Author Archive

Feb

4

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creative interpretation of what 110 used to look like

creative interpretation of what 110 used to look like

All of us know that Columbia/Barnard housing is hit-or-miss. None of us in our right mind would imagine a luxurious palace replete with marble floors and walls. Here, Bwogger Nikki Shaner-Bradford clues us in on a delicious rumor about Barnard’s 110. 

Barnard’s supposed best-kept housing secret has secrets of its own, hidden within the walls of the inconspicuous lobby. For those unfamiliar with 110, the building is a typical New York residence within which Barnard rents apartments to be used as dorms for students. If you can brave the six-block walk, 110 offers real furniture, speedy work-order fulfillment, legitimate New Yorker Neighbors, and a lovely staff happy to help with any inquiries.

Although most 110 residents are happy to embrace these privileges without question, 110 has a rumor that can provide the most stimulating elevator chat, if you choose to investigate. Corroborated by real-life 110 residents and staff alike, rumor has it that the 110 lobby is actually entirely marble.

Why isn’t this delicacy visible? The lobby’s marble, likely installed back in the days when 110 was a luxury hotel, has been covered over with wood. According to legend, the insurance and upkeep involved in maintaining a marble foyer bears such a financial burden that the building is better off hiding its treasures underneath layers of plywood. If the wood is removed, the 110 staff would be required to clean and repair the marble with a frequency that is not financially sustainable, despite the revenue from Upper West Side rent and Barnard housing. So alas, all Eloise at the Plaza Barnard dreams are futile until further notice.

For now, take solace in the strip of exquisite stone exposed by the first floor elevators. Elegance, at its finest.

Jan

24

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This is top-notch aesthetic appeal.

This is top-notch aesthetic appeal.

Bwog continues its library series by exploring the Lehman Social Sciences Library. Located inside the International Affairs Building, this place has everything: printers, desks, and other essentials for last-minute cramming. Leave Butler’s dementors behind and take a chance on one of Columbia’s beautiful libraries! 

Location: 300 International Affairs Building. IAB is wheelchair accessible, and the Lehman Library is located on the third floor, which is below ground level.

Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9 am to Midnight. Friday, 9 am to 7 pm. Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm. Sunday, 11 am to 11 pm.

Contact: (212) 854-3794. [email protected]

Seats:

  • Four rooms of Group study tables that can seat about 100 students total. Often TAs will reserve tables for office hours.
  • Two rooms of long tables with outlets and desk lamps, seating roughly 100 in each.
  • Five individual tables on the lower level that sit four each, without outlets.
  • 20 cubicles within the stacks.
  • Six small individual study rooms.

You won’t hate yourself in this library!

Dec

9

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"what is a clio?"

“what is a clio?

Someone once said that the books in Butler were like candles during sex; they didn’t do much, but they set the ambiance. These books remain, largely, an untapped treasure trove of knowledge. Bwog Senior Staffer Nikki Shaner-Bradford interviews Columbia’s librarians about what they do and the resources they keep watch over. 

The organization of academic life at Columbia arguably revolves around the vast network of libraries at our disposal, especially as we enter into the final weeks of the semester. At this point in the year, the demand for library seats is at an all time high, with some students resorting to their bi-yearly visit to the Butler stacks, and others taking the opportunity to discover an entirely new place to skim over a semester’s worth of readings. But how much work goes unnoticed throughout the year in these houses of knowledge? What is the true significance of the library at a major research university? (And with all of the significance placed on research, why were only 0.11% of Giving Day Donations made to the libraries?)

Over the course of two weeks, I set out to ask various people who run our libraries to tell me a bit more about what they do, and how they believe the access to a renowned reference collection alters the academic experience at this university.

So what do librarians do?

Nov

29

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Butler 8 Sign

“Quiet study only, Please!”

Staff Writer and Butlerite Nikki Shaner-Bradford is so grateful for all the friendly faces she sees on a regular basis from her Butler 8 cubicle! Here’s to all of you!

  1. The various wrestling match/football game viewers. Thank you for always making me feel like I am the most productive person in Butler. If it weren’t for you, my second hour on Facebook would seem like a waste, but turning around to see you leaning your sweatshirt-clad body back like those mass-order grey Butler 8 desk chairs are leather recliners while you take in another segment of masculine violence in the name of sportsmanship really makes me feel good about myself. At least when we both walk out of here at 2am, I’ll know I made the most of my time judging my friends online rather than watching arbitrary muscle masses lunge at each other.
  2. The couple whispering within my cubicle. You really restrained yourself this time by limiting your PDA to only a brief peck, and half an hour of hushed giggling. I’m so glad I got to share this five foot space with you while I finished my paper on Wordsworth’s poetry about the loneliness of death! You really helped me add some life to my description of my ongoing existential crisis. I hope the power of your love gave you the endurance to finish the CC essay you’ve been struggling with all day.
  3. The guy pacing the hallway all night. Honestly, if it weren’t for you, I’d confuse the fluorescent light and glorious silence of Butler 8 with my own dorm room. Thank you for reminding me to have some self awareness. Because of you, I keep my halloween candy out of sight while I stress eat my way through the next problem set.
  4. The Napper. I have the utmost respect for you, fellow Napper, passed out over your textbooks. Thank you for offering me quiet company in the late hours. We are one, you and I, and solidarity is a currency on the eighth floor.
  5. The Roof Goer. You know who you are, you know what you did. I won’t rat you out to Public Safety in this very public forum. Thank you for making the floor a more exciting adventure for all of us.
  6. The MIA Grad Student. Your book pile on the heater, your locked cabinet door. These are the things that leave me wondering late into the night. You are an enigma, a symbol of ambition and intellect. I am but a mere borrower of your desk. You are never here (I assume you are busy drinking black coffee and growing a beard while writing your dissertation in Hungarian) and this absence does not go unappreciated. Thank you, leftover books, for reminding me of your reader. And thank you, Grad Student, for relinquishing your post to me every night.

Oct

4

img October 04, 20165:00 pmimg 7 Comments

columbia_university_-_low_memorial_library-d

Shoutout to all the pre-law and SVU fanatics on campus.

Investigative reporter, Nikki Shaner-Bradford, interviews Columbia’s newest Title IX Coordinator Marjory Fisher on the various aspects of her exciting and important position. 

Title IX has a persistent presence on campus. From SVR training to conversations both in and outside of the classroom on campus sexual assault, harassment, and the gender politics of the intellectually vibrant community that comprises our student body, reference to the 1972 amendment is common. However, when a new Title IX coordinator was appointed at the beginning of the semester, the university was surprisingly quiet. Therefore, on behalf of Bwog, I set out to learn more about our new Prosecuter-turned-Title IX Administrator, Marjory Fisher.

Marjory Fisher is not your typical administrator. This fact is evident not only in a brief glance at her bio on the Sexual Respect Initiative page — which boasts, among other accolades, a laundry list of detective and legal work that seems stolen straight from the resume of SVU’s own Olivia Benson — but also upon first meeting her.

As I enter Fisher’s office underneath Philosophy Hall, all the biographical tidbits and legal jargon I’ve been compiling over the past week align. Fisher greets me immediately upon arrival, and we sit down at her table to begin our interview. While I organize my questions, she asks about my classes and listens intently to my answers. Fisher is calm, collected, and interested – the perfect detective.

When asked about how she’s liking Columbia thus far, her answer is immediate and definitive: “I love it.”

Nikki Shaner-Bradford:: How would you explain your role at Columbia University? Why is the role of the Title IX coordinator important on both the university and the student side?

Marjory Fisher: My role is really to do the best than I can to ensure a harassment-free environment. I’m very involved with consulting with the Gender-Based Misconduct Office on their cases and their reports […] I think my job is important in ensuring that fair investigations are done and that they’re done as expeditiously as we can do them, and coming to a just result. Also, doing as much work in prevention as we possibly can.

More on the Title IX coordinator’s role at Columbia after the jump

May

12

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Tbt to bad times.

Tbt to bad times.

The tendrils of Wall Street stretch deeply into Columbia—even back to the horrendous Black Tuesday and the Great Depression. Nikki Shaner-Bradford recalls the days of yore, when Columbia students still obsessed with the finance world—even without having LinkedIn to show off.

In an article published in the Columbia Spectator on November 20th, 1929, entitled “Stock Market Reflections,” a student remarked that the “with the stock market presumably returning to normalcy (you never can tell), it’s time to take stock of the situation, and try to derive some lasting lessons from the great catastrophe of the past few weeks.” While this student deserves props for his clever pun, he somewhat understated the longevity of the crash.

Stock Market crashes are no good

May

6

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As finals season absorbs the very best of us, stealing our sleep and sanity with every hour inside Butler, it’s important to remember to take care and destress. We know Columbia Students aren’t always the best at this, so we’ve decided to help out. Here’s a couple of coloring pages showing the best activism of Columbia, to remind you that there are bigger issues in the world than LitHum. Color on.

Apr

20

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Tasty and tasteful

Tasty and tasteful

On Tuesday afternoon Bwog sent staff writer Nikki Shaner-Bradford to a talk and Q&A with entrepreneur Miki Agrawal, organized by Barnard’s Smart Women Lead and Pre-Health Organization, so that she could learn more Agrawal’s start-ups, scuffle with the MTA, and thoughts on how to do “cool shit.”

Yesterday afternoon Miki Agrawal, CEO of Thinx and an all-around badass feminist, scootered into the Diana to speak to Barnard students about her journey as an entrepreneur, Thinx, feminism, and how to create a successful startup. She also brought a pop-up shop for the infamous Thinx underwear—meant to be period-proof—with her.

Agrawal began by sharing her story pre-Thinx. As the owner of two successful restaurants she was already a self-starter and a businesswoman. The inspiration for Thinx came when she and her twin sister were competing in the annual three-legged race at their family BBQ. Halfway through, her sister began her period, and post-race they rushed (still tied to one another) upstairs. Agrawal explained that watching her sister wring out her bathing suit bottoms sparked the idea: what if she could create a product that would allow women to continue their days largely uninterrupted by their periods?

We know how the story ends, but how did she get there?

Apr

14

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Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 1.13.54 AMWith The Muslim Protagonist (an annual symposium by the Muslim Students Association in which panelists will discuss issues of race, religion, gender identity, and the way literature can affect societal change) coming up this weekend, Bwog Staff Writer Nikki Shaner-Bradford reached out to speak with two of the organizers, Sania Khalid and Fatima Kholi, both BC ’17, to talk a bit about the program. This year’s theme is (Re)writing Home: Shifting Sites of Belonging. 

Nikki: For those who haven’t heard of it, can you give a brief overview of what The Muslim Protagonist is and what’s happening this weekend?

Fatima: The Muslim Protagonist is an annual literary symposium where we bring together muslim and minority students and artists to discuss how we can use literature as a means of social intellectual and spiritual change. It’s called The Muslim Protagonist but it’s open to people of all backgrounds regardless of race, religion, and gender identity. That’s a brief description, but every year there’s a different theme. One of our main goals is to provide a platform for new and emerging artists.

N: How are you involved with The Muslim Protagonist, and what is your role within the conference?

Sania: I’ve always been involved with MSA, and I’m a very active member. Last year was my first year going, and it was amazing, and I love being a part of it. It just gets cooler…

Apr

5

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What's the relevance of Barnard nowadays?

What’s the relevance of Barnard nowadays?

In another event regarding the identity of Barnard, a panel organized by Sulz and Hewitt RAs discusses the relevance of women’s colleges today. Staff writer Nikki Shaner-Bradford reports on what reasons, exactly, there are for Barnard to continue to exist—if there are any reasons at all.

One facet of going to Barnard is the prevalent feeling that Barnard students must constantly validate their college’s identity—be it within the Columbia University community or the world as a whole. Last night, thanks to the work of Hewitt and Sulz RAs, a conversational panel on “Why a Women’s College in 2016?” was organized, including both Barnard students and faculty to discuss and evaluate these questions.

The panel consisted of  Lauren Malotra-Gaudet (BC ’15 grad), Claire Liebmann (BC ’18), Professor Robert McCaughey, and Professor Pamela Cobrin. Each panelist took turns answering prepared questions by Barnard RAs, offering their insight into the identity and necessity of Barnard as a women’s college.

The first point addressed was the ways in which the existence of a women’s college affects both teaching and learning within the classroom. The panel began by noting, in agreement, the way having a female dominated learning environment offers a voice to students who might otherwise feel uncomfortable or unwelcome participating in discussion. Gender politics within co-ed classes can often deter women from being as vocal when faced with their male peers. By having many female professors and peers, students of women’s colleges are encouraged to share their ideas and opinions, free from the typically louder male voice and alleged threat of mansplaining. Academia is a male dominated field, and both Malotra-Gaudet and Liebmann noted that their experience of having many female professors was both inspiring and empowering. Offering the educator’s perspective, Professor Cobrin commented that teaching at Barnard was her most reciprocal learning environment. She felt she was gaining invaluable knowledge and insights from being in a female-dominated classroom.

Click to read more about Barnard’s strong, sassy independence

Mar

28

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You've betrayed our trust, public safety friends

You’ve betrayed our trust, public safety friends

While there have been countless questionable Public Safety emails, we were particularly concerned with the misleading note we received last Tuesday regarding the “Active Shooter Awareness Seminar.” Bwog Staffer Nikki Shaner-Bradford  calls out this blatant oversight.

Dearest Public Safety,

What happened last Tuesday?

Your typically thrilling and community building emails took a turn for the sinister. By this, I refer to none other than the poorly phrased, albeit informative, emails on the “Active Shooter Awareness Seminar.”

Here’s the thing, Public Safety, I really appreciate who you are. Truly, I do. You keep us safe, and that’s important. But lately I feel like we’ve had some miscommunication and it’s making me a bit tense around you.

We’ve had a lot of correspondence, you and I. Every mugging, robbery, assault, construction, and unruly fire drill – we’ve been through it all. However, this very rapport has led me down an ironically dangerous path – I take your words at face value. When you send out an email blast on a recent purse-snatching incident, I don’t doubt you for a second.

So then … why are we mad?

Mar

24

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Pouring wine with woman smiling

Keep the poetry coming, please!

We sent poetry-loving Bwogger Nikki to Pulitzer Prize winner John Ashbery’s reading, where she indulged in complimentary sandwiches and beautiful poetry.

Long before the 6:30 door opening, an energetic crowd of writers, poetry enthusiasts, and artists alike began gathering down the hall from Dodge 501. All vying for a seat within the small drawing room (preference was given to those in the Columbia Writing Program), those queuing made both large and small talk while student organizers fretted about with clipboards.

All were awaiting Pulitzer Prize winner, National Book Award recipient, and Columbia alumnus, John Ashbery.

Using the power of the press and her undying enthusiasm for Ashbery, this Bwogger managed to bypass the line and secure a coveted spot within Dodge 501. The majority of those in line were redirected to another room with a live video stream of the event.

The room, typically used for live drawing classes, was a perfect backdrop for Ashbery’s reading. Dim lighting, complimentary wine and sandwiches, miscellaneous easels, and a tittering crowd seemed to beautifully mimic the vibe of the New York School. A small desk with a lamp stood illuminated before the seated audience, poised to receive the renowned poet.

More juicy details after the cut

Mar

10

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What’s better than an adult coloring book? A Columbia-specific college kids version, full of colorful campus figures and fixtures. Courtesy Bwog’s fantastic writer-illustrator dynamo, Nikki Shaner-Bradford. Print and de-stress. Enjoy, fam. #LateNightBwog

Feb

23

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We prefer a good Parliament but we'll take Facebook, too.

We prefer a good Parliament but we’ll take Facebook, too.

If you weren’t aware before, Facebook has been having issues in Europe. Privacy, internet security, and storage of data are all things Max Schrems considered when he launched legal actions against Facebook. Staffer Nikki Shaner-Bradford covered what Mr. Schrems said regarding the legal action against Facebook.

How is our privacy protected in the digital age? Are there cultural ways of dealing with a problem? Where do security measures become overly intrusive?

These are a few of the questions that were addressed at the European Institute sponsored panel on February 22nd featuring Max Schrems on “The Digital Divide: EU v. US over Data Protection.” Topics ranged from the ways Europe and the United States differ in their perspectives on privacy law (hint: the US has next to none) to the nuances of the European courts system to the fate of foreigner data in the hands of US based corporations.

(more…)

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