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The Columbia Elections Board has extended candidate registration for the Inclusion and Equity Representative position.

While The Columbia Elections Board officially released the candidates running for positions in student council on Friday morning, no candidate elected to register for the Inclusion and Equity Representative position.

Registration closes Sunday March 27 at 11:59pm. To apply, click here.

For more information regarding The Columbia Elections Board, contact Katherine Welty at kmw2197@columbia.edu.

“I’m so stressed out right now.”

“I have so much work this weekend.”

“God, these finals are going to be rough for me.”

This kind of dialogue is ubiquitous on campus, especially as the weather gets warmer, the sun gets brighter, and finals begin to hang ominously over every Columbia student’s head. Undoubtedly, Columbia is a difficult school. We are consistently ranked as having a high level of stress compared to other colleges in the United States. In 2011, Columbia was ranked the number one “most stressful” school, and in 2012, it was ranked “most rigorous” by The Daily Beast.

A few days ago, one of my friends told me that she thinks there’s “a dearth of big hearted people at Columbia.” Naturally, I did a bit of a double take — it’s not exactly the kind of thing someone wants to hear about their school. I inquired what she thought it meant to be a “big hearted person,” a working definition. After discussing it for a bit, we decided that a big-hearted person “sincerely and naturally feels the weight of other people’s lives.” These empathetic human beings really care about the people around them, and my friend was saying that we didn’t have individuals with this quality.

While it might feel that way sometimes, saying that we lack big hearted people at Columbia is reductive. We need to think differently to see the true picture.

People tell others about their stress and work. The people around them hear this, and because they are also probably overloaded with coursework, feel the need to talk about their work as well. A destructive amalgamation of insecurity, one-upmanship and stress talk ensues. Students naturally want to validate all the work that they put in and when they hear about their classmates’ work, they need to speak up themselves and highlight their own stress so that other people will know.

This positive feedback cycle is responsible for making people focus on themselves and for making people talk about themselves. The root of my friend’s “lack of big hearted people” problem lies here. Students at an intense, competitive, and stressful university become self focused, and this leads to people feeling alone. If a classmate talks about what is going on in his or her life most of the time rather than inquiring about how you are doing and what is going on in your life, it is only natural to feel like that person doesn’t care about you and doesn’t “sincerely and naturally feel the weight of other people’s lives.”

Students of Columbia and other intense and stressful colleges: do not slip down the slope of self-obsession and self-focus just because it feels like everyone around you is. Your life is hard, but so is the life of the cute girl sitting next to you in class, the person that lives next door to you in your dorm, and the guy that you always run into in the dining hall. When finals are closing in on you and you feel cornered, don’t forget about those around you.

We need each other more than ever at this point in the year. Make it your personal responsibility to ensure that no one feels trapped by their work. Ask how someone’s day was, then listen for a genuine answer. Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know that well and learn something about them. Make people feel loved and supported. You are big hearted. You do care about your classmates. Don’t fail to show it.

This Op-Ed was written by Jake Petterson for his University Writing Progression 4 and is originally from The Lion Archives.

A few days ago, we received a story from a first-year Engineering student about one of their most recent experiences in the subway. In light of the 1 train being shut down this weekend, effectively trapping us uptown, we decided to share it.

Continue Reading..

Earlier tonight, a fire occurred in the LLC laundry room. As a result, Wallach, Hartley, and John Jay were temporarily closed due to FDNY activity.

The service alert from Columbia Housing can be found below.

Earlier this evening, a fire occurred in the Hartley/Wallach Laundry room. FDNY responded and the issue has been resolved. Hartley, Wallach and John Jay Halls are currently closed while the resulting smoke condition is addressed. We will notify you as soon as we receive confirmation that residents may return to the building. The laundry room will be shut down until we are able to fully address the damages. Once the buildings reopen, any residents who had belongings in the laundry room should come to the Hartley Hall Hospitality Desk to retrieve their belongings. We apologize for this impact and will keep you notified with all updates.

 

As always, please be sure to review Columbia Housing’s video on how to correctly do laundry here.

 

Dryer photo from Aaron Smithson (CC ’19)

In one of my recent articles for The Lion, I had the opportunity to interview Kathy McKeown, a Comparative Literature major who is now a leading data scientist and a Computer Science professor here at Columbia. It was refreshing to hear about someone’s journey into CS, especially for someone like me who is currently trying to do the same thing. As noted on the department website, Columbia’s Computer Science department saw a 30% increase in students declaring a Computer Science major last year and has recorded double digit increases for the last several years.

While it’s nice to see such a large increase in interest in the field, it is abundantly clear that not everyone has decided to take on the major or join the field. In recent months, major technology companies have been releasing diversity reports of their workforce and the results haven’t been pretty. While Columbia, one of the most diverse schools in the Ivy League, does  not release data on the ethnic or gender breakdown for classes due to FERPA laws, its numbers are also quite dismal.

In a student-submitted question for Honors Introduction to Computer Science asking for the gender breakdown for the course, Professor John Kender said:

I think it’s horrifying that we live in a time where people keep pushing for more diversity in the technology sector, but at the same time continue to push people away with passive comments such as “This person just doesn’t fundamentally understand how to code and never will,” or “This is way too easy; no one should need to explain this concept to you.” I have actually heard CS people say these things. With comments like that, why would you want to spend your life in a field with people always looking down on you, whether vocally or behind your back?

Even though it’s hard, I think it’s crucial that everyone gets the opportunity to learn how to code and that they get the opportunity to do so without being looked down upon by more advanced programmers. Major props to my fellow classmates for also working on this issue by launching ColorCode to encourage more people to enter the fields of technology and entrepreneurship.

If you want to learn how to code; do it. And don’t let anyone convince you that you can’t.