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.
This 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.”