BackgroundInterview Date:July 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Straight
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: I went to a public school in Gaithersburg, MD with about 500 people in the graduating class. There was a culture of going to college.
First-Generation College Student: No
Majors: Environmental Science and Philosophy double major. Both are in the College of Arts & Sciences.
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in a fraternity and I’m part of Periclean Scholars which [is a group that tries to bring global social change].
Have any of your extracurricular activities had a particularly big impact on your experience?
The Periclean Scholars program is actually pretty cool because we pair with a partner country, and our country is Cuba. Senior year we will go to Cuba with a meaningful mission and try to create lasting relationships with the people there. It’s been a really cool journey to understand what we’re doing and learn the international NGO perspective on things.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your majors?
There are labs depending on the class. In general, it’s a lot of writing topic papers.
What are your major graded assignments for your majors?
Essays, tests, and projects.
Is there anything that you feel the Environmental Science department does especially well or especially poorly?
For especially well, it’s a pretty small department at Elon and because of that, there is a good student to faculty ratio. My mentor is my advisor and he is actually a good friend [laughs], we hang out and stuff. He’s just a really cool guy. He helped me with a lot of internship advice and helped with my schedule so I could get ahead and graduate in three years if I wanted to.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
In general, students are very focused on their academics and are in the library studying all the time. It’s competitive because there are some really smart people, especially in my department. They kind of blow me away with how much they do and what their end goals are.
What has been your favorite class you’ve taken for your majors?
What has been your least favorite class you’ve taken for your majors?
Strategies of Inquiry, it’s a statistics class for Environmental Science
How accessible are your professors?
Very accessible. Elon’s really good with that. Professors have office hours where you can meet with them. Even in class, they’re pretty helpful too.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I fell in love with it in high school. I had a really good teacher in high school that helped me get into it. I like it because it focuses on some of the world’s most pressing issues. It’s a really small program, so looking back on the decision I maybe would have picked a school with a stronger Environmental Science program so I could get into a better grad school or something. But, the intimacy with the professors is really cool and the professors are really great. The only downfall would be the career contacts and networking outside of college because there isn’t a lot of alumni that come from the Environmental Science department.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Global C with one roommate. It was a normal dorm
Sophomore: Global C in an apartment style dorm with one roommate. I had my own room and we shared a bathroom and a common room.
Junior: Townhouse with three other guys. It’s a pretty large townhouse. It has four bedrooms and three bathrooms.
What was your favorite living situation?
This year because I’m off the meal plan and everything.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I think it’s kind of hard for me to give a take on this because I’m a White male and don’t have the same issues as a lot of other people, which is horrible. I personally feel fine walking around campus at any hour. There are a lot of people in the surrounding area who are pretty “country” and they might shout racial slurs at people of color or catcall girls or something like that and that makes people feel uncomfortable.
How was transitioning from Maryland to North Carolina?
It was good. I have family down in Chapel Hill so I grew up there in a way. It was like coming home in a way.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Harusaki. It’s a Japanese place.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
The Haw River. There’s a quarry out there about 45 minutes away that you can go swimming in.
Pros and cons of being in Elon, NC?
Pros: (1) You’re not in a city. I’m not a big city guy.
(2) The people down there are very nice. There is southern hospitality.
Cons: If you’re a city person or want to go out and do stuff, you can’t. There’s no hustle and bustle.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Elon?
Fraternity parties pretty much.
What nights of the week do you regularly go out?
Friday night and Saturday day parties.
What have been some of your favorite times at Elon?
I love the Saturday day parties because you’re outside and people are more social and energetic. I don’t like the night parties as much. We’ve had some fun day parties where we’ve had pools and stuff like that.
Can you describe a typical night going out freshman year?
I didn’t pledge until this past fall, so freshman year was harder. Typically, we’d be hanging out in the dorms with some of my friends and then make our way out. We’d try to have a text from a brother because you can’t really get in if you don’t have a text or aren’t in the fraternity. I’d say 75% of the time we got in and 25% we didn’t. If we got shot down we’d just come home and hang out.
How happy are you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change?
We don’t have a bar scene really, so that’s definitely a negative. Especially for guys, if you’re not in a fraternity it’s hard to have that good social life where you have events and stuff to go to. It’d be nice to have bars because it’d be really cool to hang out with everyone.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Last year it was my roommate and his roommates from last year. This year it’s mostly the guys in my pledge class. I’m still friends with the guys last year, but we went our own ways because we’re in different fraternities now.
What is the impact of Greek life on the social scene?
It’s pretty big. For guys especially, it’s hard to have a good consistent social life where you’re going out [in the stereotypical college way] if you’re not in a fraternity. For female, I still think it’s pretty hard because you don’t meet as many people. When it comes to nightlife you’re fine as a girl, but for social life, I think that’s when it’s harder. [See Elon News Network article, “Sorority Recruitment leaves Elon freshman inspired to help others find a community.”]
Do you feel that people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I would say yes, or maybe somewhere in the middle. I think we could work on our representation of people of color at the school, which bums me out sometimes, but we have a good community of support and apathy for those people. I think in terms of mixing there is not much because they don’t want to go to frat parties. I’ve talked to people of color about this and they say they just want to stay away, which I understand. [In the Class of 2022 17% were students of color. See Elon News Network article, “Elon grapples with lingering inclusivity concerns.”]
Have you used the career office?
Yeah, we have the SPDC, which is the Student Professional Development Center, and they helped me set up my LinkedIn page and helped with connections for internships and on-campus jobs.
Have you learned any computer programs that will be helpful to you professionally?
I’ve learned all about GIS, which is really helpful. I’ve also learned Autodesk and AutoCAD for design.
Have you used financial aid? If so, how accommodating were they to your needs?
I have some and I went in last year to try to get more and they said no. It’s tough.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Elon before entering as a freshman?
How if you’re not involved in a fraternity it’s hard to have the [stereotypical college party] version of social life.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The football field, it’s pretty small but it’s cool. The surrounding area is also cool. Go to Greensboro and Chapel Hill. The drive isn’t bad if you have the time.
Reasons to attend Elon:
1) The people down there are really nice. I think it’s pretty easy to find friends down there if you look in the right places.
2) The academic rigor and competition that pushes you to work harder and be productive.
Reasons to not attend Elon:
1) If you’re a guy it’s hard to go down there and not be in a fraternity unless you’re in dance or theater and have your own niche of people.
2) If you don’t want to be in the middle of nowhere.