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Apr

20

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A look from Broadway into the McIntosh Dining Room on the second floor of the Diana Center. It's a very orange building in its walls and carpets.

This room looks much orange-er in the daytime

It’s election season in all the undergraduate schools, and Barnard is no exception. The Student Government Association held a candidates forum last night, and Bwogger Ross Chapman went to review the forum. 

Barnard’s SGA is much nicer than Columbia’s CCSC. At the very least, the speakers at SGA’s Candidates’ Forum were much more polite than those at the CCSC debate. Tuesday night’s event in the McIntosh Dining Room in the Diana center were characterized more by snapping than shouting. In the last SGA event before polls opened at 11 pm, Fall 2017’s candidates gave two-minute speeches on their platforms and took questions from the audience.

Fourteen of the twenty-two positions up for election were uncontested, including three of the five positions on SGA’s executive board. Also uncontested were all of the President and Vice President positions for the class councils. Further downplaying the competitive nature of the night were about a half-dozen stand-in speeches, where abroad (or busy) candidates had their speeches read by confidantes.

Even those who ran unopposed still gave passionate speeches and took questions. Nominee for Campus Affairs Rep Mia Lindheimer, also a Deputy Editor for Bwog, advocated for “a technology overhaul” to fix the Barnard sign-in system and policies. Tamar Dayanim, Nominee for Junior Rep to the Board of Trustees, wanted transparency (a theme of the night) from the student reps who spoke to the trustees. Evie McCorkle, running for VP of finance, rattled off her impressive SGA track record and spoke of her partnership with Nominee for Sophomore President Rose Reiken to subsidize laundry costs. And one of the last speakers of the night, Nominee for VP of Campus Life Aku Acquaye, encouraged all nominees present of their success in student leadership, and expressed excitement for all of the women of color running for positions.

At the Representative level, battles were fought over the reps for Sustainable Initiatives, Inclusion and Equity, Food and Dining, Seven Sisters Relations, and Health Services. Both Food and Dining nominees called for better labeling of ingredients and more options for vegan and Halal diets. Kristen Akey demanded answers from Aramark on how local and sustainable Barnard’s ingredients are, while Sarah Bronicser advocated for better swipe sharing and meal donation while making a token appeal to food insecurity.

More SGA after the jump.

Apr

18

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The expanding brain meme in two frames, with the first reading "Playing football on the lawns," and the second saying "Playing football on the tarps."

Next step: playing football in Butler?

Time is running out before Columbia’s lawns fall victim to commencement. Before that happens, let us celebrate via power rankings the best and worst sports and activities to play on Columbia’s lawns.

1.Sunbathing – While you can do this on the thin strips of lawn along College Walk, it’s best done on the wide expanses of the South Lawns. You can best enjoy the open lawns by doing literally nothing while outside.

2. Eating – Grass, also known to experts as “nature’s dining room,” is the perfect place to sit and chow down, whether you’re enjoying Surf and Turf or indulging in Sweetgreen. While you might suffer a stain, it’s worth it to feel that plush grass under your fingers.

3. Spikeball/KanJam – Let’s face it – these are basically the same game, played by the same people. While you should inherently distrust anyone playing these games, it’s hard to deny that their unorthodox playstyles and small space requirements make them fun to watch while walking by and ideal for a college lawn.

4. Kicking around a soccer ball, but knowing nothing about soccer – “Hey, let’s pretend that the lawn gate is a goal!” This never works. Seeing people attempt to make it work, but tripping over the ball, is a quintessential lawn experience.

More Columbia sports after the jump

Apr

17

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A woman appearing to be Dean Cristen Scully-Kromm crouching after finishing a vault over a closed fence onto a Butler south lawn.

She’s a sneaky dean

Lawn access isn’t great at Columbia. For most of the year, they’re covered in tarps, and when it finally gets warm, they’re taken away almost immediately for commencement. While student council candidates promise to improve lawn access, one brave administrator decided to take matters into her own hands. A tipster sent us photos purporting to show Dean of Undergraduate Student Life Cristen Scully Kromm hopping the fence of one of Butler’s lawns. A red flag flying over the lawn was not enough to deter the adventurous dean from vaulting over the barrier. Why she needed lawn access is a mystery yet to be solved – maybe she wanted to engage in a particularly energetic game of Spikeball. Dean Kromm has vocalized her support for greater lawn access in the past – it’s good to see admins being the change they want to see on the campus.

We haven’t seen a dean have this much trouble navigating campus since Deantini had to snap a photo of a campus map.

Additional photos of the scandalous incident are below:

Photos via Tip Form

Apr

9

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The CMTS Senior Showcase cast stands in a line in front of the audience, singing a song from Spring Awakening in front of a brick wall.

“The weirdest shit is still to come”

Senior Staffer and Sports Editor, Ross Chapman reviewed the last performance by CMTS’s seniors. 

On Friday night, musicians and actors from the Class of 2017 gathered in front of a friendly audience in the Glicker-Milstein Theatre for one final performance at Columbia. Far from the theatrical formality of the usual CMTS show, the atmosphere Senior Showcase was one of low stakes and celebration. Eleven seniors, all of whom have participated in musical theater on campus and some of whom have come to define it, performed 17 compartmentalized numbers from their favorite shows. While the show ostensibly had no theme, it was clear that the seniors were singing and acting in reflection theatrical pasts and with anxious optimism for whatever may come next.

The show began with a company performance of “What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?” the opening number to Avenue Q which introduces a protagonist exiting college and entering the “real world.” The singers substituted “English” for “Theater,” immediately signaling to the crowd that the showcase had no pretention of faithfully and sacredly reproducing every note. (For timing or symbolic purposes, the company did not perform the song’s segue into “It Sucks to Be Me.”) Following this was a series of solo and small ensemble works, performed in front of a faux-brick wall with lights strung up on top. This casual, close-knit, coffee shop atmosphere was reinforced by sparse lighting cues (save for in one number) and a cooperative audience, who cheered and laughed even when nothing too funny was happening. Both the 7 pm show was a sell-out, a testament to how much students wanted to see their friends’ final hurrahs.

More on the show after the jump!

Apr

3

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That is one high rise

So you’re finally a senior. Ready to move back on campus? Ready to relive some of those Carman vibes? Well, with a highrise suite in East Campus, you can. Check out these views. 

Location: 70 Morningside Drive – Accessible through the Wien Courtyard or via Revson Plaza.

  • Nearby dorms: Wien. Also, Plimpton, if you squint your eyes.
  • Stores and restaurants: HamDel, two halal carts, Appletree Market, SubsConscious, Che Bella, University Stationers, Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor, Friedman’s.

Cost:

  • The cost for upperclassman housing is now standard: $9,292. The dorm was priced at $10,120 last year, in the most expensive tier.

Amenities:

  • Bathrooms: Every setup gets a bathroom. Two-person flats have 38 sq. ft. bathrooms, while 5- and 6- person suites are a bit bigger to accomodate a second sink and a stalled-off toilet. Even the 6th floor has bathrooms! They all get cleaned weekly. Public second floor bathrooms are pretty gross. Suite bathrooms feel a bit better, but they would take some effort on the part of the residents to look clean.
  • AC/Heating: It has A/C, which is a predictably a huge plus in the early months/during NSOP ragers.
  • Lounge: Floor and building lounges exist, and can be described mostly as “just fine.” Floor Lounges are on the 12th, 14th, and 20th floors, and they have microwaves. Large, lounge-y living spaces define EC – they’re normally well-lit in the days and lit at night. Living spaces are on separate floors from suite bedrooms and the same floor as two-person flat and double rooms.
  • Kitchen: Suites and flats get kitchens. Kitchens come with dishwashers (not super powerful), fridges, ovens, and stoves. Microwaves not provided, but they exist in floor lounges. They’re cramped if you want to have multiple people cooking in them.
  • Laundry: Takes place in the basement. There’s a lot of machines. Like, 30 washers and dryers.
  • Fire escapes: No good access.
  • Bike storage: Bike storage is available underneath EC in the Wien Courtyard.
  • Computer/printers: Available on floors 10 and 18. One printer and a half-dozen computers per lounge. There is also a printer in the lobby.
  • Gym: Floors 8 and 16 have cardio rooms with treadmills/ellipticals.
  • Intra-transportation: Two elevators are pretty fast, but they often have to make a lot of stops. Occasionally, maintenance takes one over, and then there’s one elevator for the whole place. Two stairwells, one on the elevator side of the floor and one exit-only staircase on the far side.
  • Hardwood/carpet: Carpeted hallways, hardwood suite common areas. Doubles are carpeted. Bedrooms are hardwood. If you look close, you can find some linoleum in some of the kitchens.
  • Bonus: Relatively large music practice rooms on three odd-numbered floors. Par-tays.

Tell us about the weird room sizes!

Mar

29

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Stop and Frisk and Broken Windows go hand in hand, per MJP

In a presentation on Tuesday night to a packed room at the School of Social Work, the Morris Justice Project presented findings and methodology in a talk called “Stop and Frisk?” The Morris Justice Project is a community initiative from the South Bronx in a very heavily-policed community. The project was created in 2011, when NYPD officers conducted nearly 700,000 stops.

As opposed to most graduate school talks, this event made no pretensions of high academia – the Project prides itself on performing and presenting its research for its community, not for scientific publication. Tuesday’s talk took that element to heart, detailing how the Project centered itself on the community.

The Morris Justice Project began in a public library from the lived experiences of members of a community. Members at the talk described a vibrant community that was “bullied and harassed” by police officers. One speaker described how he didn’t want to go outside for fear of being stopped, and another told a story of a client who was arrested for robbery, even though he had just spent the last hour meeting with the speaker. Several members were horrified by how regular police stoppages seemed to their children. The existing statistics, even those that came from the government, corroborated the story that neighborhoods like this one in the South Bronx were disproportionately targeted by the police as compared to white and wealthy communities.

Read on for how the MJP turned their vision into “street science.”

Mar

26

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Tulips in West Side Community Garden

One way to help is by gardening in the community!

If you’re confused about all of the yellow balloons on campus, today is Columbia Community Outreach Day of Service, when Columbia encourages student groups to get involved and give back to the community. If you’re participating, good for you! But whether you are or not, you can help the community more than just one day out of the year. In honor of the Day of Service, we’ve compiled some resources for Columbia students looking for ways to help out.

Find ways to volunteer through:

  • Deed, “an on-demand app that makes volunteering easy,” purports to be an “Uber for volunteering” which connects volunteers who can’t commit to weekly volunteer spots. Not currently available on Android.
  • NYC Service, a 2009 creation in response to calls for volunteerism by President Obama, has listings for official NYC government-sponsored events, but also lists miscellaneous opportunities.
  • New York Cares focuses especially on three key issue areas of education, immediate needs, and public spaces.
  • VolunteerMatch.org, which lists over 1000 opportunities in NYC, also offers over 100,000 volunteer positions across the nation.
  • Cherry Ivy attempts to “make philanthropy accessible” by showing how easy it can be to get involved.
  • Idealist,  run by Action Without Borders, has been around since 1995 and promotes over 2,500 opportunities in NYC.

And if you’re looking for some specific ways to help out:

Opportunities on and off campus after the jump!

Mar

25

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Prezbo is the new sun

The Gadsden Flag, also known as the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, which originated as a symbol of the American Revolution, has turned into a racist symbol as recognized by the EEOC. The flag has also been a favorite target of editing for enemies of the alt-right. To celebrate our experiences at Columbia, consider flying these new flags in your dorm room. Whether you want to support Manhattanville, mourn Bored@Butler, or show your distaste for Spec, we’ve got you covered.

Mar

24

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A promotional photo for CUPAL's "Bodies Redefined," featuring the five actresses in dance poses with a superimposed title card

We hope you like dancing

The Columbia University Performing Arts League is performing Bodies Redefined, an ensemble piece based on the cast’s experiences and reexamines the roles of body and gender through voice work, acting, and dance. The performance will take place tonight and tomorrow night at 8 pm in the Lerner Black Box. Senior Staff Writer Ross Chapman reviews the performance.

Every semester, the Columbia University Performing Arts League offers up a Special Project, a short-form theatrical venture which pushes the limits of the medium. Bodies Redefined, this semester’s effort produced by Lindsey Rubin (GS/JTS ’19) and directed by Antonia Georgieva (CC ’18) and Kosta Karakashyan (CC ’19), continued that tradition of original Columbia avant-garde.

To call Bodies Redefined a play would be difficult at best and dishonest at worst. The five actresses do not take on characters, and the scene structure fails to provide a coherent narrative. The work employs seven scenes and five monologues, ostensibly to “envision what it means to belong to a certain gender and in what ways [the body is] envisioned or transformed through such interactions,” per the directors’ note.

Gendered experience takes center stage in Bodies Redefined. The show draws inspiration (and at times entire scripts) from Ovid, e.e. cummings, and Julia Kristeva to supplement the supremely personal monologues. The ensemble scenes made wide use of dance, indicative of the fact that the film’s two directors focused separately on dance and theater. If the acting in the scenes was overstated to match its source material, the monologues were understated and real. They focus on crying, dreaming, and loving, and take place on bare crates in the center of a 3-walled black box setup. Sitting in the center of the middle section of seats, I felt as though the speakers were truly recounting personal experiences. Whether or not the monologue on catcalling was entirely nonfiction was irrelevant to how deeply it pointed to the feminine experience at Columbia.

Whether or not the event had humor was also hard to decode. The dissonance between a Greek tale and a campfire story, for instance, was palpable and entertaining, but the mood of the scenes before seemed to suppress laughter from the crowd. One scene was overtly humorous, but the brightest jokes alluded to harsh gendered realities. The ambiguity made me wish for something like Latenite’s laugh track to make the difficult scenes easier to digest.

While the show hit the gender nail on the head, it failed to live up to its name by creating commentary on the body. Some of that material may have been hidden into Kristeva’s esoteric text, or in the intricacies of the dance, but the creative team could have done more to highlight the body and its creation and transformation to match their ambitious goals.

Regardless, Bodies Redefined lives up to Special Project’s short legacy of experimentation. Its monologues are powerful, its choreography is imaginative, and its material is quintessentially Columbian, from Lit Hum allusions to campus creeps.

Bodies Redefined will play at 8 pm on Saturday and Sunday in the Lerner Black Box, with tickets available for purchase at the TIC. The runtime is approximately 30 minutes.

Promotional photo via Facebook

Mar

10

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Students and Faculty Line Up Outside of Low Library, Demanding Negotiation

“What do we want?” “Negotiation!”

On Tuesday morning, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of the Graduate Workers of Columbia University. The union, represented by UAW 2110 (the same group responsible for Barnard Contingent Faculty, among others), now has no legal barriers between themselves and the University which can delay the negotiating process.

Columbia University had previously appealed to NLRB on multiple grounds. While they challenged the union’s ability to unionize in the first place (which was controversially confirmed by the board in August), they also alleged that the union had engaged in electioneering, improperly pressuring voters by keeping surveillance, stationing union members near polling places, and not requiring consistent voter identification. However, the board ruled twofold against the University. First, they struck down several of the University’s individual claims about electioneering. For example, for a claim about stationed union members, interviews revealed that the mere presence of union members at tables in front of Earl Hall was not sufficiently deleterious to the election process. On the second point, the NLRB determined that the University failed to prove that its objections would have been enough to swing the nearly 1,000 vote victory earned by the union.

On Thursday afternoon, GWC-UAW 2110 took to in front of Low Library to demand action from the University. In its negotiations with BCF, union members felt that Columbia intentionally dragged its feet in order to prevent the union from performing effectively. Thursday’s protest involved representatives standing all around Low Library, holding a roll of paper showing the names of signatories requesting immediate action from the University. It also featured a symbolic “negotiating table,” a holding table at the base of Low Steps. The demonstration lasted approximately an hour, and ended with an emphatic, “We’ll be back!”

Protest image via Bwog

Mar

7

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The Gottesman Library at Teachers College, unique for its treadmill desks.

Over the last month, Bwog has compiled 17 reviews of Columbia libraries around campus with the goal of promoting spaces other than Butler to the student body. With our project complete and midterms underway, we’d like to present one post with information from and links to every library review. Take a look at the specific pros and cons, or just pick a time to study (standard hours sourced from the Libraries website) and a random place that’s open!

The libraries are listed roughly in descending size order, but first, some preliminary suggestions:

  • Prettiest libraries: Burke/UTS, East Asian, Avery
  • Best libraries for collaboration: Science and Engineering, Business, Barnard
  • Most unique libraries: Teachers College, Journalism, Music and Arts
  • Best libraries for cracking down: Butler, Social Work, Science and Engineering

200-400 Seat Libraries:

Business, 130 Uris Hall.

  • This crowded library is one of the largest spaces for collaboration on campus, featuring a dense main area of circular tables and a mezzanine of group study rooms.
  • Bwog recommendation: “This library has a very unique feel. It allows you to chit chat, yet compels you to do work. Come here to feel inspired to get your life together.”
  • Quote from the review: “If you like doing work in a high school cafeteria this is the library for you.”

More Columbia Libraries

Mar

5

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The Women's Basketball team bench cheering after a made three-pointer in Levien Gymnaisum

A lot to look forward to, but a lot left behind

As Basketball season came to an end, Bwog’s Sports Editor Ross Chapman weighed in on the performance and the future of Columbia’s basketball team. 

Both Columbia Basketball seasons came to an end on Saturday night with close losses to the Yale Bulldogs. The women’s team ended their season at 3-11 in Ivy play, following a program-best 10-3 out-of-conference effort. The men’s season finished at 5-9, but it wasn’t certain whether or not the team would head to the postseason until Penn defeated Harvard about ten minutes later. Penn’s victory shut the door on the Lions, who had a 6-7 preseason. And while both teams will lose crucial pieces, the immediate future looks bright in Levien Gym.

The women’s team’s 3-11 Ivy mark matches their score from 2013-14 campaign, and exceeds every record since then. Coach Griffith’s first year will be hard to judge until we see the development of some of team’s younger players in the coming years, but the team is already more energized and competitive than it has been in the last several years. While four seniors are graduating, including two starters, the team is led by Camille Zimmerman, who returns next year with only 39 points between her and the Lions’ all-time points leader.

What about men’s bascketball team?

Mar

3

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Loretta Mester & Belinda Archibong in Sulzberger Hall

Let me tell you something about the economy…

As the latest in a series of Power Talks with successful Barnard alumnae, the Athena Center invited Loretta Mester, BC ’80, to talk about her experience as the President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. The talk, introduced by Athena Center Director Kathryn Kolbert and moderated by Assistant Professor of Economics Belinda Archibong, hit some common talking points of female empowerment, but spent much of its Q&A time mired in the details of economic policy.

Despite her current job in economics, Mester came to Barnard with an interest in math, which she picked up in her Baltimore-area public school. She credits Watergate, which occurred the summer before her first year at Barnard, with giving her an interest in policy. Seeing Econ as a mixture of math and policy, and noticing that the Barnard economics major was only eight courses (compared to today’s 12), Mester double majored in Economics and Mathematics. She applied to graduate school for mathematics, but was convinced by a few letters from Princeton University to apply her math skills in economics. From this serendipity, which led her to her current success, Mester drew the first lesson she imparted on the evening – “Be open  to things that you’re not expecting to come.”

More Mester and her views on her experience as a woman in the Fed after the jump

Mar

2

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Six members of the Columbia basketball team cheering from the sidelines

Is cheering all they do?

Sports editor Ross Chapman is back with more expert basketball analysis. This time, he’s writing about Conor Voss, John Sica, and Peter Barba – three players who started their Columbia basketball legacy on the bench.

Levien Gym, Columbia’s basketball gym of 2,700 fans, loves Conor Voss. The 7’1″ senior center has always been the tallest Lion, but he hasn’t always used that height on the court – Voss logged only 142 minutes in his first three seasons at Columbia. But Voss has made himself a team presence since when he was learning to play the center role from Cory Osetkowski. Even on a slow day at Levien, Voss could always be found jumping and cheering from the bench when a teammate hit an exciting three or rejected an opposing shot. His enthusiasm was infectious. When Voss started to get minutes in nearly every game, the passion he gave was returned by his teammates.

Voss’s evolution from bench character to offensive and defensive threat is impressive, but it happens all the time. Every year, seniors graduate and new players have to step up – in basketball and everywhere else. What those players do, and how they train and perform, determines the future of this Lions squad We talked with Conor Voss, John Sica, and Peter Barba to learn more about this transformation.

How do these players evolve?

Mar

1

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Canada Goose Jacket Found Orgo Night Poster From Fall 2015

more than just Canada Goose was “lost” here…

For the first-years who don’t know, Cannon’s was a Columbia bar at 108th and Broadway. While the business hadn’t actually been called Cannon’s since 2004 (it turned into O’Connell’s, and then into Tara Hill), the venerated bar was a well-attended watering hole since the 1930’s. Last June, Cannon’s announced that it would be shutting its doors, much to the dismay of many a social drinker. But one thing we won’t miss about Cannon’s was how much stuff went mysteriously missing there.

The bar had a knack for taking people’s coats and hiding them away in that same abyss where all of your sharp pencils go. Records of coats disappearing at Cannon’s go back to Spring 2011, and reports of jacket theft and loss went on until the bar’s closing. Spring 2015 was a particularly disastrous semester for North Faces and Canada Gooses – the Class of 2018 Facebook group alone reported 22 instances of loss or theft at Cannon’s. And this brings up the question: just how much stuff did Columbia students lose at Cannon’s?

Using this data from the Class of 2018, we decided to make a back of the envelope calculation for how many dollars worth of clothing and accessories vanished at 108th Street. While this article will make no claim as to whether or not Cannon’s was simply a front for reselling Canada Goose jackets, it will make several assumptions.

  • Assume that first-years are twice as likely to go to Cannon’s as other students, as evidenced by the the need for a CCSC resolution to make Cannon’s more accessible to non-Freshmen; ignore the graduate school population, as they mostly frequented other bars.
  • Assume that theft has occured at least since Spring 2011 at a relatively constant level. However, treat Fall 2015 as a particularly bad semester, with 50% more theft than the average semester.
  • Assume that 25% of losses at Columbia go unreported, at least among the underclassmen, due to embarassment.

Now, we examined each report from the first-years of Fall 2015 and estimated the dollar value of items lost.

Get the real numbers after the jump.

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