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img September 07, 20166:52 pmimg 0 Comments

If you’re CCSC Bureau Chief, you can report on the (still) non-functional CCSC website!

Interested in the goings-on of student government? Want to see if your elected representatives actually do stuff in their meetings? Join Bwog and become a student council Bureau Chief! The position entails attending the weekly meeting for which you’re responsible and then writing about it for the next day. You may even be asked for your opinion on issues affecting the student body!

We’re looking for a CCSC Bureau Chief and an SGA Bureau Chief (bonus: if you cover SGA, you also get the alternate title of “Barnard Bearoness”). If you’re interested, send us an email at telling us which meeting you would like to cover.

Is this the CCSC website? Or is this?



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img May 13, 201610:02 pmimg 4 Comments

Reflecting on the semester via illustrations

Reflecting on the semester via illustrations

In our last Semester in Review, we noted that this was the fourth semester in a row in which a new Editor-in-Chief took the helm of Bwog. We never could have anticipated that we would be saying something similar only a few months later.

At the end of each semester, we look back at the most significant events that swept through the Columbia community. Yet this time we also take stock of the tides that have swept through Bwog itself. As many of our readers reflect on who they want to be when they return in the fall, so too will Bwog.

We present this Semester in Review much in the same way as we have in the past, reminding our readers of controversies they may have forgotten and ones that they cannot forget. Internally, Bwog will continue to look back as we plan for our future.

Until fall, 

Rachel Deal, Editor-in-Chief
Maddie Stearn, Managing Editor

The semester started off tragically with a bus crash in Honduras that killed two Columbia students and one CUMC nurse. The campus came together to mourn their passing.

Later in January, we criticized the sorority recruitment process, and then Theta proved our point.

January 30th marked Bwog’s 10th birthday! Several of our past Editors-in-chief wrote letters to Bwog throughout February, telling us to be nicer, to never get old, and that we messed everything up (so help me Bwog!).

What else happened at CU this year?



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img April 20, 20167:02 pmimg 4 Comments

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.



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img January 27, 201612:33 pmimg 27 Comments

On Monday, January 25, Anushua (Shua) Bhattacharya published an op-ed in the Spectator about her experience with sorority recruitment and sorority culture on campus. Over the past few days, other women who are in sororities or have resigned from sororities on campus have reached out with their perspectives in response to Shua’s op-ed. In this piece, Deputy Editor Rachel Deal explores the sorority experience at Columbia, from problems with recruitment to the pressures of sorority culture–specifically the pressure to remain silent. The article focuses on Shua Bhattacharya and two other women–Laura and Sarah–whose names have been changed due to their wishes to stay anonymous. The article incorporates experiences and comments from other sorority sisters as well.

All sororities were contacted during the development of this piece: five sororities declined to comment for various reasons, and one did not respond to our request.

For Shua Bhattacharya, the sorority recruitment process was uncomfortable. She outlines this feeling in her op-ed, and though she originally enjoyed and felt validated by belonging to her sorority, Sigma Delta Tau, this excitement grew stale. She started to realize that the bonds she had formed with most of her sisters were based on drinking and partying, not on things that were actually important to her. She went inactive, and realized that she could still remain friends with the sisters she grew close to, but not partake in sorority culture. “I wanted to believe that Greek Life at a school like Columbia could be different,” she said, “that the sorority would be about empowering women and valuing long-lasting friendships that weren’t based on drunken nights and receiving validation on social media.” When she tried to voice her concerns to members of her sorority, her negative experiences were brushed off, and she was told that all sororities were like theirs.

DFMO = "dance floor makeout"

From one of the Theta GroupMe’s. DFMO = “dance floor makeout”

Laura, too, went through the recruitment process her sophomore year after transferring from a different college. “I thought that I would get a family,” she said, “and I thought that there would be a common goal.” In a way, she thinks her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, did have a common goal, but not one that she was expecting or was necessarily comfortable with. “The goal, I realized, was overwhelmingly booze and boys,” two of the banned topics of conversation during recruitment. “There’s nothing wrong with partying, but I didn’t want it to be the focal point of being in a sorority,” she said. She wishes the recruitment process had revealed her sorority’s emphasis on partying earlier.

Sarah went through recruitment her freshman year, and her decision came down to two sororities: ”One of them felt like home, and one of them was filled with the kinds of girls I had always wished I could be.” She chose the latter, and she regretted it from the beginning. “I never felt like I belonged,” she said, and she didn’t understand why her sorority had chosen her. “I thought they picked me because they thought I would fit in, but I felt like I was nothing like my other sisters.” According to Sarah, the culture of her sorority focuses on “who can be the most well-known on campus, and who knows the most boys in frats.” Sarah is still a member of her sorority, Delta Gamma, fearing the disdain she would face if she were to resign. Like Shua, though, she has found that her concerns have gone unheard. “If I disaffiliated, I would be an outcast. They would say that I didn’t try to work things out, but I did try.” She expressed her dissatisfaction to the leadership of her sorority, and was told that other sisters felt that way, too. “They didn’t tell me who, though, and they didn’t do anything to address my concerns.”


Sorority recruitment at Columbia takes place over the course of a single weekend. The process begins Thursday evening and goes through Sunday, with three different rounds. The first round, “Philanthropy,” spans Thursday evening and all day Friday. This is the first time Potential New Members (or PNMs) briefly meet two to three sisters of each of the six sororities. Afterwards, the following rounds are invitation-only, based on the brief conversations a few sisters have with each PNM the day before. The next round is called “Development,” consisting of similarly brief “parties” in either Faculty House or a first-year dorm lounge, followed by more cuts for the next round on Sunday, called “Preference Night,” after which PNMs list the sororities from which they would want to receive a bid.

An excerpt from the 2015 Alpha Chi Omega recruitment handbook

An excerpt from the 2015 Alpha Chi Omega recruitment handbook

The rules of recruitment are strict—leading up to formal recruitment, sorority sisters and PNMs are not supposed to interact. There are dress codes for each day, and the requirements are particularly harsh for current sisters, who are required to wear a certain formulaic outfit each day, and whose outfits must get approved beforehand. Sisters and PNMs are told to stay away from discussing any of the 4 B’s—booze, boys, brownstones, and bars. According to women who have previously gone through recruitment, the process feels “tiring, repetitive, and superficial.”

Recruitment at Columbia is rushed (no pun intended).



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img November 14, 20151:32 pmimg 0 Comments

Herbal remedies and over-the-counter drugs: or, the solution to your health problems.

Herbal remedies and over-the-counter drugs: or, the solution to your health problems.

Today’s college students may be youthful, physically fit, wildly intelligent, extracurricularly engaged, and former “leaders” of their high schools, but they’re not actually superhuman–they, too, are subject to illnesses, injuries, viruses, diseases, and unwanted pregnancies. Bwogger Rachel Deal investigates just how easy it is to make appointments at Columbia Health, a *potential* cure for these myriad bodily dilemmas.

B-of-the-E Assumptions

  • Assuming you’re actually sick: appointments at Columbia Health for the following day are available at 9:30pm on the website. You’ll probably forget about this, though, and have to settle for a drop-in appointment.
  • Assuming you’re seeking some other kind of health care, which the website deems “future medical visits”: despite there being a section on the website for said kinds of appointments (for things such as vaccinations and contraception), there are actually never any appointments on the website, so you’ll have to call in.
    • Assume that a lot of other people are trying to take advantage of the benefits of Columbia Student Healthcare (particularly first years who are no longer on their parents’ insurance–it’s now so easy to get birth control without your parents knowing!), so they’re also scheduling “future medical visits.” Let’s say 1/10 of the first years, so 212 students, and about 50 more randos, so 262.
  • Appointment lengths can vary from 15 to 45 minutes, so assume they’re each 30 minutes long.
  • Assume 70% of the appointments are released online the night before, 20% are designated for walk-ins, and the remaining 10% are set aside for other medical services.

Keep reading for the mathemagic



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img October 13, 20151:02 pmimg 0 Comments

Juuuuuust right to grace the bums of Columbia students across campus.

Juuuuuust right to grace the bums of Columbia students across campus.

Some of the best minds of the University came together for the weekly ESC meeting to discuss toilet paper. Okay, they discussed more than just that… staff writer Rachel will give you the info.

Last night’s ESC meeting was concise and mainly consisted of announcements, with council members speaking on topics such as group adjudication, toilet paper, and the package center.

President Caroline Park met with Vice President for Campus Services Scott Wright to discuss the toilet paper on campus. The toilet paper is currently 2-ply and recycled, but she says they are working on organizing a “touch test” (which she compared to a taste test for food) of other kinds that are softer (but possibly not recycled paper).

Park is also going to a meeting later in the week to discuss the procedure for group adjudication (the disciplinary process for student groups). In the past, she explained, individuals have gotten in trouble with the university for the actions of an entire student group–something, she said, that “should not be happening.”

VP Policy Meaghan Hurr also spoke about how, as part of one of her Operations Research classes, she and a group of students are looking into how the package center is run. Throughout the semester, she and the others will be receiving data from the center, analyzing it, and potentially making recommendations on ways in which it could improve.


  • Academic Affairs Representative Luis Rivera says he is looking into course numbering reform. He has also talked with CUIT about using ID scanners for the printers instead of having to type one’s UNI into the computer.
  • There is an upcoming engineering career fair on October 23rd.
  • The Class of 2016 council reported that Lerner Pub was a success (though they did run out of alcohol), and that Oktoberfest is this Friday at 5pm on the Law Library bridge.
  • The Class of 2018 has booked Carleton Commons for their major declaration celebration, which will take place on October 30th.

TP Testing via Shutterstock



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img October 06, 20155:02 pmimg 1 Comments

CU Engineers, develop "fun drones not the bad kind" please!

CU Engineers, develop “fun drones not the bad kind” please!

Bwog staffer Rachel Deal brings you the latest and greatest from this week’s ESC meeting so you lazybones can stay in bed. You owe her one!

Last night’s ESC meeting was a long one-with new council members from the Class of 2019 and extended discussions on improving the CSA and possible changes to Bacchanal, the meeting ran over by 20 minutes (and it came to a close with a mini drone display by Class of 2018 President Vinay Mehta).

VP Policy Meaghan Hurr asked for suggestions on making the CSA better for engineers, and is working closely with CCSC President Ben Makansi and VP Policy Viv Ramakrishnan. Over all, the sentiment in the room was that the CSA doesn’t really know how to deal with engineers–both Mehta and Sustainability Representative Charles Harper suggested the office bring in more engineering-specific advisors. Class of 2019 Representative Aida Lu also wanted the advisors to be more accessible to students, possibly with more drop-in hours.

Hurr also briefly brought up Bacchanal, which turned into an extended discussion about the possibility of priced tickets. Class of 2017 VP Sid Perkins brought up that if Bacchanal were to charge more for tickets, ABC could give more money to other student groups. Multiple members of the council disagreed with this idea, including President Caroline Park, who said she felt uncomfortable considering priced Bacchanal tickets while also trying to push forward with the Food Insecurity Proposal. Class of 2017 President Larry Xiao is still working on rolling out a survey on Bacchanal.


  • President Park said that there are currently 34 students signed up to receive donated meals–26 from GS, 4 from SEAS, and 4 from CC.
  • Park also gave updates on the Sexual Respect Initiative. New students will have to complete the requirement, as will students who didn’t complete the requirement last year. The Office of University Life is also expanding workshop options.
  • The first official Commission on Diversity meeting is on Monday, October 12th.
  • Academic Affairs Representative Luis Rivera says the possibility of an Aerospace minor is being explored. He also said that they are working on possibly standardizing grading.
  • CCE should begin offering practice technical interviews soon.
  • The Class of 2016 council had to move Oktoberfest to next Friday due to the weather, but Lerner Pub will be this upcoming Thursday.
  • The Class of 2018 is working on a Star Wars screening study break for early December.



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img September 29, 20151:02 pmimg 0 Comments

What we imagine ESC meetings look like.

What we imagine ESC meetings look like.

ESC Bureau Chief Rachel Deal is back this week (after ESC took a break last week following their weekend retreat) to bring you the latest news from the ESC meeting!

Last night’s Engineering Student Council meeting was a quick one, with the members covering topics such as the package center, Bacchanal, and food insecurity. President Caroline Park started the meeting with a few updates from her meeting with VP for Campus Services Scott Wright about the package center. She said that there has been progress since last year in terms of wait times (Columbia is now using a new vendor for the package center) but that there are still issues with packages going temporarily missing. Class of 2016 VP Chloe Blanchard also brought up the concern that the spoke center in Schapiro is in a dance studio, so she hopes in the future that mail services will take into account where student groups meet in choosing spoke center locations.

Park also gave updates on the Food Insecurity proposal–so far, 18 students have signed up for meal vouchers (three of whom are SEAS students). She also clarified that, in fact, they did not need 5,000 donated swipes for the proposal to pass. They currently have 580 donated meals.

Elections for Class of 2019 grade councils are currently taking place, so Park encouraged council members to tell their first year friends to vote. ESC also plans to host a potluck for the newly elected members from the Class of 2019.


  • VP Communication Sidd Ramakrishnan said the ESC website is a work in progress and should be back up by the end of the week.
  • VP Finance Neha Jain explained the Bacchanal survey that will be going out to students.
  • Student Services Representative Amritha Musipatla and Sustainability Representative Charles Harper talked about “Kill The Cup Columbia,” an initiative from EcoReps and Columbia Dining to try to use as many reusable cups as possible at ButCaf. Starting October 5th and until the 30th, coffee at Blue Java will cost $1.09 with a reusable mug, and EcoReps will also be giving out 300 free mugs in Butler. Columbia is competing against 15 other schools, and the winning school will receive grant money for sustainability initiatives.
  • The Class of 2016 councils are hosting an Oktoberfest event outside of EC on Friday at 5pm. There will be free beer and food (but only for seniors).

ESC Oktoberfest Edition via Shutterstock



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img September 25, 20151:25 pmimg 1 Comments

The Columbia team posing with their prize

The Columbia team posing with their prize

Senior Staff Writer (and potential Comp Sci major?) Rachel Deal sat down with Piyali Mukherjee and Annie Zhang to talk about their success at last weekend’s HackMIT competition.

Last weekend, a team of four Columbia students came in third place at HackMIT, a hackathon hosted every year at MIT. The team was made up of juniors Anshul Gupta, Jackie Luo, and Annie Zhang as well as senior Piyali Mukherjee. They developed an app called Sensei that takes footage from regular store cameras–like the ones found at any bodega or small shop–and analyzes movements, producing useful commercial data on customers’ experiences.

Piyali explained that their idea came from wanting to utilize something that people already have, and since she had experience with video processing, the team decided to focus on analyzing video from store cameras.

“All stores have cameras, but they don’t usually look at the footage until there is a robbery or theft. We decided to build this app so that small stores could utilize and analyze all this data they are already collecting,” said Piyali.

With online stores, one can easily track how people are interacting with the website, but the team’s app allows owners of real-life stores to understand the customer’s experience in their shop. With the app, store owners can figure out how many people are coming in, how long they’re staying, and which areas of the store are most popular. Piyali mainly worked on the movement detection algorithm, while the others worked on creating the actual app.

The hackers tell us more about the conference next.



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img September 15, 20152:02 pmimg 0 Comments

Welcome back to regular weekly coverage ESC

Welcome back to regular weekly coverage ESC

Now that the semester is settling down, Bwog will begin regular coverage of ESC, CCSC, and SGA meetings. The new ESC Bureau Chief, Rachel Deal, covered Monday night’s meeting.

Last evening, the Engineering Student Council’s first meeting of the semester took place, and President Caroline Park started the meeting off by emphasizing how excited she was to work with the various council members and to continue last year’s “really strong streak.” She also said she looked forward to bonding more and also getting to know members from the other councils at their upcoming retreat in upstate New York (which Dean Kromm will be attending for the first time).

A large part of the meeting was spent discussing the Food Insecurity Proposal, as VP Policy Meaghan Hurr wanted to get feedback from council members in person since a lot of the work done on the proposal was done over email during the summer. Park clarified that the councils needed students to donate at least 5,000 swipes in all in order for the proposal to pass, and she felt that the sense of urgency of this requirement was not being communicated very well. A current barrier to getting people to donate swipes is that Columbia Dining said they needed people to sign a physical sheet of paper to verify the donation of their swipes, but Class of 2018 President Vinay Mehta suggested that they could start using a Google form (for which you would have to sign in using your UNI) instead.

Mehta also discussed recent changes to the Art of Engineering course. Though the 2018 grade council originally pushed for an additional requirement that students join an engineering-related club, instructor David Vallancourt said he would only require that students join any club, and that participation would be based on an honor system. Vallancourt also said he would put the proxy card reader on hold for now unless attendance starts to drop significantly.

More updates from ESC next.



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img May 06, 20152:49 pmimg 0 Comments

Not only is it finals time, but it’s also allergy season (which could perhaps be stylized as ALLERGY SZN). This playlist below will get you through your pollen-related woes, and perhaps may help you to focus in and study a little bit, too.

  1. Machine Gun by Slowdive – A song to listen to as you drown in pollen on your walk back from NoCo.
  2. Champagne Coast by Blood Orange – Retreat back into your dorm room away from allergens as Dev Hynes croons, “Come into my bedroom.”
  3. Worst Behavior by Drake – Benadryl has got us on our worst behavior.
  4. Drinks On Us by Mike Will Made It, The Weeknd, Swae Lee, and Future – The Weeknd says when there’s “no white inside [one’s] eyes” that “it’s a fun day,” but we know otherwise. Make sure to get your medicated eye drops.
  5. Dance Yrself Clean by LCD Soundsystem – Take a shower and breathe again.
  6. Loft Music by The Weeknd – We also “seem to have 20 different pills” in us, but that’s because we take that many allergy medications.
  7. Gimme Sympathy by Metric – We’re NOT crying because we’re upset, we promise!!
  8. Sutphin Boulevard by Blood Orange – Pretend that you can breathe through your nose, and power through your work in the But with this song.
  9. Star67 by Drake – See above.
  10. Nothing But Time by Metric – When will it be time to stop taking Zyrtec every day?
  11. Let It Happen by Tame Impala – Go with the flow (of the waves of pollen).
  12. House Of Balloons/Glass Table Girls by The Weeknd – “If it hurts to breathe, open a window” is probably not the best advice when it comes to allergies, but anyway, this song is great.
  13. 40 Days by Slowdive – See “Nothing But Time.” But really, allergy season will be over (kind of) soon.



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img March 03, 20157:36 pmimg 8 Comments

Magnolias in Medford

No matter how long you’ve been at Columbia, going home still feels weird. Bwog Babe Rachel Deal did just so this past weekend and tells us about her feelings on the relationship between being in college while also retaining a sense of belonging to your home.

I went home this past weekend for my siblings’ tenth birthday, taking the 1 train to Penn Station and then a five-hour bus to Cambridge, Massachusetts. I arrived at my house at a little before midnight on Thursday. My parents hugged me and heated up some leftover Chinese food, and I gave my slumbering siblings two big kisses on their foreheads, not wanting to wake them up on a school night.

I live in a suburb of Boston called Medford—the home of Tufts—on a dead-end street where there was once an orchard. My neighborhood is currently cloaked in snow—my dad, who towers over the rest of my family at 6’4”, is barely visible as he shuffles down our slippery walkway, snow piled high on either side of him. In a few weeks, the snow will melt and our magnolia tree will bloom just in time for my birthday in late April. None of my friends at home live near me, really—I went to school in Cambridge, bordered on either side by Mt. Auburn Cemetery and the Charles River and not far from Harvard, with kids who commuted from towns like Newton or Belmont or Wellesley, suburbs of Boston much wealthier than my own.

It was my first time home this semester, the first time in about six weeks (which, I’m sure, doesn’t feel like that long for those of you who live far from New York). I saw family and friends and former love interests. I did little work. I took my sister out for ice cream. I got ramen with a pal at the new place in Harvard Square. I went to a party on my friend’s floor at MIT. When I got back to campus on Sunday night, though, I felt drained—my head ached, my skin was peeling, and I thought that maybe I shouldn’t have gone home. Maybe I just felt like that because my bus ride through the snow took seven hours, but home also felt different—temporary—and I wondered if I would ever start referring to the city (or, maybe, to my dingy Carman double) as “home” instead.

All of the feelings after the jump.



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img February 18, 20152:06 pmimg 0 Comments

Go listen to If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.



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img January 31, 20157:04 pmimg 2 Comments

Elle me dit, "Danse!"

Elle me dit, “Danse!”

French fanatic and fastidious Bwogger Rachel Deal brings coverage of French hip hop, with an emphasis on both hips and hopping.

Last Thursday evening, The Maison Française hosted a talk about French Moves, a book by Felicia McCarren on urban dance practices of minorities in France. The speakers were McCarren herself, who is a French professor at Tulane University, Barbara Browning of The Tisch School, and Columbia’s Madeleine Dobie.

Although the lecture was entitled “The Cultural Politics of French Hip Hop,” the speakers made it clear at the beginning that “le hip-hop” refers almost exclusively to dance—not music (which was a little disappointing, because French music is pretty cool).

After an introduction by Dobie, McCarren gave a slideshow presentation on dance and identity politics in France. She discussed how in the United States we focus on individuality, but the French focus more on universalism and joining together. Because of this, visibility of minorities and their experiences is a difficult topic to discuss. She later clarified her idea of identity politics, saying that in talking about hip hop in France, she prefers to use the term “identity poetics.” Because the roots of hip hop are in the United States, she said, French hip hop is a citation—while hip hop in the United States often functions to empower, hip hop in France tries to not just say something, but to say something different—to articulate difference.

She showed different images and clips of dancers using their art to tell their stories. One dancer in particular named Yiphun Chiam told the story of her family’s experience during the Cambodian Genocide and as immigrants in France. She showed another clip, too, of a dance group named Paname (slang for Paris and its suburbs) dancing hip hop to old French music.

The presentation ended with questions from the other panelists, Browning and Dobie, and from the audience. One topic they covered was the recent terrorist attack in Paris on the magazine Charlie Hebdo. The panelists discussed how dance could “play a part in the response,” and McCarren also expressed her discomfort in how the French media tried to portray one of the attackers as representative of “hip hop aesthetic” by broadcasting a video of him rapping. They wrapped up the talk by discussing the power of dance—how it responds to current events but can also offer new ways of thinking—and McCarren expressed her belief that minority politics in France will continue to develop.

Pourquoi tu gâches ta vie? via Shutterstock



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img December 17, 20146:45 pmimg 17 Comments

Those fluorescent lights tho

Those fluorescent lights tho

Now officially on winter break, Daily Editor and Carmanite Rachel Deal reflects on her first semester spent in Carman.

On move-in day, it takes three tries to unlock the door to my “suite.” The room isn’t as bad as she thought it would be, my mom says, but she grimaces when she looks into the bathroom. We stretch a navy fitted sheet over my mattress while my dad hangs up an obligatory string of Christmas lights, and my siblings peer out the windows at Lerner’s brick side. I cover up as much of the greasy white walls as I can—I put up a Vampire Weekend poster, screencaps from Twin Peaks, a Columbia banner, photos from proms and birthdays and that time in Aaron’s backyard, my map of the world in Arabic. My mom still sometimes asks me about people we met that day, in the elevator and on the sidewalks of 114th, but I don’t remember their names or what they look like. A few days into NSOP, my lights and photos of family and friends slip from the sweating walls, and I leave them on the floor behind my bed.

When my friend visited from Harvard, he joked that Carman reminded him of a prison (which, in turn, reminds me of that Sylvia Plath quote: “Your room is not your prison. You are.”) It’s true, though—Carman is stark and institutional, institutional in a different way than muggy Hamilton classrooms and the names on Butler’s façade. It is not the Columbia you see on campus tours—it is not the striking grace of Alma Mater, and it is not red brick and blue roofs like Kent or Mathematics. Carman is fluorescent lights and white walls and vomit-stained carpeting and crumbling ceiling tiles and glowing neon red exit signs—blunt and unpretentious.

I have a few upperclassman friends who have refused to enter Carman since moving out at the end of their freshman years. Too many bad memories or something—memories of elevators reeking of urine, of sweaty parties and body odor and tiled floors sticky with Crazy Stallions and Lime-A-Ritas. The carpeted hallway, too, is always encrusted with something—the day after study break, it’s tortilla chips and Oreo crumbs, and after Saturday nights, it’s grains of rice and shreds of lettuce from (drunkenly) spilled halal. One night while we’re lying on our filthy hallway floor, our RA tells some friends and me that he loved Carman as a freshman. The first night of NSOP, he had us all write down a hope or dream for the semester on notecards. Afterward, he hung them all up on the bulletin board in front of the elevators, but some kid from another floor tore it down when he was drunk.

It’s a weekend night, and I have a big Comp Sci project or Lit Hum paper or something due the upcoming week, but lacking the motivation to go to Butler and search for a seat, I end up in the floor lounge with my laptop. Between the techno music coming from one suite and the smell of weed leaking from underneath the door of another, though, I get nothing done, but I like watching the people on my floor come and go. Sitting at the end of the hall, I don’t take my eyes off people as they walk its length, the glow of the fluorescents obscuring the outlines of their features. The elevator dings, and one guy stumbles back in a suit, zig-zagging down the hall to his suite, his tie loose. It dings again—another boy, this one wearing glasses and a backpack, slumps back to his room from the library. The glow of the lights is heady, and I can still feel their buzzing as I return to my dark suite, clicking the heavy door shut.

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