When talking to Lucy Salwen ’17, one instantly feels surrounded by an aura of earnestness and positive energy. A person who takes pride in her friendliness and supportive nature, Salwen tries hard to encourage an inclusive atmosphere at the University. The Argus was fortunate enough to sit down with the captain of Vicious Circles to discuss Local Co-ops, printmaking, and lots of Frisbee drills.
The Argus: Why do you think you were nominated to be a WesCeleb?
Lucy Salwen: I actually know why I was nominated, because me and my friend nominated each other and my friend did an excellent job writing a blurb for me. But probably the reason I was chosen is I do a lot with frisbee. I’m captain of the frisbee team. I also do other things on campus, like I run the Local Produce Co-op.
A: The Women’s Frisbee team went to Nationals last year, right? Can you tell me a little about that experience?
LS: That was really, really exciting for me. When I joined the team my freshman year, there were probably five girls on the team, and then we just grew a lot. I’ve been captain since my sophomore year, and I had awesome co-captains all my years. Our program grew my sophomore and junior year. We had enough girls to field two teams, so we split into a competitive and a less competitive team. And then the competitive team ended up going to Nationals, which is the first time the Wesleyan’s women’s team had gone to Nationals in 23 years. We had been kind of joking about going to Nationals; #roadtoNationals was kind of a joke. And then suddenly, we won Regionals, and I was like, “We’re actually going to Nationals!” I hadn’t let myself think we would actually go up until the final point. So it was really fun. And we came in ninth, which was awesome. It was an awesome experience. And we’re gonna try to go back this year, and win! Hopefully.
A: What do you think makes a good frisbee captain? What are the skills you have to have?
LS: What I take a lot of pride in, as a captain, is that I allowed the program to develop into such a big and successful community, sort of making sure that the environment stays really inclusive and supportive. And I think that’s important for any sort of space on campus: just maintaining a welcoming, supportive, inclusive environment that anyone thinks they can join, because you don’t really know what potential someone has if they don’t feel welcome to join. On top of that, a lot of frisbee drills. But I think most of the labor is emotional labor, like staying positive. There’s a lot of organizing, a lot of emails, and, yeah, a lot of frisbee drills.
A: You mentioned you’re in charge of the Produce Co-op, and I was wondering if you could talk a little about that.
LS: So I co-run the Local Produce Co-op, which is a really awesome thing. I definitely meet a lot of people doing that, which is fun. It’s fun to give veggies out to people.
A: What do you think is the value of the Local Co-op system at Wesleyan?
LS: I think there’s a lot of values. One, I know for a fact that it is really important to Connecticut farmers. They’re really appreciative to have a consistent consumer base, which Wesleyan students provide. And then, from a student side, one of the things that’s awesome is that it forces students to pay more attention to their food, and to know where it comes from, and know that it’s produced in an environmentally sound and friendly way. I think it’s so easy to go to Usdan and just plop things on your plate, not even knowing what it is. Also, the other fun thing about it is that it forces you to cook, because you have all these veggies that you might not know what to do with. I write the food newsletter that sends out with recipes, so I try to come up with tips and tricks that would be easy for students to use. And then, I guess, thirdly, is that it builds community. It’s just like a really nice place to be in every Wednesday, everyone’s coming through, lots of familiar faces.
A: Where you involved with any similar things before running the Produce Co-op?
LS: Last year I ran the Tofu Co-op, which is awesome, too. Last year, I also [house-managed] for Earth House and did a lot of environmental training with them, and my sophomore year I worked as an eco-facilitator in Butts C. Something about Wesleyan is that there’s never enough time to do everything that you want to do, and there’s a lot of environmental work and activism going on that I wish I could have been more involved in but just didn’t have the time. This year especially, with my thesis and everything.
A: What’s your thesis on?
LS: I’m doing a Studio Art thesis, so I’m doing printmaking. Right now I’m doing images of my parents playing paddleball at the beach, which is really fun.
A: You’re obviously involved in a lot of things: you’re a WesCeleb, you’re a senior. What advice would you give to incoming students?
LS: In terms of academics, something I didn’t really learn until the end is to find out which professors people really like, and then take classes with them. It’s really worth it to be in classes with really good professors. In terms of socially, coming in as a freshman, I would say there’s a lot of emphasis on being cool at Wesleyan, and I would say, focus on being generous and being kind in social situations. Any sort of perceived coolness required at Wesleyan will fade away in the world, so be generous to other people and to everyone.
A: What are some ways people could increase their generosity?
LS: Be friendly, be inclusive. Obviously not everyone feels like they’re in a place where they can do that. But, if you feel comfortable in a place, extend yourself. Freshmen, too, when you come to a new place, people find friends, and I think there’s a lot of stability in your friend group, and that’s important your freshman year for a lot of reasons, but I think challenging yourself to see yourself beyond your friend group is really important for personal development, and it’s also just good for the community at large.