Be on the lookout for the December issue of The Blue & White, arriving on campus this week. In the meantime, Bwog will honor our heritage/amorous affair with our mother magazine by posting features from the upcoming issue. Such treats include a breakdown of Barnard’s budget woes, a look at Columbia’s proposal for a new engineering campus, and the politics of space in Lerner. Below is our profile of campus character Dan Weinstein.
“I feel like I spend my time on all these different things, but I just can’t think of any of them,” Dan Weinstein, CC’ 12, says sheepishly as he pauses from rattling off a incomprehensible list of accomplishments, hobbies, and experiences.
Weinstein’s involvement in Columbia’s community has been so widespread that most students have probably met him in some capacity. He’s been involved in COÖP since freshman year, and has served as a leader for COBOP, its biking orientation program, since sophomore year. “I love it a lot,” he reflects. “I just think that being outdoors is the number one bonding experience you can possibly have […] and it is cool to know a subset of the incoming freshman class each year.”
But even those who wouldn’t dare pass the city limits owe Weinstein thanks for his part in another Columbia tradition: Bacchanal. As current president and a former concert chair, Weinstein was responsible for bringing Whiz Kalifa, Ghostface Killah, and Of Montreal to campus in 2010, and Das Racist and Snoop Dogg this past year. Though the club has recently been plagued by budget issues, Weinstein remains positive, and takes great pride in having the opportunity to “choose the direction of the biggest event on campus other than graduation.” His favorite part is building relationships with all of the musicians. “They’re some of the weirdest people to work with,” he laughs.
Yet it isn’t the likes of Ghostface Killah or Das Racist that receive the most plays on Weinstein’s iTunes. “I’m an avid classical music fan,” he admits. “I had a phase when I couldn’t fall asleep unless I was listening to Brahms’ violin concerto.” Weinstein puts his knowledge to work programming a classical radio show for WKCR every week, and spends much of his time at home playing the piano.
Weinstein moved to New Jersey in 9th grade, but his casual demeanor and love for the outdoors betray his Michigan roots. He tells tales of Colorado camping expeditions and a stint working on a date farm in California. The farm was near an area that is “apparently a big environmental catastrophe, but if you didn’t know that you’d think it was the most beautiful place ever,” he recalls wistfully.
Weinstein’s life is nothing if not balanced, and his love of nature is rivaled by his enthusiasm for Wikipedia. “I read a lot of it. You know those ads where they ask you to donate? I probably should. I probably will,” he reflects, chuckling. Later, he minimizes the history paper he’s writing to reveal a desktop background made up of a tiled collage of Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales’s austere head-shots, underlining the validity of his claim. Though officially a history major, Weinstein also has a strong interest in computer science, a subject in which he is “somewhere between a major and a concentration.” He enjoys the contrast between history and computer science, but hopes to go into the world of tech startups after graduation. “[Programming] is just like taking courses in puzzles all the time!” he says excitedly.
Weinstein’s laudable involvement in the Columbia community becomes more impressive through his motley collection of hobbies and his everyman attitude. “When I say these things out loud I just don’t feel that unique,” he laughs, his humility only eclipsed by his genuine friendliness. Sarah Dion, CC’ 12, remarks, “I recently got in touch with someone whom I had never met through Dan for a club thing, and at the end of her reply to me, she wrote: ‘PS- Dan Weinstein is the best!’ I think that pretty accurately sums things up.”