Photo by Emma Asher
As moderator of the Philolexian Society — Columbia’s oldest student organization — Gregory Schare CC’24 (he/his) loves a good debate. A computer science/mathematics major from Los Angeles, Schare has been involved with Philo since his second week on campus, enjoying the whimsical atmosphere of the literary and debating group that was founded in 1802. On Thursday, November 10, at 9 p.m. in Havermeyer 309, Philo will host its largest annual event, The Alfred Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest, in which students read their best attempts at bad poetry aloud.
What is your favorite part about being involved in the Philolexian Society?
Philo gives you a community on campus where you can get away from all the academics and focus on being silly, having fun and doing really cool things with cool people. We take a lot of it seriously because it has a sense of tradition as the oldest group on campus, but we also try to keep it casual and welcoming. It’s a great thing to look forward to every Thursday night — going to the Satow Room in Lerner and having absurd debates with my friends.
Are you participating in The Alfred Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest this year?
Yes! I’m not sure if I’m going to perform a poem this year, as I have in the past, but I’m definitely hosting. It’s Philo’s biggest event, so I hope a lot of people come and enjoy it!
What do you like most about the contest?
Kilmer is unlike anything else on campus. It’s this cool marriage of honoring the society’s history and tradition along with one of our past members — Alfred Joyce Kilmer CC 1908, who was a writer, a soldier and a great figure in history — but it’s also a bad poetry contest. It’s a casual, fun affair; we’re not judging people on their literary achievements. It’s just about the attempt and having fun with it.
What’s been your favorite class at the College, and why?
It’s a bit of a nerdy answer, but “Computer Science Theory” with Mihalis Yannakakis. It brought a mathematical lens to computer science. It’s about how computers work, and it gives you a lot of insight into what computation really is and the history of it — it’s really cool stuff to learn.
What do you like to do outside of class?
Philo! But I also like to explore all the buildings on campus. There are so many cool, secret places — it’s not that people aren’t allowed there, it’s just that they don’t go into them every day, like random rooms in Schermerhorn or little study spaces in Milstein. Places that you have to dig deep and take time out of your day to find. There’s a lot of stuff hidden away on this campus and it’s a thrill and a joy to really get to know the place.
How do you like to take advantage of being in New York City?
Jazz clubs, for sure. I don’t get downtown as much as I should, but when I do I love to check out restaurants from my growing list of recommendations and then go to a jazz club and enjoy some great music.