Search Results for: peoplehop

Apr

17

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Handwriting: 4/10. Purpose: 11/10.

This spring, GS senior Pawel Maslag was awarded the Campbell Award, which “recognizes exceptional leadership and Columbia spirit.” But that’s arguably Pawel’s least exciting accomplishment. From running across the country to being a trained WWE wrestler to serving on the Presidential Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault, Pawel has accomplished more in his 20-some years than I probably will in my entire lifetime. Internal Editor Sarah Kinney (who knows him from Peer Health Exchange) sat down with Pawel last week to pick his brain and learn more about his inspiring life. 
Name, School, Hometown, Major:
Pawel Maslag; GS; Garfield, New Jersey; Sociology.

Do you have a personal motto? If so, what is it? If not, make one up.
After graduating from high school, I decided to embark on an Americorps service year with City Year ― a year where I was a tutor and mentor to a second grade class in Long Island City, Queens. During the last day of my service year, I asked all my students to write a message of inspiration on my backpack. One of my students wrote a message that would change the course of my life forever: “Always do your best and help others.” Every decision I make in my life, whether it is my career after Columbia or how I spend my summers, I reflect whether or not the opportunity will allow me to do my best and help others.

You’re running across the world for cancer?! What?! Tell me more!
Last summer I cycled across the country, from Baltimore to San Francisco, for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. I was reflecting on my post-Columbia plans and I realized I had an open-ended summer, and I thought, “Why not go across country again, but run this time?” Here I am, about to run 4,500 miles (we take a bit of an upwards and then downwards route) from San Francisco to Boston!

So far I’ve been able to raise a little over $4,500 for the Ulman Cancer Fund, which provides critical services for young adults with cancer and their loved ones. The money I’ve raised is going towards supportive services, such as patient navigation and college scholarships, and it helps foster a supportive network for young adults with cancer ―a population that can feel isolated in a hospital where the majority of patients are much older than them.

I hope my summer will also inspire other young people to take action and commit to a large goal (or small goal!) that will impact lives and create positive change in our world.

There is still so much more to find out!!

Dec

17

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Ben, Doug, and guests Gabby and Yasmeen recording an episode

When new EIC Betsy Ladyzhets learned about StarBites, an astrophysics podcast run by several space-minded Columbia undergrads, she knew she had to interview them for Bwog. StarBites was started by Douglas Grion, CC ‘20, Ben Hord, CC ‘18, Andy Tzanidakis, GS ‘18, and Brian Smallshaw, CC ‘19, but its episodes (all of which are now up on SoundCloud) feature several other members of the Columbia astrophysics department, discussing space-related topics from E.T. to women in STEM. In this interview, the podcast’s creators explain how they started StarBites, how episodes are put together, and their plans for future expansion.

Bwog: What is StarBites? Give me a short summary.

Ben Hord: It’s a podcast about space for people who love the cosmos,.

Doug Grion: It explains stuff about astronomy that we think is cool in a way that other people will be interested in it.

Andy Tzanidakis: We want to give the perspective that, as undergrad students in astronomy, we can explain things to other people that are maybe a bit simpler to understand, while also going in depth enough to make things interesting.

Brian Smallshaw: When we say “astrophysics,” it’s a pretty daunting subject for most people, but when you break it down subject to subject without the math, it’s pretty easy to understand. So, the podcast is a way for us to have fun and talk about stuff we like to talk about with each other, and also for us to show other people what those conversations are like and what we do.

Bemoaning the size of a Schapiro single, nearly burning down Pupin, and more after the jump

Sep

5

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President Beilock – here on campus and ready to listen

A new school year means new classes, new housing, and, for Barnard students, a new President. While our official interview took place over email, EIC Amara Banks and Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets (both BC ’19) got a chance to sit down with Sian Beilock (pronounced “see-on by-lock”) for a few minutes today to chat. She told us about her summer meeting one-on-one with faculty members to find out what they love (and don’t love) about Barnard. She’s hoping to have similar conversations with as many students as possible; she has already started by talking to first-years during NSOP, and looks forward to developing relationships with returning students. Barnard students can expect multiple opportunities for face time with President Beilock, including Coffee Breaks and Fireside Chats.

The one answer you will not find below is her response to, “Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese?” We asked her in person anyway, and while she laughed and declined to answer, she did say she is not lactose intolerant!

Bwog: What has been your favorite part of NSOP so far?

President Beilock: I really enjoyed meeting students and seeing their energy. The first years, transfer students and I have a lot in common – we are all getting acclimated to Barnard and getting to know a new environment, so it was fun to share in that excitement.

I had the opportunity to sit in on the second year panel session where second years talked to first years about what to expect. I really enjoyed hearing about everyone’s experiences and was so impressed by our students – those returning as well as our first year students and the questions they asked. I also learned a new phrase, “FOMO.” My guess is that we all suffer from this to some extent and the panel was a good reminder – to all of us – that you don’t have to tackle everything at once.

Bwog: What are you most excited to do in Morningside Heights?

SB: The Morningside Heights community has so much to offer. I love Book Culture and spend a lot of time in there picking out books for my 6-year-old. I am also discovering the other side of Morningside Park. Frederick Douglass Boulevard has some great restaurants, bakeries and grocery stores.

Stress, BCSN, the magnolia tree, and more after the jump

Mar

28

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Roses are red, violets are blue…

Spencer Szwalbenest, though only a freshman at the Joint Program between GS and the Jewish Theological Seminary, is already a published poet. His Facebook page puts out new content regularly, and he’s working on his second collection, The Decadent Season. Bwogger Elana Rebitzer sat down with Spencer, who self-identifies as “edgy, but in the ironic sense,” and Spencer’s roommate/manager David Treatman, to discuss his past work, the future of his poetry, and how he got into this eclectic passion.

Bwog: First, tell us who you are.
Spencer Szwalbenest: “I’m Spencer Szwalbenest, I’m a first year in GS/JTS, studying Philosophy and probably Jewish Thought.”
David Treatman: “I’m David Treatman, also a first year in GS/JTS, studying History and Jewish Literature.”

BW: How did you start writing poetry?
SS: “In the beginning, I had a seventh grade English teacher who was a really encouraging person, we were doing the poetry unit and I would show him my poetry, and he was like “we’re going to put that right on the fridge,” figuratively. After I stopped taking that class with him, I stopped for a bit, but then I was an edgy teenager writing song lyrics my freshman year. I guess, poetry really started becoming interesting to me again my sophomore year of high school. I read Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, and I wanted to be Walt Whitman, so I was really inspired by him. My first collection, White Letters, which I put out at the beginning of last school year, is very inspired by Whitman. Now, I’ve been inspired by more modern poets like Leonard Cohen, E.E. Cummings.

More on Spencer Szwalbenest

Mar

2

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It’s taking more than seven meetings to get a printer in here…

Sidney Perkins, SEAS ’17, is the Engineering Student Council Vice President of Policy (or, as he puts it, the “leader of the policy juggernaut of ESC”). He’s been prominently featured in our ESC coverage recently because of a resolution he tried (and failed) to pass in order to put Legos in an engineering student center, as well as other resolutions related to mental health on campus. Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets sat down with him to talk about these resolutions, his view of ESC, and the role of student government in general.

Bwog: How did you get involved with student government at Columbia?

Sidney Perkins: My sophomore year, I ran for class council, because I wanted to help plan events for my classmates, help get them in touch with prospective employers, and then my junior year I did that again because I really enjoyed it. And towards the end of last year, having spent a lot of time on the policy committee as a committee member, I felt a pretty big calling to work on the executive board in that capacity.

Read on for Sidney’s philosophy on student government.

Dec

14

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buy sell memes

Bwog’s personal favorite meme from the group

Former Editor in Chief Rachel Deal sat down with sophomores Christina Hill, Sam Nussenzweig, and Evan de Lara, three of the admins of the the Facebook group columbia buy sell memes, to talk about meme-making, procrastination, and campus culture. This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Bwog: How and when did this Facebook group first start?

Christina Hill: It started on Monday of this past week on December 5th. It happened super randomly. Lauren Beltrone [another admin who was not present for the interview] was the first one who was like, “Let’s just make a meme group,” and so she made it and added us as admins.

Bwog: How do you all know each other?

CH: I knew Lauren from high school, and then the three of us here knew each other because we lived on the same Carman floor last year. So we all, in our group chat, we’d always send memes.

Bwog: Why the buy/sell format?

Evan de Lara: I think that was an accident.

Sam Nussenzweig: Well, no, it was based off of Barnard Buy Sell Trade, right?

CH: I told Lauren that it should be buy/sell because I had seen some other meme Facebook groups that were buy/sell. I think it’s funny. I think it adds more options for people to, like, write descriptions or whatever.

Bwog: I was wondering if it was related to the idea of meme-making as “meme production” and how some people talk about that in terms of Marxist theory.

EDL: We definitely didn’t think about that.

SN: Yeah, we haven’t learned Marx in CC yet.

More about the admins’ moderating philosophy and their favorite memes after the jump.

Oct

22

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Click image to watch Peter on MSNBC

Click image to watch Peter on MSNBC

With midterms making us sometimes feel we are surrounded by grade-obsessed zombies, it can be difficult to remember our student body is filled with incredible people using their talent to help others. Peter Kiernan represents a perfect example of the reminder we need. 

In 22 days, the fate of our country will be decided through the selection of our next President. Regardless of which candidate you support, we can agree both have made questionable mistakes. GS student and former U.S. Marine Peter Kiernan has focused on Donald Trump’s mistake of withholding his tax returns, but instead of bashing him on Twitter and over dinner with friends like the average student, he has turned his frustration into a challenge to the Republican nominee. Through Crowdpac, an online fundraising website for users to support politicians or specific initiatives, Peter has asked anyone to pledge whatever they can to his fund supporting ten different veteran organizations, however they will only have to honor their contribution if Trump releases his tax returns. LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman saw the brilliance in Peter’s fundraiser, and promised to match the campaign’s total by five times, not exceeding five million dollars.

Time ticked, taxes didn’t

Oct

8

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more artsy than u

Amanda Ba is a Columbia College freshman who is taking Lit Hum while also running online clothing business. This week, Bwogger Victoria Arancio admired dogs with Ba and discussed her plans for her art and for her first year at Columbia. 

Bwog: Give us insight into the amazing life of Amanda Ba. 

AB: I was born in Columbus, Ohio. When I was one year old, I moved to Hefei, China where I lived for five years with my grandparents. Chinese became my first language, and when I came back to America for kindergarten I picked up English pretty quickly. A lot of people have asked me how long I’ve been interested in art. Art is something that I have always seen myself doing.

Bwog: What got you interested in designing clothing?

AB: I was always interested in clothing because it’s an accessible art form that people don’t mind investing into. I can’t imagine an 18 year old kid blowing $300 on a painting for fun, and I’m not at that stage where I am able to sell one of my paintings for a lot of money. Clothing is just a fast, simpler, and more affordable art that reaches a wider audience. I went for designs that were less time consuming, but still showed my artistic ideas. Clothing makes my art more appealing to my marketing crowd.

Bwog: How did you start selling clothes on Depop?

AB: I think it’s hard for people to really start creating art, and for many artists it becomes this “do or die” moment when they finally decide to get the ball rolling with their artwork. I was in high school when I was thinking about getting a job. My parents wanted me to work in a supermarket but I just couldn’t see myself bagging groceries every day. I decided that I should try making money off my art, and a good way to get my work out there was to post some art online, where I could market my clothing to 15-30 year old women, the easiest marketing crowd. I saw someone else’s site on Depop and really liked the platform that Depop created. It was 3am when I started to plan everything out, and the next day I started the shop. It started out small but became what it is today.

Make your mom proud after the jump

Apr

20

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Sry abt the abbrevs

Created last summer, @sadcolumbiaboys is probably the one of the most popular Columbia-related social media accounts to exist (RIP Ivy League Bitch). Inspired by @sadyaleboys, and now the inspiration for various other sad accounts, it has garnered 1726 followers as of today. Connoisseur of Columbia Sadness Rachel Deal talked to the creator(s?) of @sadcolumbiaboys over Instagram DM about their documentation of despair.

Bwog: How did you get started documenting the sad boys of Columbia?

@sadcolumbiaboys: Hallo. They are out there, being performatively sad and reading sad literature and doing sad problem sets and wearing sad preppy clothing whether they are documented or not. But to not document such a curious specimen in its natural environment would seem a waste. So the obvious choice becomes: document. Note time of day and quality of atmosphere. Location. Whether it was merely a general malaise indicating their status as a sadboy or a deep aura of Weltschmerz.

The sadness of a sadcolumbiaboy is a truer kind of sadness than any other kind of sadboy. Penetrates deeper into his core self. It’s a way of life, not just a mood. Would a sadyaleboy or (God forbid) sadnyuboy even qualify as a sadboy at Columbia? Doubtful.

More on sadboys vs. sad people, spin-off accounts, and the Ultimate Columbia Sadboy after the jump.

Apr

10

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Low in all its glory

Low in all its glory

Nobody puts baby in a corner, sure, but what about putting a campus in a box? Myles Zhang, CC ’19, has done just that with one of his latest projects, which features a miniature Columbia inside a vintage cigar box. Myles has a blog and a YouTube page where he displays his photography, ink drawings, watercolors, and even sculptures. Now that his first year at Columbia is coming to an end, Daily Editor Lila Etter sat down with Myles to discuss his work, his inspirations, and what makes Columbia, Columbia.

Bwog: So, Myles, tell us a little more about this project.

MZ: The project was to create a small model of Columbia out of the small, little cigar box I found around the house. I had some time during summer break, so I decided to kind of conceptualize this idea and try to imagine how much of Columbia’s campus I could physically fold into the box, given the model. So I thought about it for two or three nights, trying to conceptualize where the structures should be located, where the courtyards should be located, such that the top of the box would fold down to the bottom half, and all the structures would fit snuggly together. All in all it wasn’t too difficult a project, because most of the conceptualizing was done beforehand, and the actual execution only took four or five days.

Bwog: What’s equally incredible are your ink drawings, sketches, and watercolors of campus. Which came first?

MZ: Actually, well, some of the sketches and watercolors came beforehand, then came the miniature model immediately before school started. And then over winter break I did that large watercolor of Columbia, the one with all those details.

But why a 3D model?

Apr

10

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Cool logo and a cool guy

Kevin Chiu ’17 may be a Civil Engineering student at SEAS, but with 510 YouTube subscribers, viral video fame to his name, and hundreds of freelance jobs under his belt, he is also, very decidedly, a cinematographer extraordinaire. He sat down with daily editor Sarah Dahl to discuss his passion for film and photos, which he plans to pursue after graduation.

Sarah Dahl: How did you get started in photography and film?

Kevin Chiu: Video actually came first. Everyone in my 7th grade class will remember this–the very first time I picked up a camera was to create this crazy parody trailer of the movie 300, with light sabers. It’s still on my YouTube. It went viral across the grade, to the point that they watched it for four months straight, talking about it, sharing it. That’s when you realize you’ve done something great, something important–you were able to move people to react in a way that hell, a TV show sometimes won’t even do. You made something that made people want to watch it again. That’s what I really wanted to keep doing.

Photography comes in in tricklets and bits. I used to work alongside the theatre department in high school. Every single performance I would sit in the audience and take 100 or so photos and post the best ones.

A lot of why I started doing this was because I wanted to get to know people that I don’t usually ever get a chance to talk to or interact with. Photos bring everyone together, and it’s something that on the marketable scale, you can enter so many different fields with and of all sorts of work with. Just on a personal level, it’s allowed me to meet some of the most incredible people in all facets of life, in all sorts of fields of interests, and it’s one of the most rewarding hobbies-turned-professional-work.

What has Kevin created over the past 8 years?

Mar

25

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Our man Josh Schenk

Our man Josh Schenk

Josh Schenk, President of the Columbia College class of 2019, has already made a name for himself on campus after securing air conditioning in most undergraduate residence hall lounges. Now that Schenk is nearing the end of his term, Bwogger Sasha Mutchnik sat down with the prez to hear his reflections and his plans for future changes.

Bwog: So Josh, give us your life story in a few sentences.

JS: I’m from Los Angeles. I’ve lived in LA my whole life, so I wanted to go to school in a really big city, so I chose Columbia. In high school I was really involved with student government as well; I was the president of my high school junior year, and in my senior year I was on the board of education for my school district, so student government felt like the right thing. It was something that I could get really involved with early on at Columbia, and ever since then, it’s what I’ve been spending all my free time on. It’s been a really great experience so far; I’ve met a lot of people, both students and also administrators and faculty members, I’ve learned how the school works. So far this year we’ve made a lot of great changes, and hopefully in the future we’ll have even more.

Bwog: You got a lot of attention in January when you worked with Housing to install air conditioning in most undergraduate floor lounges.

JS: Yeah, that was really fun. I’m glad that they were so receptive. It took a while to get done, but it’s great that they were able to help us make that happen.

Bwog: Any plans for a major?

JS: I’m studying political science and thinking about minoring in sustainable development. I’m not sure what I want to do with my future yet. I’ll probably go to law school, but besides that it’s all up in the air still.

Read on to hear why Josh joined StuCo

Apr

27

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haha googles

No delays on the 1 train? Positively shocking!

A male Columbia student’s version of Their Eyes Were Watching God: taping googly eyes all over our divine campus. Ross “Four Eyes” Chapman noticed these hidden staples with his heightened prescription vision and decided to put a face (and fingers) to the mysterious all-black pupils. 

Where have you seen them? The lion reliefs in front of Butler? On the doors of Carman? On the faces of CCSC campaign posters? This semester, Columbia has been the subject of one student’s rampage of googly eyes. This student, who asked to be either anonymous or referred to as the “Eye Master,” has taken his huge collection of grade school art supplies to the streets and classrooms of Morningside Heights.

“It looked like a balloon,” he recounted, thinking back to when a yellow padded envelope arrived at the package center for him after spring break. The Eye Master, with the help of some floormates, purchased 4,000 18 millimeter googly eyes from China on eBay. After shipping, they cost him just one cent per eye. He opened his package and the first small bag of eyes within it, and decorated a paper recycling bin in Lerner as his very first act of googly vandalism.

The Eye Master really is an expert at what he does. As we ate in JJ’s, discussing the finer parts of plastic eyes, he was passively and easily preparing the adhesive on the back of the eyes. Two went on the wall, and another two on the condiments caddy of the table. When I went to get some Jamba Juice, I came back to see two on my laptop case and another two on the computer itself. He has a talent for subterfuge, and he uses it for art. The Eye Master was inspired when he came across a community on Reddit, r/eyebombing. According to the Subreddit, “Eyebombing is the art of sticking ‘googly eyes’ onto an inanimate object in the public sphere.” Popular posts on the page include googly-eyed tattoos, refrigerators, and famous pieces of art.

The Eye Master’s favorite stories and motives after the jump

Nov

6

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Is that a beaker or a pint? EITHER

Is that a beaker or a pint? EITHER

Last year, you saw Raising the Bar for the first time. For the first time at a bar, you actually learned something you can remember the next day write home about. Fifty lectures were given at fifty bars in one night. Yesterday was the second rendition. We interviewed one of the organizers, Yuli Luvish, to learn more about this nexus of our two favorite things—drinking and learning.

Bwog: What inspired the event? Why did you guys create it for the first time last year? What do you think is interesting/new/exciting about the model? 

YL: Raising The Bar is a student initiative. We are all students privileged enough to attend some of the finest schools in NYC and the world, and we thought that others should be entitled to listen to a personal lecture by notable scholars. We wanted to bring quality content to people in person. Hosting it in bars makes it a less intimidating setting for a lecture and creates unexpected environments for discussion.

We are still planning on continuing with the original format. However, we feel that when supplying anything to the public, especially education, it should be exciting and innovative. For our ‘Knowledge Meets Beer’ theme, we collaborated with Time, Inc., and we wanted to bring not only talks but important discussions on pressing topics. The debates establish both sides of every issue, with professors giving an academic point of view, while industry leaders emphasize the existing market state and share their experience.

Bwog: Why do you think people responded so well last year? 

YL: We believe that people responded well last year because people, especially in a city like NYC, want to learn. Raising The Bar’s events suits fast paced New Yorkers looking to enrich themselves in a casual manner. In addition, it was an impressive production—with 50 talks in 50 different bars in one night—as well as a fascinating new concept.

Bwog: What’s it like orchestrating it this year after having already experienced all the craziness last year? What did you learn from having done it last year? 

YL: Every production has its own kind of craziness. We  have definitely learned a lot from last year’s, as a team and as a company. However, it’s always hectic and exciting and all in all fun!

Bwog: What’s different about this year from last? 

YL: This year we are a smaller team, however we still have the rest of the team helping out and making it easier. Also, on top of this NYC event happening tomorrow we have additional events we are currently working on in SF, Sydney, HK and more coming up.

Bwog: How do you expect turnout to differ from last year? 

YL: For our April event, we had over 6,000 people in 50 venues. This event is taking place in 10 venues, so it will be fewer people overall. But over 50% of the tickets were sold out in the first few hours, and we are currently sold out on all our panels, so the expectations are accordingly.

Clever and inspired logo via Twitter

Sep

23

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lipa

He has also been called “the Lady Gaga of Hasidic music”

Columbia is filled to the brim with unique and interesting people. But let’s be honest, how many of them can say they have 13 solo albums and are a superstar in the world of Hasidic music?  Probably only Lipa Schmeltzer, a GS student and father of four. Music mavens Tom Kicak and Dylan Cooper interviewed the Jewish Elvis himself about what it took for him to reach stardom and what inspired him to settle down in good ol’ GS.

Bwog: What was it like growing up in a completely Hasidic neighborhood?

LS: I’m one of twelve children, the eleventh in the family of six girls and six boys. My father was a holocaust survivor from the Bergen-Belsen camp. I was like a squeezed out lemon after a school day when I was a kid—I learned Judaic studies in Yiddish and Hebrew for most of the day and also learned 30 minutes of English and Mathematics. I only learned from the Talmud and Bible, no English. Everything went by the Rabbi, what he said, goes.

Bwog: When did you realize you had a gift for music?

LS: I couldn’t focus when I was a kid; I’d hum, knock on the table and sing during class. My Rabbis would get frustrated, maybe even hit me with a ruler. I composed my first song when I was 13. I always had an ear for harmony before I knew what harmony was. I would always be in rhythm before I even knew what rhythm meant. That made me feel like I was destined to be a singer.

Bwog: When did you begin performing?

LS: My first performance was when I was 9 years old for a local dinner event for an ambulance service. My father felt singing would take away my head from the books and stray my journey from being a scholar. I started working professionally at 20 years old. I had no idea what I was going to do but I did it and I loved it, and the audiences loved it too. I produced my own CD only a few months later.

Tell us more, Lipa!

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