Uncommon Interview- Kristin Greer Love

By Jen Glickel

We’d be lying if we said that the Maroon stopped to chat with Kristin Greer Love, a student spending winter quarter in Cape Town, South Africa, but, thanks to the wonder of technology, we managed to bug her with a few questions.

Chicago Maroon: What year are you? What is your major?

Kristin Greer Love: I am a third-year in the college, studying Law, Letters and Society and History with an emphasis in Human Rights.

CM: What activities are you involved in on campus?

KGL: Campus and community environmental and social politics have been great outlets for me during college. I devote most of my time to the Green Campus Initiative, an environmental organization that focuses on campus environmental sustainability.

Last year I trained for and ran the Chicago Marathon, which was an amazing experience. The running scene in Cape Town is wonderful. Most of my routes here involve a couple of killer hills that I’m certain I’ll miss when I return to Chicago. Lake trail runs in Chicago are great too, especially in the morning when I enjoy the cool mist near the water.

CM: Which activity is your favorite and what kind of involvement do you have in it?

KGL: Docenting at the Smart Museum of Art is my favorite activity. I lead weekly tours of elementary students who attend Chicago Public Schools on the South Side. Talking with young people about art is a rewarding experience. After gaining exposure to visual language, these students produce rich and thought-provoking reflections on art works, and contribute to my own understanding of art. Last summer, as an education intern at the Smart, I enjoyed weekly art-making sessions with young people and their families. I became acquainted with many of the kids, and I love to see them around the neighborhood and stop to visit with them about their school days or playground exploits.

CM: I understand that you were heavily involved in volunteering for John Kerry during the presidential campaigns. Well, we all know how that turned out…so have you replaced your former political activism with something new?

KGL: I did some canvassing with the Kerry campaign in Wisconsin, but I devoted most of my time to the Obama campaign. I started volunteering in Senator Obama’s downtown office in early March 2003, working as the Finance Intern. At that point, whenever I spoke with friends or folks on the street about Barack Obama for Senate, they raised their eyebrows about the political vitality of a man whose name bears an uncomfortable resemblance to that of a terrorist. Despite his establishment detractors, Senator Obama ran a clean and intelligent campaign, avoiding the sex-violence messes that plagued Blair Hull and Jack Ryan’s campaigns. Moreover, he effectively dissolved the political divisiveness of red county-blue county, gaining significant support from the South Side community, Lake Shore liberals, and downstate farmers, whose communities surround my hometown. Our Democratic Party leaders should take note of his effective strategy. Unlike Kerry, Obama never positioned himself against his opponent in a reactionary way. Senator Obama proposed a progressive agenda that appealed to people across the state who face similar challenges of unemployment, educational inequities, and exploding health care costs.

CM: Weird question, I know, but do you have anything that you’re particularly “known for” amongst your friends or around campus?

KGL: Gosh. Among folks here in Cape Town, I’m known as the runner who spends way too much time (and too many Rands, the South African currency) at Geek, our neighborhood internet cafe. I guess my commitment to veganism (I’ve remained vegetarian for my entire life) is also publicly questioned, as many friends comment on my bizarre eating habits. I always adhere to a vegan diet for meals, but I often grab a Bartlett chocolate chip cookie or two on my way out the dining hall door. After purchasing the cookies with my seemingly bottomless account of dining dollars, I promptly stuff them into my bag, glancing nervously behind my shoulder to make sure that no hardcore vegans have witnessed my daily sin.

CM: What’s your favorite part of the day at the University?

KGL: My favorite part of the day is half past seven in the morning. I usually begin my daily run to the lake at this time, and enjoy the crispness of the morning air.

CM: What have your favorite classes been thus far?

KGL: All of my courses in the Human Rights Program have been consistently amazing. In history, Professor Dipesh Chakrabarty’s Postcolonial Theory has influenced significantly more critical readings of historical scholarship and new frameworks for approaching the writing of history. Three quarters of Media Aesthetics with gifted scholars during my first year have left me with a lasting interest in film theory and criticism.