That Guy: Andrew Cockram
February 8, 2008
This week’s That Guy, Andrew Cockram, describes himself as an eccentric bobo — a bohemian bourgeoisie who aspires to be a true Southern gentleman, but also likes listening to jam bands and wearing African garb. He also has a talent for connecting and linking a diverse student body. Drew can often be found playing washboard for the Appalachian Music Ensemble or sitting at a table on the UC Terrace in deep discussion. His quirky and relaxed character is evident by his clothing: a distinct mix of preppy J. Crew pants and brightly colored wraps and tie-dyed shirts.
p. **What is your favorite Drew outfit?**
p. My seersucker suit, but clearly we aren’t in school much after Memorial Day and before Labor Day, so rules of Southern customs don’t allow me to wear it often. Sometimes I’ll wear it just for kitsch value.
p. **What is one of your crazier stories?**
p. Easy one. Well, not easy, but several things in Swem. I’ve streaked Swem, done Swem shots; freshman year during exams we choreographed a dance to “Praise You” by Fatboy Slim. We performed it on all three floors during exams as a mental health note to help out the school and it was very professionally done. We started with 12 people and we picked up new people on each floor who would come up to the next floor with us. There are plans for doing it again this semester.
p. **You’re on the UCTerrace or hanging at the Grind a lot. How do you ever get work done?**
p. [Laughs.] I like the Terrace because I like to people watch a lot and you’ll see some fascinating things there. I’ve seen a guy in a pancreas suit frolicking around. I think that was pretty good. It was just a random day. You’ll find that I just tend to roam around until I find people and then talk to them, and when they’re done I’ll run around and find someone else. I work hard, but also play hard. I’m really focused for a while and then let loose for a while. I actually didn’t find it out until this year, but the only time I get can get reading done is when I’m cycling at the Rec Center.
p. **Did you ever study abroad? **
p. I studied abroad in Durban, South Africa. I knew I wanted to go to South Africa because it’s a developing country but slightly developed. It has the infrastructure but was still wild experience. As a government major, South Africa is a new developing country that still has a lot of political action. I could have gone to Capetown but that’s very European and Durban is very African. I went to a lot of political rallies while I was there. The IFP or minority party has a strong hold there and it’s the only place that they do so it’s just a much more exciting experience in Durban. My school was on strike for the first month and a half so I read some 60-something books from the library. Everything is so cheap there. I would get lunch for like 10 cents. It was half a loaf of bread with curry poured inside.
p. **Have you always wanted to be involved in politics?**
p. I thought I was going to be a math major until junior year of high school. My professor at a community college who taught U.S. history changed me. He showed me that the vehicle to getting most things done is through politics. For next year, I’ve applied to graduate schools in political geography. I’m not quite sure what I want to end up doing, but adding a spatial component to any problem is very useful, so I think my options should be pretty open. I might want to do strategic intelligence for the U.S., but I don’t know for sure.
p. **What is your most interesting politics-related story?**
p. I work for a lot of the voting groups and was on the cover of the Washington Post Express for protesting outside of the voting precinct. It was a presidential election, so there were a lot of people voting. We were protesting and this guy comes up to me and says that students aren’t really citizens and shouldn’t be able to vote. We had a 30- or 40-minute conversation as I tried to tell him that we were living here and that we make up a large number of the population.
p. The guy storms off and leaves. Later that night, I go into Wawa and the guy from earlier is the manager there. I go to pay for my stuff and he says “No, I won’t serve you here.” And I’m trying to just give him my money and be like “I know we had a fight earlier, but I’m just trying to pay you.” But he said he didn’t want any of my business. I contacted Wawa corporate, but never really heard anything back. He’s still there and I think he’s still managing, but I’m not sure.
p. **If you could repeat one day at the College, which would it be and why?**
p. I would repeat the last day of Blowout of my freshman year because I dilly-dallied around, and I didn’t finish this paper of South Africa that I needed to write and I missed the retirement party of Professor [Hans] Tiefel. He was a religion professor and taught medicine and ethics. His class was only open to juniors and seniors, but he allowed me to get in because I was an academic junior. On the first day of class he said, “Jesus would make a ‘C,’ I would make a ‘B,’ and you will fail.” We started off that day with 40 people and by the end we only had a small circle of six because everyone else had withdrawn. I made a ‘D,’ but some did make ‘F’s. It sounds really rough, but he changed my perspective on life and I became a much better person for having him.
Describe your perfect date.
p. I’d have to go with May 17. Oh, romantic date … It needs to be ethnic food because you need to test the person to see whether they’re adventurous or not. I would go with Thai food. That way, you can see if they can deal with the spice. You don’t want to go with Ethiopian food because then it’s in your hands and that’s just too messy. With Thai, you can also test their chopstick skills. After, I’d go on a walk, then sit on a park bench and listen to some music.