Bwogger and JTS/GS student Zach Fisher takes some time off from packing up his room to report on JTS’s impending move from Barnards 121st street dorm to the brand new 21st-century dorm on 122nd street.
What if you were told that you had to pack up your dorm in the middle of midterms week, with only about a week’s notice, and move to an entirely new dorm that you had never seen before.
Now, what if it wasn’t only you. What if your entire current dorm was also being forced to move.
Then imagine what if the new dorm you were supposed to move to was under construction…. one day before moving day….
Now scratch the what if. This is no Halloween nightmare. For undergraduate students in the Joint Program with the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and Columbia’s School of General Studies, this is reality.
The Jewish Theological Seminary had long been awaiting the completion of their brand new “21st century campus” which would include a brand-new undergraduate dorm located on 122nd and Broadway for their undergraduate Dual BA program students. The 21st Century Campus had an estimated completion date of early August 2019, and students moving out after the 2018-2019 academic year had the expectation of moving into the brand-new dorms come their return to school. JTS also anticipated this move and sold their “former” undergraduate dorm of Goldsmith hall to Barnard which would become Barnard’s new 121ststreet dorm.
About two weeks before the start of the Fall semester, all move-in plans completely fell apart. With no control over the situation, JTS housing was informed that they had not yet received the government certificate of occupancy for the new dorms and students could not move in come moving day. Fortunately, JTS still leased Goldsmith hall (almost like they knew this would happen ‾\_(ツ)_/‾) and told students they would only need to temporarily move in until Mid-September when they would be able to move into the new dorms. So, in the first week of September students began to move back into their former home of Goldsmith hall (or the GSPOT as Barnard residents like to refer to it), but it was clear that things had changed. JTS now shared the dorm with Barnard – with the latter occupying the top floors and the former occupying the ground to the fourth floor. Overnight JTS male students became the only Columbia students with the power to sign their Columbia friends into Barnard housing. Free Laundry was also a welcome change from the past – pay per use – model JTS followed. However, not all good things could last.
Around mid-September, right before the Jewish holidays began, JTS students received an email stating that the certificate still had not been received and moving day would be pushed to sometime in October, and if not then moving would happen at the conclusion of the semester. Then, radio silence for a month.
On October 16, everything changed: all JTS students received an email that the new dorm was finally ready!!! But, move-in day was set for October 25– less than a week later and in the heart of Midterm season. Within the next three days the JTS Facebook group was bursting with petitions some of which included: a “GSSC Petition Surrounding JTS Housing” (which called for more transparency from JTS in the future), a google sheets petition that simply “articulated frustration about the move”, A petition that asked for a two week moving period and also committed signees to never donating to JTS should the request be ignored (blackmail you say?), and even a “couch petition” which would allow the moving of “the extremely comfortable couches” from the Goldsmith lounge to the new dorm.
JTS eventually realized that less than a week was inadequate in terms of time before moving. They moved the moving dates to between Thursday, October 31 and Tuesday, November 4 while also supplying movers. Now JTS students frantically prepare to move into the new 21st century campus with no idea what awaits them within. All students, however, look forward to being the first residents in a brand new dorm with really nice kitchens (please come see for yourself, they are seriously amazing).
The 21st Century Campus building via Zach’s iPhone