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Feb

16

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Smiling face found on capitainealexandre.com

On Wednesday, slam poet Marc Alexandre visited French classes at Columbia to perform and talk about his slam poetry. Bwogger Jennifer Nugent was there to describe the scene for us. 

Award-winning slam poet Marc Alexandre was on campus yesterday to give a performance and talk about his work. He spoke to a small group of students in a few French classes about his views on performance, inspiration, and the arts. This is an imperfect representation of his thoughts, both because of paraphrasing and because I barely speak the language…

The first question asked was about the most difficult part of Alexandre’s process. Interestingly, he said that he gets stage fright and though he has already created and memorized his own work when it comes to the performance, that is when the nerves set in. His performances are also discussed because of his unique tendency to collaborate with musicians. Alexandre described the difference in belief between those slam poets who considered true slam to be purely spoken-word, and those who enjoyed mixing other artistic elements into their work. Alexandre pointed out that there is a thin line between slam with music and rapping, but maintains that the integrity of slam poetry is not compromised by collaborating with other artists.

The most inspiring part of the session was Alexandre’s thoughts on creating slam poetry. First, he writes all of his own pieces and focuses on his experiences and on issues he feels passionate about. For example, he participates in a group of poets who often collaborate and recently created a piece commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. He describes his poetry as breathing, sighing, planting a seed and putting in enough feeling to let it grow. He also spoke about the concern for rhythm. He pointed out that he always performs in French, but if an audience member does not speak French, or he is watching a performance in a language he doesn’t know, the dynamics of the performance can perfectly indicate the feelings, meaning, and the importance of a piece. As a demonstration, Alexandre finished his presentation by doing a brief slam, speaking about poetry and the creative process, more which can be found here.

Photo via Capitaine Alexandre’s website

Feb

1

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barcelona_collage

This is a winning Tinder profile pic, highlight your assets!

Last night’s General Studies Student Council meeting saw the council try to match with students to fill a series of vacancies and match funding requests from different student organizations. All of the activity proved that GSSC is back in full swing and is ready to get their initiatives started and see the fruition of their hard work.

Here are the teams’ reports:

  • Policy: positions are still opening right now, and they are trying to revamp policy committee with new members in preparation for their constitutional review.
  • Family and Working Students: trying to work more closely with other organizations on campus. Currently, they are meeting with someone from the office of work and life – specifically someone from the childcare perspective to see if there are any issues that need to be addressed.
  • Diversity and Equity: The foremost concern is creating a special policy for refugee students, which is currently in the works.
  • Senior Representative: There are several events planned over the next few months, including a pub night in March, and karaoke and trivia nights in February (details on Facebook).
  • First Year Class President: Nicole is trying to work with CPS to get weekend/night hours (for reference, Harvard has a room available 24/7 for one-on-one couseling.) She is also working on a safe-space initiative to support students. Also mentioned was the first-year gala at end of February, which will be a masquerade!
  • JTS Representative: There will be a Shabbat dinner during GS week (specifically on March 3rd) details to follow.
  • Campus Life: Puppies might be coming!! Campus Life is also hosting a groundhog day celebration and reminds students that Thursday is Lerner Pub day – there will be free drinks!

Next, GSSC moved on to interviews for new appointments and co-sponsorships:

  • There were two co-sponsorships given out today: One for the MilVets Ball to help subsidize ticket prices, and one to the Columbia Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs to facilitate their trip to visit European companies.
  • The positions up for grabs tonight included the Students With Disabilities Representative, the Senior Treasurer, and the Chief of Policy. All positions had extremely qualified and dedicated candidates, which the council will consider. Decisions will be made public by next week, at which point Bwog can reveal more about our newly elected officials!

Dec

7

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Beyoncé's our lead Bacchanal artist! (just kidding lol)

Beyoncé is our lead Bacchanal artist! (just kidding lol)

Last night, Bwog GSSC Bureau Chiefs Jennie Nugent & Romane Thomas attended GSSC’s last meeting of the semester. We’ll be back with more GSSC updates after break!

The General Studies Student Council has been working on several projects throughout the semester, and the final meeting of 2016 was a celebration of all that the council had accomplished, as well as a chance to look at improvements and new initiatives for the spring semester.

  • The subcommittee for students with disabilities hosted their awareness event last Saturday. Students reported that the event was a great way to open up the conversation about addressing disabilities on campus, and to increase awareness of the resources Columbia provides to its students. There was also a panel discussion to facilitate understanding. The subcommittee hopes to make this a semesterly event, so expect another event in the spring!
  • In GS Food Bank news, Michael Higgins reported that council has reached out to the community to aid food insecurity, and that progress is being made on making this a school-wide initiative.
  • Finance revealed that the first female lead artist at Bacchanal this year is lined up. While names cannot be released until all of the details are ironed out, GSSC did reveal that the artist is not, in fact, Beyoncé.
  • Next, President Julian LaRosa mentioned that next semester would see work on the food bank (contact Michael Higgins at mh3218@columbia.edu for more information) and a constitutional review to update the rules and regulations governing our esteemed council. If only Mike Neier could be here to see/edit/memorize it…

More on finals stress relief and free tampons/pads

Nov

18

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a wink-le in time

The cast is pretty good-looking which is an added bonus!

From November 17 to November 19 (Thursday through Saturday), the CU Players is presenting their adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle’s renowned children’s novel. Bwog Staffer Jennifer Nugent reviews the play. 

Last night at the Glicker-Milstein Theater (GMT, get it?) the Columbia University Players performed “A Wrinkle In Time.” As someone who read the Madeleine L’Engle book years ago, I can attest to the fact that this adaptation was as wonderfully particular as one might expect.

Before the play even began, audience members were greeted at the door by cupcakes for opening night! Inside the theater, the cast was milling about the seating area to chat and answer questions, while the stage managers figured out how many extra people from the waiting list could have seats (it was at least 8, so even if you don’t have a ticket, show up and see what happens!). The entire cast and crew were energetic and welcoming, which made for a great environment.

More on the play after the jump.

Nov

12

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Working in the GMT

Working in the GMT

The CoLab Fall Showcase was an excellent representation of very contemporary dance and arts on campus with plenty of variety and eccentricity. Props ranged from a shark costume to a piano, to a handful of garbage bags thrown onstage. One thing that was particularly striking about this gamut of peculiarity was that nothing in the show seemed without intention.

In the very first piece, choreographed by Debbie Mausner and performed by Leah Samuels, the sound effects were entirely created by the movements and breaths of the dancer. This meant that any stillness was accompanied by silence, and the effect of that pause was significant. The piece was titled “this dance is for you” and seemed to depict a typical college student’s life through various poses and expressions that immediately brought daily routines we’ve all experienced to mind.

The second piece adjusted that theme by having intermittent periods of music or reading a story. Dancers Colette Kelly, Falls Kennedy, Nadia Khayrallah, and Cauveri Suresh were telling the story of a shadow bunny, and used specific placements, hand motions, and interactions to bring the story to life. Choreographed by EB Dresser-Kluchman, to me the piece was a series of possible variations on the story’s theme.

By the third piece, CoLab’s promise of use of other arts was realized with the use of a Video Abstraction Tool that used a series of pictures to show completed sequences of movement. Choreographers and dancers Sadi Mosko and Carolyn Silverman used beautiful extensions and effortless partnering to complete and expand upon the movements on screen, all to a low, abstract soundtrack.

More of the showcase after the jump

Nov

2

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what are these icons

Happy Wednesday! Bwog GSSC Bureau Chiefs Jenny Nugent & Romane Thomas have the highlights on last night’s General Studies Student Council meeting.

GSSC had a particularly productive meeting last night! Attendance was on point, and the VPs were all ready with updates.

President Julian LaRosa started by announcing that GS was able to raise $212,949 on Giving Day. The money will fund student scholarships as well as 10 gala tickets, which will be made available for free via raffle. Additionally, Julian announced that after reading Bwog’s article on last week’s meeting (you’re welcome), he decided to instate a pledge of loyalty to himself (pending penning) to ensure that his staff remains in line.

After a brief musical break celebrating two recent birthdays, the council worked on the following points:

(more…)

Oct

21

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one click away

one click away

Student performance group NOMADS is presenting username, a production that centers around online gaming communities. username will be performed on October 20, 21, and 22 in the Glicker-Milstein theatre.

NOMADS performs works that are entirely student-generated. From the script, to the direction, to the sound design, this production was entirely created by your peers! In “username,” the audience glimpses into the life of someone who depends on online gaming communities for support while he struggles with relationships in his own life. Joey Santia has written a fantastic script, and director Leo Angulo has worked with the talented cast to bring each character to life. As millennials, this production is an important piece to see, as it poses difficult questions about the quality of our interactions. Toby, the main character, is a closeted teen in love with his best friend, who discovers gaming and becomes entranced with the life and characters he finds on the internet. Matt Taub captures Toby’s desires and insecurities perfectly and, from his stance to his facial ticks, fully inhabits the role.

More on NOMADS after the jump.

Sep

21

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New Kids on the Block

New Kids on the Block

Welcome back, GSSC! The General Studies Student Council is very much getting back into the swing of things, and this week involved a lot of position appointments. GSSC Bureau Chiefs Jennifer Nugent and Romane Thomas bring you through the whole new cast of characters.

This week was eventful in the General Studies Student Council, as 14 new people were appointed to positions on council. While this constituted the majority of the meeting, there were also a few items on the agenda from other council members, including a new opening for Vice President of Finance, a sold out Welcome Back party, and our very own Senator Ramond Curtis was appointed to lead the committee in the University Senate for students with disabilities. After this general business, each candidate seeking council approval had a few moments to present themselves, so here are some of their best lines:

  • Hannah Joy (First Year Vice President): “I’ve managed a hotel, so I’ve been everything from a plumber to a psychologist.”
  • Simon Xu (First Year Treasurer): Being in leadership at his previous university taught him to work with difficult people.
  • Franklin Forbes (Senior Class President): After gaining a certain reputation from his previous experience with GSSC, he promises (seriously) to stay in budget if appointed.
  • Laura Cabrera (Senior Class Vice President): When asked how she would motivate students to come to events, Cabrera answered that she would do what she needed to do, including kicking people in the you-know-what.
  • Sam Hughes (Senior Treasurer): Though he has been on GSSC for several years, Mike of the Alumni Affairs team was concerned that Hughes might cheat on his budget like he did at fantasy football. However, Hughes argues that his trades have always been legitimate and genius.
  • Daria Greeno (Comptroller): As the former VP of Finance, who resigned from that post this week, she assured council that she “probably wouldn’t resign twice.”

Some more fantastic lines after the jump!

Sep

15

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Only one can win

“I knew how this would be settled in the animal world” – Cady

A new academic year is now in full swing, and you’re either still in the honeymoon period or already finding grievances with your roommates or suitemates. Maybe you’ll throw in the proverbial towel over the pans your roommate used without asking, or your suite has decided to buy a microwave that not everyone wants. The reality is, everyone has to share space. And especially for those of us in suites or apartments, there’s a lot an apartment needs that requires agreement (and cash) from everyone. Luckily, Senior Staff Writer Jennifer Nugent and new writer Julia Delgado are here to outline some potential systems to facilitate the conversation and hopefully avoid an apartment cold war.

  • Cash First: This works well for people who have to buy their own hand soap, dish soap, paper towels, etc. Essentially, at the beginning of the semester everyone puts a set amount (a good first amount is $20) into a jar/secure space that is reserved for communal purchases. Then, whoever is going to be the one  buying these items can take from the pot and not worry about coordinating four sets of payments (or doing that math). This works well when one person, or a rotating schedule of the group, is in charge of doing the buying.
  • Cash Last: In reverse, this method works if a suite decides on items or groceries the entire suite wants. In this case, someone buys all of the goods and afterwards divides the cost evenly among all the people in the suite. Here, not only is cash easy to use, but apps like Venmo (ideal for exact change you may not have on you!) can work just as well.
  • Buying bigger items: So you all want a microwave, but no one can agree on a type – and that’s just one of the things you have to buy! One way to start this conversation is by asking what everyone is comfortable with having, and who is used to which items. If someone doesn’t use a microwave, that’s okay! If one person really wants a new trash can and another can’t live without a toilet paper stand, that’s fine! But you need to negotiate and have open conversations. Perhaps even bring in an RA, to help facilitate discussion between you and your roommates on what’s best for the suite.

More advice after the jump

Sep

14

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Julian LaRosa is giving his decisions the weight they deserve.

Julian LaRosa is giving his decisions the weight they deserve.

Never fear: GSSC is near, starting its year with not just initiative, but energy. Jennifer Nugent and Romane Thomas observe and report back from the ice dungeon.

Yesterday night, the General Studies Student Council met in the freezing heights of Lerner (the air conditioning gave us colds) for its longest meeting yet and started off the year with a bang (of a Thor-style gavel) and some laughs.

Although all the appointed positions are not yet filled, the reduced sized council introduced themselves through short yet impactful opening speeches. Student Council president Julian LaRosa set the tone by emphasizing what seems to be this year’s general attitude. From food insecurity initiatives to mental health, GSSC is “going to get stuff done,” building on the achievements of last year’s highly committed council (we miss you Liz!).

More good intentions after the jump

Sep

11

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A typical vegetarian plate at an Ethiopian restaurant, where everything comes with free bread!

A typical vegetarian plate at an Ethiopian restaurant, where everything comes with free bread!

The school year has only just begun, and yet we’ve already suffered through at least a week of dining hall food. Many people on campus have sensitive allergies or food preferences that they adhere to, and it can be difficult to find places outside of the labeled options in John Jay that will cater to your needs. For those of you looking to eat out with friends without being relegated to a side salad or having that awkward back-and-forth with your server, here’s a brief list of options to get you started!

  • The Pita Grill, located on Amsterdam and 111th, is delicious, inexpensive, has a kosher menu, vegan and gluten-free options, serves mostly nut-free items, and will deliver and cater.
  • NY Brat Factory, located on Amsterdam and 106th, is fully kosher and home to a diverse menu of “dawgs”, usually for under $10.
  • Community, located on Broadway near 1113th, has a plethora of options for vegans (including offfering to make any of their salads dairy free) and labels all food that either is or can be made gluten-free, but is more expensive.
  • Masawa, located on Amsterdam near 121st, is an Ethiopian restaurant with a vegan menu already available. Though the restaurant atmosphere is not at Community’s level, the prices are good, and they deliver via Seamless.

More options after the jump!

Apr

29

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“& swan song” will leave you emotionally breathless

Last night, dance-enthusiast and Staff Writer Jennie Nugent has the distinct pleasure of attending “& swan song,” a dance composition of five dancers produced through the CoLab Performing Arts Collective. Navigating the heavy emotional themes of the performance, here are Jennie’s thoughts on the dance.

After attending “& swan song” last night in the Glicker-Milstein Theatre, it took a while to sort through the emotions brought out by the evocative dance performance. The performance is described as looking at “violence and death as juxtaposed next to that of tenderness and intimacy,” and in its attempt to explore those weighty themes, the show completely delivered. The performers carefully treaded the line between brilliant and bizarre, and the performance called upon the audience to tap into their own experiences and emotions to engage with the themes of the dances.

Following the performance, the audience gave the performers a true standing ovation, and snippets of high praise were heard from the majority of the audience on their way out of the doors. Personally, I thought the performance was thoroughly fantastic, and I would highly recommend it to anyone willing to face some heavy themes and their own emotions. In order to help future viewers prepare for the ultra-modernism they are about to enjoy at this performance, I want to address four points regarding elements of the performance and how to get the most out of attending the show: So what are the four points?

Apr

27

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No stress, just puppies

No stress, just puppies

It’s the last meeting of the year! Bwogger Jennifer Nugent refrains from shouting “School’s out!” and reports back on budgets, events, and constitutional changes to member positions.

What starts with a president’s puppy, ends with heartfelt speeches, and is punctuated by rounds of applause? The final full meeting of the General Studies Student Council! Every member was proud of their work and the team as a whole, which was expressed after every briefing and was heartily agreed upon by the other members of the council. Bwog and students alike will miss the presidential puns, the carefully chosen memes, and surprising productivity of the current GSSC members. However, all this nostalgia did not come at the expense of a predictably packed meeting.

  • Finance: Announced a final co-sponshorship for the new GS mentorship program’s end-of-year celebration for mentors and mentees. Finance also presented their year in numbers—the simplification being that their starting funds totaled about $388,000 and they left about $8,000 to add to next year’s school allotment.
  • Campus Life: Don’t forget! Passover lunch today, a GSSC-SGA picnic (so suck it mainstream Columbia students) coming soon, and the essential finals snack attacks. For the snack attack, a menu will be released soon, but the overall theme is international cuisine.

There are a few other matters of note

Apr

20

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ALL the food

Foodbank is here! (not really this buffet).

Perhaps disoriented by the room change, the GSSC meeting was surprisingly short. And you don’t have to miss a single second: wily correspondent Jennifer Nugent was on the scene and taking notes.

Last night’s General Studies Student Council (GSSC) meeting was off to a raucous start with a room change to Pupin. Latecomers even fell into the classic Columbia trap—navigating through Schermerhorn when it’s half-closed. As the GSSC meeting continued, members sped through the agenda but still hit some big issues.

The first issue discussed was the student sit-in and GSSC’s position on the issue of divestment and the students’ actions. For those not intimately involved in the details of GS life, the current elections included a referendum to gauge where students stood on the issue of divestment—which caused quite a stir on the GS Facebook group. The council decided to wait for the results of the referendum before deciding where to stand as an organization so that they could better represent student voices.

At a meeting with Dean Hartford, it was decided that students taking a voluntary leave of absence for mental health reasons would still have access to CPS.

A few matters of note after the jump

Apr

8

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Props to this graphic designer!

Props to this graphic designer!

Spotif-what? Spotif-y? Spotif-Orchesis? You heard right: campus dance group Orchesis did a play-on-words with their name and Spotify, and it sort of worked as a title. What DID work was the amazing talent and creativity in last night’s performance. Bwogger Jennifer Nugent dishes.

Anyone at last night’s Orchesis dance performance is probably now low-key obsessed with the theme of the show. When I saw the title “SpotifOrchesis” I assumed that this was simply a reference to all the types of music in the show and I was pretty unimpressed. Then the show started and I realized the brilliance of whoever came up with this concept. Let me set the scene:

I arrived at Roone Arledge and chose a seating area that was immediately swarmed with parents and families. Music was on, the excitement was palpable, and grandmothers were already shedding tears. The theme came into play as soon as the show started, with an introductory voice-over explaining what Orchesis is. The sound effects and elevator music were nearly identical to real Spotify ads, and the show parodied several varieties of Spotify interruptions over the course of the show.

Could the show beat a Weekly Discovery playlist?

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