Bwog’s editorial board summarizes the whole semester. Spoiler alert: Spring 2023 was eventful.
Columbia sure knows how to ring in the new year! In the first week of January, President Bollinger announced that former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton was joining Columbia faculty. In a theme of powerful women, Nemat “Minouche” Shafik was announced as Bollinger’s successor and 20th President of Columbia two weeks later. In a warm reception, Bwog’s managing editor Elijah Knodell considered where we would love to hang out with Shafik, and Advertisement Manager and Senior Staff Writer Charlie Bonkowsky took a tongue-in-cheek stab at who Bwog thought was the shortlist.
As students returned to campus, there were two major events relating to residential life at Columbia. As a part of their year-long movement, the Columbia University Resident Advisor (CURA) collective announced a halving of their weekend shifts which was called a victory in fairer working hours. There were less positive residential developments across Broadway; Barnard students living at 620 W 116th Street found themselves without running water as the semester began.
In culinary news, Columbia opened a new dining hall, Chef Don’s Pizza Pi, which former Bwog editors Lillian Rountree and Vic Borlando quickly reviewed. Moreover, Barnard announced that a Bubble Tea and Sushi dining location was replacing Peet’s Coffee in Milstein. The flurry of dining news prompted Finance Manager Libby Walker to try her hand at creating new dining hall collabs. But it didn’t just stop there, Senior Staff Writer Simon Panfillio “supposedly spent” 12 Hours in Faculty House. Nor did dining remain on campus, as Bwog enjoyed the new Mel’s menu.
Despite it being the start of the school year, the month was rich with lectures and panel discussions. Reflections on media seemed to be the theme of the month, with an analysis of Kremlin coverage by Staff Writer Yacob Melman, radio’s role in the partition of India by Senior Staff Writers Meeral Tashfeen and Claire De La Roche, and Barnard alumna Suze Myers on Zine Design by Sophie Askanase. But there were still intriguing discussions to be had about human development from climate change in Ethiopia or Muslim manuscripts in the Rare Books and Manuscript library.
It was February, so, of course, love was in the air. We showed our love for buildings like McBain and Altschul or labeled them as famous love affairs. We loved Chef Don’s and the guy who makes Barnard Sushi. We even got a little freaky with our love, and fantasized with the third installment of Columbia x Harry Styles. And, most of all, we attempted to rekindle our love with our soulmate, NYU Local.
One thing Bwog loves is the world of performance art at Barnumbia. In February, Barnumbia’s long spring semester performance began, and we couldn’t have been more excited. In the first week of the month, Event Editor Ava Slocum reviewed the Black Theatre Ensemble’s A Raisin in the Sun, Deputy News Editor Emma Burris attended CUPAL’s One-Person show The List, and Staff Writer Emily Yi described Hahn Rowe’s Something About the Weather. Not to mention how Staff Writer Matthew Gay reviewed not one, but two MFA theses.
While still a month away, major declaration inched closer for Columbia College and Barnard students, Bwoggers outlined the structure and gave their opinions about Art History, American Studies, and Women’s, Gender, And Sexuality Studies. Science Editor Sydney Wells also gave the rundown on the different Biology and Chemistry majors.
Across the four weeks of February, there was breaking news that impacted all aspects of student life. Student life was impacted as the beloved Indian Street Food restaurant Roti Roll temporarily closed due to health code violations. Moreover, Barnard revealed Lena Waithe as its 2023 commencement speaker. In health, Columbia announced that it was ending its vaccine mandate for university affiliates amid changing CDC guidelines. Residentially, the CURAs collective movement continued its momentum and held a rally outside of President Bollinger’s residence.
Although February is the shortest month, it made up for it with dozens of amazing events. With its novelty still scary to some, the Columbia Policy Institute discussed ChatGPT. Bwogger Charlie Bonkowski certainly had a stellar February in a double header of astronomy coverage, first about galactic elemental origins and then about dark matter identification. Back on Earth, but still a star, was Ireland coverage on Bwog! Senior Staff Writer Meeral Tashfeen covered a panel in the Heyman Center about Ireland’s history relative to the United Kingdom. Furthering the socio-political theme was Staff Writer Monisha Gunasekera’s article about Indigenous Peruvian participation in the United Nations based on a talk from Anthropologist Urpi Saco. And former Attorney General Eric Holder discussed voting rights in the United States at the Journalism school. On a historical focus, Staff Writer Alison Hog wrote about Kurt Boone’s mass incarceration oral history collection while Staff Writer Isa RingswaldEgan covered Dr. Malcom Ferdinand’s lecture on chemical contamination in Martinique and Guadeloupe.
February is the coldest month of the year, so Bwoggers had to come up with some fire funnies to stay warm. Well, maybe whoever lives in McBain’s Foil Dungeon stays warm. And that just so happens to be senior Warren McCombs, as discovered by Staff Writer Tara Terranova. Another warm lion is Senior Staff Writer Jake, who wrote about the week at Columbia despite being studying abroad in a much warmer climate. But Jake wasn’t the only person watching Columbia from afar, with reports of a totally real Cornell University spy balloon being shot down over Columbia’s campus. We guess Ithaca is taking notes from Beijing!
While we braved the cold, we were tortured by the continual absence of milkshakes in JJ’s place. Thankfully, our news team tracked down the newly sentient milkshake machine that was potentially on the run. However, if we were feeling hungry we could always turn to Hewitt slop and John Jay fork water for a nice snack. If the thought of that didn’t torture you enough, there were campus-wide printer issues, whose responsibility was claimed by a monster known as the Pawprint Imp. But to recover from all the mess, we could always curl up by a fire and listen to Sunday Daily Phoebe Mulder’s oral history of Barnumbia mascots and scroll through PrezBei’s wonderful Instagram. If you pick a different respite, just make sure it follows Columbia’s new rules.
In March, the flow of University news was almost constant. After months of anticipation, Barnard finally announced its next president, Laura A. Rosenbury. Next, Columbia announced its plans to go permanently test-optional for future admissions cycles, and, on the pandemic mitigation front, Barnard announced it would lift its COVID-19 vaccine mandate and bring an end to its surveillance testing program. Finally, all four schools released their admissions decisions, ushering in the Class of 2027!
March was also big at Bwog for another reason—this month, we held the inaugural Bwarch Bwadness. Outside of the tournament, Senior Staff Writer Simon Panfilio kicked off the month by asking the important questions, Daily Editor Phoebe Mulder explored a mercurial museum without leaving the quad, and Staff Writer Lily Mooney gave us Bwog’s much-anticipated Oscars coverage.
This month also saw our arts coverage ramp up for the Spring. Kicking things off, Bwog attended not one, but two film festivals. At the Kit Noir Film Festival, Staff Writer Emily Yi and Senior Staff Writer Meeral Tashfeen attended a panel discussion on women in crime fiction and true crime, followed by a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers On A Train. At the Athena Film Festival, Staff Writer Elaine Ryan reviewed the French feminist drama Annie Colère and the intimate character study, Rachel Hendrix. This year’s festival was equally big for documentaries—Social Media Editor Talia Bloom and Staff Writer Lily Pazner reviewed the documentary Queen of the Deuce, about the life and career of Chelly Wilson, a lesbian Greek Jew influential to the male porn scene in 1970s New York. Finally, News Editor Paulina Rodriguez reviewed Judy Blume Forever, which follows the iconic author’s five-decade career. On the live performance side of things, Staff Writer Viviana Pereyo attended “Ghost Town,” a ghost-forward performance from the Orchesis satellite group MaMa project. Staff Writers Jessica Tsang and Lily Mooney attended the Barnard Theatre Department’s Senior Thesis production of One Flea Spare, and found themselves “surprised, impressed, and wanting more.” Next, Arts Editor Grace Novarr and Deputy Arts Editor Marino Bubba attended Crowd Work, a “stand-up-comedy-show-within-a-play” produced by Columbia’s stand-up comedy club Memento Mori. Finally, Marino headed to Barnard’s Movement Lab for the audio-visual installation “They Never Told Us These Things,” from student artist in residence Nami Weatherby (BC ’23).
Approaching our fourth month in the semester, Bwog’s coverage reflected the … slightly unhinged nature of exhausted Barnumbia students taking their seventeenth midterms (even though it was far after the middle of the term). Senior Staff Writer Simon Panfilio investigated Hillary Clinton’s leaked Bwog application (who knew??), Social Media Editor Talia Bloom and Staff Writer Lily Pazner spent 24 Hours At The Jewish Theological Seminary (not clickbait!!!), and Staff Writer Elaine Ryan defended the “hubby material-ness” of Chef Mike VS Chef Don. Bacchanal brought the borg sensation to our campus, and Bwog was on the frontlines of spotlighting Barnumbia’s Best Bacchanal Borgs. Mid-April brought Summertime At Columbia, Also Known As, The Heatwave In April, which brought Columbia students out of the library onto Low Steps to photosynthesize. This heatwave brought an even more concerning phenomenon, which Staff Writer Jess Tsang brilliantly covered in Beware Frat Flu, A New Epidemic Is In Town: Jorts.
Later in April, Staff Writer Matthew Gay enlisted the help of Staff Illustrator Elias Reville to make our beloved Columbia Statues As Album Covers. In honor of Barnard’s favorite famous alumna, queen Greta Gerwig’s directorial prowess, Social Media Editor Talia Bloom presented the Internet’s favorite meme format—in Barnumbia style with Barnumbia Barbies. Deputy Editor Sophie Conrad interviewed the campus celebrity RA Mary in a much-awaited RoomHop.
April saw news almost as pressing as RA Mary’s RoomHop. On April 6, Staff Writer Sofia Montagna covered Columbia University Provost Mary Boyce Stepping Down. On April 10, Columbia College Announced Spring 2023 Phi Beta Kappa Inductees—shoutout to the 102 smarty pantses! And on April 28, former Deputy Editor Lillian Rountree interviewed Michael Thaddeus, the math professor who revealed incorrect data reporting at Columbia last year. Most importantly, JJ’s announced a return to 22-hour service, covered by our 22 Reasons To Be Excited About 22-Hour JJs.
April brought an (almost excessive?) (jk we love the arts) amount of Arts to Barnumbia. Former News Editor and Folk enthusiast Victoria Borlando attended Postcrypt’s first Folk Fest since 2017 at St. Paul’s Chapel. Deputy Editor Sophie Conrad and Social Media Editor Talia Bloom attended Humble Boy in the Glicker-Milstein Theater, a modern rendition of Shakepeare’s Hamlet produced by the Columbia University Players. Deputy News Editor Emma Burris attended CUPAL’s The Simon Suites, an original contemporary-theatrical dance performance with music by Paul Simon. Columbia’s largest student-run dance performance group, Orchesis, hosted their early 2000s-themed Juicy CoutOrchesis. Bwog reviewed CMTS’s electric spring production of Head Over Heels, a jukebox musical set to the music of The Go-Go’s. Staff Writer Maya Reisner and Arts Editor Grace Novarr attended EASTERX!, the second installment of the XMAS! Storyline—written in a week and produced in only 24 hours. Staff Writers Maya Reisner and Isa RingswaldEgan attended Pale Fire Theater’s production of This Is Our Youth, staged at the American Theater of Actors. Finally, Staff Writer Lily Mooney attended Rawcus: A Rowdy Night Of Rihanna, Dance Battles, And Much More, Raw Elementz’s annual Spring Showcase.
As the weather got warmer, Bwog braved the lecture halls, sacrificing their lawn time for high-quality event coverage. Staff Writer Elisha Dura joined Columbia Law Professor Katherine Franke’s Gender Justice class to listen to guest speaker Dana Sussman talk about the work of Pregnancy Justice, an organization that defends the rights of people with the capacity for pregnancy. Staff Writer Hannah Keyes attended a presentation on the MCNY exhibition, “City of Faith: Religion, Activism, and Urban Space,” by curator Azra Dawood and a following conversation between Dawood and professor Najam Haider. Finally, Staff Writer Emily Yi attended CU Asian Pacific American Heritage Month’s opening ceremony on Friday, April 14, featuring Jayani (Max Patel) and RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Raja Gemini.
As your resident STEM publication, Bwog’s April Science coverage spanned everything from head injuries to gamma-rays. Staff Writer Yacob Melman covered Dr. Thomas Talavage’s guest lecture on his research involving the study of concussions, CTE, and head injuries in Subconcussive Head Injuries — A Decade At The Interface Of Sport, Engineering, And Medicine. Staff Writer Ella Ferguson covered Infrastructure For Climate Resilience: Building A Safer And More Sustainable Future For New York City. Finally, Ads Manager Charlie Bonkowsky attended “The Path To A Next-Generation Gamma-Ray Observatory,” a seminar hosted by Dr. Jeremy Perkins, a NASA astrophysicist. Go science!
At the start of May, Arts Editor Grace Novarr reviewed the 129th Annual Varsity Show: “Transfer of Power.” Meanwhile, News Editor Paulina Rodriguez broke the hugely important news that the Columbia University Resident Adviser (CURA) Collective won their union election, becoming the first independent RA union in the country.
Also this month, Staff Writer Jess Tsang covered SGA’s discussion with VP DiBenedetto regarding Barnard’s finances, while another Staff Writer covered the Columbia Postdoctoral workers’ discussion of Columbia’s financial state, based on a professional analyst’s findings.
May was a big month for theater at Barnumbia: after the Varsity Show, Staff Writer Maya Resiner reviewed KCST’s Antony and Cleopatra. Meanwhile, as we inched closer to the chaos that is finals season, a water main break occurred in the Ruggles dorm building, right when we thought final papers, projects, and exams couldn’t get any worse.
As we neared graduation, senior former News Editor Victoria Borlando reflected on her four years at Columbia with a list of “iconic” Columbia-themed pop culture moments. And as for Bwog, we did our own sort of iconic moments wrap-up with a (sometimes cringy) all-revealing look at the top oddest screenshots from the 2022–23 Bwog Slack. We continued to celebrate the horrors of finals season with our semesterly Dark Night of the Soul roundup and celebrated our seniors and their finished theses with our (highly questionable) annual 95 Theses post.
As the semester came to its very end, Bwog published two more breaking news posts, reporting on a woman’s injury in a physical altercation at the Law School, and (much more benignly), Columbia’s announcement that Juneteenth is now an official University holiday.
Finally, to close out the semester, we celebrated some of Barnumbia’s wisest graduating seniors (including Bwog’s graduating staff members!) with our traditional roundup of Senior Wisdom posts. Congratulations to all on a wonderful semester (and congratulations to seniors on the end of an era!). Bwog wishes everyone a lovely, restful, and meaningfully productive summer! We at Bwog love writing for the Barnumbia community, and can’t wait to return to our regular posting schedule in the fall. In the meantime, please stay tuned, and have a wonderful, peaceful next few months!
Kyle Murray will continue leading Bwog’s 2023 Editorial Board as Editor-in-Chief, with Elijah Knodell as Managing Editor and Hannah Revels as Internal Editor. Charlotte Slovin, our publisher, is graduating! Joining us, and the succeeding board next January, is the new publishing team of Sydney Wells and Sophie Conrad. Board wants to thank everyone on staff for their love, commitment, and enthusiasm for Bwog over this past semester.
Bwog, as a whole, wishes everyone a lovely, restful, and meaningfully productive summer! We at Bwog love writing for the Barnumbia community, and can’t wait to return to our regular posting schedule in the fall. In the meantime, please stay tuned, and have a wonderful, peaceful next few months!
Butler Library, February 2023 via Kyle Murray
@Anonymous There is no such thing as Barnumbia.
@Anonymous If you know what one is talking about when one says Barnumbia—if you understand that the term denotes Barnard + Columbia’s undergrad colleges–then yes there is such a thing.
@Anonymous Hey, look, there is such a coined word. No one disputes that. The question is whether the word is commonly used in the greater Columbia community. And the answer to that is no. Hasn’t been used at Columbia in all the years since King’s College was renamed Columbia in 1784, nor at Barnard in all the years since it was founded in 1889…except for the past few years in the writings of the Barnard girls at Bwog, who tried mightily to get the term to stick. It didn’t. Sometimes that happens and you go on with your life, kids. To make it an all-out campaign is, in the end, kind of silly. But we’ve had fun reading the comments.
@Kyle Murray Hey! Main author of the post here.
I’m a man at Columbia College.
Hope this clears things up. Cheers.
@actual former male bwogger Embarrassing. Have some self respect and stop using that term. It just doesn’t sound good.
@Troll Except in Bwogland.