This week, Bwog visited another PowerSuite where high-ranking student government officials, an established social justice leader, a master volleyball instructor, and a music connoisseur all reside. While other politicians fail at their pizza eating skills, Ruggles #109-114 is home to masters of the craft. Raphaelle Debenedetti and Mahima Chablani report.

Who wouldn't want a Christmas card from these smiling faces?

When Bwog arrived at Snuggles (yes, they were responsible for this) #109-114, its six residents were crammed into a tiny double, watching Homestar Runner on a dinky laptop. For some reason, the suite greeted us by apologizing for their current pizza shortage. Indeed, when we asked the suite to define their motto, all six simultaneously screamed “PIZZA!” But Pizza (note the capitalization of “P”) isn’t merely their motto: it’s their religion.

Above the entryway to the kitchen is a nifty crest made from an old pizza-box that reads, “The Pizza Room.”  The suitemates use a rotating “pizza wheel” to divide their weekly chores. While some of the chores are straightforward— like cleaning the floors or taking out the trash, the most divine duty is ordering pizza for the suite. In an effort to try every pizza place in the neighborhood, a designated suite member orders a large pizza from a different place each week.  When dividing said pizza, the suite adheres to principles of equality: Given that a large pizza contains eight slices, each individual gets to devour one full slice of pizza. Since there are two remaining slices, the 3 boys share one slice and the 3 girls share the other. Ryan Mandelbaum assures Bwog that their analysis of pizza is supremely scientific, because the suite is 50% engineers.

Not only is the suite half SEAS and half CC, but all other suite interactions are also defined by halves: “We’re half COOP leaders/half not; half boys/half girls; half white/half colored; half on the meal plan/half not,” they tell us. Perhaps the most defining half is that half of the suite is on student council: Mary Byers is President of SEAS 2013, Shudipto Rahman is Vice President of SEAS 2013, and Ryan Mandelbaum is President of CC 2013.  While not on student government, the other half of the suite is equally devoted to leading their peers: Megan Armstrong is the Social Justice Coordinator for Columbia InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, James Bennett II is a programmer for WKCR and plays the saxophone in his band “Ace of Cake”, and Tiffany Firebaugh coaches volleyball on the Upper East Side. Together, they radiate power, as well as good will.

When the politicians come home, all hell breaks loose.  Shudipto—the “dad,” brings home the cheeseballs.  James is the “uncle” and a man of super strength (“is it cause I’m black?” James asks).  Ryan, the grandpa, wears the sugary sweaters and always “surprise hugs” everyone.  Tiffany and Megan are the daughters, and last but not least, Mary “The Cat” is the household pet. She meows.

A favorite family activity is rapping, and the suitemates needed no encouragement to demonstrate their prowess for Bwog.  At this point in the conversation, an unnamed boy and girl walked into the suite and asked if they could have a cheeseball. Rather, two unidentified individuals had already entered the suite and eaten some cheeseballs. Because of the suite’s “open-door policy,” strangers and friends alike constantly walk in and out.

The suite is located right by the entrance of Snuggles, so “whenever we leave, we can say goodbye a second time through the window,” Tiffany explains.  Megan adds, “Yeah, it’s lovely living on the first floor. The boys usually sit out on the stoop and smoke cigars in their lawn chairs—”

“But don’t worry!” Ryan interjects, “We’re always 20 feet away from the entrance of the building.”  Mary reminds, “At the end of the day, we are on Student Council.”

A sweater key, courtesy of Ryan.
Mary Byers- Tribal Sweater
Ryan Mandelbaum – Reindeer Sweater
James Bennett II – Nordic Sweater
Shudipto Rahman- Biggie Sweater
Tiffany Firebaugh- Cosby Sweater
Megan Armstrong- Grandpa Sweater

Power comes in many forms (flower, supernatural e.g.). Email to nominate a PowerSuite!