Roar, lioness, roar

On Thursday night, the freshpeople had an NSOP event at the Bronx Zoo. There was a DJ! Bwog’s Sweet ’16er source Artur Upton Renault sent the following report from within. 

In Brazil, where I come from, incoming college freshmen are known as bichos, which literally means “animals.” This term accurately describes Columbia’s new freshmen: loud, messy, and utterly instinctive. Therefore, the NSOP organization had the right thing in mind when they took Columbia’s 1,600 new undergraduate students to the Bronx Zoo. Even more appropriately, they closed off the largest zoo in New York so that the class of 2016 could celebrate the beginning of their school year in style.

We were told to go to the 116th street subway station at 7 p.m., where the OLs would explain how to get to the zoo. They did so extremely well, with an OL at every five meters reminding us where to go. Upon arrival at the Bronx, there was a five-minute walk into the zoo and to the area with the restaurant and gift shop where our party was to be.

Most of the NSOPers imagined that this event would be a party where, aside from dancing and celebrating, we could go check out some neat animals from the zoo. But then came the first disappointment of the night: there were no animals. We were confined to the zoo’s recreation space, which included a dance floor, tables, some food stands, the zoo gift shop, and a few fun novelty options like airbrushed tattoos and face painting. The real reason why this was a disappointment: this party could have happened anywhere else. If we weren’t going to be looking at animals, we could have had this party in any place that didn’t include an hour-long subway ride and what felt like mocking stares from empty animal cages.

But we actually did have a fun party. Once the music started (which took an awkwardly long amount of time to happen), people were extremely pumped up, dancing together and celebrating the Columbia unity that exists among the four undergraduate colleges for now.

The usual complaints were present. Number one was: “I’m too sober for this!” Which just shows how little the incoming class listened to AlcoholEdu and the numerous alcohol safety lectures. It also shows that many people were completely oblivious to the numerous bottles of liquor that were being discreetly passed around the dance floor.

The second most common complaint was about the fact that the music of the party consisted mostly of 2000s pop and strange remixes. There were some exceptions like “N***** In Paris” (whose radio edit sounds a lot like silence) and some Latin music near the end. The music didn’t fail to keep the partiers moving, though. This is quite an accomplishment, especially considering the infernal temperatures and stench of sweat that were made ever more perceptible by the sobriety of the dancers. The party ended at around eleven o’clock, when most people went to even wilder “zoos” around campus and New York.

Overall, the positive atmosphere and fun options made the Bronx Zoo party quite a good beginning of the end of NSOP. The energy and unity that were felt embodied the spirit of the program, as did the free t-shirts and shutter shades. But the food, MetroCards, airbrushed tattoos, and face painting were paid, which represented the beginning of a new, economically and socially independent life as college students.

The zoo was a warm welcome for us bichos into our new natural habitat: the jungle that is Columbia University.

Our mascot sorta via Wikimedia Commons