At Two Swords Length: Do You Live Off Campus?

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Do You Live Off Campus?


By Lena Rubin


Well first off I would like to say thanks so much to all the members of this debate for taking the

time to listen to each other, put aside our differences, and really just engage in respectful  dialogue with one another. You know, we get so caught up in taking sides and speaking our minds before we have really considered all sides of the problem.


So, if I understand the question correctly, you’re asking me if it’s really true that I moved off campus this year. I must answer that question with a firm, resounding, yes. I’ve actually been lucky enough to be part of an exciting new student think tank initiative, spearheaded by a sustainably-harvested group of cultural entrepreneurs, and sponsored by the ethical eatery Sweetgreen, whose mission is for us all to come together under one roof in order to innovate, brainstorm, think of, and generate renewable tech solutions to the socio-geopolitical issues and concerns facing the people of the world today. We are freeform, we are nonhierarchical, we are open-source. We are The Columbia Dialogue Incubator. We are future-builders. We listen to all viewpoints.




Yes, this roof, this one roof, under which we are all gathering, is off-campus. By which I mean, this roof is located in the up and coming MaVi neighborhood, or, Manhattanville, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the area. It’s truly up and coming! Gritty but authentic! No, the rent is not cheap, although we are certainly open to the idea of dialoguing within and among communities towards possible merit-based financial aid packages to truly committed student startup owners. We’ll actually be holding a town hall about this particular, very dynamic issue, at the Incubator in a few weeks time. The event will be cosponsored by the JP Morgan Chase Green Initiative and Columbia Provost Coatsworth, moderated by the editors of the Columbia Spectator Opinion Section. There will be free Sweetgreen provided. Food for thought.


Yes, I am so incredibly fortunate to be able to live off-campus in the Columbia Dialogue Incubator in historical, off-campus MaVi. We are really looking to spearhead compassionate initiatives with our fellow community members and engage them in questions like: How can we make our neighborhood more tech-friendly? How can we program spaces where we can listen to the dialogues we are each together furthering?


In fact, we are in the process of securing funds from Columbia to actually build a space for us in MaVi and the surrounding areas to do just that. The Jerome L. Greene Listening Incubator is sure to become a productive gathering place for members of this dynamic community. It feels great to get outside the MoHi bubble and move into this new, dynamic, off-campus, bubble.


I would urge all of you to open your minds, join us, and start sustainable dialogues for our future. It’s only a couple subway stops away from the Columbia gates, but why go the traditional route? We’re actually partnering with Lyft in order to provide free rides to and from the Dialogue Incubator to four randomly selected Sweetgreen customers during the month of January. We might live off-campus but we’re closer than you think.



By Caroline Hurley


Thanks for asking me about this. I have very good ideas, people, but nobody listens to me when I get talking about this issue, and for the life of me I cannot understand why. Sad!


This is a dangerous world we are living in.


I do not live off campus. I do not venture off campus much – really, never at all. And if I do, I take Uber, because the subway is not safe. Putting your life in the hands of the complete strangers driving the subway trains and riding on them is just about the most reckless thing imaginable. Do you have no regard for your own life? Shame!


Campus is my sanctuary. The neighborhood outside of the Broadway-to-Amsterdam and 114th-to-120th is extremely unsafe. It is filled with unsavory characters – predators, deplorables, grad students. Walk around outside alone? I don’t even walk around inside alone. I will not cross Amsterdam, and I don’t care how good HamDel is. Besides, I only eat the carefully curated foods served in John Jay Dining Hall – Ferris is much too reformist. If I have class in IAB, I do not go. Once you get that close to Morningside Drive, you are that much closer to Morningside Park, which is only *literal* steps away from No Man’s Land.


Columbia is the only place safe enough for me to think whatever I want about the world – mostly, I think it is threatening. I have heard that Broadway theaters are also meant to be safe spaces for me, but I would have to traverse a lot of rough neighborhoods between here and there so I’ve never been.


I try to limit my engagement with the outside world as much as possible; Breitbart is my only source of information, and they have told me that I should feel very threatened by places like Sweetgreen and initiatives like The Columbia Dialogue Incubator. So no, I have not been to Manhattanville.


In fact, I have not left my Schap single in three weeks. Or maybe it’s been four. Or six… Who’s to say? Everything and everyone is a threat. And do not forget about the threats you cannot see. I wipe off the rims of my soda cans with antibacterial wipes before I drink from them. You can never be too careful. Pro-tip: spray your shoes with Lysol after you get back from the bathroom, or just never set foot in a bathroom at all. Trust me, there are ways.


Open your minds? Really? Absolutely not. Close them, close the door to your single, and your web browsers full of degenerate HuffPo articles.


I actually just recently reached an agreement with Columbia Housing that will allow me to rent my single for the rest of my life. In exchange for the security of these four walls for as long as I live, I will serve as the Schapiro Residence Hall Director upon graduating. They told me when I become a Hall Director I can have a dog in my room, although I don’t like other living things very much.


Honestly, I’m considering confining myself to my Schap closet from now on because when I’m in my room I can hear the faint voices of people planning trips to *gasp* Chelsea.