Bwog Meeting Tonight!
Sabrina the Teenage Witch knows what you did this weekend

Melissa knows what you did this weekend

You’ve spent enough time this weekend downing body shots.

Instead, take a night off and come to our weekly Bwog meeting tonight at 8PM in the SGO on the 5th floor of Lerner. Expect a classy evening of mixed drinks and mixed signals.

As always, there will be food, friends, and fun.


Clarissa Doesn’t Want To Have To Explain It All via Shutterstock.

Chopped: Bleak But Flavorful Edition

Bwog recently faced the challenge of the minimalist pantry in Chopped: Poor Lazy College Edition, and now we’re back at it. We entered Tatini Mal-Sarkar’s kitchen for another grueling round of making something out of gruel nothing.

This week, we are proud to present Chopped: Bleak But Flavorful, where we turn the inexplicable remnants of your late night cravings into a real meal.

Today’s basket:

  • Brad’s Organic mild salsa
  • Sabra original hummus
  • Chicken-flavored ramen
  • Westside popcorn chicken

Creamy Herbed Pasta with Chicken:

  1. Prepare ramen according to package directions for about 3 minutes.
  2. Strain noodles, and return to pot. Do not add the sad flavor packet.
  3. Into the nearly empty hummus container, add approximate 1/4 cup salsa, and stir.
  4. Pour the hummus-salsa mixture into the ramen pot, and mix gently.
  5. Microwave three small, shapely pieces of the Westside chicken to warm.
  6. Dish the pasta in its sauce onto paper plate — or if you’re lucky and your roommate owns actual dishware, use that.
  7. Spoon tablespoon of salsa atop the pasta, and then the chicken onto this.
  8. Serve immediately, eating it while sitting on your Nussbaum suite’s kitchen floor.

Time including dish-washing: 10 minutes

While the hummus allows a delicious base for the sauce, its exclusion could allow different takes on the dish, including:

  • Spicier ramen, made with the red pepper sauce from the popcorn chicken, a sprinkle of the garlic powder found in the bowels of the kitchen cupboard, and a teaspoon of a roommate’s fancy natural peanut butter. This makes for a not-quite-Pad Thai.

Other options include:

  • For the ethically minded (read: vegetarians and vegans of the world), obviously don’t add the chicken. Or don’t add the Sabra hummus. (The Brad’s Organic is still good, though. No concerns with them yet.)
  • For the gluten-intolerant and sensitive, ditch both the ramen and chicken. Combine the hummus and salsa per the recipe, and add it to prepared rice, or just enjoy it with some corn chips. The possibilities are endless!
Bwoglines: High All The Time Edition
Even Mr. Trump supports the high lifestyle

Even Mr. Trump supports the high lifestyle

In Donald Trump related news, the billionaire has once again turned to twitter to call out President Obama, this time questioning the President’s mental health. (Huffington Post)

Looking for 25 photos of people trying, and failing, to eat pizza? Look no further; Bwog has your answer. (Gothamist)

A Florida teen was recently arrested for pleasuring himself in a Walmart bedding aisle onto a stuffed pony toy, which he then returned to its shelf before exiting the store. (NY Daily News)

Photos of the city have just been released from Manhattan’s newest, tallest apartment building, and the views are just as spectacular as one would expect. (Business Insider)

Super Kawaii Donald Trump via Shutterstock

Student Questions At Town Hall May Have Been Written By U Senators

Yesterday’s Rules of University Conduct Town Hall allowed students and activist groups the chance to voice their opinions before policy changes were definitively made. According to a tip we received earlier today, many of these opinions came from the same source: a “google doc…used to feed lines to activists” that may have been shared by a member or members of the University Senate. It is unclear whether anyone on U Senate was actually involved in writing the document. Involvement in writing the document would likely be considered a violation of the U Senate’s rules; such violations may be punished with suspension.

The tipster went on to say they were “embarrassed by how the leadership of our campus groups that like to think of themselves as independent were shepherded instead of thinking for themselves.” However, there is no clear evidence in the document that it was written by a single person, or that any of those people were U Senators—the tip did not include the list of people who could edit the Google doc.

The document itself breaks down the Town Hall step by step, listing questions students plan to ask, and noting, “these are arguments we’ve identified as being the most likely to sway swing votes on the Committee…. this list isn’t exhaustive, it’s just the essential points we need to be made in front of the campus media.” Each potential question includes background information such as applicability and past precedents included in bullet points. Between the questions, the document leaves room for personal stories and possible follow-ups. The document also includes such advice as: “There will be Public Safety and Senate Staff at the doors to the event checking CUIDs, and they may object to signs.”

A copy of the full document is included after the jump:

Read the document

ClubHop: Generation Citizen

CU’s always there to inspire the youth

Although most of us don’t get out of the CU bubble nearly enough, the city is an integral part of our college experience. Generation Citizen, a relatively new club to campus, sends Columbia students out to high school and middle school classrooms across the five boroughs to improve how civics is taught to these students. Teacher’s pet Bwogger Lili Brown sat in on one of the club’s weekly meetings and also caught up with president Fabi Urdaneta.

Five brave teachers and three members of the club’s board met last Sunday evening to discuss the previous week’s teaching experience and the lesson plans for the week ahead of them. These students commit to teaching at a NYC high school or middle school two days a week, creating lesson plans for each session that collectively share the end goal of teaching civics to their students on a more relatable level and therefore empowering them to take action in their communities based on these skills by the end of the semester.

They went around, shared which number lesson they were at, and what focus issue they were leaning towards to use in their classrooms. Some ideas that were thrown around were gang violence, racial profiling, and police brutality. This somewhat naturally led into a lengthy discussion about the woes and struggles of teaching, and sharing per-expertise teaching techniques with each other. It is clear that the students in this club, though working independently in separate classrooms, respect each other and work together to make the most impact on their students and also on themselves.

The meeting continued with a board member advising the teachers on how to best craft this week’s lesson plans, and shared a sample lesson she used when she taught the previous year: a worksheet that uses the lyrics of Lupe Fiasco’s song “Little Weapons” to depict the easy access kids our/their age have to guns in this country. This was presented as a preliminary lesson that introduces the focus issue to the class.

That same board member ended the meeting with a good ole pep talk, ensuring that this volunteer commitment isn’t easy, but most definitely rewarding for everyone involved.

Read on for words from GC’s president.

But Bingo

Feeling like procrastinating for midterms? If your answer is no, mad props. But we have something fun for you to procrastinate with anyway! Butler-themed Bingo boards!!!

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Creation of all Bingo Boards courtesy of Maia Berlow

see alternate versions of the board after the jump so you can play with your friends!

Night Market Brings Happiness In The Dark Times Of Midterms
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Bright lights in dark places

After her grandmother told her she needed a life After getting sick of sitting in the library, festival fanatic Claire Friedman went to check out Night Market in a much-needed break from the Butler grind.

In the amount of time I’ve spent studying/ thinking about studying this week, I could fly to Australia a couple of times, watch the entirety of Lost, or build at least four really kickass gingerbread houses. But, instead of any of those exciting options, I was at the library. Specifically Butler 210, if you feel like coming by to say hello or shower me with candy.

After hours of stale library air and overpriced ButCaf pastries, Night Market felt like stepping back and taking a deep breath. Judging from the “mole-person-seeing-the-light-for-the-first-time” expressions on the faces of other market-goers, I was not the only one who felt this way. Held annually by the CSC, Night Market is meant to emulate the famous markets of China and Taiwan. I’ve never actually been to Asia, but the CSC did a fantastic job transforming Low with huge tents, bright lights, and blaring music. Even in these dark and desperate times, Night Market managed to make Columbia look – dare I say it? – festive.

Although I visited the Market just minutes after downing an entire chicken-cheese-steak from John Jay, I made a beeline for any tents offering food. Thankfully, this was not a difficult task – almost every single booth promised some form of ridiculously cheap pastry and the Korilla Korean barbeque truck held court on College Walk. A quick survey of my pockets yielded only a nickel and a mint of unknown vintage, but I still managed to snag a good-sized cupcake and a free water bottle.

Cupcake in hand, I set about exploring the rest of what Night Market had to offer. Activities ranging from classic carnival games to nail art (a steal at $5) were set up in wide concentric circles, perfect for the casual wanderer who wants to feel lost in a maze of baked goods. Surprisingly, nobody was game to do my nails in exchange for an old mint. I tried not to take it too personally.

Can we talk about something that’s not food-related?

Bwoglines: The World Is Possibly Ending Edition
The Earth is feeling that midterm grind too. It's a transition period, you know?

The Earth is feeling that midterm grind too. It’s a transition period, you know?

We now have an ebola “czar.” Ivan Nicholas Alexander  Ron Klain will be responsible for overseeing the US’ response to the ebola crisis. (Reuters News)

Bermuda was struck by a category two hurricane, Gonzalo. (Reuters News)

Kris Jenner is “devastated” that Bruce is dating. Is Bwog the only one who remembers reading a magazine article about him wanting to become a woman? Guess that’s not actually happening. (MSN News)

According to an expert, Japan’s nuclear plants are vulnerable to volcanoes. They’re apparently not safe, even after the tighter safety regulations following the 2011 disaster. (Science Recorder)

In case this Bwoglines has made you lose all hope or faith in the state of our planet/humanity, brighten up! There is happier news today… Courts have knocked down bans on gay marriage in Arizona, Alaska, and Wyoming!! (Chicago Tribune)

Sad Earth via Shutterstock

Use Your Computer For Actual Educational Purposes With MOOCs
Title-Main (1)

Remember when you learned about this stuff in APUSH?

While we continue to hunch over crappy used textbooks and scribbled notes for most classes at Columbia, the world of education (even for Columbia) has been expanding with the help of the Internet. Education Enthusiast Courtney Couillard met up with Ted Limpert, the Communications and Outreach Manager at the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL), to talk about Professor Eric Foner’s new MOOC.

Bwog: What exactly is a MOOC? What sets it apart from the rest of the online classrooms available?

TL: A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course or, basically, a (mostly) free way to learn on the Internet. The main difference between MOOCs and traditional online courses is that MOOCs are open to anyone anywhere (with the Internet) and can have tens of thousands of students taking a course at any given time. Columbia has “officially” worked with two different MOOC platforms, with about 14 courses on Coursera and 3 courses on edX. What’s cool about edX is that it’s a nonprofit. What’s even cooler about Eric Foner’s MOOCs (a series of 3 different courses) on edX is that all of the content has a Creative Commons license, meaning that anyone can take any piece of the course (video, images, activities, etc.) and reuse/remix it.

Bwog: How did the process go about in terms of getting Professor Eric Foner to sign on to do a MOOC? What aspects of the course did he want to keep or change from his original lecture course to better adapt to the format of a MOOC?

TL: The Chronicle of Higher Ed knocked it out of the park when they called Eric Foner a rockstar. I’m not sure who was the first to approach who, but Professor Foner has always been an advocate of improving access to/understanding of history. He’s been excited at the prospect of reaching more history “students” than he ever has been able to at Columbia.

In terms of the actual MOOCs, we didn’t have to change much. His incredible accolades in the historian-world rival his power and presence in the classroom. Because he’s such a compelling lecturer, we really didn’t have to tweak too much of his material. We did add images, and cut back and forth from various angles, throughout his filmed lectures. Probably the biggest change was that we split his one-semester course into three MOOCs (27 weeks). Professor Foner worked closely with Michael Cennamo, an Educational Technologist at CCNMTL, and Tim Shenk, his lead TA, to develop the courses’ content, which includes discussion questions, short quizzes, longer tests, and other interactive activities. Our video team also filmed Professor Foner at the New York Historical Society and in TA (all Columbia graduate students) discussions. We were also able to connect with Thai Jones, a Columbia Librarian in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, to add images from their rare digital collections of Abraham Lincoln, Slavery, and the Civil War.

Bwog: How has the MOOC been doing so far? Are there many Columbia students signed up, or has it been attracting more off-campus students?

TL: The first MOOC (of three) is doing great! It is in its 5th week, and we have 6,511 people registered. The number grows larger each day. The interesting thing about MOOCs though is that generally less than 10% of people registered actually finish them. We’re not sure entirely why, but we are staying strong with nearly 2,500 people staying active in the course so far. I don’t believe we know if we have any Columbia students currently enrolled/active, but we do know some other things: We have about 50 alumni (and hope to increase that number). We also have students from 136 different countries. Of course, we would love to have more Columbia students.

Honestly, I think Columbia students could really benefit from taking the course, even just parts of it. If anything else, it’s a great way to supplement other material from a class, almost like an interactive virtual textbook. And, in my opinion, Professor Foner is great at incorporating humor into his lectures, making them even more fun and engaging. He has also been on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report (unfortunately, not included in the course).

Learn more about why you should take this MOOC after the jump.

Overseen: Jurassic (Riverside) Park
Public Safety has released this artist's rendition of the alleged pterodactyl.

Public Safety has released this artist’s rendering of the alleged pterodactyl.

Bwog received a startling tip yesterday:

“Something GIANT just flew out of the tree outside my window. I couldn’t see what it was, but holy shit. It must have literally been a pterodactyl or something.
The night is dark and full of terrors.”

We reported the incident to Public Safety, who has since launched a full investigation into the matter, dubbed “Operation: Find Petrie.”

Based on recent weather patterns and the hunting preferences of pterodactyls, investigators think it may have moved to around 112th and Broadway, and ask individuals in the area to exercise additional caution.

“We hope to shed light on the darkness surrounding the situation,” said a Public Safety spokesperson. “Please use caution when out late, and may the Lord of Light cast his light upon us all.”  The spokesperson then transformed into a shadow creature and disappeared.

Public Safety photo in collaboration with Shutterstock.

They’re Watching (Out for You): Increasing Security And Surveillance At Columbia University (Part 2)
Yes, Alma is still watching

Yes, Alma is still watching

Sometimes the Man can really get you down, especially here at Columbia, but not always for the wrong reasons. In light of today’s town hall on protest rules, we bring you an article from the Blue and White’s December issue on security at Columbia. This is the second half of the investigation written by Naomi Cohen. You can read the first half here.

Last year, when the Associated Press reported that the NYPD spied on Columbia Muslim students, University President Lee Bollinger denied that the school knew or participated in the NYPD operations.

“We weren’t explicitly aware of it [the surveillance],” said then-Muslim Students Association president Abdul Hanif, “but we were not surprised at the same time.” After meeting with McShane and other top administrators to demand an explanation from administrators, Hanif said that the neutral response from McShane and superficial treatment of the issue led him to suspect that Public Safety was involved and may still be involved in surveillance.

According to McShane, the department is in contact with the 26th precinct—and Student Affairs—every day, conducts joint investigations, and holds “a very positive collaboration.” Almost all of the senior management investigators in Public Safety are former NYPD investigators. Both McShane and Held declined to comment on what situations merit Public Safety investigation or compliance.

As a high-profile, globally-focused, elite university, Columbia attracts non-OGC intelligence gatherers that hold enough authority to demand the information directly.

After September 11, the Department of Homeland Security became a significant sponsor of Public Safety projects, such as the outpost on 119th and Amsterdam that guards traffic on Columbia’s street level, according to one of the anonymous officers. Held, the Public Safety spokesperson, denied that it had received funds from Homeland Security. Under federal policy, Immigration and Customs Enforcement monitors Columbia international students through the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS) as a condition for the university hosting students from abroad. Columbia, as a certified school, is obligated to report changes in student information and events that could jeopardize students’ visa status.


Real Talk With Columbia Sloth

A group of anonymous students have put together a Twitter account called Columbia Sloth to create, as they say, “the world’s laziest student journalism.” Sloth represents the apathetic and adorable side we all possess, and Sloth is never afraid to tell it like it is. Here’s a bit of a taste of Sloth’s thoughts:

We decided to ask Sloth some hard hitting questions every Columbia student has been pondering via Twitter.

Tricky Sexual Assault:

How Sloth is feeling about class and JJ’s after the jump.

Bwoglines: Protest This Edition
Raise your voice and speak your mind. Protest this.

Raise your voice and speak your mind. Protest this.

The rules of protest and free speech are under review at Columbia, and today all students can make their voices heard at the First Rules Town Hall from 4-6 PM in Havemeyer 309. Time to speak up.

This morning, hundreds of Hong Kong police raided a pro-democracy camp. About 800 officers infiltrated the protest zone with riot shields, helmets, and batons. (Reuters)

Also this morning, Pacific Islanders blockaded a Newcastle coal port in a protest against rising sea levels. (The Guardian)

26 low-wage workers were arrested yesterday at a protest outside Walmart billionaire’s New York home. See also this article. (CNN, Forbes)

They’re Watching (Out for You): Increasing Security And Surveillance At Columbia University
Alma is always watching

Alma is always watching

Sometimes the Man can really get you down, especially here at Columbia, but not always for the wrong reasons. In light of tomorrow’s town hall on protest rules, we bring you an article from the Blue and White’s December issue on security at Columbia. This is the first half of the investigation written by Naomi Cohen.

Four years ago, before public scrutiny of Facebook’s privacy policy began and majority opinion about the National Security Association soured, a Columbia student posted a comment on his Facebook wall about Julian Assange. The comment was a joke about Gossip Girl. Non-political.

The student says that in a matter of hours, he received a message from Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT) in his Cubmail inbox. The message, he says, strongly suggested that he take down the post. Words like “Julian Assange” attract unwanted attention. Heeding CUIT’s words of caution, he took the post down—and asked to remain anonymous in this article. Associate Vice President for Media Relations Robert Hornsby wrote in an email that CUIT “does not monitor or review student Facebook pages” and couldn’t have sent the email. The student says the email was deleted in the switch from Cubmail to Lionmail—CUIT reserves the right to delete emails without notice. Hornsby wrote that a CUIT search for the email was “inconclusive.”

In the same year as the alleged email, the Office of Career Services at the School of International and Public Affairs drew fire for sending a similar warning. The email passed on advice from a SIPA alumnus in the State Department, who advised that mentioning Wikileaks on social media might jeopardize students’ prospects for employment with the state. Following public “alarm that the liberal bastions of academe in the US would be complicit in restrictions on access to the documents,” as reported The Guardian, the State Department denied that these restrictions even existed on its side. The advice was never meant for non-employees, said the State Department spokesman. Then-SIPA Dean and now-Provost John Coatsworth defended the email as a “cautionary suggestion.” He encouraged Columbia students to keep sharing their views publicly “without fear of adverse consequences.”

Students by now have been repeatedly reminded to be distrustful of transnational surveillance. The NSA, though, is not the only pair of watching eyes. Wherever students go on campus, whatever they write in emails, whichever sites they browse, whomever they text and call, and whatever other information they provide the school, Columbia is also systematically keeping tabs—and hovering closer and more unchecked than any municipal or federal institution.

More on the inner-workings of Columbia security after the jump.

SGA: No Ways of Knowing Featuring Provost Bell
Time to take a new look at the rules.

Time to take a new look at the rules.

Monday’s SGA meeting was all about the upcoming curricular review: what it is and why it’s actually a really cool opportunity to put in your own two cents. As always, Barnard Bearoness Lauren Beltrone reports.

The curricular review is basically an open mic for you to let the administration know how you feel about everything curriculum-related at Barnard. Do you like the Nine Ways? Is the amount of major/concentration requirements for you too big, too small, or just right? Do you think Barnard should add a department? How does your thesis make you feel? If you aren’t yet compelled to contribute, remember that the curricular review only comes around every fifteen years. In fifteen years, your opinion on the lab requirement probably won’t be quite as nuanced as it is now, so go speak your mind. You only have until March or April until this round’s over. Here’s the Facebook event for the next open forum so you don’t miss it.

The other thing on Monday’s SGA agenda was also really relevant. Tomorrow from 4-6pm in 309 Havemeyer there will be a meeting to talk about rewriting the University’s Rules of Conduct. If you care about how the university deals with protests and free speech activity on campus (which you do), you should go to this discussion.

The old Barnard rule books via Shutterstock