You might know her from her performances with Loose Geese, but Avery Kelly ’23, is anything but one note. As a former student athlete and now an Environmental Studies and government double major, she has seen many sides of campus and hopes to continue exploring all that the University has to offer during her last months on campus. This week, Kelly sat down and talked with The Argus about her band, environmental conspiracies, and trying everything once.
The Argus: What are your majors and some of the things you do on campus?
Avery Kelly: I’m an Environmental studies and government major. The main thing I do [on campus] now is I’m in the band Loose Geese. I don’t know if you’ve seen it. It started as a cover band, but now we’re writing our own music. So it’s been really fun. I used to do varsity crew for three years [but I] quit this year. So that’s what I was doing before this. [Also] I work in the Title IX [office]. I am on the ski team now, which is fun.
A: Why do you think you were nominated to be a WesCeleb?
AK: I think I cheated. I talked with UG about it. I like to be quite sociable and ever since high school, I’ve always wanted to be doing as many things at once and try to meet as many kids on campus as I can. Ever since freshman year, I have just liked to try things.
A: Can you tell me a little bit about Loose Geese and how you started with that?
AK: At the end of my sophomore year, it was the end of our COVID-19 year. I was just kind of unhappy, as most people probably were as well. I was unsatisfied with the things outside of school and I was in a band in high school—and we wrote an album and we put it on Spotify. I always wanted to do that at Wesleyan and I feel like I didn’t really get the chance freshman or sophomore year. So, at the end of sophomore year, I really made it my goal to just start one myself. I reached out to my friend Daniel. I actually was singing in the shower in [the] Butts, and this girl was like, ‘you should start a band,’ and I was like,‘I would love that.’ She was like, ‘you should talk to this kid, Daniel.’ And that’s how we connected. He’s the lead guitarist. And then it kind of blossomed from there. Now we practice three or four times a week. I love spending time with them.
A: Can you tell me about one of your favorite experiences with Loose Geese?
AK: Our last concert was definitely one of my favorites. I think last year we were a little bit nervous and maybe a little hard on ourselves when it came to performing. We really wanted to entertain people, but now, we’re doing it for ourselves, which is really fun. And we performed an original song. It was in the ADP Grotto, so it had really cool intimate vibes. All the people I cared about were there and it was really cool to see people I’ve never met [there] cause they heard about it.
A: Academics-wise, what brought you to government and Environmental Studies?
AK: Going to Wesleyan, I was intrigued by the College of the Environment. I just liked the program. The teachers seemed really fun and genuine. I was gonna do SISP, but then I ended up doing government just because I thought they would pair well together. It wasn’t really a passion-driven decision, but now I’m really happy that I did it. I mean, it’s not as tangible as doing sculpting or the arts. But, I think this year as I like turned my crank I’m getting closer and closer to what specifically my interests are and that’s really satisfying too.
A: What has been your favorite class that you’ve taken at Wesleyan?
AK: It was actually my freshman year, first semester. It was “Environmental Philosophy” with Justin Good; he was a visiting professor. I just loved his approach; it was so Wesleyan. Every day we would meditate for 10 minutes. Some days he wouldn’t wear shoes. We just talked very meta about the environment. The class was very engaging and there were a lot of fiery voices. We went to his homestead as a field trip. He lives in a yurt with his wife and three goats and the homestead is where all these different communities and NGOs come to do events. It was so cool, just so fun.
A: What is your capstone project about?
AK: I’m honestly a little slow on my actual capstone. I think I’ve always been big into podcasting. I started a podcast this semester that hasn’t come to fruition, but we’ve done some interviews. We did one with Middletown Marc in my house, and we just shoot the shit. It’s called “It’s Not That Deep.” But I just haven’t had the time to get around to posting it to Spotify. It’s going to be done hopefully before we come back from break. Anyways, for my capstone, I’m doing a five part investigative podcast series on misinformation campaigns of fossil fuel companies. And I’m going to interview [Assistant] Professor [of Government Lindsay] Dolan as one of the guests…. We’re gonna have another woman that runs her own podcast on the history of misinformation campaigns. It will hopefully give a lot of context on why people have so many mixed understandings of climate change. It’s like not a coincidence that there [were] climate deniers, that was a seed planted.
I remember this one professor [of Environmental Studies], Brian [Stewart]. I had him last year. I love him. He does these crazy rants. He took us on a little field trip of Exley, showing us all the different greenwashing that Wesleyan does and he brought us to the trash compactors outside Pi that have the solar panels. And he was like, ‘what’s wrong with this?’ We were like, ‘what?’ He’s like, ‘why don’t these work?’ He gave us a little hint. He was like, ‘the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, right?’ And we were like, ‘yeah.’ But the solar panel is on the wrong side. It’s in the shade the whole time. They’re idiots and he was like, ‘well, it’s the side that the people go on their tours.’ It’s in the front of Pi so everyone sees it. I think he also told us that it’s one of the least efficient solar panel farms in all of Connecticut.
A: Do you have any favorite experiences being here, outside of the band or academics?
AK: Yeah, for sure. I, weirdly enough, was reflecting upon this today because I’m trying to write a speech for commencement. And so I had to do quite a bit of reflecting. I think one of my favorite, most memorable, most impactful experiences was last year. I worked on this project with an interim professor. Her name was Gretchen. She worked for this nonprofit called Forklift Danceworks. It was the WesWorks production, which was a big, big undertaking, but there was a class specifically dedicated to it.
There were maybe 15 kids and we all had different jobs on set. The most important one was job-shadowing all of the [on-campus] workers and convincing them to actually be in [the show]. I mostly job-shadowed the people working for Physical Plant, specifically the plumbing team, and I would go behind the walls of Exley with one of the plumbers—Dean—and we’d clog leaks. We vibed so hard that we’re friends and we go out and get lunch.
He filled a fatherly role. It was just a really nice experience. It was a very restorative relationship I had with Wesleyan because my freshman year there was a pandemic and then my dad died, and it was just awful. Things out of my control were altering my expectations and my experience. This year, especially, I’ve let go of all expectations. A lot of my friends are underclassmen, so it’s just really nice to get refreshing perspectives too.
A: What would you tell people who still have time left at Wesleyan?
AK: That’s a good question. I think why a lot of us are attracted to Wesleyan is that we can do a million different things at once here. Don’t be afraid to switch around if something isn’t serving you. I mean, I quit crew; it wasn’t serving me anymore. But then I fully got to experience the other half of Wesleyan. Being at Wesleyan is training for life; taking risks and not being too hard on yourself, especially when it comes to work. You have to learn social skills. I started having a lot more fun when I tried 10% less in my classes, which isn’t the best advice for everyone, but don’t worry about that. I think it’s really important just to make connections. I’ll try anything once. I’ll go to almost any club once. It’s a really great way to meet people. Even if it sounds like it’s not your scene, that’s a way to get out there and change your perspective.
A: Do you have anything else you want to add?
AK: I hope my friends read this. I love the senior class. I think we’ve all been through it, but I think now that we’re actually here for the second semester I think a lot of people are coming out of their shell. The class of ’23 is a great class.
Lia Franklin can be reached at email@example.com.