Campus Corners: The Computer Science Fiefdom
Written by Bwog Staff
A Bwog classic, Campus Corners is returning from a two year hiatus — for one day. Here, we bring you some of Columbia’s less crowded study spots, if only to get you to leave Wien’s warm embrace for a couple minutes.
Getting into the computer science lounge isn’t easy. Last year, every undergrad was sent an email with a picture of a balding, middle-aged man in a tweed-patched jacket. As it turned out, this still-unidentified pseudo-intellectual (at whom nobody would have batted an eye were he teaching databases) didn’t work at Columbia. His job was to walk into the CS building and steal computers.
Since the day that those security camera photos first circulated, admission to the computer science department has required special swipe access. Two swipes after 5 PM. Three swipes for a special windowless room where it’s always 52 degrees, but never mind! Because behind the second door, if you’re walking behind a gullible or easily distracted programmer, is the computer science lounge.
The lounge is a typical nerd-centric space in many ways. Utilitarian metal tables with a few grad students are the norm, with the monotony broken up by the occasional pizza party/giant Halo session. (Monday nights). But there’s a fridge, and a nice stove, and a microwave, and — most importantly — free coffee. And behind a wall of glass doors is the courtyard.
Open space is at a premium on the Columbia campus, of course, so it’s a surprise that a space as big as Uris Lawn (check Google maps, hey) is enclosed on four sides and can only be reached through a locked building. But the courtyard is bizarrely sunny and quiet; a few cherry blossom-ish trees [note: Bwog is not a botanist] break up the bricks and park benches, and there’s a view of nearby apartment buildings over the edge of Mudd. The coffee is terrible, but hey, the wireless works, and you can see the students in eighth floor classrooms peeking jealously through windowshades.