Author Archive

May

9

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A brave young mouse, descending to new floors

Last week, Bwogger Lucy Danger found a mouse in her room. The following is a short narrative from the perspective of said mouse, herefore known as “Mickey.”

She found me for the first time last week.

I’ve been around all year, mostly hiding in the walls behind the pipes. I stay in Brooks, because it’s older and easier to get around. I’ve gone from floor to floor before, but always ended up back on the 4th floor – it’s the comfiest; the rooms are smaller but the space is made up for in the walls.

Anyway, I liked their room a lot when I did come out of the wall for food or to stretch my legs. There was almost always a Goldfish cracker or two on the floor to munch on (I think that’s the only thing the blonde one eats). And one of them started staying mostly at her boyfriend’s place, leaving extra room for me.

But one day, I wasn’t careful enough. It was quiet in the room, had been for hours. I thought nobody was there, so I crept out around the corner and began sniffing around the recycling bin for a snack. But then I saw her, the one who’s always shouting about how gay she is. She was sitting at her desk, doing homework I think (is that what they do when they sit and look at the silver rectangle screen?) I tried to slowly back out before she saw me and did anything, but I think she saw me move. She looked over, and I hid for my life. I couldn’t do it anymore – I had to get out of there. So I booked it back around the corner and through the hole by the pipes under the bed. But it was too late. She saw me run, and I heard her scream and the door slam. How could I ever go back?

What’s happening??

May

2

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My friend who took this photo: “She’s a big one.”

To the Diana 5 Gender-Neutral Single Stall Bathroom,

It was love at first sight. At the beginning of second semester, I was still learning my way around the top floors of Diana – I hadn’t had a class there until then, and so only had reason to go the third floor and below. But I walked in, and the moment I saw you, I knew: I was looking at my one true love.

First of all, you’re gender-neutral – immediately making you superior to most other bathrooms. Making it accessible to more people? That was a great move. Second, you’re HUGE. The size of the bedroom section of my tiny Brooks quad, if not larger – the size of a Sulz double, even. If I ever had the urge to a cartwheel in a bathroom, you’d be the first place I would go. I’m even pretty sure you have two sinks (though I could be making that up in the finals-induced haze I’m currently in).  Third, you’re in what’s objectively one of the best floors of one of the best buildings on campus. Diana has almost everything I could ever want, and that includes you, next to the sunny nook full of chairs by the big glass wall and pizza and smoothies right downstairs. I won’t lie: I’ve taken the elevator just to get to you before. You’re worth it.

Diana 5 single stall: you’re the one. You’re always clean, your mirrors are always clear, and never once have I gone in and seen your toilet paper or paper towels or soap unstocked. I’ll miss you over the summer, but you’ll be the first bathroom I visit when I get back to campus. Thank you for existing.

Love,
Bwog Staffer

Image via Bwog Staff.

May

2

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Slice of heaven

It’s been weeks – maybe even months.

I still remember the first time I saw you.

It was in early fall. I hadn’t eaten at Hewitt since NSOP (I, a bright-eyed young first-year, was still exploring everything Columbia Dining has to offer) and I didn’t miss it. It was still warm out; I was sitting on Diana roof with two friends – then one of them opened up her Hewitt lunch takeout container. She went along and ate her pizza, but my eye was caught on you.

I couldn’t wait to have you for myself. You were beautiful, glowing in the afternoon sixth floor sunlight. A perfect balance of everything. Layers of fluffy cake and powdered sugar icing, all topped with a perfect layer of coconut flakes.

I began going to Hewitt more often just for you, coconut cake. It became a routine: whatever BS Hewitt was serving that day, followed by a slice. It continued into second semester, warming me up when the weather was cold.

But all of a sudden, you were gone.

The chocolate cake was still there, and the other one filled with strawberries. Sometimes even a pie. But the coconut cake has disappeared from the often-empty dessert area. I didn’t mind at first, thinking it was just an off day. But it’s been over a month – I stopped keeping track – and I still haven’t seen you.

I miss you, coconut cake. Hewitt lunch isn’t the same without you. The other cakes don’t measure up. I go to class with a full stomach, but an empty heart. Please, come back; I’ll do anything. I don’t know what I did to deserve you in the first place, and I don’t know what I did to make you leave. You’re the one for me. I’ll be waiting with extra swipes ready for whenever you decide to return.

With love,

Lucy

:'( via Toby Oxborrow // Wikimedia Commons

Apr

28

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Self-care during finals is just as important as regularly taking care of your skin!

It’s that time again: finals. You’re likely feeling extra stress, and that stress might be exhibiting itself very boldly on your face. Fear not! Bwogger and skincare aficionado Lucy Danger has these skincare for finals tips ready to prepare you for your exams and those stress-free days after finals final-ly end.

Skincare isn’t a one-stop shot, even during finals season. Doing one face mask won’t make a difference if you still don’t take off your makeup after long nights at Butler. These tips are quick, easy ways to incorporate good skincare habits into your routine when you really have no time, but they’re always useful.

Masking
It’s around this time that you’ll start hearing RAs, Stressbusters, and other campus de-stressors bring up face masks as relaxation techniques, along with massages, ice cream, and who knows what else! Here are some best face mask habits.

Don’t mask too often. Face masks are certainly a great skincare habit to get into – but it’s key to remember that masking too often can actually have detrimental effects. It’s safe to say that you shouldn’t mask more than 3 times per week, no matter how stressed you are.

Work with what you have. Especially when you’re already busy and stressed out, you don’t need to go out of your way to buy fancy products or spend hours and hours trying to figure out how to use gimmicky masks. Sheet masks are great when you’re in a rush because you can use them anywhere – including Butler at 4 am, if that’s what your life is like! Tub masks are good too, but generally take a little bit longer and require water and a towel. And DIY masks, which only work the way they’re supposed to about half the time and take way longer than you have every time, aren’t the best choice.

More skincare tips after the jump!

Apr

25

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These unionization struggles for healthcare workers come at a time when graduate students are similarly struggling for union recognition.

It’s been almost two years since the medical assistant workers in Columbia’s Primary Care Services voted to join 1199 SEIU, a union with over 5,000 members in New York City. Most of the union members 1199 represents work at the Columbia Medical Center uptown, in addition to more than 500 workers in dining and clerical services here on the Morningside Heights campus. So it wasn’t strange when the eight women who work in Primary Care voted to join the union. But a year and a half, and more than 25 bargaining meetings later, there is still no contract agreement.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Michael Ashby, Vice President of 1199 SEIU. Ashby represents the workers at the medical center and the dining and clerical services at the Morningside campus. He explained that the current situation does not reflect normal contract negotiation procedure. When the other workers on the Morningside campus voted to join the union just over three years ago, it took around four bargaining meetings between Columbia and the union to agree on language for the contract for over 500 workers, compared to 25+ meetings – and counting – for these eight workers. The demands haven’t changed. Columbia’s Director of Labor and Employee Relations for Morningside, Idina Gorman, hasn’t changed. So, what is causing such a different process this time?

When the eight medical staff voted to join the union, 1199 wanted to have them folded into the already-existing contract that they had with the Columbia University dining and clerical services employees. This was a standard decision: it was a small number of new members; the University had already negotiated and agreed to the conditions and terms in those contracts. But Columbia refused, instead electing to revisit every term and proposed benefit. According to Gwynne Wilcox, lawyer for 1199, “the University has disregarded this precedent in bargaining and has effectively ignored the other two 1199 contracts that the University negotiated.” Wilcox added that “it is rare for employers to act like this under these circumstances for eight workers where the Union and employer already have contracts with substantial other workers,” she continued. “In most instance[s], employers would have adopted the existing contracts.” In short, Columbia hasn’t made it easy. However, what no one seems to know is why.

Some of the healthcare workers have reported not getting a raise in two years. More after the jump.

Apr

20

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24/7 Columbia has shared a letter of support of their demands for accessible, in-person healthcare, signed by 140 members of the faculty from almost every department at Columbia, Barnard, and several  graduate schools. Among the professors who signed on are University Professor Gayatri Spivak and History Professor Mae Ngai. In the letter, faculty agree that 24/7 healthcare is a crucial part of an equitable learning environment.

The letter states that faculty “join students in asking for 24/7, in-person, unrestricted health care, including counseling, trauma support, and medical services, for all members of the Columbia community.” It further emphasizes the importance of a zero-tolerance policy for gender-based misconduct, and that staff be “adequately trained in cultural competency.” Such policy changes are necessary, these faculty members argue, because, “if the University wants to fully achieve its mission of advancing knowledge and learning at the highest level and conveying the products of its efforts to the world,”  it must invest in 24/7 healthcare.

The faculty letter accompanies the release of a petition advocating for 24/7 Columbia’s demands for free, around-the-clock healthcare free from policing. The petition, which has over 100 signatures, explains that “adequate healthcare is a necessary part of a safe and equitable learning environment,” and advocates students, members of the Columbia community, and other supporters to sign on.

Both the faculty letter of support and the petition are released as the first full day of the group’s sit-in in Lerner comes to a close. Members of the group are sitting in the building until their demands are met to protest the lack of these healthcare services and advocate that administrators provide them. Members of the group have received an email from EVP Suzanne Goldberg earlier today thanking them for their “commitment to student well-being at Columbia” and noting that though the group has already met with representatives from Columbia Health, that they are welcome to speak with Professor Goldberg further to continue negotiations.

Bwog will continue to update as the sit-in continues and the situation progresses.

Read the full letter after the jump

Apr

10

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Mercury in retro-gayde

It was finally time.

I took a deep breath and prepared myself.

“Mom, listen. I know you might have suspected this already, but I need to tell you something. It’s been put off for too long.” I started.

She nodded.

“Mom, I’m… an astrologer.”

So began the conversation in which I came out as into astrology. Oh, you thought I was going to say gay? No, my mom has known that for years, and so does anyone who spends more than five minutes with me. But both are part of why I have been so excited for Barnard Student Life’s Queer Astrology event on Monday.

The event was originally scheduled to occur over a month ago, but was postponed due to snow. Then, the new date was postponed again to a second snow day. Considering the fact that I had been planning on meeting my soulmate at this event, I couldn’t help but wonder whether it just wasn’t written in the stars, so to speak. But Mother Nature is probably queer, right? I was sure it was just because she knew that bringing a bunch of queer people together to talk about astrology would just be too powerful.

The snow finally lets up ahead

Mar

24

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Unanswered question: Why do the gym and the arts building have the same name?

Columbia is a confusing place. Despite the relatively small size of its campus, it’s still much larger than Barnard’s, with way more buildings named after now dead rich white men. As a Barnard first-year, I haven’t had all that much reason to spend a lot of time at Columbia other than at the dining halls and EC parties, and I try to cross Broadway to that side as little as possible. Thus, now, even in the second semester, I find myself texting group chats “Where’s Wien again?” and “How do I get to Schermerhorn?” So, with the help of some Columbia Bwoggers, here’s a convenient explanation of Columbia’s campus for Barnard students who try to go there as little as possible – for the times when you have no other choice.

Wien: Looking at the entrance of EC, fondly thinking back on the hours you’ve spent waiting to get signed in there, look to the right and take the dark and mysterious stairway down. Turn around when you get down and you’ll be in the Wien Courtyard. Rumor has it that sophomores who enter Wien never come out until junior year.

Schermerhorn: First of all, why is it spelled like that? How on earth do you pronounce it? Milbank would never do that to us. Anyway, begin your journey there on Low Steps. Go up and to the right, and look for the big chapel under construction. With the chapel on your right, go straight and look for the quad (no, not the home for Barnard first-years you miss so much). On the North (uptown) end of the quad is Schermerhorn. To get to Schermerhorn extension, because apparently one wasn’t enough, enter the building and go towards the elevators, then turn right and follow the hallway.

Mathematics: Again, a bad name for a building, whether or not you like math. Anyway, leaving Barnard Hall with sadness in your heart, cross the street to the 117th gates and go up the stairs. Take a left, and Mathematics is the building on your left. Enter and make sure to take a seat by the window to look longingly back at your home.

More directions after the jump!

Mar

22

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The sign reads “SORRY WE ARE CLOSED”

Morning To Midnight, more commonly known as M2M, is closing its location in Morningside Heights.

According to an employee, this installation is moving downtown because the company’s lease for their space, at Broadway and 115th Street, ran out. Employees were unable to tell us where exactly they are moving or how soon this move will take place. There is already one location of M2M on Waverly Place, near NYU.

Around 6 pm today, all of M2M’s large equipment, including shelving, stock, and refrigerators was seen being moved onto the sidewalk on Broadway, some of it into trucks. Their stock was moved out of the building, and they were not allowing anyone inside. This is a new development, as they were functioning normally as of this past Tuesday.

We will update this post as more information becomes available.

RIP M2M via Lucy Danger

Mar

19

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Don’t let your toxic masculinity get in your way of clear skin!

Skincare is important for everyone, including guys. But many skincare blogs and websites, while claiming to be gender-neutral, are aimed at a mostly female audience. Fear not! Bwogger Lucy Danger is here to explain some basic and essential skincare tips in a relatable way.

Regimens
When you go to Dodge, no matter why you’re there, you have to follow a routine of different exercises. This can include different activities like stretching, warmups, weight training, or cardio. Skincare is just like that! It can include different products and routines that are all meant to do different things. A proper skincare regimen can change depending on what you want to focus on, like when you have a big game and don’t want to let down the team (even though everyone always said Columbia sports suck), so you want to prepare by doing extra cardio. Here I’ll outline some of the best skincare exercises no matter what sport you’re playing.

Cleansers
Nice cars are awesome, even though nobody drives anywhere at this school. But all the oil and dirt from cars being driven around all the time can make a Maserati look like your mom’s station wagon. It’s the same with your face. Just like taking care of a car, the first step to any skincare routine is always cleansing. You can’t put sick flames on the side of a sports car until it’s nice and clean, and you can’t use targeted products or makeup on a dirty face. A good cleanser to start out with should be gentle but all-purpose. Like with a car, you don’t want a cleanser that will strip the paint, but make sure it’s strong enough to actually remove the excess oil and stuff that doesn’t belong on your face. You should wash your face twice a day, morning and night. And make sure you have a separate towel for your face than the one you use for your body, just like you and a NASCAR driver wouldn’t share the same tires.

More skincare tips after the jump!

Mar

7

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Alma, surveying her snowy kingdom

If you were up until 3 am in Butler crossing your fingers for a snow day so that you wouldn’t have to take that 8:40 midterm, you were probably disappointed when you woke up to a bare ground. But good news: Barnard and Columbia have now announced that both schools will close at 4 pm today!

In an email sent to Barnard students at 12:40, public safety announced that due to the worsening weather conditions, the school will close at 4 pm and all classes after that time will be canceled. The email encouraged departments to send home all non-essential faculty after 3 pm.

A little after 1 pm, Columbia followed suit. In an email from the Columbia University Emergency Management Team, it was announced that due to the changing conditions, classes on the Morningside and Medical Center campuses after 4 pm are canceled. They noted that students should check in with their professors to see whether their classes will be held virtually.

While classes are canceled and other school and department operations are closing, the dining halls will remain open according to their normal schedule.

The emails from Barnard and Columbia can be read in full below. Advice from Bwog: take a study break and go play in the snow!

Update, 2:10 pm: Join us in celebrating the class cancellation with Bwog’s third annual snowball fight on Low steps! The fight will start at 4 pm and go until dusk. Or, whenever our arms get too tired to keep going.

Full emails after the jump!

Feb

24

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When virtual reality is happier than actual reality

Can virtual reality distract us from the actual reality of midterms? Bwogger Lucy Danger attended the Athena Film Festival’s first of two virtual reality experiences to find out. The Athena Film Festival is happening now through 2/25 at Barnard. Check our announcement post for some of the highlights, and look out for more Bwog reviews of various screenings and events. 

I know virtual reality was all the rage a few years ago, but I had never experienced it previous to this, so I didn’t really know what to expect. When I walked into Altschul Atrium where Athena volunteers were setting up, I saw a few people sitting on stools wearing futuristic-looking headsets and big headphones, from time to time looking around – basically what I imagine a Black Mirror casting to look like. “Am I going to look that aimless and out of it?” I wondered.

The event was going on from 12 to 5 pm, and all the equipment was in use when I arrived, so I signed a waiting list and decided which film to watch. They were offering four short documentary-style films: “Testimony,” “Under the Net,” “Look But With Love: A Story of Women,” and “Look But With Love: A Story of Dance.” I was able to watch all but Under the Net. Falling in line with Athena’s tenets, all the films featured women. They also seemed to come from somewhat of an activist perspective.

The volunteer sat me down on a stool and showed me how to work the device. The first one I used had a small remote control with a touchpad used to navigate directionally within the film. “It’s basically just holding a phone screen really close to your face,” she explained. “So how is it different from when I’m checking Twitter in the morning before I put my contacts in?” I thought to myself.

More after the jump

Feb

22

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Now you don’t have to leave the Columbia Bubble to see some great movies!

The Barnard-hosted Athena film festival is back this weekend for its 8th year in a row! The festival features the work of women in the film and media industry and highlights those who have helped to increase representation of women in film. Below are some of the highlights and activities most which to look forward.

• Thursday 2/22, 4:00 pm at the Diana Event Oval: The first event is a premiere of the new season of Lifetime show UnREAL, followed by a discussion with cast and crew.
• Thursday 2/22, 7:00 pm at Diana Event Oval: The opening night film screening is Battle of the Sexes, featuring a post-screening conversation with film subject Billie Jean King.
• Friday 2/23, 6:00 pm at Lehman Auditorium: Screening of Chavela, which follows the story of Chavela Vargas, beloved Mexican performer.
• Friday 2/23, 9:00 pm at Miller Theatre: A natural choice for a Barnard film festival, of course, is the screening of Lady Bird – directed by now Oscar-nominated Barnard alumna Greta Gerwig.
• Saturday 2/24, 12:00 pm at Altschul Atrium: The festival this year is featuring two virtual reality experiences – come through to see three short virtual reality programs.
• Saturday 2/24, 4:00 pm in the James Room: A panel called Female Gaze, continuing the conversation about increasing female storytellers in Hollywood.
• Saturday 2/24, 6:00 pm at Diana Event Oval: The centerpiece film is MANKILLER, following the life of Wilma Mankiller, “a community organizer-turned-political leader who defied all odds to make a difference for her people.”
• Sunday 2/25, 12:00 pm at Minor Latham Playhouse: A free screening of Moana! Tickets are free, but RSVP is required.
• Sunday 2/25, 6:00 pm at Diana Event Oval: Closing Night Screening of The Post.

You can find more information and the entire schedule of events and screenings on the Athena Film Festival’s website. We’ll also be covering quite a few of the screenings, panels, and events, so stay tuned!

a cool logo via Athena Film Festival

Feb

1

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The protest on Low Steps earlier today

Columbia graduate students, undergrads, community members, and students of other New York City schools gathered today on Low Steps to protest Columbia’s decision not to bargain with the Graduate Student Union for a contract and to instead “let the legal process run its course.”

The protesters met at 12 PM and began with chants like “What do we want? / Contract! / When do we want it? / Now! / If we don’t get it / shut it down!”, “What’s disgusting? / Union busting!”, and “The workers / united / will never be defeated!”

From the protest

Around 12:40 PM, the protest turned into a march around Low with some of the same chants. It continues until a little bit before 1:00 PM. At that time two protesters tried to enter Low, but the doors had been locked.

The protest ended with chants of “What’s the next step in this fight? / We’ve got the power to strike, strike, strike!”

Jan

17

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“Do the Lit Hum reading for once.”

“New year, new me” – Every Instagram caption for the month of January. New Year’s resolutions are an amazing chance to turn over a new leaf–and students aren’t the only ones who are committing to a few this year! Our favorite campus buildings are getting in on the fun by deciding to leave a few things in 2017. The most-mentioned? Less throw-up and faster elevators.

• Milstein: Be finished.
• Carman: Don’t fall apart. And no more getting thrown up in.
• Diana: Be nicer to men.
• Lerner: No more getting caught in the middle of rowdy protests. Too stressful, especially for a building with so much glass.
• EC: Drink less alcohol.
• Ruggles: Quit smoking.
• John Jay: Leave me out of your terrible Spec op-eds. Unrelated: also get faster elevators.
• The Quad: Grow at least two sizes.
• Hamilton: Do the Lit Hum reading for once.
• Butler: Spend less time on Facebook.

Hamilton Hall via Bwog Archives

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