Managing Editor Caroline recaps this tumultuous semester, one month at a time.
Content warning: sexual assault, student deaths, racism, hate crimes, suicide, police brutality
We kicked off this semester by meeting our newest crop of Bwoggers and reviewing the 126th Varsity Show, with many, many happy tears. While shopping for classes, one staffer had to suffer through two 1:10s—at the same time. Another staffer was surprised to see that their picture was used in advertisement for their undergraduate school. Staff Writer Camille Sensiba also gave us a much-awaited sequel to her Roaree-Millie fanfiction.
We also reported on key news stories, such as YDSA’s tuition strike rally, the partial reopening of Dodge Fitness Center, and how one should handle receiving a Columbia Confessions crush. Deputy Arts Editor Adam Kluge and I also created a Transfer Survival Guide, to help any incoming transfers with the move. Bwog also turned 15, with the help of some teenage TSwift lyrics. The Aquarius energy jumped out there.
Our staff also reviewed events in January. Daily Editor Rania Borgani attended a talk with Professor Claudia Rankine and Staff Writer Phalaen Chang reviewed a discussion about artificial intelligence and human rights. Tech Editor Solo Dzhaman also covered an event on if technology can be used to create social good, while Staff Writer Phoebe Lu discovered how algorithms can be racist.
We also had some laughs in January. Phoebe also reviewed the Columbia Virgins Instagram, in contrast with its more active Columbia Confessions counterpart. Senior Staffer Bannon Beall shared what which Columbia publication you write for says about you. Staff Writer Sydney Gerlach also labeled the four undergraduate schools as Bridgerton characters—thank god none of us are Daphne.
Staff Writer Jeff Davis also released a scathing review of the Marriage Pact—btw, they’re single—while Staff Writer Talia Rosen listened to “drivers license.” Senior Staffers Yuki Adams and Elena Christenfield finally learned how to buy groceries, but they decided to avoid Westside. I disagreed.
We also reported that Marcelo Velez, the Vice President of Columbia Manhattanville Development, had been arrested for the alleged sexual assault of a minor.
The weather got colder in February, but Senior Staffer Regan Mies’ “January Favorites” made us feel warm inside. Regan continued this series monthly for the rest of the semester, and she reviewed an event with Bill Gates.
We also got instructions from our staff, on how to spend the Barnard GrubHub money, to know when you’ve been in the SEAS bubble for too long, and to make Shanghai Rice Cakes. We also debated whether we should turn our cameras on in class.
Our staff also brought you all the news that’s fit to post in February. Science Editor Braner investigated nearby campus parties from Sigma Delta Tau amd Sigma Nu. Braner and GSSC Bureau Chief Charlotte Slovin also reported on the beginning of the Graduate Workers’ strike. News Editor Victoria Borlando also reported on how Barnard COVID-19 tests can come back as inconclusive. Barnard and Columbia then announced that 2021 commencement ceremonies would be virtual, given that we’re still in a pandemic. Barnard also extended the temporary test-optional policy regarding the SAT and the ACT for 2022-2023 admissions.
Valentine’s Day arrived, and love was in the air! We posted our 2021 Personals, including some from our staff members and a very special guest Bwogger. Speaking of feelings, one staffer met President Beilock—and felt embarrassed. Another Bwogger got confused when they tried guessing what each Contemporary Civilization philosopher looked like. We also ranked Columbia objects as if we were on Dance Moms.
With the March 1 major declaration deadline approaching, Senior Staffer Daniel Ortega-Venni revived his major spotlights series, with features on the CS-Math major and Bannon’s History major. Sydney Gerlach also reported on Barnard’s new Education Studies major. Our international staffers also gave their advice by creating an International Student Guide. Deputy Events Editor Grace-Fitzgerald Diaz also created a new series of LibraryHops, so you know which seat to reserve next time you make a library appointment.
We ended February by beginning our 2021 Housing Reviews—with one senior realizing that they will never live in a dorm again.
March brought tragedy, as First-Year Student Jackson Coker passed away. We send our deepest sympathies to Jackson’s family and friends—he will be missed.
March also saw an increase in Anti-Asian racism throughout the city. Columbia and Barnard denounced this hate, and Phoebe interviewed Asian Columbia students about their experiences. We at Bwog stand with the Asian community during this period of violence and tragedy.
The Graduate Worker’s strike also progressed in March, with Interim Provost Ira Katznelson commenting on March 8, and the strike itself beginning on March 15. Columbia also added more members to the Board of Trustees and created a racial justice mini-grant program. Barnard also pitched a tent on Futter Field, and we decided to have a picnic under it.
Staffers shared even more advice in March, on how to get your groove back after midterms and how to get a single. Talia also unpacked her vaccine experience at the Javits Center. We then reflected on how we’ve been living through the COVID-19 pandemic for one year.
Student government elections then arrived, and don’t worry, we voted! We also interviewed and endorsed candidates for CCSC and ESC. Thanks to our amazing Bureau Chiefs Maddie Goodman, Leora Schloss, Eliza Staples, and Charlotte Slovin, we also knew what student government actually does. Grace Novarr also became our next SGA Bureau Chief, as Eliza decided to focus more on Bwog’s social media.
We also met a lot of people this month: Shaun Abreu, the creators of DormMatch, and Payton Johnson. After all that talking, we got hungry, so we ate grilled cheese and corned, beef. and cabbage in MoHi. We then cooked with Chopped Chef Urbina but became upset when we realized JJ’s was closed.
Braner and Daily Editor Henry Astor then investigated if the Barnard and Columbia COVID-19 tests are being tested for the variants—the answer is still unclear. We also discovered which vaccine we are. To be clear, you are whichever vaccine you can receive!
The end of March showed us the light at the end of the tunnel. Columbia announced that it will start vaccinating students, faculty, and staff, including graduate workers. The University also revealed its plans for an in-person, mostly normal fall semester, which Grace summarized here. Fingers crossed for normalcy in the fall!
Similar to March, April also began with bad news. Postbac Premed student Matthew Avila passed away. We want to give our condolences to Matthew’s family and friends during this terrible time.
April also confirmed that Columbia YDSA had ended their tuition strike from earlier this year. The GWC-UAW strike continued, and Grace reported that Representative Jamaal Bowman and Councilwoman Carlina Rivera joined the picket line. One day later, the strike was officially paused with graduate students returning to work as both parties agreed to mediation. On April 19, the GWC-AUW reached a tentative agreement with the administration, but not all graduate workers agreed with this decision. Rania reported on how the strike impacted undergraduate students—many of which have TAs or professors that chose to strike.
We also share more COVID-19-related news, with the virus being detected in the wastewater of Broadway, Wien, and John Jay. Braner also taught us how to schedule a vaccine appointment at The Armory—you can make yours today! Following suit of other institutions, the University also revealed that it will require students to get the COVID-19 vaccine in order to return to campus in the fall.
This semester also made us feel drained by April. One writer revived the Dear Bwog column and told us that we shouldn’t feel mediocre—we are so much more than our grades on a midterm. Another staffer consoled us for not having a prestigious, high-paying internship, reminding us that we have not failed for not getting one job during one unprecedented, frustrating year.
We then wanted some comfort food, so Senior Staffer Brigid taught us how to use a mug. Elena and Yuki reviewed Nice Day Chinese food (I’d get the spring rolls), and Guest Bwogger Margherita Firenze reviewed all of the Margherita pizzas near campus. Unfortunately, Zack did not get a slice.
After internship frustrations and good food, we became unhinged, revealing all of our Slack secrets. Braner made a PeopleHop about a cat. Senior Staffer Henry Golub taught us how to primal scream during COVID-19. My Bwog lineage described the majors as Fearless (Taylor’s Version) tracks. An incredibly kind staffer made a quiz that tells you which Bwog Board member you are.
Things got even weirder when we attended Bacchanal 2021, virtually. We brainstormed alternatives to the computerized event and even had a rendez-vous on Virbela. Senior Staffer Sarah Perry then brainstormed CU student life on the better virtual platform: The Sims.
We then received more news from the school, with the announcement of the Columbia Student Support Initiative. The University also covered climate change, by revealing the leadership team of the climate school and Plan 2030. In the wake of the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, President Beilock and the Columbia Office of University Life shared resources for students.
The end of this semester brought even more horrible news. Professor Dinah PoKempner of the Human Rights Institute used a racist slur numerous times in her International Human Rights Law course. The article linked here includes ways you can express solidarity for the students affected, including an email template and petition. After this event, a noose was found in a Union Theological Seminary dorm and is being investigated as a hate crime. We at Bwog stand with the students impacted by these events, and we encourage everyone to reach out to Furman and CPS if they feel scared and alone.
We ended this semester with our Senior Wisdom posts, showcasing kind and accomplished individuals from the Class of 2021. This group of seniors is particularly important to us, specifically to everyone on Board. This class showed us the ropes, trained us in WordPress, and taught us how to write breaking news. We attended their birthday parties, crashed on their roofs, and spent countless hours with them in JJ’s. We wish them the best of luck in all of their post-graduation endeavors and thank them for making Bwog our second home.
Lauren Kahme will continue to lead Bwog’s 2021 Editorial Board as Editor in Chief, with Caroline Mullooly as Managing Editor and Aditi Misra as Internal Editor. Publishers Zack Abrams and Charles Bacha are leaving their roles, so we are currently searching for two new Publishers to manage our finances and advertisements. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in this position.
The Board would like to thank all of our staffers and readers for their tenacity during this rocky semester. Regular content will resume in July with FreshLetter and our NSOP-themed posts. Bwog applications for Staff Writers and Daily Editors will go live when the next academic year begins. Stay tuned, and have a safe summer.
Lawns via Bwog Archives