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Dec

4

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This semester, a truly impressive number of fast-casual eateries have made their stake in Morningside Heights, many of them right on top of each other. First, Junzi Kitchen opened over the summer at 113th and Broadway, offering build-your-own Northern Chinese-style noodle bowls and (more recently) late nights with better booze than Mel’s. Then, Shake Shack opened its doors on 116th and Broadway just in time for NSOP, including a menu of local items such as “Heights Bites” and “Pie Oh My.” Then, about a month later, we began to see signs of a Panda Express on 111th and Broadway, as well as an H-mart at 110th. We wondered if these new East Asian eateries had something to do with the demise of Ollies, a Chinese restaurant that used to occupy Shake Shack’s current location.

In November, we discovered that a Pret a Manger was coming in as well, taking up residence right between University Stationers and Morton Williams. This store managed to get its shit together faster than a senior writing their entire thesis in one week, and opened only two weeks later, with breakfast and lunch giveaways the day before its official opening that had students lining up along Broadway. (Also like a senior writing their entire thesis in one week, Pret seems to be suffering from doing too much too fast; a sign in the store’s window this morning announced that they are temporarily closed due to a lack of hot water.)

Panda Express opened the day before Pret’s “soft opening,” greeting us with a friendly panda mascot on our walks into campus from 110. We’re still waiting on more news from H-mart, which appears to be nearing completion.

We’ve always known that MoHi secretly wants to be the Upper East Side, but this semester’s openings have really cemented that this neighborhood is giving in to gentrification and letting the chains take over. However, we’re optimistic that our longtime faves, like Absolute, Tom’s, and Hungarian, will stay strong enough to give us at least some claim to originality. And we’re hopeful that, among all of these new casual restaurants, a dive bar will slide its way in – we’ve replaced Ollies and Deluxe, sure, but something still needs to replace Cannon’s.

See photos of the new stores after the jump

Nov

29

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Can you see the stars?

A few weeks ago, we developed @notbwog, a Twitter bot that imitates Bwog headlines through a randomized generator based on our actual Twitter. This past weekend, the bot tweeted a headline so hauntingly excellent, we knew we had to develop it into an actual post. Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets ran this headline through several more random generators, ten rounds of Google Translate, and a couple of dril-inspired conversation programs. The results… may surprise you.

It is a cold and terror-filled night. You sit in your dorm room, scrolling through Facebook and nursing a beer stolen from your roommate’s mini-fridge. It tastes of fizz and piss and something heavier, something that sits beneath your tongue like the air just before a storm.

The wifi goes out. You stare at your laptop for a moment – but Facebook is stuck, frozen on the same pane. Your little cousin frowning at an ice cream cone she has dropped into her lap. Her bright green dress stained with chocolate. You refresh, and the page goes white, then tells you something has gone wrong. You reach forward, hoping blindly to knock some sense into the machine, and send your beer flying. Yellow-brown spills over the sides of your desk and onto your roommate’s soft, white rug, as though the asshole who lives three doors down broke in and pissed, just for fun. That’s the story you’ll tell your roommate tomorrow.

Something has gone wrong.

Nov

28

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Pret getting ready for business

The Pret A Manger storefront next to Shake Shack has become increasingly developed over the past couple of weeks, since we discovered that this chain would be opening a store just off campus. And it appears that those renovations will be complete very soon: Pret will be opening this Friday, December 1, a representative told us earlier today.

The eatery has also planned a soft opening for this Thursday, November 30, with giveaways taking place from 8 to 10 am and from 11 am to 1 pm. What will they be giving away? How many of those mystery items will be available? Why the break from 10 to 11 am? We don’t know, but we’re excited to find out.

Photo via Bwog Staff

Nov

14

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Edited, 11/14/17, 7:46 pm to reflect further investigation.

Early last Friday, Bwog received an anonymous tip from a member of the Barnard/Columbia theater community. This student claimed that a member of the creative team sexually assaulted her in spring of 2016. Student theater leaders who chose the creative team knew of the assault before appointing this member. The member himself was unaware of the allegation until Friday. The tipster wrote that despite alerting the leaders who chose the creative team member that he had assaulted her, he appeared “set to stay in his role”, because the rest of the creative team said they could not forcibly remove him without a formal complaint and investigation by the university. She encouraged Bwog to warn other students, “especially women”, against getting involved with this year’s show.

Other members of the theater community both within and outside of Bwog confirmed the tipster’s story, stating that they knew of other instances of sexual harassment perpetrated by the creative team member. Later that day, after discussions between the Varsity Show creative team and other students in the theater community close to the tipster, the accused member stepped down from the team. A public announcement on this change was made via the Varsity Show’s Facebook page.

That night, we received a statement from the student who stepped down. He explained that he stepped down because he “didn’t want the shadows of these allegations to weigh on the rest of the team.” This student “disputed” the tipster’s account, yet stated that “the most important thing to acknowledge right now is that [the tipster’s] pain is real”, and that he was “committed to reevaluating [his] understanding of relationships and boundaries.”

Although the accused student did not want his allegations to weigh on the rest of the Varsity Show team, in the minds of many members of the Columbia theater community, this issue is far from over. Several other theater organizations have been putting pressure on both the Varsity Show and CUPAL (the Columbia University Performing Arts League) to reconsider community guidelines regarding sexual respect. CUPAL is not a an advisory or governing board for performance groups, merely an umbrella organization that facilitates discussion between groups and helps to advise and advocate for these groups. Students in the theater community tend to view CUPAL as an organization with a great deal of power, however, particularly in this situation, as several integral members of the Varsity Show team are also closely tied to CUPAL.

On Monday, CUPAL has announced that it will be creating community guidelines; a town hall will be held this weekend with members of the CUPAL board, as well as its member organizations to discuss these guidelines. We reached out to CUPAL leadership for a statement, and were told that they will not be releasing a statement at this time.

The incident has also inspired many student groups in the performing arts community to create or revise similar guidelines.

Read the full tips we received from the alleged survivor and perpetrator after the jump

Nov

1

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Solidarity

Spending time in Columbia spaces as a Barnard student can often be intimidating and stressful, but we can always manage to find guys who make us feel as though we belong. Senior staffer Betsy Ladyzhets explains the phenomenon of the “Columbia Boys I Trust” list.

This past Sunday, as I considered the events of the previous night, I came to an important revelation: there were two guys I needed to add to my “Columbia Boys I Trust” list.

The “Columbia Boys I Trust” list isn’t an official document by any means. It’s not taped to a notebook, stuck on my fridge with a magnet, or even hidden in a secret file in the bowels of my computer. The list is all internal. I believe that if I wrote it down, it would somehow become less genuine, or at least lose its natural ability to grow without me consciously realizing it.

The list began some time around the end of my freshman year, when I realized that there were two guy friends whom I could always count on to swipe me into JJ’s (this was, for you underclassmen, back when Barnard students couldn’t swipe themselves into JJ’s at all). My friendship with these two people extended beyond access to fried food, of course; I could also count on them to laugh at my terrible jokes, let me rant to them about how frustrated I was by my First-Year Seminar, and listen to me read aloud from the comment sections of my fan fiction. A JJ’s swipe was important, but more important were the conversations we had inside JJ’s – conversations that made me feel as though I belonged there.

But this isn’t an isolated phenomenon…

Oct

10

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Maggie 2 proudly standing in her sister’s place on planting day last spring

Bwog has done lecturehops, peoplehops, clubhops, and roomhops, but this is our first time “hopping” an entity far greater than ourselves: the Barnard magnolia tree. But wait, you might ask – didn’t that tree die last year? In fact, while Maggie’s main body may be gone, her spirit and her genetic material live on. Senior staffer Betsy Ladyzhets talked to Greenhouse manager Nick Gershberg, who gave her all of the leafy details.

Almost two years ago, the Barnard campus stood still as Maggie, our beloved magnolia tree, was uprooted from her home in front of Lehman Hall, hoisted into the air with a forklift, and moved 30 feet to the left. Although administrators and horticulturists alike were optimistic that the tree would survive the move, the ensuing winter proved fatal. Maggie was pronounced dead that following summer, and the campus mourned the loss of one of its greatest hallmarks (and best crying spot).

However, what many Barnard students don’t know is, the magnolia was never entirely dead. Before the move took place, student workers at the Arthur Ross Greenhouse, led by Greenhouse Manager Nick Gershberg, took five cuttings of the tree. Two of those cuttings grew into saplings that are full clones of Maggie; one of them was planted on the Diana lawn last spring, and the other lives in the greenhouse.

“Whenever you move a large tree, even a tree substantially stronger than [the Barnard magnolia], there’s always a chance that it might not make it,” Nick explained to me yesterday. “The administrators who were responsible for its move decided that it might be a good idea to take some cuttings as a fail-safe.”

What does Maggie’s future look like?

Sep

30

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Elevator or spiritual portal?

One Barnard dorm’s elevators are not like every other dorm’s elevators. Do they contain a dark secret, or have they just not been renovated since the fifties? Senior Staffer Betsy Ladyzhets investigates.

Imagine – it’s 11:30 pm on a Sunday. I’ve got a mound of dirty clothes taking up space beside my bed and a hundred pages of reading due at 10 am the next morning that I haven’t started yet. So, I do the only logical thing: I grab a load’s worth of laundry and head out to the elevator.

But when I haul my clothes into the elevator and start going down, I realize a problem: the elevator button for the basement isn’t lighting up when I press it. Actually, it’s flickering, like a candle during a seance.

I breathe slowly, tell myself not to panic – it must just be a glitch, the elevator is fine. And it is fine, as far as it delivers me safely to… the first floor. The elevator is staunchly refusing to let me into the basement. I press the button a few more times, jamming on it as though breaking down a door, but it doesn’t give. Pissed, I drag my laundry bag out into the lobby, glaring around in the hopes of finding somewhere to redirect my malice.

What’s going on in this elevator?

Sep

24

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What this writer hopes not to look like in Cell Bio tomorrow morning

It’s 8:38 on Monday morning. You roll into your 8:40 lecture, slump into a seat, and lean over your desk, a weight stronger than gravity pulling your eyelids down. It’s too early for this. It’s too early for anything. But you’re gonna be tested on this material in in a few short weeks, so you need to at least take some notes. How do you fight the urge to nap through class? Senior staffer Betsy Ladyzhets has some suggestions.

  • Make coffee the night before: This is a simple but elegant fix. Make your coffee before you go to bed, stick it in the fridge overnight, then chug it right before you head out the door the next morning. If you’re a first-year without a coffeemaker, do this with a cup of coffee taken from the dining hall. For an extra boost, add something special to the coffee.
  • Bring snacks: It’s pretty much impossible to finish a full breakfast before an 8:40, so bring your breakfast with you! Whether your sustenance of choice is granola bars, bagels, or oranges, taking a couple bites every few minutes will keep you motivated. (If you are bringing oranges, though, make sure you have some paper towels.)
  • Psychoanalyze your professor’s clothing choices, body language, etc.: Why is he wearing an orange Hawaiian shirt? Does the placement of her hands on her hips mean that this is going to be on the midterm? Are clues to his marital status hidden in his chalk handwriting? Professors are full of clues, and it could take you a full hour and fifteen minutes to decode them.
  • Challenge yourself to take the best possible notes: Maybe it’s not necessary to meticulously recreate every single diagram on the powerpoint or every word that comes out of your professor’s mouth, but trying your best to do so will help give you incentive to keep from dozing off.

More advice after the jump

Sep

23

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During a symposium at the New York Botanical Garden last week, senior staffer Betsy Ladyzhets learned about an site that allows users to play with the environmental conditions of New York City, and she found it cool enough to share here.

Have you ever wondered what NYC looked like what the first Europeans landed here in 1609? Or are you perhaps interested in how NYC could look in the future, if our city follows the lead of other, more sustainable cities around the world and implements policies to combat climate change? If either of those questions appealed to you, Visionmaker NYC is probably your next procrastination device.

Visionmaker NYC is a site developed by the Welikia Project at the Wildlife Conservation Society (the nonprofit responsible for running the Bronx Zoo, as well as other research and conservation projects around the world). This team of researchers worked on collecting ecological information on the history of NYC, starting with Manhattan, then working outward to the other boroughs. This research has focused on the city’s biodiversity; the researchers hope to find out what NYC lacks in plant and animal communities, and what we could be doing better in order to preserve the wildlife in and around the city.

One major piece of the Welikia Project is public education – bringing the information that researchers have collected to non-scientists of NYC.  The Visionmaker site is a major part of that educational message: it allows users to explore the NYC of the past (“Welikia” means “my good home” in Lenape) and create their own visions for NYC of the future, by adjusting general lifestyles, precipitation levels, and other pieces of the wider NYC environment.

I spent some time playing around with the site today, particularly focusing in on Columbia – we’re (literally) greener than many other parts of the city, but we clearly still have a long way to go.

See some photos of Columbia’s terrain after the jump

Sep

21

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Ah, youth

Sometimes, in our daily lives at Columbia, we see another student do something so inspiring that we feel compelled to share their story with everyone on campus. Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets had such an experience a few nights ago.

At first glance, she seemed unassuming. Just another student milling through the Monday night JJ’s rush, her blonde hair bouncing above her shoulders. Only some aimless first-year, seeking fried food and easy procrastination material before returning to some Lit Hum paper.

But then, I looked closer, and realized that this was no typical JJ’s patron. This student was not eyeing the curly fries, joining the omelette line, or even partaking in the slightly questionable salad bar. No, this girl had a goal. A desire. A purpose. She passed lines and snack stations alike in a beeline to one corner, where the popcorn machine stood red and gleaming in the low fluorescent lights.

There is something oddly poetic about the JJ’s popcorn machine. It doesn’t quite fit with the sleek aesthetics of the rest of the dining hall, seemingly pulled from an old movie theater or a country fair. But this student didn’t waste any time pondering the machine’s metaphorical ramifications – she simply pulled open the glass door, popped the top of the take-out tray she was carrying, and began to fill the entire thing with buttery popcorn.

Let me repeat: she filled an entire take-out tray with just popcorn.

An entire take-out tray with just popcorn!

Sep

7

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How much are you willing to pay for these?

It’s not news to anyone that textbooks are ridiculously expensive – a beginning-of-the-semester trip to the Columbia Bookstore can cost as much as a bulk shopping trip to Costco, and that’s just criminal. In order to help you pinch some pennies this fall, editor Betsy Ladyzhets has compiled a list of places where you can buy or rent books for relatively reasonable prices.

1. CLIO: The Columbia library has a vast amount of resources, including many textbooks – both physical copies and PDFs. Search for all of your books on CLIO before you go literally anywhere else. And even if all the physical copies of your desired book have been checked out for the semester, there are likely some extra copies on reserve; if you know you’re only going to need the book a few times for problem sets or right before midterms, you should consider relying on those rather than buying the full book.

2. PDF searches: Another first step before you set out to pay for books is a PDF search. Literally all you need to do is Google “[your textbook title here] pdf” and look through the results. However, before you decide a pdf you found from some marginally-sketchy site is your book for the semester, you should cross-reference a few pages with a physical copy (from the bookstore or library reserves), in order to ensure it’s the real deal. (And then, after you’ve checked, send it to all your friends in the class.)

3. The StrandNYC’s oldest and most famous bookstore boasts that it’s home to 18 miles of books; there’s a good chance you can find at least one you need, probably used or at a lower price than what you’d get at Book Culture. It might be good to check the store’s online database before you make the trek down to the East Village, though. (This one is likely more useful for humanities classes requiring fiction or essays.)

More options after the jump!

Aug

29

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Yesterday afternoon, the Barnard Columbia Solidarity Network (BCSN, for short), an alliance of activist groups on campus, released a welcome letter to Barnard’s new president Sian Beilock. This alliance currently includes Divest Barnard for a Just Transition, Undocumented Students Initiative, Student-Worker Solidarity, Columbia University Apartheid Divest, CU/BC Branch of the International Socialist Organization, and No Red Tape.

The letter begins by introducing BCSN as a” coalition of student groups mobilized in a common struggle for liberation” that opposes consolidation of power, wealth, and resources “in the hands of a few” at Columbia. It then goes on to list a few recent victories for activism at Barnard and Columbia, including Barnard divesting from companies that deny climate change, Columbia divesting from the coal industry and private prisons, and student workers winning a $15 minimum wage.

After this introduction, BCSN cuts to the chase in expressing their concerns about President Beilock’s appointment: “the Barnard community was effectively locked out of the presidential search process”, they write, because student and faculty representatives were appointed rather than elected, and student concerns were trivialized. Debora Spar has left what BCSN considers a troubling legacy, as she failed to address needs of low-income students, undocumented students, students of color, and other groups of marginalized identities. And it seems that BCSN is not particularly impressed with President Beilock’s history, either; they cite her work at University of Chicago taking “a leading role in the administration’s assault on graduate student workers’ right to unionize”. In addition, the writers of this letter found President Beilock’s and Provost Bell’s statement on the events in Charlottesville wanting, as that statement failed to condemn white supremacist ideology, “explicitly defend the rights of students of color”, and “state what you [Barnard] will do… to stand for racial justice”.

See BCSN’s demands and read the full letter after the jump

May

10

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Our home during this hellish week?

Bwogline: A NYC lawyer raced a subway train on foot, and won. He’s no stranger to kicking the MTA’s ass – he previously won the Guiness world record for fastest time to travel through every station in the city – but he claims to be “done with the subway things for a while” after this victory. (NY Daily News)

Study tip: Change locations! Sitting in the same spot in your dorm’s lounge or the same room in Butler for several hours at a time can cause you to stagnate in your studying as well. Even just moving floors can help revive your motivation.

Music: Remember Owl City? Ten million fireflies, songs about the dentist, and instrumentals that were always vaguely reminiscent of outer space? Well, Adam Young, the man behind Owl City, is still making music – last year, he decided to take a break from pop to create a series of instrumental soundtracks for inspirational moments in human history (including the Apollo 11 mission, the first successful climb of Mount Everest, Joe Kittinger’s 1960 parachute jump, and more). All twelve of these soundtracks are great study music, and they’re all free on YouTube, Spotify, and Adam Young’s website.

Procrastination Tip: Turn off your wifi and play the no internet connection/jumping dinosaur game on Google Chrome. Then, keep your wifi turned off to get cracking on that paper.

Overheard: Outside Butler: “She’s more hated than Bwog.” Aw, we love our fans  (´ ε ` )♡

Home sweet home via February Bwog

May

9

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Butler reacts only

If you’re an English major facing a literature exam, or a classics major facing an astronomy exam, or any other writing-heavy humanities major facing any other kind of exam, there’s a decent chance you’re currently panicking about it. This is pretty understandable – you’ve trained yourself to make arguments in Word documents at 2 am, not in little blue books, and test-taking is a skill best honed with practice. To help assuage your despair, resident science/humanities double major Betsy Ladyzhets has some studying advice.

1. Re-type all of your notes. By not only reading through your lecture (or seminar) notes, but also re-typing them, you’ll really engage with the material. If your notes are sparse (or if you tended to take a brief nap around forty minutes into every class), find a friend to share notes with.

2. Make flashcards. Tons of flashcards. Mounds of flashcards. Mountains of flashcards. Every class can be a flashcard class if you believe it can. You can use up all of the paper in Butler to do this, or, if you’d rather not cramp up your wrist, use Quizlet.

Other ways to study for tests.

May

3

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Shreya Sunderram (left) and Allison Emmet (right) celebrating the launch of their podcast

A group of Barnard Speaking Fellows hosted an event last night in honor of the launch of their new podcast, “The Speakeasy”. Betsy Ladyzhets, Bwog Editor and Writing Fellow, attended the event, and was both entranced and inspired by the podcast’s words.

Last night, a group of Barnard Speaking Fellows led by Allison Emmet (BC ’18) released the first season of their new podcast, “The Speakeasy.” The goal of the Speaking Center is to help Barnard students become more comfortable with their voices and with the act of public speaking, and to be more thoughtful in what they say; Speaking Fellows do this through workshops with students, both individually and in small groups. “The Speakeasy” is a less formal extension of the Center’s goal, as its episodes discuss the relationship of speech to other social issues affecting Barnard students. The first season, which went up on iTunes last night, includes four episodes on speaking anxiety, activism, gender, and professionalism.

To celebrate the podcast’s launch, the Speaking Fellows hosted an event in a small Altschul lecture room. I’ve had a class in that room all semester, but when I stepped inside, I almost didn’t recognize it – the space had been transformed with low lighting, string lights, couches, streamers, and even a rug. Blackboards were adorned with Speaking Center mottos and a written-out link to the Center’s website. One Speaking Fellow brought in a group of large silver balloons spelling out the word “SPEAK” a few minutes into the event, just in case attendees were still unclear on the identity of their hosts. A classroom in which I once took an organic chemistry exam now felt like a comfortable space for a study break, where I could forget my responsibilities for an hour or two.

Poems, music, etc.

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