"Wake Up, Columbia. What are you fighting for?"

Posted by: Columbia Lion in News Opinion Humor Features 3 months ago

Haven’t watched The 121st Varsity Show yet? Tickets are still available for purchase here

Last night, the Columbia Lion team sent two reporters to review the Varsity Show's aptly titled show, "Almageddon." As our reporters watched another fantastic performance created entirely by Columbia students, we noticed a notable Columbia administration in the audience: Suzanne Goldberg, Executive Vice President of Student Life. Rather than bore you with a lengthy article that ends in us overwhelmingly encouraging you to see the show, we have decided to provide a compilation of Goldberg’s reactions to selected scenes from the musical. Without further adieu, we hope you enjoy this edition of Goldberg Reacts: V121. (Goldberg's reactions in parentheses).

 

***This compilation only tracks Goldberg’s reactions to certain things and does not intend to provide detailed plot notes ***

Intro: Gwen returns from studying abroad in Prague; Columbia has become an activist warzone with students fighting on Lerner steps and throughout campus. An unidentified student runs through the stage holding the beheaded head of Alma Mater. Goldberg (Skylar Gottlieb) introduced as one of the musical’s protagonists. 

Act 1

Scene 2: Scott Helfrich  (stony/straight face)

-        "The stoplight initiative fixed sexual assault" joke  (cringe)

-        Creationism is accepted at Dartmouth joke (smile/laugh)

Scene 3a:

-        Gwen Ross (Gabrielle Bullard) sings about becoming the first Black President (smirk)

-        Gwen then sings about being the first Black president from Columbia (laugh)

-        "I actually can't destroy this machine. I'm a financial engineer" joke (laugh)

-        Columbia University Marching Band (CUMB) and their "childish" jokes (laugh)

-        "I don't actually know the Rules of Protest, but it's a hot topic,” joke (laugh)

-        Trustees (laugh)

-        “Whatever it takes” (consistent smile)

Scene 4a:

-        "Love's more fun" (smile)

-        Sex can make me immediately trust you joke (laugh)

-        “How I Get By” (unamused straight face)

Scene 5a:

-        Vaping away problems (smirk)

-        Muffin joke (smile)

Scene 6:

-        Drunk dude asking a girl "Wanna fuck?" during the party scene at Bernheim & Schwartz (stunned)

Scene 7:

-        Birth control joke(s) (chuckle)

Scene 8:

-        Goldberg talking over Gwen to "be powerful"  (smirk)

-        Scott in morph suit (smile)

-        Jokes about the Columbia football team (chuckle)

Act II

Scene 4:

-        Big Sean: “I Don’t Fuck with You” (smirk/chuckle)

-        Long job title = more power scene  (cringe/smile/smirk)

-        Trustees launch nationwide job search to replace Goldberg and immediately appoint Scott without any student input (laughed out loud)

Scene 5:

-        “Suzanne’s turn” (song) (cringe/smirk)

-        Prezbo depicted as a baby who decides fate of the University’s affairs (laugh)

-        Eugene Schwartz (Asher Varon) decision to go wild after learning that Prezbo is a baby  (cringe)

 

 

What were your thoughts on the show? Comment below and join the discussion.

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Welcome to Columbia: First-year Housing

Posted by: Columbia Lion in Opinion Housing Features 4 months ago

If you’re reading this, let us here at the Lion be the first to say, “Welcome to Columbia!” As you and your family get ready to officially join the Columbia community this August, we here at The Lion want to make sure you are as prepared as possible for adjusting to college life. Over the coming months, we will be posting a variety of resource guides to help you learn about what it is like to be at Columbia.

One of the major points to decide by May 1st is housing. To help you narrow down your choices, we have compiled a list of the pros and cons for each housing option available to first-year students below.

No matter your housing decision/eventual dorm, all of them offer great ways to acclimate to campus and meet new people.

Carman:

Pros:

  • Very social

  • Laundry room and cardio gym both in basement

  • Air conditioning

  • 4:1 student to bathroom ratio

  • 1 bathroom per two suites (with two people per suite)

  • Amazing views of campus and the city.

  • Big room with lots of storage space for clothes and other substances.

  • Main lounge is beautiful and bright.

 

Cons:

  • Not directly connected to any dining hall.

  • All doubles.

  • Building looks like a prison from the outside.

  • Elevators have some questionable odors during the weekends.

  • One of the louder dorms; not ideal for people looking for a quiet space.

  • Only kitchen is in the basement.

 

Furnald:

Pros:

  • Air conditioning

  • Full kitchen

  • Lots of singles available

  • Tends to be quiet (varies by floor).

  • Primarily first-years with a few sophomores throughout building.

 

Cons:

  • Tends to be quiet (varies by floor).

  • Not connected to a dining hall.

  • Communal bathrooms on each floor.

 

Hartley:

Pros:

  • Connected to Wallach and John Jay → indoor connection to dining hall and medical services.

  • Dishwashers on each floor and decent kitchens.

  • Nice family like layout that spans two floors for each dorm suite.

  • Great community spaces

  • Communal bathrooms on each floor.

  • Big rooms (doubles or singles)

  • Part of the LLC: access to dinners with top Professors and free trips into the city.

  • People from all four class years in building; access to mentors and support networks.

 

Cons:

  • No air-conditioning so building is nice and toasty for the first few weeks of class.

  • Desperately needs renovations.
  • Cannot use CUID to access your room.


John Jay:

Pros:

  • Connected to two dining halls (John Jay Dining Hall and JJ’s Place)

  • Medical Services located on the lower floors of the building.

  • All singles!

  • No kitchens

 

Cons:

  • When elevators break down, get ready for some long treks up the stairs.

  • No air-conditioning so building is nice and toasty for the first few weeks of class.

  • Small floor lounges.

  • Floors 12-15 renovated in 2014 with private, new bathrooms. Other floors have communal bathrooms.
  • Non-renovated floors require a special room key (not your CUID)


Wallach:

Pros:

  • Best bathrooms by far. (Private bathrooms with shower, sink, and toilet)

  • Recently renovated so facilities are in nice shape.

  • Connected to John Jay, which is connected to two dining halls (you never have to go outside to get a meal) and medical services.

  • Full kitchen available

  • Large lounges with whiteboards, and seating areas.

  • 55-inch smart televisions on floors 3-8.  

  • Part of the LLC: access to dinners with top Professors and free trips into the city.

  • People from all four class years in building; access to mentors and support networks.

 

Cons:

  • No air-conditioning so building is nice and toasty for the first few weeks of class.

  • Some singles are on the smaller side.

 

Have any suggestions for guides you would like to see? Send us an email to thecolumbialion@gmail.com with the phrase “Resource Guides” in the subject line.

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Princeton grad and student develop Ivy League online chat service

Posted by: Columbia Lion in News 5 months ago

Perhaps in an attempt to model Facebook's growth, Princeton University alumnus Akshay Kumar and current senior Dan Kang have developed a free, online chat service called Campus Anonymous, that essentially functions like Omegle's question mode but restricts access to users with an Ivy League .edu email address. As you may already know, Omegle offers a college chat system as well, but you either get to talk to anyone with a college email, even outside the US, or people from your own school. If you want to avoid people from the plebeian tier colleges, such as those in the Bay Area of California or Hyde Park, check out Campus Anonymous; it's surprisingly entertaining.

 

An earlier version of this post implied that Dan Kang has already graduated from Princeton, where he is actually a current senior.

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Columbia University student blog to launch "Happy" campaign

Posted by: Columbia Lion 5 months ago

There's an old saying in campus media, one that's guided editorial thinking for months. No, not "If it bleeds, it leads." "Whatever gets pageviews." That is, stories of scandal, administrative malfeasance, and red tape get top billing -- at the top of the week, on the front page of your news feed, and above the iPhone 6 fold -- driven by the assumption that these are the stories the public will be most drawn to watch or read.

This ethos is wrong, both factually and ethically. And it's lousy journalism. As journalists, our job is to give our audience an accurate picture -- and that means the full picture -- of what's going on in the Morningside environs. Just showing activism, failed bureaucracy, and frat and athletic scandals -- focusing on what makes people unhappy -- misses too much of what is happening all around us. What about how people are responding to these challenges, how they're coming together? What if, instead of writing about the lack of accessability access, we focus on the individuals that overcome these literal hurdles every day? What if, instead of instead of writing about the botched execution of the sexual respect intiative, we talk about (as EVP for University Life Suzanne Goldberg once said) the enriching and educational experience of talking about sexual disrespect? If we in the media only show the dark side, we're failing at our jobs.

And what's more, it turns out that we are also failing to give our readers and viewers what they want.

Last weekend, at the Columbia Pre-Med Conference, we heard from a variety of medical professionals who discussed how news affects our perception of the world. Turns out that reading about problems on campus makes people think that Columbia isn't a very good school to attend! In response, we're happy to announce "Happy," a site-wide Lion editorial initative to double down on our coverage of what makes people happy at Columbia. While we will continue to cover the stories of what makes people unhappy -- laptop thefts, activism, student council elections -- as relentlessly as we always have, we want to go beyond the pursuit of page views.

Not only is this good journalism; it's also smart business. It turns out that, contrary to the thinking behind "Whatever gets pageviews," people want more constructive and optimistic stories. People want happy stories about their friends and student groups. And we want to be your friend! As a digital media company with a Facebook page, we've learned these are the stories our readers are most interested in reading and sharing. We have consulted numerous financial econ majors, and we know that this is the strategy that works.

Happy. Because when you stop thinking about your problems, they eventually go away.

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The actually unexpected virtue of ignorance - Varsity Show: West End Preview

Posted by: Columbia Lion in News Opinion Humor 5 months, 1 week ago

I had never held musical theater in particularly high regard as an art-form. It, after all, has a reputation for replacing meaningful story-telling with unoriginal or uninspired showtunes. But with comedy, musicals work remarkably well, and as the Columbia community knows, the Varsity Show is no exception.

I came in with little experience with the V-show, save for some clips and the NSOP performance, and comedy musicals in general, having seen a few small-scale productions in high school. So why would my thoughts matter? This ignorance on my part, a phrase I have shamelessly co-opted from the film Birdman for the title of this piece, led to a thoroughly entertaining half hour, where my laughter got embarrassingly loud an embarrassing number of times. Yes, the Varsity Show will have an [insert punching bag college name here] joke and other quips V-show regulars will be familiar with. But like your favorite album that you've heard perhaps a few too many times, you don't mind hearing these jokes again and the familiarity can form its own running-gag effect to the humor, like a seventies sitcom or something (Would anyone be willing to kickstart a Sanford and Son spinoff about college?).

The anachronistically named West End Preview featured satire on Columbia life and commonly held opinions that audiences have (probably) come to expect and enjoy. These I expected. What surprised me came from my place in the Oval. My seating advantageI had one of the two centermost front row seats in the Event Ovalled to an interaction with the host of the show. In what I saw as a parody of method acting, or perhaps just extremely pronounced thespianism in general, he examined me as I nervously watched on. I had been holding my phone, trying to take notes on what I was seeing for this piece, and I suddenly feared he would take my phone and call me out on using it during the performance, like the disgruntled musicians in YouTube videos telling their audience to focus. Fortunately, that didn't happen, as his monologue didn't take ostensibly distracted front-row viewers into account. The emcee's histrionic character was humorously juxtaposed against the cast, who had to serve as their own stage hands between cuts. This character reminded me of Edward Norton as Mike in Birdman, but I digress.

The jokes punched up or inward, i.e., they targeted highers-up amd ourselves, and felt generally relevant and fresh; the progression of the preview felt cohesive and clear. The songs were clever and relatable, and what little dialogue we heard was well-crafted humor and purposefully relevant. And while it is definitely possible that my first-year first-time-at-Disneyland optimism and excitement got the best of me, but I really did enjoy the preview a lot and am deeply looking forward to seeing the show when it's out for real, at the beginning of May. While I don't see heartwarming adventure-comedies that often, a funny musical that I was already able to relate to is one I'll make sure to watch.

If you come in expecting a good Varsity Show, they will probably exceed your expectations. If you come in expecting something that isn't that, you might not find it.

Oh, and the 3 person band was good too.

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Wikipuffery, or Columbia's skewed encyclopedic presence

Posted by: Columbia Lion in Opinion Humor Features 6 months, 1 week ago

Editor's note: The author of this piece is a self-described Wikipedia fanatic and claims to have read virtually every Columbia-specific Wikipedia entry (as well as hundreds of WikiCU entries), and this is his first piece for the new Lion. He is also considering scouring WikiCU for similar idiosyncrasies.

This article is outdated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (October 2014)

The section on undergraduate admissions and financial aid, as of this writing, offers data from 2013 so it is pretty outdated. The class of 2017 was slightly more selective at 6.89% than the class of 2018, which would be the latest data available, that had a total acceptance rate of 6.94%, even though a fewer number of students were admitted overall. Proud Columbi-pedians would feel a pride-induced laziness to update the numbers, naturally. Thankfully, the class of 2019 is shaping up to be significantly more competitive than any class before it, so there is hope for newer numbers.

But this isn't really lying; it's just old numbers. After all, US News never updates their numbers anyway, so why should we care? Elsewhere in the Wikipedia entry on Columbia University, eager applicants can find descriptions and paragraphs full of puffery to entice them to apply... or something. Take the section on student Publications:

Columbia is home to numerous undergraduate academic publications. The Journal of Politics & Society,[131] is a journal of undergraduate research in the social sciences, published and distributed nationally by the Helvidius Group; Publius is an undergraduate journal of politics established in 2008 and published biannually;[132] the Columbia East Asia Review allows undergraduates throughout the world to publish original work on China, Japan, Korea, Tibet, and Vietnam and is supported by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute;[133] and The Birch,[134] is an undergraduate journal of Eastern European and Eurasian culture that is the first national student-run journal of its kind; Columbia Political Review, the undergraduate magazine on politics operated by the Columbia Political Union; Columbia Economics Review, the undergraduate economic journal on research and policy supported by the Columbia Economics Department; and the Columbia Science Review is a science magazine that prints general interest articles, faculty profiles, and student research papers.[135]

How many of those names do you recognize? If you aren't into reading this section over and over like some of us, perhaps only one sticks out, Columbia Science Review, because their marketing/PR seems strong enough that I see a flyer or Facebook post every so often. The others are pretty much unheard of by most students.

College Walk, or something

Just as an aside, many of the photos intended to showcase Columbia tend to be crooked or poorly lit. Or just not showcase the intended subject (in this case, College Walk) efficiently. At least they're licensed liberally.

Aside from the plethora of touristy-looking photos of various landmarks that litter the article, the page offers information that is often oudated and wrong, even with its active edit history. Under Broadcasting, it says:

Columbia Television (CTV) is the nation's second oldest Student television station and home of CTV News, a weekly live news program produced by undergraduate students.[146][147]

The site it links to in the reference tells you to go to cutelevision.org, which loads a blank page with minimal HTML available, suggesting a parked domain. In the alumni section, actor Ed Harris is claimed to be an alumnus. Based on what I've seen on the internet, if you transfer away from a school you're not really an alum, it only counts if you drop out or graduate. Ed Harris transferred elsewhere so it's pretty much a lie (other schools do this too, more on that later). But my favorite line in the whole page is this.

and The Blue and White,[123] a monthly literary magazine established in 1890, has recently begun to delve into campus life and local politics in print and on its daily blog, dubbed the Bwog.

See the word "recently"? That was put in the hide the fact that The Blue and White was closed for over a hundred years. Now, I like the TBaW and have nothing against Bwog, but the puffery is palpable.

A surprisingly bitter and passive-aggressive line comes from SEAS's entry under the Facilities section:

While Mudd, nicknamed "the brick," is tucked behind the Fairchild Center, much of Columbia's buildings were designed by the famed McKim, Mead, and White architects. The campus is in keeping with Neo-classical design themes popular in the early 20th century. It retains old-world charm and originality not found at many of this nation's pseudo-gothic styled campuses.

"Columbia Engineering is so great that we don't stoop to your architectural plagiarism and implement our own form of plagiarism!"

 

Thankfully for our egos, this kind of puffery is easily found on just about every US college's entries (except for scandal-ridden for-profit or unaccredited schools), from what I've seen. "Lower-tier" colleges tend to boast features that put them on par with more renowned institutions. It seems as it is Wikipedia policy or tradition to portray universities in as positive a light as an entry can.

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Bacchanal Battle of the Bands 2015

Posted by: Columbia Lion 6 months, 1 week ago

Interested in being the student opener for Bacchanal 2015?

The Bachannal Committee is currently accepting 5 minute video submissions for students/groups interested in joining the Battle of the Bands this year. Video links can be emailed to bacchanal.eboard@gmail.com

Visit their facebook event for more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/772735276146922/

Applications are due by 11:59PM on February 13th. 

Good luck!

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The new Columbia Lion

Posted by: Columbia Lion in News Opinion Features 6 months, 1 week ago

Journalism is all about sharing what is important and delivering it in a way that is easily accessible for all readers. The Lion has been a source of interesting, unique news over the past few years and our new team is looking forward to continuing these longstanding traditions. 

 In aligning our goals with current market trends, The Lion will be moving most of its efforts into the mobile sector and as such, we are looking for students interested in joining us during these exciting times. We are a team of students from a wide variety of majors who care about creating and delivering news that is not only interesting, but is straight-to-the-point and does not fall prey to the current click-bait trend. 

 Our number one commitment is making sure that we listen to our audience and run a company that will make it even easier to understand what’s happening at Columbia and around the world. 

Columbia is a community of inquisitive, passionate thinkers willing to take risks (and even fail) and work constantly to make a positive impact in the world. We here at The Lion share these values and want to recruit students that will help us accomplish this.

If you want to gain some leadership experience in a fun, fast paced setting, email us at thecolumbialion@gmail.com and let us know what you want to help with and we will get back to you ASAP.  We are recruiting social media gurus, programming lovers, journalists, artists, cinematographers, and anyone willing to help. 

We here at the Lion are thankful for your continued support during our transition.

Make sure to check in with us through our various social media accounts to see what we are doing and feel free to email us with any questions or concerns. We hope you like what you see!

William Essilfie

VP, Product Development 

The Lion

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