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January 25, 2005

The Uncommon Interview: David Clayman

In a small undergraduate population like that of the University of Chicago, certain students' names come up again and again on the short list of movers and shakers. But at Chicago, there are so many overachieving, goal-oriented, ├╝ber-involved students that it is difficult to select one to highlight. Nonetheless, the Maroon stopped to chat with one of these students, David Clayman.

Chicago Maroon: What year are you? What is your major? Where are you from? You know, the basics.

David Clayman: I'm a second year, concentrating in either History or Fundamentals, but not both. I'm from Youngstown, a rust-belt town in northeast Ohio. My dad helps manage our family business, a large scrap-yard and recycling plant in Niles, Ohio (the birthplace of William McKinley). It's been around since 1917. I grew up with the impression that my grandfather saw my brother and I as his only opportunity to maintain the family legacy in Niles.

CM: What activities are you involved in on campus?

DC: Student Government, Fire Escape, Dean Art's Advisory Council, Academics Committee, Model U.N. Team. I've worked with Fire Escape before, and I hope to return soon, if time permits. I'd like to see the U of C Film Reel succeed. I've also been trying to help other students make a bigger impact on the tsunami relief efforts by designing a community-wide fundraiser. There are a lot of ideas on the table. We need to focus on executing at least one of the ideas soon. Our work looks promising, but it is certainly going to take longer than we had originally expected. Keep your eyes open for news.

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

DC: My favorite activity? Not counting the fundraising club, it definitely ought to be the DAC or the Academics Committee. SG and Model U.N. are close seconds.

CM: Do you have anything that you're particularly known for amongst your friends or around campus?

DC: Haha, I wish I knew... they could say anything, and probably something you or I would never expect to hear.

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

DC: I strongly believe that my goals here are to learn: a) from over-qualified instructors and peers who can teach something new every day; b) how to take calculated risks with time and energy; c) how to be a better human being and citizen. Every day I learn something new and valuable is a day well spent.

CM: What have your favorite classes been thus far?

DC: Classics, my Sosc class. I can't say enough about it. If I could, I'd take the whole sequence over again. Then, and only then, would I experiment with Self, Culture or Power to see what all the fuss is about. I also thoroughly enjoyed a course taught by Professor Tarcov, "Tyranny: Ancient and Modern" and a course taught by Professor Davidson on Foucault's History of Sexuality.