Posts Tagged ‘the big ass blue whale’
The letter to President Bollinger published yesterday contains a moment so remarkable and extraordinary, that I’m going to repeat it for you just to make sure you don’t miss it. It was written:
Representatives and members from all of the undergraduate schools stand in solidarity with graduating seniors of the School of General Studies. Though there are four separate undergraduate schools, we stand as one undergraduate student body—celebrating the experiences and perspectives that every group and individuals add to this community. We wish to move past the animosity that has been presented toward various groups and remind students that we are here to support each other and wish that every member of our community feel included and welcomed.
Since this is an opinion post, here is my opinion of this paragraph: YES!!!!!! More »
Yesterday I suggested that we need more blanket forts. (I still believe this to be true). I also argued that Columbia needs more spontaneous fun and student interactions, especially those outside of formally organized situations. I lamented the lack “safe spaces” for spontaneity, and concluded by suggesting that because so many student spaces have to be reserved by student groups, the spontaneous connections that are so vital to healthy community are in fact often inhibited. This brings me to my argument here in part two: that the (wonderful!) plethora of student groups sometimes contributes to the culture of isolation on campus.
In order to use space, you often have to reserve it, and in order to reserve space, you must be affiliated with a recognized student group. This policy affects buildings across campus, from Earl Hall to Lerner. And this is a phenomenal problem. It severely limits and even at times prohibits the opportunities for spontaneous social interaction between students outside of formal student groups.
Don’t get me wrong—student groups are rock stars for our campus. The heart of our campus and it’s vibrancy can be found in the passion and vast array of our clubs and extracurriculars, and these groups are often the best ways for Columbian’s to find community on campus. More »
Columbia needs more blanket forts.
By which I mean 1) we should literally build more blanket forts, and 2) that we should seek more spontaneous interaction among students, and more unorganized use of campus spaces.
The first point is pretty self-evident— let me explain the second.
Last week I hung out on Low Steps for 12 straight hours with a home-painted sign, some friends, and a steady barrage of baked goods. I talked to a wide variety of students from all four undergraduate schools, a security guard, a gaggle of Taiwanese tourists, and some very confused parents of prospies.
I was able to collect a wealth of insights and opinions regarding the state of our student body. And an issue that our conversations kept coming back to was isolation at Columbia. This issue in itself, it seems to me, is tied to a a web of other factors, but there are two that I’d like to discuss that are not always entirely obvious. More »
What you say of one woman, you say of me. Yesterday, I was branded the butt of every joke, a dumb idiot who throws hissy-fits, a waste of resources, and “a cum dumpster for drunk frat boys.”
After almost four full years at Columbia, my biggest regret about this place is the way we treat each other. I can tell you with honesty and certainty that when I graduate in May, despite the great experiences I’ve had and friendships I’ve made here, I will be walking away from this place greatly wounded.
But I haven’t left yet. And while I’m here I will continue, like countless others on this campus, to strive for change. So, my dear women of Columbia University:
STOP. Stop it now. Stop clawing at each other. Enough of this toxic petty cruelty! More »
I’d just finished drafting my weekly Spectrum post last night when I came across an article so arresting that I now find it inappropriate to write on anything else.
The article in question was published yesterday by a student at Dartmouth, and I urge you to read it. The column is not without controversy, regarding both the author’s character and his gut-wrenching claims concerning Dartmouth’s Greek life and campus culture in general.
And just as sickening are some of the responses to the article, mostly by Dartmouth students and alum, many of which could be described, at best, as heartless.
If I am sure of one thing, I am sure of forgiveness. And when I claim to know anything about it, it’s because I’ve needed it often and known a fair share myself. Forgiveness can change lives. It can change relationships, and campuses, and cultures, and nations. In it is a capacity more powerful than judgment.
But what’s all this got to do with us Columbia kids? In light of this article and the many others from other colleges in recent semesters, it seems to me that an icy climate has spread across our campuses—indeed, the Big Ass Blue Whale might be bigger than we thought. More »
Last year saw its share of controversy from CIRCA’s proposed dinner with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Barnard’s new tuition policy, the General Studies Student Council‘s ever changing leadership, and CUCR‘s safe space forum.
In sports, the Editorial Board called for the firing of football’s Coach Wilson—and that’s just what happened.
I was asked to write a response to the current debate surrounding Dean Peña-Mora and the faculty letter of no confidence. Being a Barnard Student, the direct issue at hand is somewhat outside of my knowledge—I don’t know Peña-Mora, nor do I know any of the faculty involved, and, at face value, it might seem not to affect me, at least not directly. But largely missing from the discourse is something that does concern me: the interest of the undergraduate population. More »
Let’s talk about mental health. Better yet, let’s talk about mental un-health. Because it needs to be talked about, out in the open in this campus, right now. Because the phrase “mentally ill” is too often whispered in shame or scorn or fear. Or ridiculed loudly. Or not even said at all.
And because mental unhealth is real and prevalent. If it’s seasonal, clinical, situational, a result of brain chemistry or life struggle, or it’s just a phase—it is here on our campus, in our classrooms and in our dorm rooms. It’s there in our kitchens and our closets—it’s there on our bookshelves and in our coffee cups. It hangs out at parties, and it studies in the library. It sits at our desks and it sleeps in our beds and it ain’t no elephant in the room—It’s the big ass blue whale.
And it needs to be brought out of the shadows and into the light. Over and over and over again. More »
To the boy Thursday night at Lerner who opened a glass door smack into me with all of his weight, I wish I could have laughed with you, embarrassed, and told you it was not a problem as you, embarrassed too, sincerely and repeatedly inquired if I was OK. Then we might have gone our separate ways for the day, waving at each other whenever we pass by on college walk. Maybe we would have even arranged to get coffee together, or share a sandwich from HamDel, and become good friends, and one day tell our other friends the funny story of how we met.
But you just walked away. Leaving me with no apology, no exchange, not even a glance my way acknowledging that I exist, just sitting here with mourning words to tell you: More »
There is an idea here at Columbia that happiness and kindness are not only un-intellectual, but they are anti-intellectual. And uncool. It is as if unkindness (and, I would argue, unhappiness) has become a validation and a wellspring for both intellectual superiority and general self worth.
But this is a perversion and a lie. And it in no small way contributes to the depression that pervades our campus. More »