David G. Hays: February 2012 Archives

An interview with student activist Olivia Woollam

by Adam Janofsky

It's hard not to be restless as a college student, but 3rd year Olivia Woollam has a permanent wanderlust.  Having traveled the world before even arriving in Hyde Park, this history major has spent much of her time at the University of Chicago exploring life outside the ivory tower.  We sat down with Olivia to hear about her favorite areas in the world and in Chicago, and how she stays active in civic life.

Adam Janofksy (AJ):  Do you live in a dorm or off campus?

Olivia Woollam (OW):  I moved off after my first year.  It's a very different experience living off campus.  I think it forces you to be more critical about where you want to be spending your time.  And I'm not saying that Housing's not a great experience.  It's also an amazing support system and forces you to meet people unlike you, which is not to be underestimated.  But I think living off campus definitely gives you a perspective of the fact that the University is not a universe.  It forces you to evaluate a lot of things about the city that you could ignore if you lived on campus.

AJ:  What's your favorite place in the neighborhood?  Why?

OW:  One of my favorite spaces would actually be my roof.  I work with an organization in Woodlawn called FLY (Fearless Leading by the Youth) and over the summer we had an open mic night.  When we went to the roof, it wasn't my apartment, it wasn't in the middle of a church in Woodlawn, it wasn't this space that would be charged with previous usage, everyone was able to come together and be very equal.  I really liked that.

AJ:  What's one trait about Chicago that you love?