Senior Wisdom: Ari Gardner

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Senior Wisdom checks in with former LionPAC president and Achille Varzi fan Ari Gardner.

Name, School: Ari Gardner, CC’08 

Claim to fame: 

  • former Prez of Lionpac
  • Served on both the ABC and SGB, and lived to tell about it…
  • Was once quoted by a United Arab Emirates newspaper under the heading “Minority Perspective” 
  • lived on the illustrious John Jay 5 freshman year, and the Deuce (in Wein) junior year

Post-grad plans:  I plan to spend this coming year in Israel doing research… Following that, I plan to attend Law School. 

Preferred swim test stroke? 

Backstroke, because if I get tired I’m already in the right position for a nap… 

What are three things you learned at Columbia? 

  1. That it’s important to maintain perspective. No matter how trite it may sound: things have a way of working out and few things are really worth getting stressed out about. 
  2. That the best cure for writers block/inability to focus is a 30 minute run.
  3. That Orientalism is not a major at Columbia… It’s a way of life (joke…)

Justify your existence in 30 words or less. 

I’m a pacifist by nature and an activist by necessity.  My curiosity is insatiable.  I make a mean shakshuka but my specialty is stews. I like to schmooze.  

What was your favorite controversy in your time at Columbia? 

My favorite controversy would definitely have to be Ahmadinejad’s coming to Columbia, for a number of reasons:

1) The media frenzy that accompanied it was rather humorous to behold, with CU invitation of Ahmadinejad being vilified by the far right, lauded by the far left, and heatedly debated about by those who fell in-between the two extremes;

2) The student response was also pretty amazing to behold: The campus went CRAZY, with students mobilizing both for and against the invitation and/or the man himself.  Everyone had an opinion and was willing to voice it. Yet, the most amazing thing was that, despite the heated and at times polarizing nature of the debate which ensued, students remained remarkably civil throughout it all. It was impressive;

3) The soundbites that came out it were also pretty great: “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country…” “Women in Iran enjoy the highest levels of freedom…”  You all remember… Priceless.   


What Columbia memory best exemplifies your college experience? 

I’m working on a paper. It’s 2AM. Not making much progress.  Suddenly, my phone rings. I pick it up.





“What are you talking about?”

“You and me. We’re making guacamole. Now.” 

“But it’s 2AM, I have a paper to write…”

“You have guacamole to make.”

“You’re a bad person.”



“that was easy…”

“you know my weaknesses… Damn you!” 

I don’t entirely know why, but for some reason that not-too-distant memory just kind of resonates for me.   

Which prof do you think would be the best kisser?

Professor Jay Topkis, esquire.  The man may be getting up there in age, but he’s got class. 

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What percentage of seniors do you think are virgins? 

Based upon an unscientific polling of 20 Orthodox Jewish seniors…. I’d say about 95%…. 

Would you rather permanently give up oral sex or cheese? 

As an avid lover of le fromage my choice is clear.  While oral sex is all well and good when you’re receiving it, I ask you this: can you buy it on demand at any bodega or grocery store?  Does it only get better with age? Does it come in wedges or wheels? Does it go well with lightly toasted 9-grain bread, tomato, basil, and a dash of red pepper?  The answer to all of the above is, of course, ‘no.’ And thus, though it pains me to say it: far rather would I give up oral sex, than bit eternal adieu to my precious cheeses. 

Days on Campus memory? 

I’ve passed many a day on campus and have many fond memories, which I would be happy to impart, but sadly never attended Days on Campus… Don’t remember why.  


Not seeing more Broadway shows, never actually learning to salsa or swing, not having taken a class with Achille Varzi (Check out this youtube video, it’s kind of amazing…. ).  I think that my biggest regret though, is that I simply didn’t have more time… I’ve had a great time at Columbia and am sorry to be leaving.   

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  1. this guy's cool

    best Columbia memory yet, by far.

  2. Macaroon

    Mesmerizing shorts



    Man, I'm gonna miss Const Law...


  4. he's adorable...  

    please don't be gay...



  6. ari is  

    A baller. this kid will be missed.

  7. !@#$%  

    An aside to the fat girl in Butler who's here 24/7. Stop fucking talking every ten minutes, and having friends visit you with treats congratulating you on your hard work studying. You're distracting and you're not fucking doing anything.

  8. no complaints,  

    except that the "joke" really isn't funny.

  9. Ari  

    Sorry to break it to you, but globally (and nationally) Jews are, in fact, a minority, and the international consensus is that the LionPac/AIPAC perspective is pretty exclusive and radical.

  10. I believe  

    the minority perspective quote was about thinking Ahmadinejad was a massive douche, in which case, Ari was most definitely not in the minority perspective. Furthermore, the LionPac/AIPAC perspective is without a doubt the majority opinion nationally (though globally you are probably correct).

  11. DOC?  

    Have any of the senior wisdoms attended DOC? I'm noticing a trend...

  12. wtf?  

    who cares about john jay 5? I feel stupider every time I hear someone talk about how great their freshman floor was.


    god, someone had to say it. Orientalism is a way of life? what the fuck do you know about it, you orientalizer!

  14. ????  

    ? still not funny

  15. seriously?  

    lionpac? seriously?

    • stereotyping  

      yea, problem? if you knew ari, you'd know that hes the kind of guy who doesn't cordon himself off, but hes friends with people from all different communities at columbia and connects people who normally might not take the time to get to know each other. he's not some sort of right wing, close minded reactionary that you think he must be because he did lionpac. so stop your typecasting, because it's rarely ever true.

  16. music hum

    all i know is the kid never showed up for class and when he did it was at least 40 minutes in. he showed up for the midterm almost 2 hours late. don't know if something was going on personally, but possibly one of the rudest people i've had class with yet. i wouldn't be surprised if he had to take the class over.

  17. hmmm  

    Where is the Kulawik senior wisdom?

  18. wow  


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