Alexandra Svokos: Editor in Chief of Bwog

 

 

The Basics

Name: Alexandra Svokos

Hometown: Franklin Lakes, NJ

Majors: Economics and Creative Writing

College/Year: CC ‘14

 

Every time you log onto Bwog for rapidly-updated news, hilarious commentary on Columbia life, or justellaneous articles, don’t forget to thank Alexandra Svokos, CC ‘14, Bwog’s editor-in-chief who really puts the show on the road. Accomplished, down to earth, and interesting, Alexandra is the epitome of the Columbia collegiette. Along with being Bwog’s editor-in-chief, Alexandra is the Vice President of the Columbia University National Undergraduate Film Festival (CUNUFF), a staff writer for The Blue and White Magazine, a Met Opera Student Ambassador, and is a founder for the Columbia Opera Appreciation Club. Phew—I’m tired just thinking about all of it. But Alexandra manages to do all of this with an excited and exhilarated smile on her face. You can tell she really enjoys all that she does here on campus. 

 

Part of me can’t believe just how energetic she is, considering that the night before her interview was CUNUFF’s big film festival, but we’ll get to that later. 

 

Columbia practically runs in Alexandra’s blood. Her father and older sister are Columbia grads, and her mother graduated from Barnard. Her journey here wasn’t quite so direct, though. Up until college application time, she was her dream was to attend the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. When did she decide to make the switch from Philadelphia to New York? Well, in a drily hilarious tone, she justifies her decision to Columbia because “I remembered Philadelphia is the worst, and I wanted to be in New York.” Columbia initially attracted her because of its prime location in the city, but she also loves it because she sees campus as an “idyllic little pasture hidden away in New York—it makes you feel like you’re actually in college.” She is happy with her decision, for sure. “Overall, I love it,” she tells me.  

 

When I ask her to tell me her favorite college memory, she immediately responds, “I’ve had a pretty fun week, actually.” She proceeds to tell me about the last party for Bwog staff members of the year. Wryly, she says “it was one of those very cliché moments, the college night you should have, when you stay up arguing about issues in the world and then eat crappy, greasy food. It was one of those quintessential college things. We all ended up at Toms and looked outside and said, ‘Oh, crap. It’s morning.’”

 

As editor in chief of Bwog, Alexandra has to be a supreme multi-tasker. She must make sure that everything gets done on a day-to-day basis, have a vision for what Bwog should become, try to  make it the type of publication she thinks it should be, keep up with staff, and oversee the publishing of articles. Her journey to become Editor-in-Chief of Columbia’s premiere online publication began the second semester of her freshman year, when she frequently sent in tips to the staff but never attended a meeting. Her tips garnered so much attention from Bwog that the Editor-in-Chief at the time reached out to her and asked for her to come to a meeting. She did, and began writing during her sophomore year. From then, it was history. Alexandra progressed to become a daily editor, then a senior contributor, and finally to become Editor-in-Chief. 

She appreciates how “odd” and special Columbia’s undergraduate publication atmosphere is, because of its abundance of different institutions. There is a huge array of different publications that satisfy every niche of the community on campus, including the Columbia Daily Spectator, The Blue and White Magazine, Bwog, the Fed and the Columbia Political Review, among others. “I thought that [having so many publications] was a college-wide thing around the nation, but I keep casually explaining to people that there’s lots of publications here, and they ask me why we have so many!” Perhaps having such an array of publications like Spectator Newspaper, Bwog, The Blue and White Magazine, However, in a recent conversation with an alum who works for Bloomberg press, she heard him say that Columbia’s plethora of publications, from Spectator, Bwog, The Blue and White Magazine, and the Columbia Lion, “is a sign that publication and news isn’t a dying art.”  

Alexandra’s love for writing is also shown in the influential classes she has taken while at Columbia. Her favorite class is called “The Modern Arts Writer,” and it’s taught by Margo Jefferson. Students read different texts that talk about forms of art, like dance, music, and architecture. She thinks it’s awesome because “we get to hang out and talk about art.” What did she write her papers about? The first, opera; the second, the brilliance of the recent film Spring Breakers.  Alexandra also participated in a summer course called “Paris Then and Now,” which was located in (you guessed it) Paris! She and 14 other students spent a month at Reid Hall in Paris learning about the legacy of writing in the City of Lights. Luckily, the course was in English. “Two of my friends are going this summer, and I’m already super jealous,” she says, laughing.

 

Among her passion for writing and music, Alexandra is heavily involved in New York’s opera scene. An opera she went to during her sophomore year in high school, entitled Lucia di Lammermoor, propelled her into being a bona fide opera fanatic, though her family (“the Italian half”) was always encouraging her to see operas. As a Met Opera Student Ambassador, Alexandra runs the organization’s Twitter page (@MetOperaStudent), and gets to see many operas. 

 

But back to one of her favorite hobbies—films, and namely, being Vice President of CUNUFF. Most of us didn’t have an entirely student-run film festival the night before their interview for Campus Celebrity. She and the CUNUFF board, composed of Columbia students, saw student film submissions from across the country, chose judges for the films, screened selections to students, and presented awards. Since CUNUFF had a limited number of executives, “everyone had a lot on their shoulders.” Alexandra says she’s still coming down from the exciting experiences of the 9th annual film festival. A part of CUNUFF since her freshman year, Alexandra was the treasurer of the club her sophomore year, and is now the VP. 

She also got to celebrate her love of film through an internship she had the summer after her freshman year. Alexandra interned at Film Movement, a distributor of independent and international films, in a small office in Chelsea. A true New Yorker, Alexandra says she “would get into the city [from New Jersey] early just so I could get breakfast and eat at this little park outside.” She thinks it’s great being in the city over the summer when it’s warm out, and judging by the way Columbians all migrate to the lawns and steps when the sun and heat come up, I would say that’s an opinion shared by many of us. This summer, she’ll be interning at a marketing firm to see if it combines her passion for business and creative writing. 

As her senior year approaches, Alexandra only wishes “I had more time, even just time in the day, because I’m running out of it all the time.” She manages to juggle between school and tons of extra-curricular activities, and also pepper in some movie-watching and opera-outings. I’d say anyone in her shoes would feel like time was hard to come by, but not everyone could do it all with her charming wit and positive disposition.