Do a Good Turn Daily Attestation

Upon acceptance into Columbia or Barnard, every student also is registered as a Barnumbia scout. Dues are hidden in your tuition. The benefits of the BSA—Barnumbia Scouts of America—remain just one of the many campus resources that are referenced in passing but most students will never take advantage of its potential benefits. Below are some of the recognition you can get as a part of your membership to the organization. 

Stacks Explorer Merit Badge

The wilderness calls! (If you define wilderness as the hidden inner crypts of Columbia’s libraries). The stacks are truly the frontier of Columbia’s campus with their uncharted terrain of antique books and the cold silence of determined workers. Any Barnumbia scout who travels beyond the circulation desk has exemplified the pinnacle of orienteering and is deserving of this badge.

Class Participator Merit Badge

A lecture with over one hundred people is daunting but hey, a Barnumbia scout is brave! Raising your hand and answering the professor’s question is the only requirement for this badge. Honestly, many students go their entire careers without earning this badge. 

Bonus points if you answer without prefacing with “I think it’s interesting that” or if you answer a question correctly (or just don’t receive a borderline condescending response indicating you as incorrect).

(Registration) Survivalist Merit Badge

There comes that time every semester where your entire life plan is put under trial by fire, determined by the whims of the registrar. So what if you have a very specific curriculum with required classes capped at fifteen students. You’re gonna get a 1:40 pm registration time and you’re gonna like it! 

However, after a stressful scour of SSOL, coming out the other end with a schedule that is mediocre at best can earn you the Barnumbia survivalist badge. Just keep an eye on your waitlists.

Remembered That NSOP Groupmate’s Name Merit Badge

That face…it’s so…familiar…is that…Katie? No…Uh, Kiara? Nope. Katherine! Katherine from…Ohio? Iowa! Katherine from Iowa. How have you been? I haven’t seen you in forever. How are your classes going? Oh…cool! Um. We really should get coffee sometimes? Yeah, totally. I’ll send you a DM on Instagram or something. haha. Do you remember Jack? Yeah, the one who threw a party the first week? Yeah, I heard he’s gotten into some crazy business.  It’s so nice seeing you.

Did the Reading Merit Badge

Whether for a history seminar or a core class, there are times when the week has just been a little too busy. And sometimes that week is every week so you never do the reading at all. But then there are the moments, the rare weeks, where the spirit of academics blows wind into your sails. And then you do it—you do the reading and suddenly the class’s meaning expands cosmologically. Your mind ascends. Your philosophy develops. Education truly is the lighting of the fire. And these readings truly are the tinder, kindling, and firewood fuel. 

Understand the Subway (or at least the one line) Merit Badge

Barnumbia Scouts from New York City are grandfathered into the badge. Everyone else has to get through it. With an estimated 11% of the Class of 2025 being rural students and a majority of others NOT being NYC residents, the Hydra of the MTA subway system is a different beast to conquer. But boy, is it a solid way to get around. As the one line is the closest to campus—we literally get a stop name—it is the main way for us to get into the city. Understanding how to ride it, and even visit the other Burroughs, is all that it takes to get this badge. And c’mon, we’re in New York. Just use your maps app even. Hopefully, by the end of your four years, you’ll also know how to use some of the other lines.

Left the Campus Bubble Merit Badge

It’s easy to get caught up in Columbia. Very easy. But Columbia University is in the City of New York—as the name won’t let us forget. So simply leave campus every so often. Go to a park! Riverside! Morningside! But even then, those are still a little too close. Go to Harlem! Go Downtown! Go to Staten Island! (god forbid, but does satisfy the requirement). Burst that bubble and experience the real world. Have fun.

These are just a small number of the total amount of Merit Badges that Barnumbia Scouts can earn. There are infinitely many for the niche interests of all the scouts—from Roar-ee Worship, CULPA Orienteering, or Cooking, Dining Hall edition. A badge exists for any scout, you just need to go out and earn ‘em!

Merit Badges via Eli Reville

Barnumbia Scouts of America (BSA) via Author