Barnard in the New Year

What’s New in 2011? 
By Olivia Hull
            So far in 2011 snow has fallen, noses have frozen, New Year’s resolutions have been kept (at least for now) and the second week of school is well underway. It’s time to look to the semester ahead full of possibilities, changes and newness within the Barnard College gates.
            First to mention is the creation of this blog! The Nine Ways of Knowing blog is a new place to communicate about our beloved school and the world at large. The blog, co-founded by roommates Lindsay Garten BC’13 and Samantha Plotner BC’13, is especially suited for the timely discussion of current events, both within the gates and beyond as well as a cheaper (as in free!) way to publish more often (every day!).

            The Athena Film Festival (“A celebration of women and leadership”), new to Barnard (and the world) is February 12-14. Filmmakers include director Debra Granik of the 2010-film Winter’s Bone and an appearance by our very own actor and filmmaker Greta Gerwig (BC ’06), who can now be seen on the big screen in the film No Strings Attached starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. The festival was co-founded by Kathryn “Kitty” Kolbert, director of the Athena Center, and Melissa Silverstein, Hollywood social media specialist and blogger. Both are staunch supporters of women in film. The festival is meant to honor women’s roles in leadership, with films focusing on women leaders –either directed by women or women-centric in other ways. Women directors are scarce, and underappreciated. In fact, in 82 years of the Academy history, the first female to win Best Director was Kathryn Bigelow (Columbia Film Program) for The Hurt Locker (2010). The movies will be shown in the Diana event oval, Held auditorium (3rd floor Barnard Hall), the James Room (4th floor Barnard Hall) and the Miller Theater. According to Athena Center Administrative Assistant Maria Martinez, 800 people are expected to attend the weekend’s festivities. At the time of this writing, 100 individual tickets have been purchased as well as 60 all-weekend passes. Tickets went on sale January 10th. Barnard students will not want to miss a short film called “Growing Up Barnard”, which is a documentary about Barnard alumnae. More information can be found at
            According to the Electronics Communication department, Barnard will be getting a website facelift within the next two weeks. The new website was scheduled to launch late last year, but a decision was made to delay the launch due to high traffic at the beginning of the semester (program filing and the like).  The site’s color scheme seems to be mostly black, blue and white and is far more uniform in terms of layout and design compared to the old website. Here is a preview of what the website will look like.
            After a nearly 42-year hiatus, aside from a few sporadic revivals in between,  Barnard’s signature two-day Greek Games return this year in full force thanks to the efforts of Diana Rastegayeva SGA VP of Communications BC’11 and Jessica Blank BC’12  and Executive Officer of McIntosh Activities Council among others. Click here to see enjoyable clips of the games of yore.
            In the famed Hewitt dining hall, the to-go saga continues. After a generally unpopular move last semester to remove all elective take out containers and replace them with prepackaged lunch options, freedom returns, but not without a sign-in/sign-out sheet and the warning from dining services that “you should not be enjoying a full lunch in the cafeteria and taking a to-go container as well” which will be undoubtedly hard to enforce especially at the busiest dining hours such as between 12:00 and 1:10 pm.
            The Barnard-wide smoking ban has not yet gone into effect, according to Rastegayeva. It is in the administrators’ hands at the moment, following the December SGA resolution in support of the ban.  A survey to test student support of a ban was open for five days and over 300 people voted. However, only 233 of the UNIs were verifiable, far from an accurate representation of the student body. 72% of respondents voted for a campus-wide ban, 26% of voted against a campus-wide ban, and 2% said they did not know how they felt about such a ban. Even if the ban is in fact instituted, it will be difficult to enforce.
            This spring rush season will be the first recognized officially by Barnard College. A more reliable vote in November decided in favor of recognizing Greek life at Barnard. A total of 1245 students voted in that election, nearly 57% of the student body. 768 students voted to recognize Greek Life and 577 voted not to recognize Greek Life. Recognition by SGA includes booking space at Barnard, SGA funding, club advising and access to event services among others. 
Olivia is a sophomore at Barnard College and a staff writer for the Nine Ways of Knowing.

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