Author Archive

Mar

28

img March 28, 20184:45 pmimg 0 Comments

Fun fact: images of Winnie the Pooh are censored in China because people makes memes comparing him to Xi Jinping.

From Venezuela, to the election of Trump, to Chinese president Xi Jinping’s recent dissolution of term limits, the rise of nationalism and authoritarianism around the world seems to have everyone on edge. The latter was the focus of panel discussion: “China’s Latest Strongman Leader: Putting Xi Jinping Into Historical and Comparative Perspective” whose title pretty much does all the heavy-lifting in describing the topic. Daily Editor and international politics enthusiast Isabel Sepúlveda attended and she’s trying not to fear for the future of The Republic as she writes this.

Running late, I slipped in at the very end of introductions but the fact that I almost couldn’t find a seat for a talk at noon on a Tuesday made it clear that the panel assembled before me was full of all-stars. Moderated by Columbia’s Carol Gluck, a Japanese expert,  it included Jeffrey Wasserstrom, a history professor at UC Irvine and Maura Elizabeth Cunningham a historian and writer, co-authors of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know, which recently released its third edition. CU professors Charles K. Armstrong and Lien-Hang Nguyen, experts in Korea and Vietnam respectively filled out the panel, after Nina Khrushcheva, a professor of International Affairs and Russian expert at The New School, was unable to attend due to weather conditions in Moscow.

Cunningham and Wasserstrom opened the talk providing the historical part of the “historical and comparative perspective.” They unfurled the historical story backward, starting about 10 years in the past in 2005, when China’s leader was Hu Jintao and the era of more collective leadership. Cunningham, who visited for the first time at the time, commented that the atmosphere felt very settled after the reigns of Mao and Deng Xiaoping, compared to the more chaotic present atmosphere. Wasserstrom then spoke of his first visit to the country in the 1980s during Deng’s leadership and the many questions when Xi took power if he would reignite the reformist agenda of the era or if it would be stalled like under Hu? They quickly flagged that this question didn’t have a good answer: Deng and Hu are more like one another than Xi is to either of them.

So what historical figure does Xi resemble?

Mar

22

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Vote in the midterms and also Columbia Student Council Elections

It’s that time of year again: get ready for posters, platforms, and promises to fix any and all common Columbia complaints. The deadline to register has passed, so now we can present all the candidates for CCSC and ESC in the upcoming Spring 2018 election cycle. Study up, because all of these people are probably going to try to be your new best friend in the next few weeks.

All of this will be overseen by the new Columbia Elections Commission, formed in February of this year, following the dissolution of the Columbia Elections Board. Additionally, if you missed the deadline and are heartbroken that you won’t get to represent your school for the next year (and are a SEAS student), ESC Representative for Racial Diversity and Inclusivity Issues and ESC Student Services Representative had no registered candidates and will be elected in Fall 2018.

Check out the candidates and all great SEAS puns, below.

Mar

22

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clock

The clock is ticking so get on SSOL right now.

We’re back from break and that means getting back the midterms from that class that sounded like fun when you registered for it in December, but ended up being a lot more work than you expected. You might not have done as well as you hoped but that doesn’t mean you have to give up entirely. Turn your frown upside down, and Pass/D/Fail that class. Or maybe, you decided to P/D/F an elective that is proving to be easier than expected and you could use an extra boost. Whatever your predicament,  you’ve got to resolve it quickly, because the deadline to P/D/F a class is tonight. SEAS students should also note that this is their deadline to drop a class (everyone else, we’re sorry but you missed your chance).

If you need some help figuring out how to resuscitate your GPA, here are the P/D/F policies for CC and SEAS, GS, and Barnard students. Good luck!

this is very serious via Bwog Archives

Mar

22

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When I saw this email, I almost had a heart attack.

Bwogger Isabel Sepúlveda’s suite is having some TV-related issues. Namely, someone keeps breaking them and she’s tired of it. 

I thought we were done with this shit. I stopped complaining about how unfair it was to every person who talked to me for more than 5 minutes. I paid the $60 Columbia charged me replace a TV in my lounge that I never used (okay, it was just charged to my account, but in my defense, I have like $20 in my bank account right now). We let it, and the lounge in general, collect dust as we all continued politely pretending the other people who lived in this suite don’t exist.

It was a system that worked for everyone, but I can’t keep pretending anymore. Suitemates, it’s time we had a talk, and since I couldn’t pick half of you out of a crowd, this is the best way to do it. And why do we need to talk, you may ask? Well, you see, hypothetical suitemate, I recently discovered someone smashed the screen of the television in our suite. It’s the second time this semester that’s happened and frankly, that’s a little ridiculous.

The rant continues below.

Mar

22

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This is why we avoid Times Square unless under the threat of death.

Happening in the World: Peruvian president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski resigned yesterday due to a vote-buying scandal that would have led to an impeachment vote today. He denies any involvement in the scandal but says that he does not want to impede the country’s progress. (BBC)

Happening in the US: As the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal continues to hammer Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has now publicly addressed the issue. He said that Facebook had a “responsibility” to protect user data and that they would investigate apps that collect user data, stopping short of a full-fledged apology. (NYT)

Happening in NYC: Official announced that New York City has broken tourism records for the 8th year in a row, with 62.8 million tourists taking to the city in 2017, with record highs in both domestic and international tourists, despite restrictions by the federal government that make it more difficult to travel to the US. (Patch)

Happening on Campus: Head on over to Buell Hall for a screening of Tinghir-Jerusalem, followed by a talk with the director Kamal Hachkar. The film deals with the history of the Moroccan town he was born in, which once had a thriving Jewish population, and the close cooperation between the two groups that resided there.

Overheard: “Are we making a snowman or a penis?”

Word of the Day: Pardo, Spanish for the color between grey and brown, also known as the color of the ground once all this snow melts.

a modern depiction of hell via Bwog Archives

Mar

21

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these are all Columbia blue

Which shade of Columbia blue though?

Now that spring break is over and we’re staring down the last month and a half of the year, the entire student body seems jaded and ready to leave this campus for good.  We at Bwog decided to take this time to look back at the most memorable first reactions we’ve witnessed to Columbia and all it’s…quirks. If you have any first reactions to Columbia you want to reminisce about, share them in the comments!

  • My high school ex-boyfriend lives a block away (literally 116 and Morningside). We would walk through campus in like 10th grade and one time I pointed out that the penis fountains look like penises and he claimed I ruined his childhood.
  • When I moved into Carman freshman year, my suitemate’s mom took one look at the empty/undecorated rooms and said “Well, have fun in your prison cells!”
  • I had some friends visit me at Columbia for spring break and we had to go into Lerner. The moment they say the ramps, they immediately said: “This is disgusting. I hate this.” and “The tables are slanted; how do you get any work done?” They wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible and I don’t blame them.
  • Seeing the starving lion statue: “You can put something in his mouth. We should put something in his mouth”.
  • A friend after I showed him around Columbia’s campus the first time: “Why is Columbia so obsessed with columns?”  (After I showed him all the names carved on Butler, and he understood.)
  • My dad was born in Harlem in the 50s and when he moved me in, we took a walk around campus. He said that everything was “a lot nicer here” than when he was a kid.
  • The buildings at Columbia have copper rooftops and because of rust they’ve become a green-blue shade. During NSOP, my friend remarked that in a certain light, the rooftops look like they’re Columbia blue.

Not just Pantone 292 via Bwog Archives

Mar

8

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Columbia is a labyrinthine hellscape.

We’ve told you where the hell all the bathrooms were; now we’re back with what floor you end up on when you walk through the door (of all the major academic buildings at least). If we forgot any, let us know in the comments and we’ll add it to this list!

You’re running late for a meeting on the fourth floor of Pupin. You throw open the doors, run up three flights of stairs and start running down the hall. Quickly, you realize that all of these numbers are in the 800s and you’re in completely the wrong place. Why do you enter none of Columbia’s buildings on the first floor? We’re not here to answer that question, but we can tell you where you end up when you walk through the door.

1st Floor: Milbank, Knox, Avery, Barnard Hall, Diana, Uris

2nd Floor: Hamilton, Butler, Math

3rd Floor: Kent (both the main entrance and entering on the Philosophy Hall side), Fayerweather, Philosophy, Haverymayer, Lewisohn,

4th Floor: Mudd, Dodge (campus entrance), Schermerhorn, Fairchild, Schapiro CEPSR

5th Floor: Pupin

Weird Ones: 

  • Lerner: 2 from campus entrance; 1 from Broadway entrance
  • Altschul:  L (one floor above 1, 1 is actually the package center/tunnel to Milbank/connecting to Diana)
  • Dodge (not-gym): 1 from college walk; 3  from upper campus, by Lewisohn
  • NoCo:  4 n the campus side; 1 from 120th Street
  • International Affairs: 6 on the campus side; 4 from street level

are you on the 7th floor or the 14th via Bwog Archives

Mar

8

img March 08, 20189:30 amimg 1 Comments

Will the Nightlife Ambassador come to 1020?

Happening in the World: Chilean actress Daniela Vega became the first transgender presenter at the Oscars last week. Upon returning home, she began speaking out about the inequalities the trans community faces in the country. A gender identity bill that would allow trans people to identify with their preferred names is being considered by congressional committee but an incoming conservative administration puts its fate in jeopardy. (BBC)

Happening in the US: The Department of Justice is suing the state of California for it’s so-called sanctuary immigration policies. Passed in 2017, these limit government officials’ and employers’ ability to help federal immigration agents and allows the state to review the conditions in which detainees are kept. (Vox)

Happening in NYC: The city has appointed its first Nightlife Mayor. Ariel Palitz will serve as the ambassador between the city and its bars, cabarets, and burlesques. At the beginning of her tenure, she’s promised to hold listening tours and listen to complaints of those bothered by nightlife in the city. (NYT)

Happening on Campus: Provided you can pull yourself away from your midterms long enough to trudge through the snow, head to IAB from 12 to 2 pm for a talk by Tamara Martsenyuk: Ukrainian Women at War: The Successes and Challenges of the “Invisible Battalion”. It focuses on the role women played during recent conflicts, it talks about how women in the country challenged traditional gender roles and their participation in these conflicts.

Overheard: “My RA hosted a study break where all we did was listen to Italian trap music.”

Word of the Day: Magari, an Italian word for “maybe” or “if only” or basically anything you wish will happen even though it probably won’t. For example, If only I had studied for my LitHum midterm, then I wouldn’t have to stay up til 8 AM. 

this is some fancy alcohol via Bwog Archives

Mar

7

img March 07, 20185:11 pmimg 2 Comments

We also love Dining, Public Safety, Housing, etc. Safe to assume we love everyone.

With midterms upon us and all our professors trying to kill us, one essay question at a time, Bwog decided to take a moment to reflect on our love for all the other people on campus (facilities, dining, public safety, and every other staff member) who work every day to make sure everything is operating and going above and beyond to make our lives better. If you have any stories, share them in the comments!

  • I was having a really bad weekend a few days ago and I lost my ID. I went to the Hartley Hospitality Desk to see if someone had turned it in. No one had and the woman at the desk said she would email if anyone had. About an hour later, I received that email and when I went down, I found out that the public safety officer at Hartley had gone to Butler shortly after I stopped at the desk and recognized me when someone turned in my ID that I dropped outside. He called the woman at Hartley Hospitality and she walked over to Butler to get it because she knew I lived in the building.
  • The facilities PR guy is super responsive and always provides info to us
  • One time I was coughing uncontrollably for like 5 minutes in the bathroom outside Ferris. I came out and one of the Ferris workers was there washing her hands and she told me like a home remedy tea to try.
  • Another time I was sneezing uncontrollably in Diana due to allergies, and this worker commiserated with me and recommended a new allergy pill to try.
  • Daron works the pasta station in Hewitt and is truly The King of Pasta. He’s always laughing and making conversation with people. He really cares about his job and genuinely cares about the food he serves to students. Once he went and specifically got me Shiitake mushrooms from the kitchen because he’s the absolute best.
  • Moussa also works at Hewitt and is just an absolute lad. Super funny. Love this guy.
  • All the people who work at JJs really but Johnny at the breakfast line in JJs literally is keeping me from going vegan because iIwould miss getting a quesadilla from him too much. He’s so nice and funny and remembers my order which is crazy because I don’t even remember my order
  • I had to get signed in because I forgot my Columbia ID and the guard accidentally gave me the wrong ID back. So when I found out a few days later, I ran to the dorm and was like “HELP MY ID” and the guard found it for me and calmed my hysteria.
  • On the first day of classes last semester, my roommate’s and my fridge broke. The facilities staff in 110 was able to get it replaced (with enough time for me to transfer all of our food to the new fridge) between the time she left for her 8:40 and the time I left for my 11:40. And they were so nice about it, too!
  • Freshman winter finals I got the stomach flu during my art history exam in Barnard Hall. Made it to the hallway and spewed everywhere. A really nice lady kicked into mom-mode: helped me to the bathroom, cleaned everything up, and rubbed my back.  I had to go back to finish my midterm and never got to properly thank her/learn her name, but she’s a real gem!

first logo i found via Columbia Facilities

Mar

2

img March 02, 20189:00 pmimg 0 Comments

If you don’t come to senior night on Saturday, we can’t be friends anymore.

With the Columbia Women’s Basketball team tied with Cornell at the bottom of the league with 2-10 conference record, the team will certainly be playing their final games of the season at Levien this weekend, and seniors Camille Zimmerman, Paige Tippet, and Jillian Borreson their final games of their Columbia careers. As such, Bwogger Isabel Sepúlveda takes a look back on the career of a woman who has already gone down in university history.

Last year, Bwog asked the most important question in Columbia basketball: is Camille Zimmerman (CC ‘18) the greatest player of all time? Now that she’s a senior, we’re not asking—we know. She’s the highest scoring player in Columbia history as of late January, and she’s been consistently excellent throughout her career. As the season winds down, she stands at 1,937 career points (fifth in Ivy League women’s basketball history), and 914 rebounds, only 23 off of the program record. Stats can’t tell the whole story though; Zimmerman’s impact on the team has been far greater than the points she scores as she works to change the culture of Columbia women’s basketball.

Zimmerman got her start in the sport the through her local Y. She played both soccer and basketball until high school, when she had to make a choice between the two because they share a season. She selected basketball because she liked the creativity and speed of the sport more. “I love how it’s high-paced. There’s scoring on both ends. You’re always doing something, you’re not really ever stagnant,” she said. A four-year letterwinner and two-time captain at her high school, she said she decided to bring her talents to Columbia because it’s “the best education I could get. It’s in New York. And I was just really sold on the idea of coming to a smaller school, helping to turn the program around, helping to change the culture.”

Has Zimmerman achieved her goal?

Mar

1

img March 01, 20187:33 pmimg 0 Comments

this ghost is going to join the people from my high school in my nightmares

It happens at least once a week, though it’s been increasingly more common in my current sleep-deprived, midterms-induced frenzy. I’m walking to Hamilton for my LitHum class or enjoying the sun with the rest of the Columbia student body on Low Steps or in JJs at 3 am and full of regret. Whatever it is, when I’m not entirely paying attention, I catch someone out of the corner of my eye and everything stops. Because I am convinced I have just seen someone I went to high school with and that’s quite possibly the worst thing that could happen to any college student.

This isn’t super weird for some people, given that they went to school from some of their fellow classmates which might not always be ideal. Still, at least if you know that you might run into them and can prepare for the possibility. No one from my hometown is here so whenever I think I see the girl from my 9th grade biology class who asked if rocks were alive or my old calc teacher on College Walk, I’m not prepared in the slightest and I immediately begin to freak out, wondering how they got here from literally hundreds of miles away. And once I remind myself that’s it perfectly normal for people to come visit New York City on vacation, I start wondering why they’re on Columbia’s campus at 9:30 in the morning. I don’t even want to be on Columbia’s campus at 9:30 in the morning, and I live here.

Usually, by then I realize it’s just someone who looks similar but I’ve already lived through ever shitty high school memory all over again. Maybe, someday, I’ll move past this but until then I’m stuck trying to avoid doppelgangers of all the people I despised for four years of my life. Or, I’ll be right one of these times, I’ll actually know them and it’ll be incredibly awkward. Only time can tell.

Mar

1

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The email in question

Earlier in the semester, Bwogger Isabel Sepúlveda got an email from her residence hall director for information about the broken TV in her floor lounge. Not knowing who committed this act of “floor vandalism,” she didn’t have any information to share, but she wondered, what would happen if you did? She put what she learned in her single political science class to the test, and this is the result.

It happens before winter break. You and your roommate are messing around in your suite’s lounge, drinking away the impending doom while staring down the barrel of half a dozen midterms and messing around when you playfully shove him too hard and he goes flying into the TV. He’s fine but it sounds like something else cracked. With a quick glance, everything looks okay so you both head to bed without at second thought.

The next morning, everything from the night before is kind of fuzzy and you’ve almost managed to put the incident out of your mind entirely when one of your suitemates invites you to a Netflix binge outside of your respective rooms for once. She tries to turn on the TV, only to discover that it has cracked from the inside. She calls over the RA, who takes a look and promises to put in a maintenance request as soon as possible. They both wonder how this happened and who could have done such a thing. You try your best to commiserate and not out your roommate on the spot. Eventually, you all leave for break and everyone forgets it even happened. The TV is replaced and still, no one uses the lounge when you return. Life is good.

That is, until about two weeks after classes start again, when you receive The Email.

What did the email say?

Mar

1

img March 01, 20189:30 amimg 0 Comments

Holster them bad boys!

This can be your protest sign for when Congress inevitably takes an eternity to act.

Happening in the World: According to officials, the wife of the ex-president of Honduras, Porfirio Lobo, has been arrested on graft charges that including taking funds from programs for the poor. She is accused of stealing 16 million lempiras ($650,000) along with other former officials. (Reuters)

Happening in the US: Donald Trump has surprised lawmakers (and basically everyone else) after seemingly embracing gun control in a televised meeting. He called for expanding background check, attempting to keep guns away from the mentally ill, securing schools and restricting sales to those under 21. Given that this time last week, he was calling for arming teachers, only time will tell if he actually understands anything he just said. (NYT)

Happening in NYC: New York City has reached a settlement with three women who had their hijabs removed by police officers before their mugshots were taken after being arrested. Each woman will receive $50,000 and is marked by one of the women’s lawyers as a step toward addressing police policy on religious head coverings. (BBC)

Happening on Campus: Still trying to land that perfect summer internship? Lean In @ Columbia is sponsoring an event in which experts in career development will be hosting four discussion circles. Moderated by representatives from Columbia and Barnard career service offices, the panels include Networking Follow-Up and Salary Negotiations. Come to Lerner 555 at 5:30 pm to check it out!

Overheard: “You have to be so next level smart to tattoo a meme on yourself.”

Word of the Day: Defenestration, which means the act of throwing something or someone out a window. Used in a sentence: I defenestrated my LitHum books after the midterm, because I forgot we still have a final.

common sense gun reform via bwog archives

Feb

23

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University of Pennsylvania professor, Dr. Howard Stevenson

Yesterday, Bwogger Isabel Sepúlveda attended a talk, “Playing with Anger: Racial Literacy and Health Interventions for Black Boys and Men” hosted by the Justice Working Group with University of Pennsylvania professor Dr. Howard Stevenson. He discussed his work developing culturally relevant heath interventions for men of color and, more broadly, how we can think about race in ways that limit the tension and increase empathy.

Talking about race can be difficult at best, meaning at times, we tend to shut out any dialogue in favor of sparing ourselves from the awkwardness and potential pitfalls that come hand in hand with discussing a difficult subject. While Dr. Stevenson’s talk was aimed more toward people with experience in fields of health and racial interventions, as the environment created was as open as it was educational. Though perhaps not completely obliterating our resistance to discussing these issues, it opened the floor to questions and conversation that elevated and personalized the experience.

Dr. Stevenson began by talking about his own background, discussing his childhood and his parents’ contrasting viewpoints towards dealing with racial tension. He went on to discuss how his childhood in South Delaware and how the reactions of his neighbors to his ultimate career in academia led in part to his desire to study the effects racial stresses have on marginalized groups and integrate racial experiences into health interventions in order to lessen the effects of said stresses.

He discussed two programs he’s implemented in Philadelphia, PLAAY (Preventing Long-term Anger and Aggression in Youth) and SHAPE-UP: Barbers Building Better Brothers Project. The former, which formed the core of much of our later discussion, integrates basketball into therapy in order to help youth and their parents cope with the stress of violence and social rejection. According too Dr. Stevenson, the youth open up more on the court because they’re engaging more systems than just the verbal system engaged in most typical therapies. Similarly, it allows the facilitators to see how youth act in high pressure situations in a controlled environment and give them strategies to cope in these situations. SHAPE-UP trains Black barbers as health educators so that they can educate Black men ages 18 to 24 and in turn reduce their risk of HIV/STIs and retaliation violence, as they tend to open more in these environments.

How do these interventions help in practice?

Feb

22

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My Spanish grade hates me right now.

We’ve all had that moment where we want to check the year the Defenestration of Prague took place, only to look up from our phone four hours later having read through the entire entry for rope. But, what happens if you let your wiki-binge take on a more Columbia-specific flavor? You can make some…interesting discoveries about our institutional history.

  • 1956The only information on this page is a single question: What happened? What did happen at Columbia in 1956? It seems the world may never know.
  • 1874This takes the 1956 page up to another level, forgoing words in favor of a single question mark.
  • Utada Hikaru: One of Columbia’s many famous drop-outs, the only things we apparently need to know about her is that she’s “the best Japanese pop singer on the planet” and that “there’s nothing not to like about her.” Honestly, I feel like that’s all that’s necessary.
  • Convocation: The most concise, accurate description of convocation you need; after reading this, you honestly don’t even need to go. Best quote: “Family members succumb to heat stroke. Parents bid teary farewells to their precious children, whom they must now abandon to immoral crime-riddled cesspool of heathens and sin that is New York City.”
  • Pinkberry:  Apparently Bwog once compared Spec to this “glassy neon virus” that infected the old Spec office. This is the kind of institutional memory I crave.
  • SpeccieA beautiful anthropological summary of those who write for Spec. Honestly, if I were a professor, I would give this an A+.
  • Princeton UniversityAll the WikiCU pages about other Ivies are gold, but a list titled “They stand for everything we hate” will win my heart every time.
  • Ken Hechtman: A guy who dropped out of Columbia after being caught keeping uranium-238 he stole the first floor of Pupin? I demand someone make a biopic about this man immediately.
  • PrezBo’s Projects: It’s just Wien, but this has a better ring to it, I guess?

timesuck via Bwog Archives

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