Will Chow: student organizer, music junkie, "gangsta

By Kristin Riegel

Meet Will Chow ’11. He’s an International Studies major, an anthropology minor, and one of the guys who has helped to make Asian Pacific Awareness month a success. With a motto of “don’t take life too seriously,” he manages to work hard and play hard, all while keeping his sense of humor. This week, The Mac Weekly sits down to talk to Will about where he grew up and why he now considers Macalester home. The Mac Weekly: Where are you from?
Will Chow: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma but I actually grew up in Southern California.

From So Cal to Oklahoma. Those are pretty different places. Why did your family decide to move?
I think my dad got tired of having his car stolen. Once, I actually saw my dad’s car in a police chase on television. I remember seeing my dad in an interview about it on the nighttime local news and thinking there’s my dad, and there’s his car being chased by a bunch of cops. But mostly, I think my parents chose Oklahoma because my dad went to college there and he really liked it.

Wow, I can’t believe your dad’s car was in a police chase. Do you remember a lot about it? Did you tell your friends at school about it?
It was completely surreal. I was only a kid but even then I knew that it was completely messed up.

After living in three states, which is your favorite?
Not going to say it’s my flat out favorite but I’d say I like Minnesota a lot except for the weather. The people are really cool and there’s actually a distinct culture. There’s also the whole “Minnesota nice” thing going on, which I like a lot. It also has a good music scene. All of the bands that I have wanted to see have actually come here.

After almost two years at college, at Macalester, has this experience been everything you expected?
I have really enjoyed my time at Macalester. Compared to my friends at home who go to state schools, I feel that I’ve grown the most out of all them. All the people at college in Oklahoma say that it’s just like high school but with more, umm, “college activities.” But for me, it’s been a huge growing experience.

Any favorite memories so far?
There’s so many. The first real memory that I cherish is one during my first week at Mac. It was the first Friday and people were winding down from activities of the night. There was kind of this informal concert in the hallway on Turck 3. Most of the people who lived there were sitting along the walls of the hallway, close together, chilling when a couple people came out into the hallway with guitars. So yea, there it was, a bunch of people who didn’t know each other sitting around talking and singing along to Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dispatch, and Sufjan. And then my friend Miles, in this wide-eyed, dramatic way proclaims, “This moment is defining my life right now.” It was kind of over the top and people laughed but then again I felt that everyone was kind of feeling the same way.

Wow, that’s deep. Since that first week you’ve gotten involved in a lot of different organizations including Asian Student Alliance (ASA). This year ASA decided to sponsor the Asian Pacific Awareness (APA) month. Why a month of activities and events on Asian Pacific Awareness?
Well, there’s black history month and other groups get a week but Macalester’s largest minority is Asians and we (ASA and the Asian-interest orgs) felt like we could pull off a month of activity. And thus far it’s gone really well. We’ve had a lot of people at our events and people seem to like it.

What’s the experience been like for you personally?
It’s been stressful but rewarding . . . seeing that many people that interested and dedicated to it has been really amazing. Sometimes I feel like the work that we do just goes unnoticed but when people seem like they genuinely enjoy it and take interest, it makes it worthwhile.

APA month is almost over, what are you going to do with all of your free time?
Free time? There’s no such thing as free time for me in the next two weeks. But during the summer, mostly plan to spend time with friends as much as I can. I feel that when you go to school out of state, it’s hard to keep in touch. People grow up and they’re off doing their own thing so it takes a genuine effort to stay in touch. The main thing is to make that commitment to keep the connection going.

Other than catching up with friends, do you have other plans for the summer?
I’m going to Hong Kong for a few weeks to visit my grandma, who I haven’t seen in almost a decade. And then I’m going to go to China for part of the time.

Ok, so one more question. What words or phrases would you use to describe yourself? Who is Will Chow?
Hmm . . . not sure . . . Actually I have this pretty awesome ringtone that has line from a Clipse song that I, for some reason, enjoy a whole lot. It is from the song Young Boy and the line is “Oh my, he’s so gangsta!” So I’ll go with that.