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  • Writer's pictureThe Blue and White Magazine

Digitalia Columbiana, December 2015

Updated: Jul 24, 2021

These excerpts were culled from documents left on Columbia’s lab computers. We encourage our readers to submit their own digitalia finds to us, via email, at

Dear Participants,

The Lab Staff would like to apologize—you received this week’s weekly study digest in error due to a mistake on the part of the sender of emails. Rest assured, the sender of emails has been sacked, and you should receive no further weekly emails.


-The Lab Staff


At a recent CCSC meeting, Dean Valentini gave a lengthy speech about the virtues of fun and the “Beginner’s Mind.” An excerpt:

“This is a long time ago in a place far away, I worked really hard and I was the valedictorian in my class and I did work, but I actually had fun and it makes me sad that this isn’t fun. While it may be an issue here, I want to see if it’s generational—my son at U of C was in a frat, but it looked like he didn’t have as much fun as I did. That makes me sad. My generation took the fun out of adolescence and turned it into a career. This isn’t an idyllic time, but you should be able to do work and still have fun. I don’t know why this is. ‘Without Bacchanal, I wouldn’t have any fun’— It’s in April! This Friday morning, just ask yourself what you need in order to have fun. In order to have fun, what would you want to have provided? I’m flummoxed by this.”


Then I saw the movie Madagascar, in which a lion (called Leo, of course) escapes the zoo to find his birthplace in Africa. The movie left the twelve-year-old me in tears, because I finally figured out the right place for wild animals to live—the wildness.

Interfaith and Agnostic Open Mic: Come check out this cool open mic night next Thursday. The goal of the event is to showcase how members of the Columbia University and Barnard College community are sophisticated enough to be able to disagree and still be amicable with each other. There will be food, drinks (non-alcoholic), and a prize for the best performance of the night.


James Colgrove hardly considers himself a snob. “I am,” he declares “a man of the people.”

During his biweekly lectures, Colgrove slackens the pedagogical reins to encourage class participation. He poses large questions to the students before him. They attempt to answer. Some say that having any sort of discussion among seventy students is a futile exercise. He calls them pessimists. “I am, after all” he explains “a man of the people.”

Lectures are hardly confined to the highfalutin realm of spoken words. Colgrove regularly employs audio-visual aids. Some people learn differently, he points out. As you know, he observed “I am a man of the people.”

Though a tenured professor at the school of public health takes in more simoleons than the average coed, Colgrove doesn’t assert his rank sartorially. He wears his dress shirts one size too large. Ties are not for him either. He prefers leaving the top button undone, letting some of his undershirt show. He is, if you must know, a man of the people.


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