The 2008 Housing Lottery: Your Best Mistake Ever!

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Everyone’s favorite artificial deus ex machina of friendships, the Housing Lottery, is almost upon us! Usually an occasion for last minute research, Bwog will be running a series of posts on all Columbia dorms, including a feature on why it’s smarter to live with Barnard girls, and a point-counterpoint on living off-campus. This way, when your 5th suite member decides to move off-campus with her boyfriend of 3 months, you’ll be so well-versed in Columbia real-estate you’ll be able to confidently greet your new 4 person suite in Ruggles. Today: Wien.


Wien residence hall, flanked by Jerome Greene Hall and the palatial confines of Casa PrezBo, doesn’t seem so bad at first glance. “It’s not that bad,” you might even suggest.  However, you will soon learn that it is, actually, quite bad. Those 300 plus god-forsaken souls assigned to Wien each year know full well that it surely lives up to its dastardly reputation day in and day out. Its cold, white walls, awkwardly placed hall clock that never seems to have the correct time, and the remains of the Wien Food Court, soon to be office for Alice!, will greet you with a pervading sense of eeriness and doom. Feel free to stop by the consistently vacant lounge that seems to be good only for the occasional Chowdah performance or whittle away at the computers in the second floor computer lounge, but never expect to be able to print a single document on the flimsy NINJA printer so kindly set up by CUIT. Upon passing the guard, you enter the world of Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. As the bright white lights shine down on your head, Wien’s awkward hallway entrance doors, added touch of chicken wire on its windows, and long corridors are sure to make you squeamish.Yet, you still might wonder what gives Wien a cozy institutional establishment? Perhaps it is the 86 square foot singles with toilets placed in the far corner of the room that allow for only two inches of movement between your desk and the bed.

Might you be interested in brushing your teeth in you own private sink? If that doesn’t do it for you, why not pass by the showers with collapsing ceilings, tile cutters wreaking havoc throughout the hall at 9 a.m., and not to mention an elevator with consistently flickering floor lights. Maybe you want the fraternity experience you never thought you needed—it might please you to know that the frat members who aren’t awarded brownstones are placed in Wien. Perhaps it seems that the sole saving grace of this monster of Columbia housing is the new laundry room on the second floor and the epic flat screen in the kitchen-lounge hybrid. However, it always smells like lasagna TV dinners in there. My best wishes for those forgotten souls who are consigned to live in the hermitage that is the Wien asylum. Hopefully you’ll be out by the end of the year.

– Pierce Stanley

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  1. hey,

    wien isn't that bad! it's well located, has great views (from one side), and it's never noisy. and having a sink in my room is a luxury I never thought I'd appreciate. it's useful in so many ways.

  2. agreed..

    wien REALLY is not that bad. the SMALLEST singles are 86 sq. feet, and the others are around 115, if not bigger. the views on the east side of the building are unbeatable, and the sinks are actually really useful. it's location is not bad either - 3 min to hamilton, kent, fayerweather, schmerhorn, etc.
    stop whining, seriously.

  3. yeah  

    wein has a solid location next to ec and hamdel, and the rooms, because of the sinks, are probably better than the equally tiny shapiro rooms. thus, wein may not be the hell you describe.

  4. never noisy?  

    never noisy? NEVER NOISY?

    maybe they'e replaced the doors with grates in them since last year, but when i lived there there was no sound insulation between rooms and halls at all. music, shouting, sex... you heard it all.

  5. anon  

    Nope. I'm with the writer. Wien is miserable.

  6. resident  

    do NOT believe what this writer is saying. wien is def. not so bad. in fact, it's been one of my favorite places to live at Columbia. convenient location. has a campus feel. benches outside to sit and have a cig. great views. nice sized rooms. brand new laundry and computer rooms. quiet (most of the time). ham del is just down the street.

    i mean, come on, let's not just cry "bad" because everyone else is. wien is so awfully stereotyped and the reality is completely different.

    schapiro/broadway are no better. maybe newer and nicer, but, schapiro is a craphole and broadway is a retirement center.

    wien rocks.

  7. this writer....  

    is a douchebag.

  8. Former Wien Resident  

    No, this description is entirely accurate. I had about the best room you can have in Wien, a 117 sq. ft. single on a high floor with the eastern view. It was miserable. I would truly get depressed every time I came back from some other dorm. I would recommend anyone who gets stuck there apply for a transfer at any and all opportunities. You'll thank me later.

  9. two things  

    1. The writer has a anti-Wien bias and decided that, instead of maintaining journalistic integrity (but, then again, it IS the Bwog), he would simply spout off trite metaphors (Upon passing the guard, you enter the world of Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.). Hmm. Comparing Wien to a mental hospital — both unoriginal and overdone — congrats on killing two BIRDS with one stone.

    2. Wien isn't that bad. Having lived here all year, I have to say that I've enjoyed my rather large single, the relative quiet, the nice lounge (which I do use), the proximity to IAB/EC/Hamdel (seriously — Lehman Library has a computer lab with working printers and it is MINUTES away from Wien so please stop whining) and I've even come to love my little sink.

    It's not that bad. And stop picking on Wien — it wasn't funny the first time which makes the nth time THAT MUCH LESS FUNNY.

  10. serrrrrsly  

    calm down. it's a university residence hall for college students, not a fucking refugee camp. can we get a tiny grip on the hyperbole here?

  11. also  

    Please pick either an objective viewpoint or to an overt statement of your intent to be a lesser version of the Onion.

    —Continued disbelief at the low low quality of this article

  12. hmm  

    Just because Wien is less of a shithole than Schapiro, doesn't make it a nice dorm. Schapiro is a disgrace; low bar.

  13. lucky me  

    I have a 135 sq. ft. Wien single. There are at least 20 of those.

  14. ...  

    i think that the point of this series is to introduce students to the stigmas attached to each dorm... if you wanted "objectivity" you should have read the Housing website (great kitchen! spacious singles! convenient location!).

    i live in wien. it sucks. really, really bad. our floor had one good shower until the ceiling collapsed on it. now i've either got to roam the building looking for hot water, pressure and shower curtains. usually it is a "pick one of three" situation.

  15. try wien 11  

    for the showers — they're quite good

  16. but don't forget  

    schapiro is the new wien.


    great feature, but in the future you should add pictures of the actual dorm rooms, lounges, bathrooms, etc.

  18. schapiro  

    had cockroaches in the kitchen. disgustinggg

  19. wirc

    schapiro should have flooded or burned down last year. What a hellhole.

  20. question

    Are there seriously toilets in the singles? Yuck! Sounds like prison...

  21. schaprio  

    I thought Schapiro would be way better than Wien but then my floor in Schapiro had bed bugs. Not fun.

  22. well

    Wien's changed a bit. The doors might make the rooms more livable, and they've converted the second floor. The tiny room above the entrance used to be the computer lab, and the room overlooking the lounge used to be an open balcony leading to one of the 'special interest' communities that lived in a block of rooms in that corner of Wien (I think it was Sexual Healthy House. And they had the fucking gall to reserve the building's ONE TV for a Sex and the City Marathon during the 2005 NLCS. I was pissed.)

    Also it sounds like they've moved the Laundry Room/TV Lounge out of the basement. That used to be depressing.

    If you want to know why people bitch, walk around inside River, then walk around inside Wien. River was gut renovated around 2001 at a cost of around $10 million at the direct order of Prez Rupp. He ordered the same for Furnald. Ask PrezBo when he's going to do that for Wien.

  23. Lissa  

    And by toilets, the writer meant sinks. Although some suggest that they serve both purposes...

  24. Face It, You Wieners  

    Schapiro and Broadway are better dorms than Wien. Nicer rooms, better views from the upper floors, and nicer lounges.

    You can keep your sink.

    • a few things  

      1) the writer was accurate. there are a select few rooms in wien (in the top floor i believe) with toilets.


  25. LOL WEIN

    Wow, Stockholm Syndrome has set in for the Weiners. Schapiro is not the greatest dorm on campus-- and it has had its bouts with bedbugs recently-- but you really can't compare Wein with Schapiro. Schapiro is a newer, better lit building with carpeting and air conditioning that is a block removed from College Walk...the floor kitchens are all nice and the bathrooms are generally well kept. They could serve to be renovated.

    Wein, lol. Seriously people. I don't even know how people live there without getting malaria vaccinations.

  26. schap

    I lived on a high floor of Schapiro last year and liked it... since we weren't cursed with bedbugs or bursting pipes. We did, however, have cockroaches.

  27. regarding roaches

    The cockroaches in Schapiro are the fault of the goddamn lazy ass residents...they leave their shit everywhere, including leaving dirty dishes in the sink and on the floor for weeks at a time. Housing was over relatively quickly to spray, and they also installed new ranges this year...



  28. nard lady  

    please do this for barnard housing too.

  29. barnard tard  

    no more barnard...please

  30. weiner  

    sounds like they really spruced the place up since I was living there...slat doors allowed for great ventilation of odors from the hall into my room, and the hole in my floor let me hear whenever the girl below me...did anything...not to mention that the tv was about 20 inches and decidely not flat-screened.

  31. never ever  

    underestimate the value of a sink in your room. it's a wonderful thing.

  32. don't live here!  

    haha this review is completely accurate. The showers, laundry machines, stove, and printer are constantly broken. Even if they were working, one stove and one printer don't do much for 300 people. And for those of us without toilets in our room, the hall bathrooms are always absolutely disgusting. The doors are new, but they aren't fitted properly, so they rattle like crazy when it's at all windy. The lounge is pretty, but I am thwarted by piano players whenever I try to study there. I lived in Shapiro last summer, and I would definitely take a 120 foot double there over my 200 foot double here.

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