By Emma WestRasmus
From revolutionaries and beloved novel characters to the long-awaited love child of Ross and Rachel, the name ‘Emma’ has long been tied to strong, poised and bold women. The five Emmas of the class of 2012 are no exception to the rule. Emmas Cohen, Swinford, Gershun-Half, Kaplan and Colón sat down with The Mac Weekly to talk nicknames, Springfest advice and a shared solidarity that links them all. TMW: Do all the senior Emmas know each other? Colón: I definitely knew of everyone. Cohen: There was general solidarity because of our name. I met Emma Colón because we lived on the same floor freshman year. When I moved in her room came first and when I saw the ‘Emma Co-’ I just stopped reading it because I registered it as my name. But it wasn’t my roommates name on the door so I started freaking out. My mom was like, “It’s not your name.” Colón: Also they just recently confused us at the student art show—have you been to the gallery yet? They miscredited your piece with my name on it. I was like ‘I didn’t make that! I didn’t make that.’ So the confusion continues forever and ever. Nicknames? Kaplan: Em. Everyone here has been called Em. Cohen: I was Emzer in middle school. Kaplan: My dad calls me Elmo. Colón: I like Emma because babies can pronounce it. When my sister was born she was able to say my name way before she was able to say our other sister’s name. Kaplan: I used to get Emma-wemma-woo-bear. Colón: I live with another Emma goes to the U of M but that gets really confusing. Our other two housemates will be like on the phone with their parents like, ‘Oh yeah, Emma and I did that.’ The parents never know which one. Are there any Emma’s you look up to? Cohen: I’m reading Jane Austen’s Emma right now. Kaplan: I was named for some cool Emmas, like Emma Goldman. She’s pretty cool. She’s all about dancing and revolutions and socialism. What up. Describe your relationship to your name. Cohen: I’ve never identified with my name ever. I’m sorry guys. Colón: I feel like that’s normal because you can never be super strongly attached to your own name because you identify with your own self, you know? It’s other people who call you your name. Gershun-Half: I remember my parents saying ‘oh, we wanted a really unique name for you.’ Cohen: I read in a baby name book once that Emma is Greek for ‘the big one.’ Kaplan: I actually really like the name Emma. One time I was introducing myself to somebody and they were like ‘Oh, I’m really sorry I don’t mean to offend you but that’s my grandma’s name.’ And I was like, ‘Uh, why is that offensive?’ Gershen-Half: I get a lot of compliments from old people that tell me it’s a beautiful name. But its always from people over 65. Cohen: Boys our age are always like ‘Emma is such a beautiful name.’ Kaplan: I have never heard that. That’s weird. Gershun-Half: I never liked Emma growing up, but I can’t imagine being called anything else. Swinford: My best friend growing up was an Emma so I guess I got used to sharing. I was always Emma S. Cohen: I identify more with my middle name. My middle name is my mom’s last name. I think of Fabiny Cohen as much more of who I am than Emma. Kaplan: Have you ever considered going by Fabiny? Cohen: One friend calls me ‘Fabinz’… Pat Murphy shoutout to Mac Weekly staff! Gershun-Half: I know exactly what you’re saying. Primarily my nicknames come from my last name, like ‘G-Half.’ I think it also speaks to that there isn’t a typical Emma. Just like this group shows, we’re all very different. If you weren’t Emma, you would be ___ : Kaplan: Tamara. Cohen: Max if I was a boy. Gershun-Half: My parents said they were glad that I wasn’t a boy because they didn’t have a boy’s name picked out. Colón: I was going to be Zachary. The alternate girl’s name my parents were considering was Coco, which is cool but not if your last name is Colón because Coco Colón sounds like you’re a porn star. Kaplan: Do people ever call you Emma Colon? Colón: Oh, all the time. More than they call me Emma Colón. ‘Emma’ has surged in popularity in recent years. How do you feel about that? Kaplan: It was the most popular name for girls for a few years and then Twilight came out and now it’s Isabella. Colón: Even though it’s had waves of popularity, it’s a timeless name. It’s not a name like— Kaplan: Hedwig. I have an aunt named Hedwig. Like great-great-great aunt. She probably doesn’t really exist. She’s probably a family myth. Colón: I think there are certain names that get stuck in a specific decade. Can you imagine a grown-up grandma named Ashley? There are certain names that feel like they belong to a certain age group. Cohen: Everything has i’s at the end now instead of y’s. Kaplan: That’s so weird. Or like multiple x’s Colón: Who has that? Kaplan: My waxer is naming her son Jaxxon with two x’s. Mindy if you’re reading this, I think it’s really cute. Moving beyond the name, you’re all in your last few weeks of Macalester. Kaplan: Don’t ask us what we’re doing next year. What are you doing to your face over there? Colón: Just being overwhelmed. How do you feel towards Mac as you approach the end of your four years here? Kaplan: Don’t take this fucking shit for granted. You can’t print that can you? Seriously, Macalester is great. I’m going to cry now. I don’t want to leave. It’s so beautiful all the time. Colón: I feel really good about my education at Macalester. I came into Macalester with a big chip on my shoulder because I hadn’t wanted to go here originally…it was my fourth choice school. I ended up here for a bunch of different reasons and I grew to love it. This is going to be the next three weeks of all our lives—‘how have you changed, how has Macalester changed you?’ Cohen: I learned more than I thought I would. I applied early, I’m a tour guide, I work for admissions, so I’m just like ‘Macalester!’ I remember freshman year on a daily basis being overwhelmed with happiness that I was here. I’ve chilled out a little bit now. Swinford: I had such a haphazard college search, I didn’t know what I was looking for or where I wanted to be. I actually threw my Macalester acceptance letter away. I was like ‘I don’t know.’ Then I got it out of the trash. Now it’s so hard to imagine myself anywhere else after becoming so well established here. Gershun-Half: I really have liked biking everywhere. It’s been so cool. Kaplan: I’m really gonna miss Jim Hoppe. Anything you won’t miss? Colón: I don’t really have positive feeling about the color palate of the library. Cohen: That is so well said. Colón: And Humanities looks like a maternity ward. It’s so pink and sterile. Last words? Colón: I’m so bad at this. It takes me 30 minutes to title a new album on Facebook. I can’t do this. Kaplan: There are too many words. Cohen: I would say it’s up to you and the other Emma’s to carry on the name at Macalester. Our year has 6 Emma’s and 8 Julia’s. Kaplan: Who are the Julias? Cohen: I don’t know. Kaplan: Fuck the Julia’s. Last words: fuck the Julia’s. Colón: I have my quote book that I carry around with me. This is a quote by AJ Randolph III: “Punch anything in your way, always, and never negotiate anything with anyone.” Kaplan: Yeah, punch that glass ceiling. Smash it. Yeah, WGSS major. Tell us more. Dude your capstone’s sick. Actually awesome. Cohen: It’s now officially called “Go Out and Get Some If You Want It.” I interviewed Macalester women about how they negotiate their sexual decision-making. Gershun-Half: What’s the overall consensus? Cohen: Desire is a process, and there is no singular definition of agency. Kaplan: Whoa. I like that. Swinford: Go out and get some if you want it. I think the Emmas could get behind that. Kaplan: Have fun at Springfest. Cohen: Don’t do anything the Emmas wouldn’t do.