In Defense of…Butler Camping

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Welcome back to Bwog’s latest feature, “In Defense Of…” Here, a writer defends something that most students consider useless, inferior, or downright loathsome. In doing so, Bwog hopes to bring you a new perspective, and give the subject the appreciation it deserves…or not. This time it’s Blue and White Managing Editor Katie Reedy defending camp-outs in Butler.

campingThis fall, the library staff announced they would be closing the 24-hour rooms in Butler for one hour each early morning, during which time they will dislodge the human barnacles who have spent their night drooling over tomes and problem sets, as well as any stray non-approved beverage containers and other such flotsam.

Friends, they have declared a crusade against camping. After denying us access to bars and dorm parties, Columbia has robbed us of our alternative nocturnal pastime. What do they expect us to do between four and five a.m.? Surely not… sleep?

Sleep is something we do on intermittent days off. Then, we sleep and sleep until we’ve healed our stress wounds. Or, if our schedules allow it, we sleep ’til noon on weekdays, then stay up ’til two or three. No one said Columbia was a healthy place.

Camping mitigates some of the stresses of midterms and finals season. If you can manage to concentrate, camping is a great way to increase efficiency and minimize transaction costs. With all of your books and computer supplies in one place, a good stack of paper and pencils, and a never-ending supply of coffee and orange juice from Blue Java, the effective camper can conquer any courseload. Library fines got you down? No worries–you never have to bring the book outside!

For the camper who likes company, group efforts–such as establishing an “alcove” or commandeering a row of seats in “the ref”–have their own benefits. A group of friends can share notes, calculators, headphones, keyboards, USB keys, aspirin, Airborne, cookies, caffeine pills, air mattresses, and water. If you pick a good group, they will help and encourage you, and stare at you disapprovingly when you wander onto Facebook. “Do you want a B-!?” one friend once asked another repeatedly, nearly making him cry. No, no he did not want a B-, and after several sleepless study sessions, a B- he did not get.

Camping builds community and camaraderie. It’s also a bit thrilling, as any veteran camper knows. There are hours, usually between three and six, when Butler becomes a very eerie place. Bedraggled, lank-haired denizens shamble back and forth in hallways. Small, beady-eyed law students burst into alcoves and launch tirades at horrified undergrads. People pass out on the floor, covered only with thin CU sweatshirts.

The atavistic scramble and the endless parade of freaks are frightening enough to kick the lazy paper-writer into gear. After all, the intention is not to linger in Butler but to get out as soon as possible, home for the holidays or down to the business of summer. And the real benefit to camping in Butler is being able to cut oneself off from campus and society–for a night, five days, two weeks–to focus wholly on academic tasks. After all, as any reference room camper will recognize, “A man is but what he knoweth.”

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  1. Riven  

    You could also just look yourself in your own room, unplug the ethernet cord and stud there. Put a sign on your door saying that you are not home and with enough food you will only need to leave your room for bathroom breaks. And falling asleep on your bed is nicer than falling asleep in BUtler.

  2. i don't understand  

    You can still do all the things you listed in Butler... you just have to take a break once a day. Why is this even a problem if you're actually camped there and not just leaving a pile of stuff to save your seat? Go to a different room in Butler for an hour if need be.

  3. this is dumb  

    There is no defense of camping, Bwog, and so your post does not merit a counter-argument. Now you're just defending things for the sake of this feature, and not because there's actually anything worth defending there.

  4. ehhh  

    this wasn't terribly funny

  5. Kant  

    Act on a maxim that you can at the same time will a universal law.

    Can't do so with Butler camping. Hence it's immoral and indefensible.

  6. hmm  

    what do they do when people lock their laptops to a particular spot?

  7. Let us not forget  

    the strong, foul odor produced from not showering and sitting in the same spot for extended periods of time.

    To be honest, I don't care how much work anyone has to do, if you can't take 15-30 minutes off for a day for personal hygiene, that's just ridiculous.

    Butler is NOT a living area. Your presence in the library may be a good thing for you, but you cause far more trouble for other people just as equally deserving of a place to study, just not as ridiculous as to plant their roots in a public area.

  8. good job  

    bwog. I like this one. Well written. Not that I agree. At all. But well written.

  9. Ramya  

    This is great, KT!

  10. lol  

    JJ5 is your fan club

    lol at the trademark thing for Katie Reedy Inflections!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. campers

    fail at life. more importantly, they fail at exams. I laugh at and pity your lack of self-control.

  12. proposal  

    how about the next "in defense of" be a defense of the "in defense of" feature

  13. butlerian in berlin

    GAH. the libraries actually close here - at, like, 10! and sundays - forget it. i'm a total camper, count me with the likes of sue yang and that weird blonde med student who lives on butler 4. but this year, i have to go without. cold fuckin turkey. how can i be expected to produce so much as a transitional phrase without that adrenaline shock that comes with the realization that it's actually 5 am?

  14. barnad  

    we just need to get rid of barnard id access to butler... that would solve a lot of the overcrowding issues

  15. except that...  

    barnard's library hours are not in any way as extensive as butler's and 24 hour rooms are nonexistant. plus, barnard students pay for access to butler and have every right that all of the other schools have to use it, so yea, stop blaming barnard.

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