Letter from the Editor, May 2020
Updated: Mar 2, 2021
By Sam Needleman
This isn’t how it was supposed to go! We were working on our April issue when the Bad News came, and we were forced to scatter—to New Jersey and Harlem, to Chicago and Maine—before we even had the chance to figure out what to do next and say goodbye. The shift to online learning dealt a hard blow to every campus group, and for the first few days at home, I didn’t think The Blue and White could recover this semester. As I noted last month, we’re “a defiantly print magazine”: Our natural high is distributing our monthly issues on campus, and with that tradition thwarted at least for April and May, we faced scant paths forward. But our writers proved adaptable and eager, pitching and submitting a formidable array of pandemic-related work.
Some Columbia students, now structureless, have aimed to make quarantine a productive experience. Others aspire to endure. The two camps are broad and far from mutually exclusive, but I place this issue of The Blue and White comfortably in the latter. Our goal has been to press on together and just do our thing. We didn’t shoot for the stars; we looked around and wrote about what we saw. It is, after all, a fucking pandemic.
That’s why I’m particularly impressed with the breadth and depth of our writers’ work this month. Elysa Caso-McHugh relates her struggle to find shelter this spring, and Dominy Gallo takes us with her on a quarantine journey toward happiness by way of routine. Harris Solomon and Nicole Kohut, who are quarantined five minutes apart from each other in LA, bicker about their city. Raquel Turner reflects on her experience with Columbia’s low-income community during her first year, and Sophia Cornell, a senior, ponders humiliation. And from the desk of Everything We Now Long For, Isaiah Bennett profiles Schefs, a new campus group that brings students together for themed dinners.
We hope this finds you safe and healthy, and we hope that in late August, after you’ve unpacked, you’ll find a copy of our Orientation issue strewn lovingly on an abandoned table in Joe. There’s ample room for The Blue and White in the transformed culture to come: Who can imagine a better socially distanced activity than finding an empty perch in Riverside Park and reading our latest? Needless to say, we’re proud of this online issue, but we want it to be a one-time thing. Fingers crossed.