Alma Mater And The Chamber Of Clandestine Secrets
Can you spot the entrance?

Can you spot the entrance?

Tunnel Explorer and Potions Master Britt Fossum thought she had what it took to be the heir of Slytherin. She quickly realized her mistake.

Every Columbia student knows the legend of the owl nestled among Alma Mater’s robes, who will bless the first student in each year to find it with the title Valedictorian. But only a select few are party to the greater secret hidden in that statue’s beneficent smile. She sits in front of Low Library, and directly on top of the entrance to the biggest secret at this school.

Long ago, the builders of Columbia were not the most generous of men and wished to only admit pure-blood wizards legacy students. They shook their fists at the construction of Butler Library, which threatened the status quo with stacks upon stacks of new liberal books and frowned at the slightest alteration of the Core Curriculum. So they took it upon themselves to lace the bowels of the school with dozens of tunnels, allowing them to keep an eye on the organization of student protesters and sneak out of important meetings. Some say these tunnels even link up to the President’s House on Morningside Drive and Low Library, and that late at night, the eyes of the administrators glare eerily out from chinks in the wall and bathroom pipes.

The key to unlocking more secrets is clicking on this jump…!

At CCSC Meeting, Andrew Ren Presents Plan For College Days
Pool party on College Walk!

Pool party on College Walk!

Even as midterms loom, CCSC champ Joe Milholland dutifully reports on last night’s CCSC meeting.

“I know I’ve got work, but College Days is happening; I can’t miss it,” said CCSC VP of Campus Life Andrew Ren of how he hoped students would react to events at College Days, which he gave a presentation about at Sunday Night’s Columbia College Student Council meeting. College Days is a week-long celebration (from Sunday March 29 to Saturday April 4) of Columbia College and its core curriculum. Ren’s goals are for College Days to be “a single, unified publicity front for the week leading up to Bacchanal” and to be fun. Much of it is still in the works, but Ren shared a broad outline for what he wants at College Days.

Sunday will be Lit Hum day, where Deantini and several prominent CC alumni will give talks. Monday will be Contemporary Civilization day to recognize Columbia’s community service and political activism. CCSC will be partnering with Community Impact, for community service, and CU Dems, CUCR, and Veritas for the political side of things. There will also be a panel with professors. Tuesday, Art Hum day, will focus on “Art of Columbia and around NYC.” Wednesday, Music Hum day, will have musical performances, and possibly a cappellas singing at the sundial between classes. Thursday, the Global Core/Science day, will feature partnerships with multicultural and science/engineering groups. On Friday, the Swim Test day, RC@C will give a presentation to “promote safe, smart, responsible behavior” at Bacchanal. There may also be a pool party. Saturday is Bacchanal.

College Days for days after the jump!

Bwoglines: It’s All Sunshine And Rainbows Edition
Happy Monday morning, everyone!!!

Happy Monday morning, everyone!!!

Just when you thought the Catholic Church was ready to loosen the seams a just little bit, an assembly of bishops this weekend ended without any main progress on how the Church will accept and discuss gay couples. (NY Times)

Where darkness meets light: British astronomers are one step closer to finding proof that there is dark matter coming from the sun, which will create the biggest paradox in scientific history. (RT News)

Here’s a college sports report that’s bound to beat any coverage of a Columbia team – mainly because the University of Hawaii’s mascot is the Rainbow Warriors. (CBS Sports)

Sun City Center, a city of Florida that requires its residents to be 65+, will be home to a more youthful Halloween celebration this year. The city and its toy-centered celebration of choice will also help perpetuate Florida’s rep as the escape for weird old people. (The Tampa Tribune)

Perk up via Shutterstock

Fashion Meets Philanthropy At “Runway Warriors”
Runway Warriors take the stage

Runway Warriors take the stage

Last night, we sent music and fashion Bwogger Daren Napier and sorority-girl-at-heart Mason Amelotte into the world of college fundraising. The following is a collaborative reflection on Alpha Chi Omega’s fall philanthropy event, Runway Warriors.

On Saturday at 7PM in the Lerner Party Space, the women of Columbia University’s Alpha Chi Omega hosted their fall philanthropy event. According to the show’s artistic director, the chapter has been “counting down [to] every day since March, literally.” The sold out event, aptly named “Runway Warriors,” was a fashion show featuring designers from throughout the city intended to raise “publicity and funds for Domestic Violence Awareness.”

The event featured a collection of roughly 20 different pieces in what is best described as a hybrid between a runway show and a performance art piece. The performance opened with a brief run-through of the various designs, and closed with each model’s return to the stage, as they vamped down the runway to Destiny Child’s “Survivor” and scattered in an arrangement of poses across the platform.

While the cause was noble and the pieces were exquisite (a deep blue romper pantsuit being among the most notable), certain aesthetic inconsistencies had a more lasting impact than the clothes themselves. The Lerner Party Space, with its obscure lighting and ever so prominent staircase planted in its center, is not what one would typically consider an ideal location for a fashion show. Combine this with a peripheral PowerPoint presentation of quotes and the single model that couldn’t seem to figure out that you don’t smile on the runway despite numerous opportunities, it became extremely difficult to focus on the main objective of the event. This purpose was undercut once more following the show when one of the emcees promoted the ongoing raffle event, which featured “a 3-month gym membership, so you too can become a model!”

However, ignoring various technicalities and why would you say that? moments, one would agree that the show itself contained some redeeming aspects as well. The designs and outfits made great use of color, often moving from dark to light pieces within each designer (a possible reflection of what this dialogue has to offer for victims). Additionally, the models’ synchronized movements helped convey the overarching theme of the event: empowerment and support.

Overall, “Runway Warriors” was an enjoyable experience, successful in continuing a dialogue about Domestic Violence Awareness. While the orchestration of the actual show was lacking in some facets, it was a great idea for a greater cause, and one that proceeded in a way that was efficient, clearly indicative of all the hard work put in by Alpha Chi Omega and the event’s many sponsors.

Photo courtesy of Mason Amelotte

Bucket List: Art, Science, And PrezBo

Bucket List represents the intellectual privilege we enjoy as Columbia students. Take a study break from midterms to check out interesting guest lecturers and special events on campus! Our recommendations for this week are below and the full list is after the jump. If you notice any events that have been left off the list, or a correction, please leave them in the comments.

Recommended

  • “Political Corruption and the 1st Amendment with Tim Wu” Pulitzer Hall Lecture Hall, Tuesday 6:00 PM. Tim Wu, Steve Coll, PrezBo.
  • “#Ferguson: Reporting a Viral News Story” Pulitzer Hall Lecture Hall, Thursday 7:00 PM. Antonio French, Alice Speri, Zeynep Tufekci.
  • “Responding to Sexual Assault: A Teach-In” Jerome Green Annex Building, Thursday 4:00-6:00 PM. Christina Brandt-Young, Suzanne Goldberg, Dr. Jill Hill, Monica Pombo, Saswati Sarkar.
  • “President Bollinger’s 13th Annual Fun Run 5k Run” College Walk, Friday 8:30 AM. PrezBo.

More ways to procrastinate in the name of education after the jump.

SAC Executive Committee Statement On Town Hall

The Student Affairs Committee Executive Committee has released a statement on Friday’s Rules of University Conduct Town Hall. The full statement can be found below:

In response to the reports surrounding the Rules of University Conduct Town Hall yesterday, we wanted to provide an update to the community.

Based on the the information that has been published, it’s our understanding that no Senate rules on confidentiality were broken. We have spoken to Jared and Sejal, and we’re pleased to confirm that both will be remaining on the committee as strong student advocates and participating in a process which needs student voices. We appointed them to the committee so that undergraduate voices could be heard in the drafting process and we know they have done a great job.

We’re proud of the turnout and student interest in the town hall and rules committee process and look forward to continuing these crucial conversations.

Student Affairs Committee (SAC) Executive Committee
Zila Acosta (CLS ’15), Will Zvara (CBS ’15), and Marc Heinrich (CC ’16)

Bwog Meeting Tonight!
Sabrina the Teenage Witch knows what you did this weekend

Melissa knows what you did this weekend

You’ve spent enough time this weekend downing body shots.

Instead, take a night off and come to our weekly Bwog meeting tonight at 8PM in the SGO on the 5th floor of Lerner. Expect a classy evening of mixed drinks and mixed signals.

As always, there will be food, friends, and fun.

 

Clarissa Doesn’t Want To Have To Explain It All via Shutterstock.

Chopped: Bleak But Flavorful Edition

Bwog recently faced the challenge of the minimalist pantry in Chopped: Poor Lazy College Edition, and now we’re back at it. We entered Tatini Mal-Sarkar’s kitchen for another grueling round of making something out of gruel nothing.

This week, we are proud to present Chopped: Bleak But Flavorful, where we turn the inexplicable remnants of your late night cravings into a real meal.

Today’s basket:

  • Brad’s Organic mild salsa
  • Sabra original hummus
  • Chicken-flavored ramen
  • Westside popcorn chicken

Creamy Herbed Pasta with Chicken:

  1. Prepare ramen according to package directions for about 3 minutes.
  2. Strain noodles, and return to pot. Do not add the sad flavor packet.
  3. Into the nearly empty hummus container, add approximate 1/4 cup salsa, and stir.
  4. Pour the hummus-salsa mixture into the ramen pot, and mix gently.
  5. Microwave three small, shapely pieces of the Westside chicken to warm.
  6. Dish the pasta in its sauce onto paper plate — or if you’re lucky and your roommate owns actual dishware, use that.
  7. Spoon tablespoon of salsa atop the pasta, and then the chicken onto this.
  8. Serve immediately, eating it while sitting on your Nussbaum suite’s kitchen floor.

Time including dish-washing: 10 minutes

While the hummus allows a delicious base for the sauce, its exclusion could allow different takes on the dish, including:

  • Spicier ramen, made with the red pepper sauce from the popcorn chicken, a sprinkle of the garlic powder found in the bowels of the kitchen cupboard, and a teaspoon of a roommate’s fancy natural peanut butter. This makes for a not-quite-Pad Thai.

Other options include:

  • For the ethically minded (read: vegetarians and vegans of the world), obviously don’t add the chicken. Or don’t add the Sabra hummus. (The Brad’s Organic is still good, though. No concerns with them yet.)
  • For the gluten-intolerant and sensitive, ditch both the ramen and chicken. Combine the hummus and salsa per the recipe, and add it to prepared rice, or just enjoy it with some corn chips. The possibilities are endless!
Bwoglines: High All The Time Edition
Even Mr. Trump supports the high lifestyle

Even Mr. Trump supports the high lifestyle

In Donald Trump related news, the billionaire has once again turned to twitter to call out President Obama, this time questioning the President’s mental health. (Huffington Post)

Looking for 25 photos of people trying, and failing, to eat pizza? Look no further; Bwog has your answer. (Gothamist)

A Florida teen was recently arrested for pleasuring himself in a Walmart bedding aisle onto a stuffed pony toy, which he then returned to its shelf before exiting the store. (NY Daily News)

Photos of the city have just been released from Manhattan’s newest, tallest apartment building, and the views are just as spectacular as one would expect. (Business Insider)

Super Kawaii Donald Trump via Shutterstock

Student Questions At Town Hall May Have Been Written By U Senators

Yesterday’s Rules of University Conduct Town Hall allowed students and activist groups the chance to voice their opinions before policy changes were definitively made. According to a tip we received earlier today, many of these opinions came from the same source: a “google doc…used to feed lines to activists” that may have been shared by a member or members of the University Senate. It is unclear whether anyone on U Senate was actually involved in writing the document. Involvement in writing the document would likely be considered a violation of the U Senate’s rules; such violations may be punished with suspension.

The tipster went on to say they were “embarrassed by how the leadership of our campus groups that like to think of themselves as independent were shepherded instead of thinking for themselves.” However, there is no clear evidence in the document that it was written by a single person, or that any of those people were U Senators—the tip did not include the list of people who could edit the Google doc.

The document itself breaks down the Town Hall step by step, listing questions students plan to ask, and noting, “these are arguments we’ve identified as being the most likely to sway swing votes on the Committee…. this list isn’t exhaustive, it’s just the essential points we need to be made in front of the campus media.” Each potential question includes background information such as applicability and past precedents included in bullet points. Between the questions, the document leaves room for personal stories and possible follow-ups. The document also includes such advice as: “There will be Public Safety and Senate Staff at the doors to the event checking CUIDs, and they may object to signs.”

A copy of the full document is included after the jump:

Read the document

ClubHop: Generation Citizen
shutterstock_110129525

CU’s always there to inspire the youth

Although most of us don’t get out of the CU bubble nearly enough, the city is an integral part of our college experience. Generation Citizen, a relatively new club to campus, sends Columbia students out to high school and middle school classrooms across the five boroughs to improve how civics is taught to these students. Teacher’s pet Bwogger Lili Brown sat in on one of the club’s weekly meetings and also caught up with president Fabi Urdaneta.

Five brave teachers and three members of the club’s board met last Sunday evening to discuss the previous week’s teaching experience and the lesson plans for the week ahead of them. These students commit to teaching at a NYC high school or middle school two days a week, creating lesson plans for each session that collectively share the end goal of teaching civics to their students on a more relatable level and therefore empowering them to take action in their communities based on these skills by the end of the semester.

They went around, shared which number lesson they were at, and what focus issue they were leaning towards to use in their classrooms. Some ideas that were thrown around were gang violence, racial profiling, and police brutality. This somewhat naturally led into a lengthy discussion about the woes and struggles of teaching, and sharing per-expertise teaching techniques with each other. It is clear that the students in this club, though working independently in separate classrooms, respect each other and work together to make the most impact on their students and also on themselves.

The meeting continued with a board member advising the teachers on how to best craft this week’s lesson plans, and shared a sample lesson she used when she taught the previous year: a worksheet that uses the lyrics of Lupe Fiasco’s song “Little Weapons” to depict the easy access kids our/their age have to guns in this country. This was presented as a preliminary lesson that introduces the focus issue to the class.

That same board member ended the meeting with a good ole pep talk, ensuring that this volunteer commitment isn’t easy, but most definitely rewarding for everyone involved.

Read on for words from GC’s president.

But Bingo

Feeling like procrastinating for midterms? If your answer is no, mad props. But we have something fun for you to procrastinate with anyway! Butler-themed Bingo boards!!!

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 2.31.08 PM

 

Creation of all Bingo Boards courtesy of Maia Berlow

see alternate versions of the board after the jump so you can play with your friends!

Night Market Brings Happiness In The Dark Times Of Midterms
Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 11.16.30 AM

Bright lights in dark places

After her grandmother told her she needed a life After getting sick of sitting in the library, festival fanatic Claire Friedman went to check out Night Market in a much-needed break from the Butler grind.

In the amount of time I’ve spent studying/ thinking about studying this week, I could fly to Australia a couple of times, watch the entirety of Lost, or build at least four really kickass gingerbread houses. But, instead of any of those exciting options, I was at the library. Specifically Butler 210, if you feel like coming by to say hello or shower me with candy.

After hours of stale library air and overpriced ButCaf pastries, Night Market felt like stepping back and taking a deep breath. Judging from the “mole-person-seeing-the-light-for-the-first-time” expressions on the faces of other market-goers, I was not the only one who felt this way. Held annually by the CSC, Night Market is meant to emulate the famous markets of China and Taiwan. I’ve never actually been to Asia, but the CSC did a fantastic job transforming Low with huge tents, bright lights, and blaring music. Even in these dark and desperate times, Night Market managed to make Columbia look – dare I say it? – festive.

Although I visited the Market just minutes after downing an entire chicken-cheese-steak from John Jay, I made a beeline for any tents offering food. Thankfully, this was not a difficult task – almost every single booth promised some form of ridiculously cheap pastry and the Korilla Korean barbeque truck held court on College Walk. A quick survey of my pockets yielded only a nickel and a mint of unknown vintage, but I still managed to snag a good-sized cupcake and a free water bottle.

Cupcake in hand, I set about exploring the rest of what Night Market had to offer. Activities ranging from classic carnival games to nail art (a steal at $5) were set up in wide concentric circles, perfect for the casual wanderer who wants to feel lost in a maze of baked goods. Surprisingly, nobody was game to do my nails in exchange for an old mint. I tried not to take it too personally.

Can we talk about something that’s not food-related?

Bwoglines: The World Is Possibly Ending Edition
The Earth is feeling that midterm grind too. It's a transition period, you know?

The Earth is feeling that midterm grind too. It’s a transition period, you know?

We now have an ebola “czar.” Ivan Nicholas Alexander  Ron Klain will be responsible for overseeing the US’ response to the ebola crisis. (Reuters News)

Bermuda was struck by a category two hurricane, Gonzalo. (Reuters News)

Kris Jenner is “devastated” that Bruce is dating. Is Bwog the only one who remembers reading a magazine article about him wanting to become a woman? Guess that’s not actually happening. (MSN News)

According to an expert, Japan’s nuclear plants are vulnerable to volcanoes. They’re apparently not safe, even after the tighter safety regulations following the 2011 disaster. (Science Recorder)

In case this Bwoglines has made you lose all hope or faith in the state of our planet/humanity, brighten up! There is happier news today… Courts have knocked down bans on gay marriage in Arizona, Alaska, and Wyoming!! (Chicago Tribune)

Sad Earth via Shutterstock

Use Your Computer For Actual Educational Purposes With MOOCs
Title-Main (1)

Remember when you learned about this stuff in APUSH?

While we continue to hunch over crappy used textbooks and scribbled notes for most classes at Columbia, the world of education (even for Columbia) has been expanding with the help of the Internet. Education Enthusiast Courtney Couillard met up with Ted Limpert, the Communications and Outreach Manager at the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL), to talk about Professor Eric Foner’s new MOOC.

Bwog: What exactly is a MOOC? What sets it apart from the rest of the online classrooms available?

TL: A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course or, basically, a (mostly) free way to learn on the Internet. The main difference between MOOCs and traditional online courses is that MOOCs are open to anyone anywhere (with the Internet) and can have tens of thousands of students taking a course at any given time. Columbia has “officially” worked with two different MOOC platforms, with about 14 courses on Coursera and 3 courses on edX. What’s cool about edX is that it’s a nonprofit. What’s even cooler about Eric Foner’s MOOCs (a series of 3 different courses) on edX is that all of the content has a Creative Commons license, meaning that anyone can take any piece of the course (video, images, activities, etc.) and reuse/remix it.

Bwog: How did the process go about in terms of getting Professor Eric Foner to sign on to do a MOOC? What aspects of the course did he want to keep or change from his original lecture course to better adapt to the format of a MOOC?

TL: The Chronicle of Higher Ed knocked it out of the park when they called Eric Foner a rockstar. I’m not sure who was the first to approach who, but Professor Foner has always been an advocate of improving access to/understanding of history. He’s been excited at the prospect of reaching more history “students” than he ever has been able to at Columbia.

In terms of the actual MOOCs, we didn’t have to change much. His incredible accolades in the historian-world rival his power and presence in the classroom. Because he’s such a compelling lecturer, we really didn’t have to tweak too much of his material. We did add images, and cut back and forth from various angles, throughout his filmed lectures. Probably the biggest change was that we split his one-semester course into three MOOCs (27 weeks). Professor Foner worked closely with Michael Cennamo, an Educational Technologist at CCNMTL, and Tim Shenk, his lead TA, to develop the courses’ content, which includes discussion questions, short quizzes, longer tests, and other interactive activities. Our video team also filmed Professor Foner at the New York Historical Society and in TA (all Columbia graduate students) discussions. We were also able to connect with Thai Jones, a Columbia Librarian in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, to add images from their rare digital collections of Abraham Lincoln, Slavery, and the Civil War.

Bwog: How has the MOOC been doing so far? Are there many Columbia students signed up, or has it been attracting more off-campus students?

TL: The first MOOC (of three) is doing great! It is in its 5th week, and we have 6,511 people registered. The number grows larger each day. The interesting thing about MOOCs though is that generally less than 10% of people registered actually finish them. We’re not sure entirely why, but we are staying strong with nearly 2,500 people staying active in the course so far. I don’t believe we know if we have any Columbia students currently enrolled/active, but we do know some other things: We have about 50 alumni (and hope to increase that number). We also have students from 136 different countries. Of course, we would love to have more Columbia students.

Honestly, I think Columbia students could really benefit from taking the course, even just parts of it. If anything else, it’s a great way to supplement other material from a class, almost like an interactive virtual textbook. And, in my opinion, Professor Foner is great at incorporating humor into his lectures, making them even more fun and engaging. He has also been on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report (unfortunately, not included in the course).

Learn more about why you should take this MOOC after the jump.