From the Issue: Yanyi Luo
Written by Bwog Staff
Yanyi (pronounced yin-yi) Luo, a CC ’13 Information Science major, was shocked to be chosen for Campus Character. “This is a very surreal thing for me… I like people, but I’ve never been that central figure who people look to,” Luo remarks. Short, with shoulder-grazing dark brown hair, you’ve probably seen her bopping around leading activities in Lerner’s lounge as head of Live at Lerner. This role requires her to explore NYC’s concert life and find bands that “really work for the campus,” stressing her deep desire to help foster Columbia’s community. A music connoisseur, Yanyi can also be spotted DJ-ing at First Fridays. Uncommonly humble and genuine, Yanyi is a hidden gem found in the sea of often overly ambitious Columbia students.
Not that Yanyi is not ambitious; she is quite so. “My friend has told me that I have ‘an intense getting shit done look,’ not that I’m intimidating!” This intensity of “getting shit done,” carries through Yanyi’s varied interests. From print design and writing to viewing fashion photography–as she would say as “a method of expressing authenticity rather than a guise for consumerism and classist authorization”—Yanyi surely has shit to do. Even so, her friend Sevan Gatsby, BC ’12, sees Yanyi as “a joy to run into on college walk, because even when she is super tired and busy she will make it seem like you are the best thing that she has seen all day.”
While enjoying conversation with Yanyi as she eats a meal of brie and crackers with sparkling water and a wedge of lime in a wine glass, one must comment upon her hyper-organized room. Yanyi explains this in terms of the room’s “funnies.” Proud of her thrifty decorating skills, Yanyi’s room is not only orderly, but also inspiring as her walls are decorated with black and white seaside pictures and poems pasted to dull sides of shelves and in blank wall space.
There is nothing in her room without meaning. “The space in my room is separated into specific things that I do, like underneath my bed is where I do most of my creative writing, while on top of my bed is where I do academic writing and article writing. I do my graphical designs at my desk.” Even the children books lying in the nook under her bed are of significance as they inspire Yanyi while she writes her own children’s book, which she claims has turned into “a one-hundred-years-of-solitude-and-realism kind of thing.”
Though Yanyi has reason to be proud of all her accomplishments and interests, never does she sound complacent or self-important. “I don’t know, talking about myself feels weird” she said during a conversation. One thing Yanyi did stress is her dorky habits, one of which is the way her voice’s pitch changes. “If my voice were a spectrum from high to low, the lower it is the more serious I am and the higher it is the more not serious I am.” During our conversation, her voice only became more high pitched, like talking to a baby, when discussing her adorable kitty mug.
With a love for good old chit chat, Yanyi says her friends are never in a cohesive group. To make up for this, Yanyi holds “drunk tea parties,” where she brings friends together to share the stimulation of spiked tea and good conversation.
So next time you’re at Lerner, don’t think twice about walking up to Yanyi, possibly sporting a sophisticated silver pocket watch, even if she is “swaying, and moving her hips to a beat that is just in [her] head.”