Name, Hometown, School, Major: Nnaemeka (Emeka) Ekwelum, Boston, MA., Columbia College, Comparative Ethnic Studies

Claim to fame:

  • Co-writing and producing FRIEZE, which is one of my greatest achievements to date (special shout out to our amazing cast and production team—I love you all).
  • The day that Felicia Marie Bishop dedicated her thesis to me. In case you’re unaware, she’s a boss, which makes me a boss by association.
  • Increasing my family’s assets by winning an iPad at a career fair that I almost didn’t attend.
  • Living on the stoop of the Intercultural Resource Center (IRC).
  • Being Columbia’s “most agile grandpa.”
  • Waving at strangers, strangers who eventually become my friends.

Where are you going? I’m moving back to Boston to teach 7th Grade English as “Mr. Ekwelum” (*cringe*)…currently still in search of a satchel to officially complete the transition.

Three things you learned at Columbia:

  1. A graduating senior recently confessed to me that he didn’t believe in institutional oppression. I can confidently declare that Columbia has objectively failed to breed “global citizens.”
  2. “It might be helpful to think of deadlines as mere guidelines.” Sarah Joan Thompson CC ‘11, you’ve created a monster.
  3. The personal is indeed political.

“Back in my day…”

  • $.50 John Jay takeout containers hadn’t yet been employed as another form of extortion at Columbia.
  • The Black Students’ Organization had a banner.
  • Not enough courses were offered in CSER, which still holds true.
  • The entire Harry Potter franchise (and The Varsity Show) only featured/needed one Black student…this fact also still holds true.

Justify your existence in 30 words or less: Sticky Wings (Dallas BBQ). Haribo Gummy Bears. Westside Market’s Tango Panini (with onions). Edith, Chuks, and Chinyere Ekwelum. Popeye’s Biscuits. Felicia Bishop. Wikipedia. Unsung & Unborn Strivers. IRC. Sweatpants.

Is the War on Fun over? Who won? Any war stories? When I can still laugh at 6:30am, a few hours before my fifteen-page research paper, of which I’ve only written a header, is due, I know that I’ve immersed myself in the company of great people. If there is indeed a war, my friends and I are #winning.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? According to Wikipedia, there are over 500 different varieties of cheese recognized by the International Dairy Federation. Specificity is key!

Advice for the class of 2016:

  • Don’t be afraid to hold administrators accountable.
  • Make sure you’ve seen/held an e-form before you graduate. Additionally, invest in the Columbia community but don’t lose yourself in it.
  • We are all products of various socializations. Constantly challenge yourself to understand why you believe in what you believe.
  • If frat parties aren’t your thing, don’t make it a thing you do.
  • Experiment with your education; you might not actually want to be a banker or doctor. You never know how a random elective might enhance or clarify your academic and/or personal interests.
  • No means no.
  • Cry when you’re overwhelmed. The purge is so necessary.
  • STUDENTS OF COLOR: people at this institution have sullied the terms “multicultural,” “community,” “diversity,” and “global.” Don’t buy into the propaganda, the “self-segregationists” that I’ve encountered at Columbia have primarily been White students. Don’t get distracted…just keep strivin’.

Any regrets? I regret not dating enough. #scramble (?)