Letter from the Editor, Orientation 2016

It has become somewhat of a summer tradition for me to make a very ambitious to-do list (this year’s included learning to program in Java and reading War and Peace). Unsurprisingly, the summer is quickly coming to a close and I have accomplished next to nothing from my list. This is similar to how I feel about my Columbia experience. With the start of my senior year fast approaching, I can’t help but wonder: where has the time gone? To the Class of 2020, believe me, it will go by faster than you think. I’m sure you’re already nauseated by my nostalgia, so I’ll stop myself here. And to the freshmen (or, sorry, “first-years”) reading this, I’ll spare you the same trite advice about going to office hours and exploring new interests in college. But I do want to say this to you. It will take a while before you find your niche, and that’s fine. Some of you will join a fraternity or sorority (see p. 20), or maybe some of you will form a band that fuses hip hop and tap dance (see p. 9). But whether Columbia was your first choice or not (see p. 10), you determine your own happiness.

I think the most important thing I can say to you though, is to try to engage with the local community and understand the power structures that we are complicit in by attending an Ivy League institution. This year, the first building on the Manhattanville campus will open. In view of this, we tried to look beyond the University gates by talking to local Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell (p. 28) and considering what the decline in the Spectator’s City News section says about our relationship to the neighborhood (p. 14).

Columbia may seem like an impenetrable corporate machine at times, but we have a surprising amount of power as students. Don’t forget that. And finally, Class of 2020, good luck…

Channing Prend

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