After trying the Starbucks on Cornell and Euclid and the Church of the Covenant, we finally settled in the newly renovated/opened LGBT Center in Thwing, where I got to meet a very dedicated and fun-loving Homecoming King.
Jacob Martin: Where are you from?
Eben Via: Evanston, Illinois.
JM: Why CWRU?
EV: Because I like math and science, I want to be an engineer. I originally planned to play football here but tore up my knee a little three days into practice freshman year. I spent six weeks on crutches. Now I do track and field.
JM: What are you majoring in?
EV: Mechanical Engineering.
JM: Tell me about your co-op?
EV: I co-oped this past spring/summer with Horsburgh & Scott. They make gears, big gears, like 500 lbs.-80,000 lbs. for heavy industry purposes. Definitely do a co-op if you’re an engineer. It’s a great time, you learn a little bit, and you make some money.
JM: What did you miss most about being on co-op? Were you on campus?
EV: I was on campus. I was able to stay in my fraternity house. As a student, I miss those long, just grinding, horrible, mentally strenuous weeks that made you just feel like sh*t. But at the end of it you’re like ugh, done. You worked hard, you played hard and you got through it all.
JM: So how do you feel about winning Homecoming King?
EV: I’m pretty excited. It was not expected to be honest. I had a fun time campaigning, made court and thought maybe I had a shot at second or third. But I was pretty ecstatic.
JM: You’re in Sigma Nu, how does it feel to be nominated by them?
EV: (Laughs) You know, I don’t think anyone knew I was running ‘til like halfway through. Our social chair approached me and he said “We got you and my other friend.” He said “Do you want to do it because he’s kind of on the fence about it?”, and I’m like, “Yeah I’ll do it!”
JM: So did you get any support?
EV: Yeah, my friend Peter Schillo was a great campaign manager. He helped a lot. He stayed up and helped me chalk one night and he definitely was a good motivator. Also, the biggest honor was when my friend, an alumnus, John Horton, made me a Facebook group entitled “Eben is a hot piece of Homecoming A.”
JM: So what do you see happening as a result of your newly initiated royalty?
EV: I imagine that it places me higher up on the line for the English throne. I don’t know how many princes I would have to kill before I’d be up for that, but I also imagine it will make me an instant star among the Case Western freshman. Hopefully my name will get out there and I will be loved forever.
JM: I appreciate your sarcasm.
EV: Well I just picture a lot of ribbon cutting ceremonies, kissing babies on the forehead and shaking hands.
JM: Let’s turn back to you personally, how has Sigma Nu impacted you as a person and as a student?
EV: I think it’s impacted me greatly, it’s been an outlet to get more involved on campus, with Greek life, and it’s a great way to get more active in the community. For example, I’m vice president of Sigma Nu and I’ve also organized the Relay for Life team.
JM: Other than Sigma Nu, what else are you involved in around campus?
EV: I am a member of the track team, I’m a thrower. I’m in APO which is a community service fraternity. I’ve done a myriad of other little Greek events such as the Spartan Leader Program and recruitment ambassador over the summer, and I had a short stint on USG.
JM: So what did you think of the Homecoming game?
EV: I think other than the weather, everything was great. It was an exciting game. But I have to say, whichever player blocked that last extra point attempt, I applaud you and hope to one day be as cool as you.
JM: Of all the classes you’ve take at Case, which one was your favorite?
EV: Fingerpainting 101 taught me a lot about life. I really discovered my inner artist.
JM: Favorite quote?
EV: One of my favorite quotes of all time is from the website Postsecret: “Your last mortal thought will be ‘Why did I take so many days- just like today- for granted.'” Sometimes it’s good to just stop and think about these words.
JM: What’s your favorite CWRU memory?
EV: My freshman year we did a lot of stupid things on my floor, nothing harmful but mostly goofy. One time we made a trash bag water balloon and dropped it off the fourth floor balcony. We all thought it was pretty cool, and of course the next thing we did was start to fill up the next one in the shower. While doing this, the R.A. who saw our first bag fall came running into the bathroom, so we were basically caught red-handed with no possible way to explain while there were four guys in the bathroom filling up a trash bag with water.
JM: Other than #47, is there anyone else you want to give a shout out to?
EV: I want to give a shout out to Peter Schillo and John Horton, they were pivotal in my campaign, along with the rest of Sigma Nu. Oh, uh, my little brother Xavier because I used him as campaign propaganda.
JM: Was that the baby on your fliers?
EV: Yeah, I noticed a lot of sorority girls used rhymes and clever little mnemonic devices, so I figure what’s more shocking than sitting next to landmarks around the Case campus. At one point I grew a pair of horse legs to take my horse photo. Overall, I guess my campaign strategy was just to make you look twice and go, who the F*** is this kid?
Sitting in the Peter B. Lewis building on Monday afternoon, 2010 Homecoming Queen Alexa Fiffick sips her sugar-free Rockstar and plays it cool. From shooting to dance, Alexa Fiffick keeps it classy.
Jacob Martin: Where are you from?
Alexa Fiffick: Hinckley, Ohio, home of the buzzards.
JM: So you are relatively close. Why CWRU?
AF: Ultimately, of all the schools I looked at, [CWRU] was the only one that I thought would challenge me more than just academically. I wanted to go to a school where the people were as dorky as I was.
JM: So what’s your major?
AF: I have a major in Sociology and a minor in Dance and I’m pre-med.
JM: Why minor in dance? Is it something you enjoy?
AF: Dance is just something that I’ve always done. It’s like the one outlet that kind of keeps me sane. It clears my head and I decided that if I was going to be pre-med I needed to have that outlet so I wanted that minor.
JM: Very nice. What organizations are you involved in on campus?
AF: I am the captain of the Spartan Dance Team, I’m involved in Phi Mu, and I was an Orientation leader last year and a Case Ventures leader. Right now, this semester, I’m really only involved with the Dance Team and Phi Mu.
JM: How do you like Phi Mu?
AF: I really like it. I never would’ve been a sorority girl but I was literally dragged to recruitment freshman year and just sort of stumbled upon it. Now it’s the whole big-little feeling I get. Almost half of last year’s pledge class calls me their “fake big” and it’s just a great feeling.
JM: Now I know your campaign involved jellybeans, but what was your strategy?
AF: There were posters, there were t-shirts that had my face on them, there were jellybeans and Ring Pops. I didn’t have much say in it, it was mostly the PR committee of Phi Mu.
JM: What about your slogan “Fiffick is terrific?”
AF: That’s the only one anybody thought of. We didn’t really have one and were like “crap”, and I was like, “All I can come up with is rhyming Fiffick with terrific” and somebody was like, “Oh my God that’s what I was going to pitch to you but I wasn’t sure you would like it.” I was considering [since] that’s all we’ve got, we better use it.
JM: So how did you pull all of this off? Where did the favors come from?
AF: A lot of it came from Phi Mu which is lucky because a lot of people foot their own bill.
JM: What was your impression on this year’s Homecoming as a whole?
AF: It was fun. It’s a lot different from the inside than from the outside. I don’t think people realize how cool it could be. My favorite thing was the Powder Puff football game. The whole thing was just really flipping cool.
JM: Now to be completely random, any favorite TV shows?
AF: I, oh my God, I watch way too much of the Food Network. It’s the first thing I turn on at any point in the day. I also really like Criminal Minds and old school stuff like The Nanny and Golden Girls.
JM: Favorite restaurant in Cleveland?
AF: Okay, if I’m going to be a stuck up snob, Blue Pointe Grill. That’s my favorite place. My parents take me there, especially for my birthday and I’m a tota[lly] spoiled. I eat escargot, lobster, and their tuna is so fantastic. But to not be stuck up then Melt. Everyone needs to go to Melt.
JM: So give me a fun fact about yourself.
AF: I don’t know if I would ever want this published, but I am a really big hillbilly.
JM: Can you elaborate on that?
AF: I have my boating license, and a motorcycle temp, and I shoot. I go shooting with my dad, but I do not hunt, there’s no way I’d ever be patient enough to hunt. I’m a little too feisty for that. If I hunt I want to chase it down and shoot it.
JM: You’re very unassuming; you wouldn’t think any of that about you.
AF: I try to stay classy! But I never fit in anywhere I go. I’m just a giant dork.
JM: So what’s your favorite spot on campus?
AF: That’s a tricky one. It depends on what mood I’m in. If I’m feeling social, right in the middle of the Quad, sitting in the grass studying is great. If I’m feeling anti-social, I really like the porch of the Phi Mu house.
JM: Finally, fun fact about Alexa Fiffick?
AF: I like driving. When I’m home I get to drive my baby, his name’s Raoul. He is a 2007 Ford Mustang. I wasn’t allowed the V8, I have the V6; I got it from a bet with my dad, but I really want a V8.