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Sep

4

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Our friends with A/C (left) versus us (right)

Despite the weather imprisoning us all in our own sweat, today is the first day of classes – meaning it’s also the first day of Bwoglines! First-years: it’s okay if you don’t have your schedule figured out yet. Shopping period exists for a reason. And upperclassmen: welcome back to campus! We’re sorry it’s so gross.

Happening in the World: The National Museum of Brazil was destroyed by a fire yesterday. The museum held 20 million books, pieces of art, and artifacts, and was considered the most important such institution in Latin America. (CNN)

Happening in the US: Tropical Storm Gordon, the newest contender in this year’s hurricane season, is moving into the Gulf of Mexico and “dumping rain on” Florida. The storm may expand into a hurricane and land in Mississippi tomorrow, bringing rain from Florida to eastern Texas (but nowhere near New York.) (Business Insider)

Happening in NYC: The NYC Metro paid a tribute to Aretha Franklin earlier this week by installing signs reading, “Respect” at two Franklin Avenue stops: one on the A/C line in Brooklyn, and one on the 1 train in Tribeca. (WENY)

Happening on Campus: Back@Barnard, a series of events and workshops to help Barnard students start their new school year strong, begins today! Most notably, today will be the Barnard Block Party, Student Life’s yearly barbecue held in the quad from 5 to 7:30 pm. Auditions for numerous performing arts groups also begin today – keep an eye out for a post on those this afternoon.

Overheard: Bwogger on the phone to her sister: “Is it cold where you are? I need to live vicariously through you.”

Way to stay cool: Jump in one of the penis fountains. It might be embarrassing at the time, but it’ll make for a great story later.

We’re melting! via Wikimedia Commons

Sep

3

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img September 03, 20183:45 pmimg 0 Comments

All the Barnard meal plans in one convenient chart

This afternoon, Barnard Dining sent an email to students announcing changes expanding the College’s meal options for the coming school year. Two of these changes were announced with this year’s tuition increase in May, but you probably weren’t paying attention back then, so Dining is happy to remind you of its feats now.

Here’s the official list of Barnard Dining improvements from their email, excessive exclamation points and all:

NEW THIS YEAR!

  • Liz’s Place will now take meal swipes! See signs in Liz’s Place for details on the meal swipes.
  • Diana Center Café will now open at 8:00 AM for breakfast!
  • You can now use your own meal swipes for guests!
  • JJ’s Place is now accessible to Barnard students during all hours they are open!

Bwog is pretty excited about all of these changes, although we’re unsure what students will be using their Liz’s Place swipes for. Barnard students are finally able to use their own swipes for guests and get 2 am omelets at JJ’s with everyone else. However, Dining’s biggest accomplishment – bringing Hewitt up to A levels of cleanliness – is surprisingly absent from their email.

Barnard students have until Friday, September 7 to select or change their meal plans, which are still required for all students despite some controversy earlier this summer.

Aug

29

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img August 29, 201811:01 amimg 4 Comments

Yesterday morning, an anonymous student at the Columbia School of General Studies filed a lawsuit against Columbia University and former GS Dean of Students Tom Harford. The anonymous plaintiff (Jane Doe) “alleges that Dean Harford engaged in inappropriate and manipulative sexual behavior with her,” according to a press release from the firm representing this student. Columbia University is also implicated in the suit for failing to follow Title IX and protect the student.

According to Wall Street Journal, the plaintiff “alleged that she was referred to School of General Studies Dean of Students Tom Harford by a campus crisis center after she reported being raped by an acquaintance, with the expectation that he could help find emergency housing and other assistance.” Harford allegedly took advantage of the student’s vulnerability by giving her money and subjecting her to unwanted sexual activity. He allegedly “told [the student] stories about his violent past to intimidate her, and used her need for scholarship funds as bait to keep her bound to him.”

Harford was removed from his position as Dean of General Studies last week. The email to GS students announcing this removal cited simply “unacceptable conduct.”

“Columbia pays lip service to the ideals of a safe campus, but it has a well-documented record of violating Title IX in preventing and responding to reports of sexual misconduct,” said David Sanford, one of the attorneys representing this case. Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, has brought three cases on the grounds of sexual harassment and gender discrimination against Columbia in the past year, including a suit against Business School professor Geert Bekaert and a suit against history professor Dr. William Harris. Columbia was found liable for retaliation in the first of these cases, and Dr. Harris retired as part of the settlement of the second.

Update August 29th, 2018 12:13 pm: Columbia University’s statement about Harford is as follows:

Mr. Harford was promptly removed from his position as Dean of Students when we learned of behavior that was unacceptable in light of his responsibilities. While we cannot comment on the specifics of this litigation and will respond in the appropriate forum, we take these matters very seriously. Our priority is providing a safe and supportive learning environment that fosters the intellectual and personal fulfillment of our students.

Aug

27

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Riverside Park, down by the Hudson

New York City is the biggest city in the U.S. and one of the biggest cities in the world. While all the chaos of eight million people coexisting in only a couple hundred square miles is incredibly exciting, it’s easy to feel trapped – especially when it’s ninety degrees outside and you’re living in a double without A/C. When claustrophobia strikes, you can get a quick breath of fresh air by heading to a park. And luckily, there are several great ones within walking distance of Columbia’s campus. This guide will help you figure out which park to visit and how to get there.

Riverside Park:

  • Why go? This park is perfect for long walks, runs, or bike rides, because it connects into a network of parks along the Hudson River called the Hudson Greenway. You can start at Columbia and bike all the way to Battery Park without ever needing to ride on the street. Plus, Riverside has a dog park, making it your best place to spot good dogs near campus.
  • How do you get there? From anywhere on campus, go west. You’ll run into it. Then, you can go down into the middle level of the park at 116th, 108th, or 103rd Street, and down into the lower level (which runs directly along the Hudson River) at 96th Street.
  • What do you do there? Walk, run, bike, look for good dogs, find a nice bench and get ahead on some reading. Visit Ellington Bar’s park location before it closes for the fall. Riverside Park is also a common spot for another certain social lubricant – you can probably guess which one.

More parks after the jump!

Aug

21

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img August 21, 201811:59 pmimg 1 Comments

Last night, our Managing Editor was wandering through the basement of her new dorm when she noticed something unusual.

Hello, Dinosaur.

Woodbridge Basement, 10:41 pm

This basement is definitely haunted. I’ve only been down here twice, first to start my load of laundry and then to move it to the dryer, but that’s enough for me to be sure. There is something about the exposed pipes and the peeling paint, the overturned desk chairs and the taped-up ovens. There is something ancient, something wild, something –

Hello, Dinosaur.

Where did you come from?

Why are you hanging from this beam in the basement? Who strung you up and left you out to dry?

I’m asking the wrong questions.

Dinosaur, my dear Dinosaur, what is your name? How do you count the passage of time? What can you see from your perch up there above the trash? Do you believe in God?

Closeup on Dinosaur

10:52 pm

The discovery of the Dinosaur is too great to be kept to one person. You deserve an epic poem, a series of paintings, or, at the very least, a Bwog post.

10:59 pm

Dinosaur. My dear Dinosaur. I have known you for barely half an hour, and yet I feel that your piercing, cartoon-red eye can split open my skin and pierce the lining of my heart.

Is this what my postmodernism professor meant when she lectured us about “the human connection?”

Imagine Youngweon as the devil on Betsy’s shoulder

11:15 pm

Pros of stealing Dinosaur: Freeing a beautiful beast with whom I have formed a powerful and inexplicable bond. Also, cool centerpiece at parties.

Cons of stealing Dinosaur: Possibly haunted.

11:18 pm

No, this Dinosaur will not haunt me. This Dinosaur is my friend.

11:23 pm

Photos via Betsy Ladyzhets

Jul

29

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img July 29, 201812:09 pmimg 3 Comments

This past Thursday, a Manhattan federal jury ruled that Geert Bekaert, a professor of economics at the Columbia Business School, is liable for retaliation against Enrichetta Ravina, a former researcher and assistant professor in the department, after she refused his sexual advances.

As reported in the New York TimesBekaert worked with Ravina on her research, which involved data to which Bekaert had access. During meetings on this research project, Bekaert delayed Ravina’s work and made sexual advances towards her. Bekaert allegedly “told her of his sexual exploits and preferences, touched her inappropriately and asked that she call him ‘sexy.'”

Ravina reported this behavior to Columbia administrators. Columbia first gave Ravina a paid leave for the 2015-2016 academic year and accelerated her tenure process, then revoked that leave and denied her tenure a couple of months later. Meanwhile, Bekaert disparaged Ravina in emails to colleagues, calling her “incredibly evil,” “insane,” “unstable,” “schizophrenic” and an “incredibly mean b.”

Ravina filed two lawsuits in March 2016, accusing Bekaert and Columbia of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation and seeing up to $30 million in damages. Last week, a Manhattan jury ruled that Bakaert is liable for retaliation and the university is liable for responsibility in that retaliation. However, the jury did not find Bakaert or Columbia liable for gender discrimination.

In the next week, the jury will hear arguments on emotional and economic hardship Ravina suffered due to Bekaert and the university’s actions, and damages will be determined.

May

30

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On May 3, in the Barnard administration’s annual “tuition and fees” update email, COO Robert Goldberg and (soon-to-be-departing) Dean of the College Avis Hinkson informed students that there would be “several important changes” to Barnard’s meal plan. These changes, the email read, “resulted from discussions with students” and were purportedly intended to “address the issue of food insecurity.”

The email went on to describe these changes. First, rather than having a set amount of guest swipes, Barnard students will be able to swipe in guests up to the total number of swipes in their plans (which is how Columbia meal plans currently operate). Second, Barnard students will have 24-hour access to JJ’s place. And third, meal plan options will be “consolidated,” and students will be able to add points and swipes throughout the semester in small increments.

This initial message did not outline the actual, new consolidated meal plans or their costs. However, students were quick to find these new plans on Barnard’s tuition and fees page and point out issues these changes pose. Last year, Barnard offered about 15 different meal plans, including the Platinum Plan for first-years, Quad Upperclass Plan for upperclassmen living in the first-year dorms and Hewitt, and three “Basic” and “Convenience” plans for other upperclassmen and commuters. All of these plans, except for the Platinum and Quad Upperclass plans, cost under $1,000 per semester. (As of the writing of this post, all of these old plans are still visible on the Dining at Barnard website.)

Read about the new options and students’ concerns after the jump

May

11

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img May 11, 20187:31 pmimg 3 Comments

Fancy rendering of the fancy new Milstein center

Starting in the next academic year, Barnard is going to have a computer science department, led by a new chair for which a hiring process is well underway. Betsy Ladyzhets talked to Barnard’s Provost, as well as a professor and student involved in CS, to find out more on the impetus for creating this department, the process so far, and what it might look like in the future.

As of this April, there are 84 declared Computer Science majors at Barnard College. Although this may seem like a low number, it is comparable to the numbers of students in Biology, Chemistry, and other similar science departments at Barnard. And the number is growing every year. Yet while bio and chem majors have departments of committed staff members and entire floors of Altschul dedicated to their programs of study, CS majors are lost in a veritable sea of students across the street.

“Starting my freshman year, it felt like there were not a lot of administrators I could talk to for advice about classes and internships,” CS major Surbhi Lohia, BC ’19, told me. Although students entering the CS track have support from professors on both sides of the street, they primarily rely upon older students. The lack of administrative support and tangible locations at Barnard for students to study CS can make an already challenging course of study even more daunting. “It’s very easy to get lost in a major,” Lohia said.

However, Barnard is well on its way to giving its CS majors a home on the west side of Broadway. For several semesters, administrators, professors, and students have been working to create a computer science department at Barnard that will offer students new classes to supplement their coursework at Columbia, a more robust advising system, and a center for the kind of community that makes Barnard academics so valuable. In order to get a sense of how this department has been developing and what its future might look like, I talked to Provost Linda Bell and Mathematics Professor David Bayer.

So how has the department been developing and what might its future look like?

May

11

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“I’ve only known these people for two semesters, but…”

In the past two semesters as Managing Editor and EIC, Betsy Ladyzhets has learned one very important thing: she would die for any and all of the Bwog first years. Here’s why.

Zack: Zack’s superlative for this semester was “human Bwoglines,” which is incredibly accurate because, like Bwoglines, he is filled of knowledge that I never knew I wanted but, once I have acquired it, suddenly cannot live without. A detailed description of why Black Panther probably won’t get too many Oscars? A bot that randomizes and imitates Bwog’s twitter? A desktop app that will tell me exactly how many people are in each Columbia library at any given time? Yes, these things all came from one human brain. All this and more.

Jenny: I have honestly lost count of the number of times Jenny has Stepped Up(TM) this year, especially this past semester. She’ll tackle multiple investigative pieces at once, offer to fill in dailying in a heartbeat, write up a breaking news post when nobody else is free… tl;dr she is the wind beneath my wings. Also, I’m still not over that one time she met Steve Buscemi.

Thomas: Thomas is a quiet, comforting presence at weekly meetings. Whenever the discussions get too high-energy, I look to the back and find him, perched on a blue armchair, listening intently. I see that this Bwog meeting is only a spec of dust in the vast universe of life, and if we get distracted for a moment, well, we get distracted for a moment. I return.

more love after the jump

Apr

26

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Betsy’s two new best friends

Yesterday morning, around 11 am, our fearless EIC sat down in Butler to begin work on a presentation which was supposed to be the culmination of several weeks of data collection and analysis, as well as a semester’s worth of self-led computer science tutorials. Naturally, she was set to give the presentation at about 10:30 am today. The following ensued.

11:15 am: Even though I’ve been up for a few hours already (thanks, Wind Ensemble obligations), I just sat down in Butler. Since I don’t study in this library much, when I do go here, I tend to guide my actions with the adage What Would Finn Klauber Do – which usually leads me to either the eighth floor or the sixth floor reading rooms. Right now, it’s the latter. The room isn’t too crowded, the natural light from the windows is nice, and I am… already procrastinating. I have 22 hours and 45 minutes until my 10 am class tomorrow, when this presentation is due. Let’s get down to business.

11:25 am: Actually, scratch that, I need to go to the bathroom again.

11:28 am: I was going to write something making fun of the girl sitting next to me who has three (3) “Friends” stickers on her laptop, but then I remembered that I spent a half hour of my morning reading an article on “the top 100 pairings on AO3, ranked” earlier, so I really have no leg to stand on here.

12:01 pm: Have installed approximately 15 R studio packages. Not entirely sure what all of them do or if anyone will be useful for my project, but uh… I have them?

1:20 pm: Figured out how to do one (1) successful thing. Still feeling very proud of myself. Going to take a lunch break.

2:50 pm: Lunch break turned into an impromptu covering a protest break. I love Columbia.

The lack of productivity doesn’t stop there…

Apr

18

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Soon all those campaigning posters will be cleared away…

At 5 pm today, the results of Barnard’s Student Government Association’s 2018 elections were released in an email to Barnard students, as well as on MyBarnard. The election concluded with a record 49.9% voter turnout.

These results also included the verdict of the referendum on whether or not SGA should write a letter to the Barnard trustees encouraging Barnard’s divestment from eight companies that are associated with or support Israel. The referendum passed with 741 votes (64.3% of the students who voted). SGA’s Executive Board will draft this letter over the course of the next week, and the full council will vote on it during the council’s final meeting on Monday, April 30. A full statement about these referendum results can be found after the jump.

The incoming officers of the 2018-2019 Barnard College Student Government Association Representative Council are:

  • SGA President: Nicola Kirkpatrick
  • Vice President for Policy: Mia Lindheimer
  • Vice President for Campus Life: Hannah Stanhill
  • Vice President for Communications: Kim Samala
  • Vice President for Finance: Rachel Nordlicht
  • Jr. Representative to the Board of Trustees: Jessica Cruz
  • Representative for Inclusion and Equity: Tirzah Anderson
  • Representative for Campus Affairs: Chelsea Sinclair
  • Representative for Information and Technology: Yasmine Kaya
  • Representative for Arts and Culture: Phanesia Pharel
  • Representative for Health Services: Ava Adler
  • Representative for Food and Dining Services: Yeliz Sezgin
  • Representative for Seven Sisters Relations: Idris O’Neill
  • Representative for Sustainable Initiatives: Caroline Cutlip
  • Representative for Academic Affairs: Solace Mensah-Narh
  • Sr. Class President: Rhea Nagpal
  • Sr. Class VP: Hannah Yoo
  • Jr. Class President: Gabi Garcia
  • Jr. Class VP: Celine Zhu
  • Soph. Class President: Tina Gao
  • Soph. Class VP: Norah Hassan

Statement from SGA on the referendum results after the jump

Apr

17

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This article is brought to you by Excel’s pivot tables

While we were thoroughly covering every shout and tear of Columbia in-person housing selection, Barnard students were learning to use a new, entirely online selection system run through the StarRez portal. This system caused an uproar among rising seniors and faced a barrage of questions when it was announced in February, but how did it actually play out for Barnard students? EIC Betsy Ladyzhets took an in-depth look at the new system, backed up by the newly available data.

On February 10, 2018, the Barnard Residential Life & Housing office sent out an email to the Barnard student body announcing a new housing lottery system. Rather than an individually-based, in-person selection process, Barnard upperclassmen would pick their housing for the next year based on conglomerate group numbers in an entirely online system.

This new system immediately became a cause for concern, particularly among rising seniors who felt as though they had been cheated out of their chance to secure Barnard’s best suites. But how much did this new system actually affect students’ choices of rooms? What can be learned from this year’s selection process to improve future rounds of housing selection? In order to answer these questions, I spoke to Mia Lindheimer, BC ’19, the current SGA Representative for Campus Affairs (and a former Bwogger!), who has worked closely in liaising between students and Matt Kingston, Barnard’s Associate Director for Housing Operations, throughout the new process, and also examined the data available from Res Life on where each group in the Barnard lottery picked.

So, what changed?

Apr

14

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Mod, Josh Singer, and Liz Hannah (larger than life)

At a special edition of the Columbia Journalism School’s Film Fridays series, The Post was screened last night in Pulitzer, followed by a conversation with the film’s two screenwriters. EIC Betsy Ladyzhets (who found some of the film’s moments of miscommunication between WaPo’s EIC and publisher hitting a little too close to home) attended, and was appropriately inspired.

Last night, the Columbia Journalism School hosted a free film screening of The Post, followed by a conversation with the film’s screenwriters, Liz Hannah and Josh Signer. The Post, Steven Spielberg’s award-winning film, tells the story of the editors and publisher at The Washington Post who published articles about the Pentagon Papers (a highly classified document detailing the United States’ involvement in Vietnam) in 1971.  The screening was part of the J School’s Film Fridays series; this series, sponsored by the duPont awards, usually highlights exceptional documentary film making, but they made an exception in this case for a film that is a bit more fictionalized. This film features both “brave journalism” and “incredible storytelling,” one of the event’s organizers explained, and would prove inspirational to young and old journalists alike.

After some incredibly greasy pizza and a few technical difficulties, the audience settled in to watch the movie. The lecture hall was packed, mostly with J School students but also with professors, older journalists, and other members of the public – and everyone was enraptured for the full length of the film. The Post is perfectly crafted for inspiration, of course. Meryl Streep (as Katherine Graham), Tom Hanks (as Ben Bradlee), and all the other actors are masters at building powerful, emotional characters, and they are reinforced by gorgeous shots of a newspaper at work, a score by John Williams, and lines that send a direct message about the current political climate.

But what did the screenwriters talk about?

Apr

9

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img April 09, 20184:31 pmimg 3 Comments

Roar, lions, roar!

Last night, while students crammed into Butler to start the homework they pretended didn’t exist this past Saturday and one Bwogger strutted around in shorts because, and we quote, “summer starts after Bacchanal,” a few student council candidates had more political goals on their minds. Voting opened for Columbia College Student Council, Engineering Student Council, and other CC and SEAS student council positions at about 11:30 pm yesterday. A few hours before that, several of the running candidates spoke to the Bwog editorial team in order to present their platforms and answer our questions. During those meetings, we were particularly impressed by the CU Roar party: Jordan Singer, CC ‘19, for CCSC president; Elise Morgan Fuller, CC ‘19, for VP Policy; Adam Resheff, CC ‘19, for VP Finance; Sim Mander, CC ‘20, for VP Campus Life; and Isabella Lajara, CC ‘20, for VP Communications. We endorse this party for CCSC because we are confident in these candidates’ ideas for improving key areas of student life and fostering a more active campus community.

Much of CU Roar’s platform focuses on collaboration between different departments or groups, a facet often missing from the Columbia bureaucracy. Jordan Singer spoke about internal coordination between institutional resources such as CPS and ODS and with student groups active in mental health dialogues. She also explained plans to increase mentorship opportunities for students through surveys and more deliberate matching of students with faculty mentors, who would be able to help them navigate specific departments within Columbia and opportunities in their fields.

What else did Bwog like about their platform?

Apr

2

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A very nice floor plan for a not-so-known dorm!

During housing selection coverage this afternoon, Bwog staffers manning The Couch discovered a dorm about which we had not previously been aware: the brownstone at 627 W. 115th Street. We have not yet been able to gather information from actual current residents of this mysterious dorm, but we still quickly compiled this quasi-housing review in order to inform rising seniors and juniors who have yet to pick about the full breadth of their options.

Location: 627 W. 115th St., as the title suggests. This brownstone has yet to earn a colloquial name.

  • Nearby dorms: Woodbridge, Schapiro, the 600s, River
  • Stores and restaurants: 115th Street halal cart, Morton Williams, Starbucks, Sweetgreen, Pret A Manger, Shake Shack

History:

 627 W 115th St. was formerly the house of Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT), but became an official Columbia property after the frat lost it due to violations in spring 2013. The brownstone was renovated that summer, and became a dorm for primarily transfer students the following fall. A couple of select suites were available during housing selection last year (2017), similar to the situation for Carlton Arms, but the options open to students in regular selection are far greater this year. (It’s still under 10 suites, but for a dorm that has only 15 suites total, that’s a lot.)

Cost: The standard $9,538/year.

Amenities:

  • Bathrooms: Private – one per apartment.
  • AC/Heating: Yes to heating, no to AC.
  • Kitchen/Lounge: Each apartment has a small kitchen with a refrigerator, sink, and stove.
  • Laundry: Available in the basement.
  • Fire Escapes: None.
  • Gym: None in the building, but Dodge is pretty close.
  • Bike Storage: None.
  • Intra-transportation: No elevator – only stairs.
  • Hardwood/Carpet: No carpet.
  • Roof: Your own roof!!
  • Note: Unlike most Columbia dorms (but like most upperclass Barnard dorms), the kitchens and bathrooms in this brownstone are not cleaned every week by housing staff; residents are on their own.

Room variety:

  • This brownstone, similar to Symposium (548 W 113th St), consists of spacious studio singles, doubles, and triples. And when we say spacious, we do mean spaciousthe doubles range from 186 to 456 square feet, and the triple (on the first floor) is a whopping 923 square feet. Just check out these floor plans!
  • As of the writing of this post (after one day of housing selection), 3 studio doubles and 5 3-person apartments (one single and one double) are available during 2018 in-person housing selection.

Numbers:

  • One double (2A) and the triple (1A) have been taken so far, based on Bwog’s records from today; both went to groups with numbers above 30/2200.
  • Last year, 627 was not available in the housing lottery to the extent that it is this year, so it is not listed on Res Life’s cutoff history page. However, Bwog records from last year indicate that suite 5A went to 30/2575, suite 3C went to 28.33/2049, and suite 1B went to 20/945.
  • Tl;dr: there’s no real way to predict who will take the suites available this year, but we believe rising seniors who haven’t yet picked, mixed groups, and rising juniors with good numbers all have decent shots.

Bwog recommendation:

If you didn’t get that Watt two-bedroom apartment you coveted, are upset about how quickly the Woodbridge high-demand suites went, or really are any two- or three-person group picking tomorrow, you should seriously consider 627 W 115th. Sure, there’s no elevator and the lack of AC will be uncomfortable for a few weeks, but the rooms in this dorm are so big and so nice, a Res Life worker we spoke to said it really has no compare among Columbia housing options. 627 would give you a great location, recently renovated apartments, and hardly any neighbors. Plus, how often do you get the option to live in a real New York brownstone (with your own roof!) for only $9,538 a year?

If you currently live in this brownstone or know anyone who does, please drop us a line via tips@bwog.com, in the comments, on our social media, or literally in person in the John Jay lounge tomorrow. We would love to update this post with photos and resident opinions if at all possible.

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