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Stephanie Hsu / Staff Designer

Dear readers both loyal and new,

Hi! We’re Spectator’s little-longform-magazine-that-could! After a summer-long hiatus, The Eye is back in full swing with a 2016 NSOP issue.

We’re currently working hard on creating the magazine’s XXI volume that informs, challenges, and entertains Barnard and Columbia students on some of the most critical issues facing the University. In the meantime, though, we thought it would only be fitting to welcome the class of 2020 with a mini “Before 8:40 a.m.” orientation issue.

8:40 a.m. kicks off the first class of the day, but it doesn’t necessarily mark the beginning of the day. Don’t let those students strutting down College Walk—some with, admittedly, a livelier step than others—fool you. What can we expect from a campus nestled in a city that never sleeps? Columbia never stops to breathe.

Maya Perry’s multimedia essay “The Bareboned Columbia” listens to Columbia’s breath, records it, and allows us to hear what is often thought to be soundless. Meat sizzles at all hours of the night. Fountains gurgle as if they are Columbia’s own babbling brooks. And somehow Times Square defies the laws of physics by carrying its perpetual chatter 70 blocks uptown.

Ultimately, classes may be on the verge of starting, but the day has long begun. Columbia’s first Ph.D. student from Mongolia has matriculated and returned home; a student has already learned the dangers of neglecting the physiological symptoms of sleep deprivation; and Eye staffers old and new have relived their Bach-inspired morning showers, graduation frustrations, and early bird-and-worm dĂ©gustations.

But just as sound seeps through campus’ enduring iron gates, greater national events affect our community, no matter the distance in time or space. Alastair Pearson’s “Special Report: In the Shadows of the Grand Old Party,” our cover story this week, looks at what took place directly outside of the Republican National Convention walls this summer. Protests, discourse, and urban decay all occurred in Cleveland that July and were all much much more telling of our politics right here, right now than the meticulously orchestrated event that took place inside.

With the general elections looming, events of this magnitude do not stop leaving their impact the moment our alarms strike 8:40 a.m. They saturated dialogue over the summer and will undoubtedly color our conversations on campus this coming semester.

To prepare for our new students’ arrival, we’ve had a lot of fun looking at our magazine with new eyes. Enjoy leafing through our virtual publication, and get ready for great issues to come!

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