Author Archive

Mar

28

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Scantrons give us chills.

ESC continues to fight the good fight with trying to change the finals schedule, 3-2 student housing, and  COÖP. Students have also petitioned to expand representation of the African American and Latino communities. 

After first referencing the tensions apparent in the last meeting, including “tones, faces made, [and] laughter that went on,” President Neha Jain reflected that the ESC Board wants to encourage an environment where everybody can project their thoughts and opinions in a respectable manner. Such a tone dominated the remainder of the meeting, which mainly focused on a final exam resolution and a (previously covered) petition concerning representatives in the Activities Board of Columbia.

Finals Schedule Policy
Proffered by University Senator Izzet Kebudi, this resolution would encourage a reformation of Columbia’s policies in regards to the number of final examinations an undergraduate student can have within a certain period of time. That is, the current policy regarding a maximum of two final exams in one “day” is often subverted by implacable professors, or that, in its current definition of a “day,” the Columbia Registrar allows up to 4 examinations in a 24 hour period and thus propagates Columbia’s stress culture. Kebudi’s resolution encourages defining a day in terms of this 24 hour period, advocating further, in light of questioning by 2019 Representative Walker Magrath, for a more automated system to be implemented by the Registrar. Harvard’s registrar, for example, is automated in such a way that students’ exams are automatically rescheduled if the system detects conflicts. The Columbia Registrar, in comparison, is drafted in the beginning of each semester, with final examination times designated based upon the specific “time slot” and days in which every Columbia class is scheduled. Languages, among other subjects, are granted a higher degree of flexibility in finals times, however. The solution to any final exam conflict which occurs, as a result, is dependent upon the cooperation of each individual professor, some of whom refuse to reschedule.

What about midterms though?

Mar

21

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Everyone deserves to get into Carman!

This week’s ESC meeting took time to debate GS swipe access to dorms and other Columbia undergraduate buildings. GS students’ restricted access has affected their participation in events and club meetings. ESC is trying to take action to give GS students swipe access. 

The Forward Swipe Access Update And Resolution

The main topic of discussion yesterday evening concerned a resolution penned by Vice President for Policy Sidney Perkins, in whose place 2019 President Richa Gode presided. This resolution would essentially reiterate a recent resolution from General Studies Student Council which requests increased swipe access (or some mechanism allowing increased swipe access) for GS students. Utilizing a bevy of polling data, the Swipes Resolution highlights how GS students suffer from restricted access to Columbia dorms where university-sanctioned events and club meetings are sometimes held.

Although some members of ESC doubted whether this constitutes a real issue among the GS student body, as when Vice President for Finance Piyushi Bishnoi commented that perhaps these events are restricted to this degree due to differences in financial sponsorship among the various student bodies, even VP Bishnoi acknowledged that she supports GS students receiving equal swipe access in theory. In fact, the main opponent of the core tenets of GS swipe access, that GS students deserve swipe access on a similar level to other undergraduate students of Columbia University, was found in the Representative for Disabilities and Acessibility Adriana Echeverria.

More on Swipes here

Mar

7

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When it’s 3am and that person next to you in Butler won’t shut up…

Columbia University’s HeForShe and King’s Crown Shakespeare Troupe (KCST) brings Antigone into the twenty first century. Antigone highlights the significance of gender roles and morality in the play that provides a new and fascinating experience for all. 

In the past century or so, Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone—arguably his greatest work—has gained an entirely new thematic aura. That is, it is only since the rise of the Nazi Party that Antigone has been performed entirely under the penumbra of resistance to imperial injustice. Yet Sophocles’ tragedy contains few references to the state of the original Athenian audience, instead dedicating itself to thematic and character development. This means that any adaptation of Antigone must do away with the heavy-handed and holier-than-thou political commentary with which we are so accustomed to in this era of American politics—a fact which director Talley Murphy, BC ’17, understands impeccably.

More on Antigone

Mar

7

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Ann Thornton can’t screw around with this library at least.

Yesterday’s meeting of Engineering Student Council only entertained about half of the voting representatives, as the other half were, presumably, intensely studying for midterms this week. As such, Engineering Student Council Bureau Chief Finn Klauber only covers the few scant topics that were touched upon last night.

New NoCo Study Space

The discussion topic of the night consisted entirely of Representative for Technology Vinay Mehta, SEAS ’18, explaining the preliminary results of a seemingly ad hoc NoCo library space tribunal, in which Mehta represented undergraduate engineers. Supported by mock ups of the new space—pictures which are not published here as ESC has not made meeting notes or minutes public since their January 30th meeting, contrary to their promises—Mehta explained that the area up the stairs from the main library space is to be redone to make it less of a transient study space. Tables for group work will be added, as well as an area with stools (whether cushioned or high-back, the NoCo tribunal has not decided), and new lounge chairs, one of which will cost $1500.

The area is aimed to be more collaborative, as the library’s rules against food has prevented areas of study from being created which can accommodate multiple “study spaces” for laptops, work documents, etc. When asked why this is to be a study space and not a “lounge space,” Mehta responded that the tribunal first wanted to revamp the sixth floor of the library into a “cool student lounge area,” but that “fire codes” forced the team to instead create this “half in between compromise.” While looking to be expensive, Mehta clarified that the money for the upgrades come from Columbia, and would be applied to NoCo regardless later this year, as much of the furniture needs to be replaced. Furthermore, when questioned regarding the quality of the frameworks used in engineering spaces—according to VP for Communications Anthony Kim the tables in Mudd Lounge wobble annoyingly—Mehta responded that the pieces used will be slightly different and more expensive than those in Mudd Lounge, though they both come from the same manufacturer.

Miscellaneous

  • ESC is encouraging the completion of this Swipes Access Survey about whether GS students should have swipes access to more Columbia buildings. Over 225 responses have been logged so far, but VP for Policy Sidney Perkins desires more SEAS responses.
  • The Student Affairs Committee of the University Senate is preparing a presentation regarding proposals for Student Space™ at Columbia. In what must be an effort to rework her horrific image, Librarian to the Stars Ann Thornton has responded to calls for improvement of student mental health by putting self care reminders around the library and “increasing the amount of fun activities.” We seriously doubt her true loyalty to the mental health cause.

Image via Columbia University 

Feb

25

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Imagine an opera but like in Barnard Hall.

Although he doesn’t often go to arts events, Internal Editor and Late Nite Extraordinaire Finn Klauber last night tried his hand out going to a “real” arts event. Although he had only been to Barnard four or five times in recent memory, he found his way to Sulzberger Parlour and the symphonic recital that was awaiting him in that lacquered and effeminate den.

Up until the minute I entered Sulzberger Parlour in Barnard Hall, I had no idea what exactly a “heteronormative to homoextraordinary recital” would actually consist of. The event description seem to just be a smattering of artistic buzzwords interspaced between the names and works of Romantic composers and poets—for all I knew, of course. Entering Sulz Parlour didn’t help to orient me in any way, unfortunately, as the patterned walls illustrated with decorous songbirds, the pseudo-realistic portraits of Barnard presidents, and the Gilded Age furniture all clashed with the modern femininity which Barnard so effortlessly projects.

As I silently pondered whether a broken grandfather clock being placed directly in the cold stare of portrait-Debora Spar were some sort of political statement, the star of the evening, Brenda Patterson, began her introduction. Patterson, an acclaimed mezzo-soprano opera singer and alumna of Juilliard and Barnard, was to perform three different cycles of music: an adaptation of Schumann’s “A Woman’s Love & Life,” with new lyrical poetry adapted from Emily Moore, a performance of a selection from Berlioz and Gautier’s Les Nuits d’Eté, and a new performance of a selection from American songwriter Ricky Ian Gordon.

What was the thematic push in Patterson’s singing?

Feb

21

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JJ’s 22 hours a day would be a blessing and a curse.

This week, ESC mainly touched upon ensuring the mental and physical health of Columbia students. Some changes have been proposed to benefit students such as having JJ’s open for 22 hours a day and creating mental health workshops for ESC. Due to the input in this week’s meeting, it is expected that positive change will result from the student council’s initiatives.  

A somber tone settled over the ESC meeting yesterday evening when the Representative for International Students, Pranav Arora SEAS ’19, announced his resignation to the collected council. Yet ESC, as ever, marched forward to work through a meeting very much lacking in the theatrics with which we’ve recently been accustomed.

President and Policy

Executive President Neha Jain and Executive VP for Policy Sidney Perkins worked this week towards implementing student leader “gatekeeper training” sessions. Such training aims to educate individuals—in this case student leaders, undergraduate and graduate TAs, and COÖP and NSOP leaders—of suicide prevention techniques to create a safety net, of sorts, for commonly affected swathes of the student population. These sessions would be similar to current SVR requirements in length and necessity.

Otherwise, VP Perkins met with CCE to discuss the response from the CCE Survey. In his own words, Perkins referred to the meeting in that “it was really frustrating.” The Policy representatives were questioned why they even authored the report in the first place, that CCE knew about the issues with career representation and CCE function in general but had no concrete plans to resolve them. When Perkins suggested that CCE incorporate students who already have relationships with these desired companies, the CCE administrators announced,  “wow, why haven’t we thought of that!”

What else happened?

Feb

17

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Dear Vape God,

Who are you? What inspired you to engrave your dankness upon the driven snow? I could only imagine the scene, a bundled figure at the peak of the blizzard, staring towards the North Star while dramatic clouds blend into the snowy sky. And you would be alone, of course, because you’re a Vape God. And that’s not something you can just scream to the world. Who would understand your world of mods, your custom built rig, your dank homegrown vape trick Vine account. This is the life you’ve chosen, after all. The road you follow is paved with good intentions, but is so often obscured in the incipient haze of life. Are you in an EC Highrise single right now, projecting vaporwave mixes onto your wall? Or are you an alt denizen from across Broadway, leaving your tag on some faraway hold? Regardless, for one crystallized moment in the calm after the storm, we admired your art. Surely such creations are not meant to last, but your legend lives on in all of us.

Dank clouds via Bwog Staff

Feb

14

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It’s hard managing money. It’s even harder finding someone willing to give you money.

This week’s ESC meeting mainly focused on the council’s participation with administration to address the recent mental health crisis at Columbia. Discussions regarding the proper use of Columbia club bank accounts were also mentioned. 

During yesterday’s Engineering Student Council (ESC) meeting, Executive President Neha Jain announced that the E-Board would be meeting with a number of deans to discuss ESC’s 10 page addendum to the University Senate’s Student Affairs Committee memorandum to the President. The goal of the upcoming meeting, Jain said, is to discuss the issues and suggestions outlined in the addendum, essentially ensuring that the deans and ESC are both on the same page. Jain also mentioned that they would be meeting with the graduate engineering student council to talk about better training for TAs, so that more faculty may be able to better respond to mental health issues among the undergraduate student body.

Multiple council members questioned whether the Administration was receptive to these discussions, prompting Jain to explain that the email the E-Board received had been CC’d to all of the deans involved, “which is unique.” She overall believes that they are taking it seriously and “are receptive to hearing us.” University Senator Izzet Kebudi clarified some aspects of the University Senate’s administrative outreach as well, noting that the Office of University Life, led by Suzanne Goldberg, is the Senate’s main target. At the last plenary session, a certain amount of pressure was placed upon this office, with faculty representatives adding to suggestions made by the co-chairs of the Student Affairs Committee in regards to campus life and mental health. ESC’s addendum was among the strongest of all the addenda to the Student Affairs Committee’s memorandum, so Kebudi believes the administration will be responsive.

More administrative relations below

Feb

7

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Ooohhh the chandeliers

Ooohhh the chandeliers

Our next library review takes you to our most used and well-known places of study: Butler Library. It’s nice to be adventurous every once and awhile, but when you’re in sweatpants and just need to get down to business, Butler always has your back. 

Location: Eastern wing of the 6th floor of Butler. Accessible library.

Hours: 9 AM to 11 PM, Monday-Thursday. 9 AM to 9 PM, Friday. 11 AM to 6 PM, Saturday. Noon to 11 PM, Sunday. Note: This room is used for a payrology and epigraphy seminar each semester. This semester, the room is unavailible between 4 PM and 5:30 PM on Thursdays.

Contact: (212) 854-7309, [email protected], http://library.columbia.edu/locations/butler/papyrus.html

Seats:

  • Total: 14 Seats
  • Carrels: N/A
  • Comfy Chairs: 1 Seats
  • Computers: N/A
  • Tables: 13 Seats
  • Seats for Talking: 0 (this is a research reading room)

Memes in here

Feb

7

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img_0503

“We eagerly await action from the central administration, and we hope and pray that our efforts may help save the lives of our peers, colleagues, and friends.”

This week’s ESC meeting was a continuation of last week’s discussion that attempted to find ways to alleviate the stress of Columbia students. While the Columbia Administration acknowledged the Executive Vice President Sidney Perkins ideas, it remains uncertain if the administration will take student proposals into consideration. 

Yesterday’s weekly meeting of the Engineering Student Council quickly established itself as a spiritual continuation of last week’s meeting, with Executive Vice President for Policy Sidney Perkins first detailing the results of last week’s poignant resolution. VP Perkins recounted how the University Senate reached out to ESC after the Senate’s Student Affairs Committee (SAC) published a private memorandum regarding mental health conditions on campus. ESC was asked to provide an addendum to this private memorandum, prompting ESC’s Policy Committee to perform quite a bit of outreach in the compilation of a 10 page document.

The Addendum, which VP Perkins explained “should be entirely public,” consisted of suggestions “to prevent and respond to such tragedies on campus.” The preface to the document (linked here and included below) heralds how “no student should ever feel that their only escape from the pressures and stresses of Columbia is to be found in death,” and identifies three areas where “suicide prevention” intersects with “student wellness”: exorbitant student academic stress, a lack of student spaces dedicated to mindfulness and identity, and widespread feelings of student isolation.

9 Tails Beast Mode Here

Jan

31

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Amsterdam in the evening.

Amsterdam in the evening.

We know Butler, Avery, and the gaping hole in Barnard’s campus that once was Barnard Library. Bwog continues to review amazing libraries by taking a look into the Social Work Library!

Location: 2nd Floor, School of Social Work, 1255 Amsterdam Avenue (between 120th and 121st). Accessible library.

Hours: Monday, 10 AM to 8 PM. Tuesday-Thursday, 10 AM to 9 PM. Friday-Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM. Sunday, 12 PM to 8 PM.

Contact: (212) 851-2194, [email protected]http://socialwork.columbia.edu/the-student-experience/student-support-services/social-work-library/

Seats:

  • Total: ~100 Seats (including seats in reading and group study rooms)
  • Carrels: 8 Seats
  • Comfy Chairs: 14 Seats
  • Computers: 25 Seats
  • Tables: 32 Seats
  • VHS TVs: 2 Seats
  • Seats for Talking: ~15 (There are multiple group study rooms available)

More about the library

Jan

31

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Too many administrators are probably scarred from stepping on these as a kid.

Too many administrators are probably scarred from stepping on these as a kid.

Columbia University has been known for exhibiting one of the worst stress cultures at any university in the country. Executive Vice President Sidney Perkins has plans to create change through legos and other de-stress initiatives. It’s up to the Columbia Administration to decide the future of our community. 

Engineering Student Council led one of its most intriguing sessions yesterday after Executive Vice President for Policy Sidney Perkins introduced his “Resolution on the Community Dissonance between Student Leaders and Administrators, which Contributes to a Culture of Stress on Columbia’s Campus.” Before explaining this resolution, included below, I believe it important to clarify the context leading up to Perkins’ (theatrical) presentation of his resolution. Last week, Perkins reported on the Columbia Administration’s rejection of his proposal to place legos in Carleton Commons. He expanded upon the parameters of that rejection last night, beginning with the scope of his “lego plan.” During our Fall Break, Perkins gathered some of his childhood legos (and some other non-lego-looking playthings), labelled the box at the MakerSpace, and presented his self-funded “destress station” to what he thought would be enthusiastic and cheery administrators. Instead, the unfeeling cogs of the Columbia Administration shattered his idealism.

In response, the Administration demanded a fully outlined proposal with information regarding who will maintain the lego box, who will set up the “destress stations,” and who will ensure everything is being used correctly. Despite acquiescing to these bureaucratic dictates, Perkins stated that the proposal “was ruminated upon for about a month and then rejected,” with the Administration stating that Perkins’ plan was an “inappropriate use of space.” The Administration’s treatment of Perkins drove him to contextualise the legos conundrum in a theatrical introduction to his “Resolution on Community Dissonance.” While emphatically shaking the box of legos, Perkins stressed that this resolution “addresses more than legos, though [he] thinks legos is the test case.” Without a working projector, Perkins read aloud the resolution, further extending the captivating performance.

What did the resolution say?

Jan

24

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Look at all of that free (air) space!

Look at all of that free (air) space!

Last night, ESC discussed possibilities for LGBT and People of Color spaces in Lerner Hall. Despite detailed plans for the creation of free spaces, ESC and the future of this proposition remains uncertain. 

The premier discussion at this week’s Engineering Student Council meeting involved a proposal by CCSC 2017 VP Brennon Mendez and 2020 Representative Grant Pace to pressure Columbia administration into transforming the two large spaces left from the removal of the Lerner mail space. These two spaces, according to VP Mendez, can be transformed into dedicated spaces specifically for LGBTQ students as well as “students of colour.” The LGBTQ space, at least, would take the place of the Donald Stevenson LGBT lounge in Furnald, a former utility closet granted to the LGBT Columbia community in 1972. For 45 years without change, the LGBT lounge has stored historical Columbia documents dating back to 1967 and has provided a reputedly small and dark, non-residential space for Columbia’s LGBT community. When queried about transitioning into a LGBT lounge area, the Columbia President at the time allegedly stated that “the university does not owe a lounge to gay students for their ‘cultural activities.'” VP Mendez made sure to note the irony of providing a former closet to the “out-of-closet” community.

Besides providing some sort of community space, this proposal included a centralizing effort to bring the administrators who work with LGBT students and “communities of colour” into more permanent, more centralized, and larger spaces. Although the degeneration of Lerner Hall into a bureaucratic complex may have originated in such hybridizing plans, the CCSC proposers relied on experiences of the bogged down and enclosed offices of administrators placed in Columbia property such as the Intercultural Resource Center (IRC) to push for this bureaucratic recentralization. Pace concluded the presentation with anecdotes from newly matriculated students on campus who would appreciate such a space for their personal growth.

What were the issues, if any, with the proposal?

Jan

21

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We're Fayerweather fans, but Schermerhorn isn't really that bad either.

We’re Fayerweather fans, but Schermerhorn isn’t really that bad either.

Continuing with our series on underutilized but fully available Columbia libraries, Bwog next spotlights a library tucked away in Schermerhorn—the Geology Library. Though often eclipsed by the artsy and sophisticated Avery Library, the Geology Library proffers a legitimate substitution to the soul sucking lower bowels of Butler and the superficiality of Avery.

Location: 601 Schermerhorn. Accessible library.

Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9 AM to 7 PM. Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM. Saturday-Sunday, 12 PM to 5 PM.

Contact: (212) 854-4713;[email protected]; http://library.columbia.edu/locations/science-engineering/about.html#geology

Seats:

  • Total: 26 Seats
  • Carrels: 11 Seats
  • Tables: 8 Seats
  • Computer Booths: 5 Seats
  • Overstuffed Chairs: 2 Seats
  • Seats for Talking: 0 (no talking zones)

Geology is a cool science ngl

Dec

22

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In our hearts, M2M is never closed

In our hearts, M2M is never closed

As many of us are aware, M2M recently pulled its health rating up from a C to a B. So, does that make it worth visiting? Or have its cheap Asian snack foods and underutilized seating area held allure all along? Internal editor Finn Klauber defends this hidden gem.

Look, I get it. M2M is just that weird Asian store tucked into an alcove on Broadway with a C (now a B!) health rating. And you’re probably just another middle class, non-Asian kid whose experiences with blue collar grime consist of leaving Bel Air on the freeway or standing in line behind some scary New Yorker when trying to buy beer at the NSOP Yankees game excursion. Why would you go to M2M? Sweetgreen is just twenty feet away, after all. Nothing screams out “new experiences” like spending more than 10 dollars on the luxury of an artisanal salad.

But, honestly, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. M2M is the hidden gem of the Morningside food and snack community, and it’s a shame that so few Columbia students see that C or B and decide to keep walking on. I was that Columbia student once, I know what it’s like. But M2M has a way of worming itself into your heart.

See, in the varying states of consciousness in which I’ve perused row after row of strangely detailed products packed with color, I have never been disappointed in my choices. Without engaging in a fetishization of East Asian culture, it is entirely appropriate to wonder at the vastly different trajectory on which Asian junk food developed opposed to that of our Western dominated culture. And M2M has managed to assemble the greatest collection of such delectable treats in the near Upper West Side. All you have to do is look inside.

So, what exactly is so great about M2M’s snack collection?

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