The Jammie Spotlight

By Liz Scholz

This week, Jason Rodney (Cleveland Heights, Ohio; American Studies), Laura Bartolomei-Hill (College Park, Md.; American Studies, Environmental Studies) and Ben Voigt (Upstate N.Y.; English) got spotlit in their jammies, except for Ben, who refused, claiming he still had work to do. Needless to say, at the conclusion of the interview, the three loving housemates curled up in Jason’s bed and read from Laura’s Betty Crocker Cook Book.

TMW: When did you guys meet?

Laura Bartolomei-Hill: I don’t know. Freshman year.

Ben Voigt: MacCares probably. Or maybe our renewable energy class.

LBH: We weren’t very good at physics.

BV: Yeah we were both really bad at math.

Jason Rodney: My earliest memories of Ben-Laura I think was MacCares also-one, I had to return something to your roommate, and the second time I was at a party on Dupre 3. I think in that room on the end. It was a Dupre room party so there were like ten people there. There was music playing and some alcohol and Ben was just standing to the side, and I was going back and forth between dancing to the music I really wasn’t into, and I was talking to Ben because I felt like it would be good to talk to him. And then Ben.

BV: I was lurking.

JR: Yeah Ben’s a lurker. And then you asked me if we could room together in the Co-op. And then we all kind of wanted to hang out with each other.

TMW: So when did you decide to live together?

BV: Laura forced it on us.

LBH: In sophomore year I predicted that we’d all live together.
JR: There was going to be four of us.

BV: Hayley [Koenig] was supposed to be part of the deal, but she gets housing for free or something like that.

LBH: And our finding housing situation was a little stressful for Ben because Jason and I were in charge of it, and Ben was in South Africa, and Jason and I were a little bit more relaxed to finding houses and so it.

JR: A.K.A. we didn’t put any work into it.

LBH: And Ben was e-mailing us landlords’ phone numbers and finding things on Web sites, and Jason and I were like “Yeah yeah, it’ll come together, it’ll come together.”

BV: We’ve lived together for a while now, me and Jason. Laura’s third-wheeling it.

TMW: Do you do anything together?

BV: No.

JR: Séance.

LBH: We cook together.
BV: So far we’ve done a pretty bad job of seeing each other and stuff this semester.

LBH: I always try to go grocery shopping because Ben will buy everything in the grocery store and Jason will buy a squash and think it’ll feed us for a week. That’s an exaggeration.

BV: I don’t know why she gets the impression I would buy everything in the store.

LBH: He says I have a domineering personality. I just don’t know how to passive aggressive, I’m sorry.

JR: Wait you don’t know how to be passive aggressive? . But I think it’s a good standard because some houses don’t eat or buy their food together at all so even if we don’t see each other at least we’re eating our food.

TMW: Well I know you guys do a lot of student org stuff. Tell me what you do.

LBH: We all met in MacCares. I’ve been involved in MacCares since freshman year, on and off at least. In spirit at least. And I am in student government, which I love. I’m the Financial Affairs Commission chair. I sign things. Give away money. Also, student orgs can bribe me with vegan peanut buttery treats.

JR: She’s also on the executive committee of a national environmental student organization and doing an internship and volunteering. Laura’s pretty fucking committed. But she’s doing a good job of being around, doing dishes and eating . I work with EXCO, and I’m not as involved in MacCares anymore. I’m kind of involved in Cooperative Energy Futures, which is a product that came out of MacCares and we sell-we do neighborhood organizing around energy efficiency. I just joined a gospel choir, Voices of Tamani, which is sweet. And I’m also doing a dance choreographed my Stephanie Strembolis for the dance concert, which is also sweet. And Trads.

BV: I’m president of Chanter, motherfucker!
JR: Wait, don’t you get to make up your own titles?
BV: We’re all president. I hold the key to the submissions.

BV: Chanter is Macalester’s literary magazine. Well, it’s not the only one. It’s the older one. Thistle was actually started my freshman year by a group of friends of mine that I have been on and off participating in.
LBH: Well, as FAC Chair I spend so much time looking at student org contacts that I, by name at least, could identify almost every student org and almost every student org leader, or at least an org contact.

TMW: What did you do this summer?

BV: I was in South Africa until July, where I studied abroad. I stayed around for a while and travelled a little bit.

LBH: Came to visit me!
BV: And then I was at home and around the East Coast for about a month,,, and then I was back in August around here. Not doing so much running around, suffering from culture shock or whatever.

LBH: It’s a full-time job.

BV: The shock of resuming at this strange place . bumming around town. Having fun. Not being involved in things apparently.

JR: That’s not true, he’s good at being friends. So I worked with Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota through Chuck Green, and I kind of had to direct myself for a while but eventually got involved in urban agriculture on the north side of Minneapolis so I was talking to people about community gardening and backyard farming and what people in north Minneapolis were interested in and how EJAM as like a small, trying to grow organization could help. So part of it was talking to people, listening and learning, and part I was advising the organization, like what should you do and also learning how to grow food myself.

LBH: I worked for the mayor’s green summer job corps in D.C. It was half job training for D.C. youth. We weatherized low income homes in D.C.

TMW: As seniors, what are you planning to do with your future? What are your short- and long-term goals?

BV: Short term is take a little break from school and get involved in other things. Maybe try to resume some of these dormant interests that Jason and Laura pursue, expand to new ones. Probably stick around the Twin Cities a little bit. And then eventually go to grad school for Creative Writing or English literature, that’s the long term.

LBH: My short terms goals, I have two: one is I’m working with an organization in Minneapolis right now to get some positive energy around getting the climate bill passed in the senate so that’s my short term goal-get the climate bill passed. Other short term goal is, well, I hope to leave Macalester never understanding what post-modernism is. That’s my goal. I do not want to understand what it is.

BV: I’m all about postmodernism.

LBH: He’s all about postmodernism.

BV: Do you sense the tension here?
LBH: I’m just trying to get the climate bill passed! Long term plans, I don’t know. I’m really looking forward to not having any plans. So graduating and not having anything to do. I just don’t want to have plans. I don’t really think I’m going to grad school, at least not anytime soon, and.

BV: She’s too busy getting the climate bill passed.

LBH: I can never stay away from home for very long so I’ll probably be home. I get really homesick all the time.

BV: We should probably talk about Cat City…

TMW: What’s Cat City?

LBH: My Mom-we have six cats and we range from having about four to ten kittens at any time.

JR: In addition to the six cats.

LBH: We had four cats when I left for college and when I came back for Winter Break we had like ten. So now I know how many kittens I’m worth. But yeah, I plan to go home. Hang around home.
BV: Jason’s going to come up with philosophical goals.

LBH: Get the climate bill implemented.

JR: I was thinking about that.

LB
H: Sleep a lot.

JR: I like Laura’s goals. Low aspirations, high quality of life.

BV: Low aspirations? The climate bill?
JR: Oh, well that. You can take care of that, and I’ll chill.

LBH: All right. You get the squash.

JR: Short term goal: I’m doing an independent study right now, I want to explore new possibilities of ways to make money, and I’m thinking an intersection of hip hop, education and theater. Although I haven’t really pursued any of those during college, so . but they’re all exciting possibilities, so I’m interviewing people about what kind of work that is. Probably I’ll stay in the Twin Cities for the beginning because so many of my friends are here.

LBH: And then he’ll move to College Park.

JR: Yeah actually, honestly, I might go to Baltimore or D.C. because my brothers are there. And long term goal: yeah, enjoy life and make some change in the world through relationships.

LBH: Can I say the last thing? I can’t really be bribed.