Senior Wisdom: Sarah Besnoff

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Our series continues with SGA President Sarah Besnoff.

Name, School
: Sarah Besnoff, Barnard College

Claim to fame: Student Government Association President, Columbia Urban Experience Coordinator, Peace by PEACE volunteer

Post-grad plans: Eventually: law school, local politics in Philly; Now: Looking for a job in New York and moving into an apartment with my CUE Co-Coordinator Stephanie Davidson

What are three things you learned at Columbia?

1) Developing “good time-management skills” really means learning to function on less sleep.

2) The kindergarten friend-making tactic (e.g. “hi, we both like troll dolls; will you be my friend?”) is also how it’s done in college/the real world. Now it’s just called “networking.”

3) The Barnard-Columbia relationship is confusing because Barnard students think we’re part of CU and the Board of Trustees thinks we’re partners with CU…And both are right.

Justify your existence in 30 words or less. If I meet you once, I will continue to smile and say hi if we pass each other on campus.

Favorite study spot? Really love Lewis Parlour. Comfy couches, free coffee.

What was your favorite controversy in your time at Columbia? The fear/anticipation of whether or not we’ll name our student center “The Vag” was definitely the highlight of the past year. It was totally the donors’ right to name it “The Diana,” but I’m bummed that we won’t have a late-night eatery called Va-JJ’s.

Any battle wounds/war stories from the War on Fun? Not really. Although, every month, having to watch cases of beer be poured out after Lerner Pub wounded my emotional stability.

Would you rather permanently give up oral sex or cheese?

As a peanut-allergic vegetarian, I pretty much only eat cheese.

What do you wish you could tell the Class of 2013 before they come here? Do Columbia Urban Experience. In case you can’t, here’s what four years of CUE taught me: You have time in college to do community service every week. Take “Women and Leadership.” Go to the Nuyorican Poets Café. Don’t ever try to student-rush Wicked. Karaoke is always more fun and never as awkward as you think it’ll be. Hewitt has the better food. Discussing Harry Potter consistently gets conversations started between nervous first-years. The best public restrooms in Midtown are at the Marriott on 46th. And if you take that elevator to the top floor without stopping, it feels like a rocket ship.

Regrets? Probably should have gotten a fake ID. Never went to Hangama or Holi. Overall, though, I’ve loved every moment of being at Barnard.

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  1. Chelsea Zimmerman  


  2. Ummm

    From someone on CC senior class council her war on fun story is pretty exaggerated. SGA only hosts one Lerner Pub a semester and doesn't work the bar at any of the other ones. We ran out of booze at most Lerner Pubs so this is really a one time thing. Plus the administration changed their policy after we complained and we are storing excess beer now instead of pouring it out.

    • hello  

      from someone in CC who knows/loves Sarah B, stfu. She's awesome!!! =)

    • Umm again  

      To clarify, my comment has nothing to do with Sarah being from Barnard versus SEAS or GS. I love all my barnard friends, I've taken a few classes across the street and this University would not be the place it is without that aspect of our community. It was meant solely to point out that she was inaccurate and as a senior offering her wisdom.

      I'm sure she's a great person but given her position she shouldn't be inaccurate or hyperbolic about elements of the war on fun that were addressed. Especially when strict Barnard admins make our senior programming that much more difficult.

  3. well  

    she didn't mention the other part of the Columbia-Barnard relationship: what Columbia thinks.

  4. CC Senior

    She seems like a nice person, although I did have the sense I was reading an interview with someone who attended a completely different school.

    • SEAS Senior  

      She did attend a different school. Barnard, CC, SEAS, and GS are all completely different experiences. CC and SEAS have the most similarities b/c the core overlaps and the advising/administration are the same. But each school comes with its own experiences.

      And if she thinks good time management skills involve nothing more than not sleeping enough she must be a very bad at time management.

  5. huh?  

    who is this girl? never heard of her.

    - CC senior

  6. barnared  

    barnard is not part of columbia, why is this student being profiled??

    • CC '11  

      Wow, people. Barnard is clearly separate from CC and clearly provides a different experience, but to say that its students aren't part of the CU undergraduate body is just ridiculous. Maybe you don't happen to know a lot of BCers, but they're pretty thoroughly integrated into every extracurricular I've enjoyed here. Just because someone doesn't fit into your apparently limited social circle doesn't mean that she isn't part of the school.

      And I don't know Sarah, but she seems very nice. Good luck.

  7. have also  

    never heard of her, but have found her senior wisdom the most amusing so far.
    continue to step it up bwog.

  8. barnard is not

    columbia. therefore, she didn't have the columbia experience. any BC student who thinks BC is part of CU is just engaging in some serious wishful thinking.

  9. varun  

    yeah-uh! w00t sarah!


  10. CC '09  

    I would like to see a single commenter spewing anti-Barnard vitriol have the courage to actually say those things to an actual Barnard student, face-to-face. Sarah contributes more to the Columbia community than most of you bitter losers making these comments.

    • Absolutely true  

      Sarah is amazing. I'm sure she knew what she was getting into by addressing the Barnard-Columbia relationship in her senior wisdom. Unfortunately an anonymous forum brings out the worse in ignorant and elitist Columbians with the need to reaffirm their position as the only students worthy of the title. We all know that Barnard isn't as selective as CC or SEAS. We all know that it's self-selecting because it's a women's college. We all know it's still a fantastic school, due in no small part to it's relationship with Columbia. BC women know why we need women's education: to keep girls from believing that the idea that we're equal isn't just "serious wishful thinking." Sarah Besnoff has done amazing things for Columbia, her work will not be overshadowed by the ongoing trials of the Barnard/Columbia relationship.

  11. really though  

    A senior profile hurts no one. It's interesting light reading and a way to profile campus personalities before they graduate. I don't care that they profile someone at one of the three other undergraduate schools - bwog has readers all over the university. It's so not worth complaining over!

  12. another cc'11  

    i'll never understand why so many people want to deny barnard's integration with columbia. barnard is one of the four undergraduate colleges at this university. period. and without barnard, my life would be much less enjoyable; i wouldn't have my major, i wouldn't have hewitt lunches, i wouldn't have the milbank theater facilities, columbia students would have no dance facilities, and sorority life would pretty much be non-existent. besides the fact that i just love my barnard friends, and i'm not going to try and other them because of my own insecurity. that's just silly.

  13. LOVE Sarah  

    Did CUE with her, she's a baller, she's kind, caring, and hardworking. Best B-nard gal you'll ever meet

  14. ...  

    so much cue love for prezbez!

  15. mppp

    Sarah is a hottieeeeee and one of the most honest and kind people around.

  16. cc11  

    another kid from CC11 expressing love for barnard, and especially sarah besnoff who is SO sweet and nice

  17. anna

    wasn't barnard, just fyi - not that it matters

  18. rocketman

    I love that elevator!

  19. real cc'10

    the "cc" students above def go to barnard.

  20. token  

    Hewitt food is better and she really will smile at you after one encounter!!

    I love Sarah Besnoff!!! She ROCKS!!!

  21. every  

    time i pass you on the street, you smile and say hi. i think we've spoken twice, ever. class act all the way :-)

  22. SEV  

    Way to be SARAH B!

  23. again,  

    reiterating all the CUE love here, as a member of S Club 7 (Sarah knows what I'm talking about), I LOVE YOU SARAH!!!!

  24. also, i forgot  

    all you CC and SEAS people who are hating on barnard are being dumb, stop wasting your time.

    (from a CC girl)

  25. silly  

    Barnard is a different school...a much, much, much more awesome school. Sure CC is all elite and stuff, but at Barnard, people are actually nice...

  26. CUE Alum 2007  

    I love Saraaah she's amazing, and will be greatly missed, too bad she would give up oral sex though lol

  27. CUE '06  

    sarah, you're an amazing woman and will be missed greatly!

    p.s. her answer to "justify your experience..." is absolutely true.

  28. ~_^  

    It's not really genuine if you're acutely conscious of it and use it to justify your existence. Sarah is nice though.

  29. eeww  

    eww she looks hideous look at her eyebrows

    • Sarah  

      is a sweet girl. You, on the other hand, are a huge douche. My hope is that you said this to incite controversy, not because you actually are that awful. If you are, I am so sorry. Best of luck with that.

  30. '09 CUEer  

    Sarah's totally right about CUE. She's also right about Harry Potter. And I share her sentiment about wishing I had gotten a fake ID—you live, you learn, and eventually you turn 21.

  31. #1 JetPack Fan

    Great wisdom, Prez-Bez. For those hater-clowns, I understand if you are jealous of this woman. She is probably smarter, stronger, and way better looking than you. Plus she is probably gonna be on CSPAN one day.

  32. cuelos  

    if the world had more 'Noffs, things would be a lot prettier. She's damn good at giving hugs too. this girl rocks. there's not other way of saying it.

    don't mess with her.

  33. cc guy

    Sarah is passionate, dedicated and incredibly sweet. Also, she pretty much runs barnard and parts of Columbia as well. Congratulations, Sarah. I look forward to hearing your graduation speech!

  34. Wow

    Sentiments like these make me proud to be a Barnard student.

  35. woot  

    sarah is awesome!

    and i was also sad watching all that beer get poured out :-(

  36. i think  

    people underestimate how hard it is to put these up. putting yourself out there for the masses to critique must be nerve wracking. good thing I'm one of those average, not important enough to be written about on bwog type people.

  37. I  

    SARAH! :)

    Good Luck!

    • Barnard rocks!  

      I was about to say the same thing re: Reacting to the Past! I love you, Sarah Besnoff! I wish we had more time together in class!!! You will be missed!

  38. : )  

    i love sarah. end of story.

  39. #1 Sarah Besnoff Fan


    and to all you complain about the Barnard-Columbia relationship, Sarah B, has had the chutzpah do more than you guys are doing, which is only talking about it! She has worked tirelessly to mend, or rather create a relationship between Barnard and Columbia. She has set a great example for us to follow and its a super shame that she is graduating this semester!

    You go Sarah Besnoff, we owe a heck of a lot to you kid!

    (from a CC chickeedee)

  40. BORING!  

    I'm sick of all these people who were involved in a bajillion groups and do boring senior wisdoms. I want a voice of the people. I want Mike Weinstein!

  41. !!!  

    "If I meet you once, I will continue to smile and say hi if we pass each other on campus."

    finally, someone at this school who has an ounce of civility. i've never met this girl but her profile has been the best so far and she sounds cool.

    and anyone who has their panties in a wad about the whole barnard-columbia thing needs to grow up...

  42. No Core  

    Not Columbia.

  43. hey bwog  

    you forgot to tag this post so it's not showing up in the senior wisdoms

  44. tag it

    bwog tag this and nhu-y's as senior wisdoms

  45. sarah...  

    You stole my Va-JJ's joke!

    Still love ya girl :)

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