divest.

Similar guides have been created in 2000 and 2002. The 2014 guide includes more about history than the previous guides, several perspectives on the core curriculum, and warnings about “corporate feminism.” The 2014 guides takes a more oppositional approach to the Columbia administration and bureaucracy, warning that “Administrators are not your friends…ever…” and “[s]enators, student councilors are frivolous, their only power comes from an agitated student body.”

We Want You To Be A Staff Writer!
The writing table of a typical Bwog Staff Writer

The writing table of a typical Bwog Staff Writer

Yesterday we unleashed our application for daily editors upon the world. Today, we reveal another position that you should definitely apply for: Staff Writer! After all, “Bwog” is a portmanteau of “Blue and White blog,” and “blog” is a portmanteau of “web log,” and a “log” is something that people write in. Thus, we need enthusiastic, creative, funny, and/or opinionated writers to keep us going.

This position has less responsibility/power and more flexibility than that of a daily editor. Staff Writers will be expected to pitch at meetings, and write one long piece or two short pieces every two weeks. A Staff Writer might write a news piecean event review, a defense of something, an account of an interesting experience, an interview, or pretty much anything else that interests them. They will also be expected to come to Bwog’s parties and eat our snacks.

If you love journalism, writing, reading Bwog, gossip, breaking news, free food, or squirrels, please apply! The application is meant as a way for us to get to know you and get you on board. No experience is required and anyone of any year can apply!

Just email with your application by 12:01 a.m. on Thursday 9/11! Enlist today!

Bwog’s introductory meeting will be on September 7th at 7 p.m. in the SGO (5th floor of Lerner), and there will be free food. Mark your calendars.

The Application:

About Bwog:

  • Tell us about one Bwog post you liked, one post you didn’t like, and why for both.
  • Come up with five sample post ideas that you would like to see on Bwog.

About you:

  • Why do you want to join Bwog?
  • What experience do you have with writing?
  • What, specifically, about Columbia might you be interested in writing?
  • On a scale from 1-10, how interested are you in doing investigative journalism about the happenings at Columbia?
  • Please provide a detailed narrative of this scene.
  • Feel free to enclose samples of your writing, or links to it, in your email.

Swaggy desk via Wikimedia

Lit Hum: The First Lecture
Please analyze the similarities between this Bearden work and the Illiad in the comments.

Please analyze the similarities between this Bearden work and the Iliad in the comments.

For our young NSOP-ers, the academic year has already begun. Intrepid Iliad-er and  Feisty Freshperson Garrett Donnelly gives us his report of the first Lit Hum lecture.

So we all walk into Roone Arledge Auditorium, each with our slightly dusty copies of The Iliad (thank God for the three-day weekend), to inaugurate our class’ entrance to Columbia’s academic life.

Let’s go freshmen.

The class was divided into two lectures (I say lectures, although each were only 20-30 minutes). The first was on “Homer and Harlem,” and focused on Harlem-based artist Romare Bearden and his paintings’ relationship with Homer’s texts. Bearden’s take on Homer’s works led the professor to place subtle hints that we are in Bearden’s position as we open our Iliad and begin our own journeys as artists. This is a theme I assume will become very Columbia. (Not to diminish the idea – it’s why we’re here, after all).

All this said, I only realized what the talk was about afterwards, and during it I kept thinking, “Wait, what? Bearden was so not in Sparknotes.” Then, of course, followed The Iliad talk itself.

Professor and Lit Hum chair Julie Crawford opened up the main lecture with a slew of intimidating PowerPoint slides filled with large passages from The Iliad. She covered several large themes with brief, in-depth looks at the passages and maintained that scholarly-but-casual attitude you just have to love.

A good amount of people brought their pen and paper and scribbled down key passages. Others watched as if at a movie. And the nappers, well…napped. The obligatory Q&A gave some lucky students the chance to understand more about the Iliad or—for that one guy whose question sounded remarkably like something out of The Iliad’s introduction—a chance to show off.

Regardless, both of the talks were introductions not only to The Iliad but to the quality of the scholarship and the professors here. Pretty cool and exciting for all of us newbies.

And yeah, let’s go freshmen.

“After Church” by Romare Bearden via Wikimedia

NSOP Will Live On In Your Hearts
You're very welcome! Hope to see you around!

You’re very welcome! Hope to see you around!

NSOP is basically over except for the optional neighborhood tours (we’d recommend the dessert tour of NYC), but the fun will never stop. In case you’ve been living under a rock, or in Furnald—and check out this Furnald Tumblr, by the way—here’s what’s been going onSend info or your desire to write about your experiences to

Do freshmen do anything but drink?

  • Pike is a fucking rager right now. And they have a consent educator as bartender. #doingitright
  • While pre-gaming for Intrepid, someone was CAVA’d at 7 pm. A moment of silence for our lightweight fallen brother.
  • Meanwhile, two other new students were CAVA’d while on board, but one was not alcohol-related.

Word on the street:

  • “I feel like I have so many friends, but I don’t care about a lot of them.”
  • First year male after 3 hour Sexual Violence seminar: “So, how does a guy protect himself from false accusations of rape?” Needless to say, the Barnard junior teaching looked as though she was going to attack the kid.
  • “Freshmen pronouncing Koronets with french pronunciation (koronay). Can Chez Koronets be the new 1,020?”
  • Overheard by freshman on the steps: “Omg that’s my favorite war, too! There were so many twists and turns. Like it was calm and then the French came in…like, woah!”
  • About 500 extra people at each meal are taking food designated for new students and affiliated staff, and Columbia Dining is not happy about it.


  • “Under1Roof has been the best part of NSOP by far. So done with being shuttled between ‘fun’ get-to-know-you activities. At least we talked about some things of substance.”

See more below, including the happenings of Carman 8.

SSOL Gets (Somewhat) Colorful

There’s a new function on SSOL, as you might have noticed when you were attempting to finalize your class schedule. Once you click on the registration tab, look below your wish list for a few more options:


Exciting! There’s a new option, titled a “registration calendar.” This seems like a rather odd name, because it’s really most useful to visualize start/end times and breaks between classes, rather than the option that “shows appointments” for registration.

this is a fake schedule so you don't stalk bwogThis is a fake schedule so you don’t stalk Bwog.

Still, you can hide and show classes you’re registered for—or that are on your wish list—to better see your schedule without using ADI’s course manager. And there are some nifty colors. Between the wait list and wish list, as well as the automatic add-drop requests, SSOL’s been stepping up its game. We would suggest a redesign next, but that would be hypocritical.


Bwog Wants You To Be A Daily Editor!

Uncle Bwog
The few, the brave, the snarky: day-to-day operations at Bwog are orchestrated by a small group of daily editors (dailies), who are responsible for writing Bwoglines and ensuring that the posts scheduled on their day of the week make it on to the site on schedule. Essentially, our dailies are the reason Bwog runs on any given day.

We are now looking for our next class of dailies, and you could be one of them! If you love reading Bwog, are interested in investigative journalism and what’s going on around campus, or if you’ve always wondered what it’s like to run the site, this is your chance. Dailying is a great position for freshmen or people new to campus, since the emphasis is not on producing writing but on managing posts and adding the final touches to already written articles. No experience is required, and anyone can apply.

Just email with your application by 12:01 a.m. on Saturday 9/14, and don’t forget to include in your email which days of the week you’re most available to daily! Enlist today!

Bwog’s introductory meeting will be on September 7th at 7 p.m. in the SGO (5th floor of Lerner), and there will be free food. Mark your calendars. Tomorrow, we’ll be posting about another position to which you can apply.

The Application:

About Bwog:

  • Tell us about one Bwog post you liked, one post you didn’t like, and why for both.
  • What is your favorite tag?
  • Come up with three sample post ideas that you would like to see on Bwog.
  • Draw Bwog.

About you:

  • Why do you want to join Bwog?
  • What do you think Bwog is?
  • You’re taking Bwog out on a date! What would you do? Where would you go?
  • What about Columbia might you be interested in writing about?
  • Send us a screenshot or list of the bookmarked Favorites on your browser.
Leaked Email Shows Administrator’s Disdain For Anti-Rape Activists

no red tapeAn article published today in The Nation  revealed a disdainful message which a Title IX compliance officer accidentally sent to a student activist instead of to the officer’s colleague.

The student was one of a group of college Democrats working with administrators to make a flowchart which would clarify what rights and resources survivors of sexual assault were entitled to. According to the article:

After four months of negotiation, university administrators agreed to publish the flowchart online, but when they did, students found that the administration had cut crucial information, including which academic and living accommodations survivors were entitled to and what evidence would be admissible at university sexual misconduct hearings.

The student then emailed administrators to ask that, in the future, students be allowed to have direct contact with decision makers and be included in the final decision-making process. The Nation obtained the following email, sent by Virginia Ryan, a university Title IX compliance officer, to the student, instead of to her colleague Michael Dunn, Columbia’s Deputy Title IX Coordinator and Director of Investigations:

According to the Nation:

Ryan has not replied to requests for comment. In an email to the student afterwards, Ryan apologized, claiming that “the tone and content” of her message was not meant to convey “intent to ‘handle’ students.”

The Nation also published the student’s response to Ryan’s accidental message:

This incident adds a number of clashes between the administration and Columbia’s anti-rape movement, including the recent cancellation of the Bacchanal Fall Concert.

Waking Up With Bwog: It’s Friday
These fingers studied abroad while at Columbia.

These fingers studied abroad while at Columbia.

It’s Friday, Friday, gotta wake up on Friday…Congrats freshpeople! You’ve survived most of NSOP so far and have only a few days left before those dreaded classes. But you’re probably excited for them to start anyway. As you prepare for NSOP weekend, remember to stock up on food, condoms and anything else you think you’ll need to carry you through until Tuesday. We heard the Intrepid was a blast, so send in some notes about your fun times on a boat to or use our anonymous tip form.

Today’s Highlights: 

  • EcoReps Green Sale: Go buy supplies for your dorm/life/class for pretty cheap. 10 am-4 pm in the Wien Lounge.
  • Open Mic: Go see/hear your talented fellow students fearlessly perform while drinking coffee. Sign up between 7-8 pm at the door (first come, first serve). Roone.
  • Most CC/SEAS freshmen’s registration appointments on SSOL. Don’t be too sad if you can’t get the classes you want.
  • Getting a Job on Campus—12-1 p.m. in Roone.
  • Native and Indigenous New Student Mixer—12:30-1:30 p.m. in Wallach Lounge.
  • CC First-Year Class Council Information Session—5-6 p.m. in 569 Lerner. The SEAS info session is from 5-6 in 568 Lerner.
  • Free Shabbat Dinner—8:15-10 p.m. in Low.
  • Barnard’s library fair: 12-2 p.m.

One Thing To Do Before Graduating: 

Taken from Christine Liu’s Senior Wisdom:

Have an international experience. Columbia gives you so many opportunities to do so, be it through study abroad, international internships, or student group initiatives. I spent last summer in Jordan through the CEO Amman program and had the absolute BEST experience and met some cool people; we even made it onto the CCE FB page!

From The Archives:

Operation Ivy League. Familiarize yourself with Columbia’s history, and learn why you haven’t gone to many frat parties this NSOP.

We’re never disappointed via Shutterstock