That Guy: David Cooper
November 3, 2009
__A Portland, Ore. native who discovered the College of William and Mary partially because it was conveniently listed on the Common Application, David Cooper has thrived on the East Coast within our campus community. A member of Kappa Delta Rho, director of Public Affairs for AMP and chairman for the Council for Fraternity Affairs, a common theme in David’s life is his desire to bridge the naturally occuring communication gaps between people. Sporting a KDR shirt and drinking a cup of hot chocolate, David sits down to discuss his unruffled life’s pace and chat about Dragon Boating, Halloween and how to dispel the myths of Greek life.__
*What’s the difference between here and the Pacific Northwest, where you are from?*
I guess the first year here people would ask me how it was all different from the West Coast. It’s not really that different — I’ll say pop instead of soda or Coke, but that’s the only thing really. When I first got here I’d ask people where they were from and they’d say NoVa and I thought it was a city; I was like, “there’s this huge city in Virginia that I’ve never heard of.” I didn’t realize it was “northern Virginia.” It took me a while.
*You are now on the advisory board for your fraternity, Kappa Delta Rho, even though you initially never thought you’d join a fraternity. How did you get involved?*
I never, never thought I would be in a fraternity, but I met a guy here who was also from Oregon who was a KDR who I started to get to know, then realized I fit in and decided to join. I guess at first I didn’t want to join because of the stereotypes.
*What do you think of the stereotypes that sometimes plague Greek life?*
It’s just unfortunate. It’s just the one incident that happens really rarely that fits the stereotype that perpetuates it. I’m the chairman for the Council for Fraternity Affairs so that work is just trying to be an example and encourage others to not fit that stereotype in the community.
*What do you do to dispel negative stereotypes?*
Our work is based on personal relationships with chapter presidents, school administrators. What I do as a KDR will reflect on the entire Greek community, so it’s important to raise awareness of that.
*Do you like to move around or are you a homebody?*
I’m a homebody. Foreign places are fun and interesting and I’m sure it would be fun to travel around for a year … but I’d rather have a home base and then visit places.
*What is something people around here might not know about you?*
I am totally a TWAMP. I enjoy video games and reading, but I also love to Dragon Boat. I did this all four years during high school and actually got to travel up to Canada and do it. Basically, it’s like canoeing with 20 people in a boat. [The boats] have an ornamental head and an ornamental tail and there are two styles [of racing] — Taiwanese and Hong Kong. In Taiwanese you have someone lean off the side of the boat and catch a flag out of the water at the end, and in Hong Kong you just straight race. I’ve got videos of me doing it on Facebook.
*Did you dress up for Halloween?*
Yes, I was totally TWAMPy. I decided [in] the last 20 minutes what I’d be and didn’t go out and buy a costume or anything, and I was the recession. I was like half-business, half-bum. I mean I just had a dress-collared shirt with a loose tie and these raggedy shorts that have these holes in them and are falling apart. I just wore dress shoes without socks and a nametag that said, “Hello, my name is The Recession.”
*What good movies have you seen lately?*
“Zombieland.” I enjoyed it. Me and some of my fraternity brothers play “Left For Dead,” an Xbox 360 game where you shoot zombies, and I really enjoy that, so the movie was hilarious. There is one scene where there is a clown that pops out, so someone in the theater must have been afraid of clowns because they screamed and launched back in their chair and their popcorn went everywhere.
*What’s a fun fact about you?*
I’m a dual citizen. My dad’s British, so every other summer or so we’ll go back to England for a little while, two weeks or so, with my family. What’s really exciting about that is that I have [a European Union] passport, which means I don’t need a work visa, which means I could work for the EU or something. So, we’ll see if something like that works out later in life. Ideally, I’d like to do something with international development and aid, like USAID, State Department or some other nonprofit or something like that.
*Can you speak with a believable British accent?*
No, I can’t. People have asked. I pick it up when I go there but I would just be embarrassing myself beyond anything.
__He might not be gifted in the accent department, but David is a self-titled “renaissance man,” who is active in a variety of organizations. Plus, he has a fun and relaxed attitude to boot. And, for the record, Dragon Boating is definitely worth Googling.__