Congratulations on getting into Barnumbia! Whether you’re still trying to decide if CU is for you or you’re 100 percent certain you’ll be a Lion or a Bear next year, you should still read up on Columbia as much as you can. Required Reading can help you with that. From now until the end of NSOP, we’ll be publishing content geared toward making you a pro in all things Columbia-related. Subscribe and never miss a beat.
If you decide to commit to Columbia and Barnard, there are a couple of things that you’ll have to know. You’ll have to know that you should always expect the Ferris pasta line to be eons long, but that it’s totally worth it. You should know that the weather is probably one of the most fickle things on campus and can easily go up or down 20 degrees in one night. It’d be nice if you knew a little Columbia trivia, too.
You should definitely also know a little bit about the school’s history. No, not stupid things like where the owl is carved into Alma Mater, or obscure facts about each of the campus’ buildings. We’re talking about things that are more current, things that you’ll see in Spec’s headlines on a daily basis.
For instance, did you know that Barnard recently committed to complete divestment from companies that deny climate change, and Columbia from thermal coal producers? Yep, but it hasn’t always been like that. In fact, it was this time last year when Columbia Divestment for Climate Justice attempted to get its point across to the administration by carrying out a sit-in in Low Library for eight days, only leaving after PrezBo promised to address the group’s concerns.
Or did you know about the unfinished legacy of Debora Spar, Barnard’s former president, who only recently left Morningside Heights for Lincoln Center? Even though she’s gone, she’s left behind a bunch of projects, such as the new Teaching and Learning Center (the new building currently in the works on Barnard’s campus) and the Bold Standard (a capital campaign). How will Spar’s legacy and her projects affect the school going forward? And who will follow in her footsteps?
And how has the University responded to the current presidential administration? How can Columbia continue to provide sanctuary to undocumented students, and what will it do if the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, which help fund research and arts programming at Columbia, face significant budget cuts?
There’s never a dull day here at Columbia, but if the past three paragraphs have sounded like complete gibberish, don’t worry. We’ll make sure your knowledge about Columbia in recent news is up to snuff. Every Thursday from here on out, we’ll publish our new series, Context Clues, which focuses on a topic we think every incoming first-year should be familiar with. We’ll cover a wide range of topics, from recent sports controversies, to the quality and effectiveness of various offices and administrators at CU, to the school’s history with sexual assault cases.
Next Tuesday, we’re going to focus on something that’s pretty relevant for most incoming first-years—Columbia’s campus traditions. We have a couple of school-wide events, but do CU students feel like there are enough of them?
Veronica Grace Taleon is Spectrum’s editor and a Barnard sophomore. She still doesn’t know where the owl is on Alma Mater, so maybe an article all about that would actually be helpful. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.