Former Social Media Editor Owen exercises his right to edit subheadings.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Owen Fitzgerald-Diaz, CC, PoliSci/SusDev, Seattle

Claim to fame: Bwog’s 2019 Best Midriff by popular acclamation, also always stealing couch cushions to sit up on the window ledges in the Broadway sky lounge.

Where are you going? Hell, eventually?

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2026?

  1. Universities are very internally complicated institutions, and they primarily exist for academics and administrators to produce research and get paid, not to serve undergraduates and make us happy. Don’t make the mistake of believing that some individual employee’s feelings towards you reflect the university as an institution seeing you as anything other than a financial and political instrument. Choosing to be here means you’re going to constantly have to decide to what extent you’re willing to adapt yourself to the contours of our institution’s dysfunctions vs. to what extent you want to deal with the inherent difficulties of trying to challenge or change it from within, which is pretty good training for institutions you join after college too.
  2. Think much more carefully about the things you put in writing, especially in digital communications. That shit will last forever and you don’t always know who’s looking at it or saving it for later, or why!
  3. You do not have to beg for your life for having the temerity to send an email to a professor. At least not usually.

“Back in my day…” Bacchanal was on campus. :^)

Favorite Columbia controversy? The theft of the Mario Badescu cleanser!!!

What were your favorite three classes at Columbia? 

(Yeah, that’s right, former editor still knows how to edit subheadings, I can’t just pick one lmao are you kidding?? Lucky I managed to even bargain myself down to 3)

CC with Maria L. Bo was amazing– she’s sadly moved on to Cal State Fullerton, but when you’re lucky enough to get a dynamic and engaging professor who truly cares about her students and actually gives direct and useful feedback on your writing, CC can be one of the most fun and intellectually stimulating courses around (so find and read lots of instructor feedback and pick carefully when you take it).

Civil & Ethnic Wars with Sarah Z. Daly is also an incredible course– I hope she offers it again, because although as the name suggests it covers some incredibly dark and heavy material, it’s a fascinating turn through some of the most difficult and fundamental questions in political science and human life generally, and will Make You Think™ in a whole new way about current events.

Finally, if you take one EESC class in your life, make it Christopher Small’s Remote Sensing course: you will learn a metric shit-ton not only about technology that’s literally changing the world as we speak, but about a huge variety of other topics that remote sensing analysis is being applied to as they get touched on in exercises throughout the course. 

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? 

Cheese. Also, every year some alum writes to Bwog asking us to censor their response to this question because they’re looking for a job and don’t want their employer to see their answer if this comes up in a search result of their name. I have no idea what kind of weirdo job would decide not to hire me just over my answering this, but I hope it’s not the kind I would ever apply to! (@ any future boss who’s reading this!! Mind your business!!)

Whom would you like to thank? 

My friends, my family, my haters (and ~lovers~), the huge mass of people who have no thoughts about me whatsoever and let me just anonymously go about my business in peace, Bwog, the Riverside raccoons, the oval window in the Broadway sky lounge, the various flowering trees on and around campus, St. John the Divine and the Peace Fountain, Flight 587 Memorial Park and its seagulls, the A train, International Wines & Liquors, Duane Reade, and the star Arcturus. 

Three things to do before graduating: 

Once again making the question plural. You will thank me!!

Get a frozen passionfruit marg during happy hour on the roof at The Heights on a warm spring day (or get it to go and have it on the terrace behind SIPA), go to the beach by the Rockaways in early fall when it’s still really hot and humid, and watch the sunrise over the Morningside cliff while the Wien magnolia tree is blooming. :)

Any regrets? I wish I’d caught whoever stole a full-length mirror from my living room this one time. 

Portrait via Owen