Welcome back! We hope you had a restful summer—that, amid your jobs, your internships, your commutes, your study abroads, and all your many other adventures, you were able to find the time for some sleep and some sun.
But the school year has begun, and even though the summer now feels a forgotten memory (your Instagram the only proof that it even happened), we are in fact less than a month into the beginning of this school year.
Columbia does this: You can come back from your life-changing hiking trip through Latin America or Goldman internship to find that in fact, nothing has changed. Weren’t we just here? Didn’t finals happen yesterday?
As Julian Shen-Berro finds in this week’s lead, at Columbia, long stretches of time can go by without much changing. His piece this week looks back at the Graduate Student Employees United, a precursor to the Graduate Workers of Columbia, and their fight for a union. It’s now 18 years later, but the fight continues.
The same can be said for African studies. In 2006, President Bollinger promised that Columbia would become a key center for the discipline. Twelve years later, however, writer Reina Patel finds in her Eye debut that that promise has been left largely unfulfilled.
But perhaps we’re being unfair. Perhaps change does happen here, by attrition: slowly, eventually. Bingxuan Wang’s feature reflects on the significance of Lerner’s recent student-initiated renovation in the larger context of the infamous building’s stagnant history. Why did student demand for change finally lead to actualization when it had fizzled or been snubbed out so many times before?
Also in this week’s issue: Housing Development Fund Corporations—one of New York’s most successful affordable housing programs—are abundant in the area. Mary Marsh’s feature breaks down why HDFCs are so important to our community, why many have been struggling with debt and foreclosure, and how a Columbia-funded resource center could provide critical support to their residents.
A couple more things before we leave you: Arminda Downey-Mavromatis is back with an Eyesight to tell you what science-related thing she’s mad about this week (it’s the scam that is vitamin gummies) and Sophia Cornell’s View From Here powerfully and beautifully narrates the way in which her summer trip in Spain changed the way she understands physical pain. Read it, print it out, and stick it up on your walls, so that two weeks from now, in the throes of four midterms, you can remember that the summer happened. And people wrote about it.
We hope you enjoy this week’s work.
Juju, Lyric, Kara, and Parth
Eye Deputy Editors