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Oct

2

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Ridwan appearing as character Dave Kim on “The Goldbergs.”

Staff Writer Danielle Mikaelian recently sat down with Kenny Ridwan, CC ’21, an actor from Los Angeles who currently appears on ABC’s hit series “The Goldbergs.” Throughout the years, Kenny has also acted in various shows like “House of Lies,” “Perception,” “Bones,” “Modern Family,” “The Middle,” and “The Thundermans.”

Fun Fact: Danielle and Kenny met at the Los Angeles sendoff, proving that Columbia sponsored events can lead to future interactions.

Name/Year/Hometown/Major?

Kenny Ridwan, 2021, Los Angeles, Creative Writing/History

Most famous actor/actress that you’ve met?

Charlie Sheen

Role model?

Again, Charlie Sheen…just kidding. Actually, it’s Abe Lincoln. I think it’s pretty cool how he didn’t even go to college and became president.

Why those majors?

Just ended up that way! Both majors are great for anyone wanting to go to law school. I’m hoping to go to law school in LA so I can pursue entertainment law and continue acting.

more about his acting career after the jump

Sep

30

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The eyeshadow almost makes it okay.

The Barnard dorms have gotten a lot of attention this semester because of the heat crisis. However, new Bwog Staffer, Elizabeth Burton, thinks that there are far more pressing problems – such as randomly appearing mannequin heads in her quad’s common room. After several weeks of confusion and (slight) discomfort, she decided to sit down (???) with the mannequin and find out what exactly was going on. 

Bwog: First off, what is your name? Do you actually have a name? 

Mannequin Head: Yes, it’s Viola.

Bwog: Interesting. Where exactly do you come from? 

Viola: This part is not exactly clear since I’m literally just a head sitting on a desk, but I am part of a long-standing summer camp tradition where bodiless mannequins like myself are used to scare young, unsuspecting children. Sometimes I scare counselors, too. I’ve found that most people tend to be at least a little bothered by a floating head staring at them.

Bwog: How did you end up at Barnard? 

Viola: After someone decided that string lights, posters, and plants just weren’t going to cut it for dorm decorations, I was shipped here. Since the Brooks quad rooms are small and narrow AF, I felt that I’d be more at home on a desk in the common room.

Bwog: Do you have a favorite spot on the desk? I hear you move around sometimes. 

ViolaIt took a little while to get adjusted, but I really like to be on the top of the desk so that my eyes peer into your soul when you walk into the room. My favorite part of the day is seeing someone come home and jump a little when they forgot that I’m still here and always watching.

Bwog: Since the rest of us spend so much time out of the room, is there anything you like to do when you have the suite to yourself? 

Viola: This isn’t Toy Story. I literally just sit here and pretend I can smell the Shake Shack outside the window and wait until the next time I get to scare someone. It’s not that exciting.

Bwog: What about during the heat wave? How did you deal with it? 

Viola: Since I am only a head, it didn’t bother me much. I hear it was quite the ordeal, especially for those privileged residents who had never experienced any type of discomfort before. By the time it started to cool down, everyone in the quad insisted on leaving their brand new tower fans running out of spite. I guess it made them feel better about having spent 100s of dollars, though.

Bwog: Is there anything else that you’d like readers to know? 

Viola: Use the side door if you’re visiting the suite.

Haunting your dreams via Bwog Staff

Sep

27

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Elsie Fisher and Emily Robinson (right) in Eighth Grade.

Social Media Editor Zack Abrams recently sat down for a conversation with Emily Robinson, CC ’21, who recently starred in the A24 film Eighth Grade. Her current film out is Private Life. Read on to find out what it’s like working with literal middle schoolers and whether or not Bo Burnham ever helped her grab something from a high shelf. 

Name/Year/Hometown/Major?

Emily Robinson, Sophomore in CC, Hopefully Creative Writing, and New York City

Why creative writing?

I love stories, I’ve always loved reading, and I just wanted to take college as a chance to allow myself to explore different forms of writing.

How did you get into acting?

When I was younger we had a neighbor who was a model and she had two kids and she was taking their pictures at her modeling agency and said “Oh, Emily should do this too!” and I was like “Sure!” so I started modeling and then realized acting was a thing, so I told my parents I wanted to try it and they said “Sure, fine.”

I was eight when I started acting and I started doing commercial work and some theatre and then slowly became more serious and it was only when I worked on Transparent that I realized that I wanted to do it forever.

Read on to find out why Emily had to bite 45 hot dogs

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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img December 14, 20163:07 pmimg 2 Comments

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

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