Cole Simon is a junior economics major and environmental issues minor at Colorado College. He has worked with his parent’s businesses and now works for admissions. This week, the Catalyst sat down with Simon to discuss his experiences and worldly insights.
The Catalyst: Where did you grow up and how has that impacted your life?
Cole Simon: I grew up in the suburbs in Baltimore, Maryland. I really liked where I grew up, but it was kind of suburb-y. I went to school in the city, had a bunch of friends in the city, so it was nice to have that close by. I love Baltimore and there are a lot of fun artsy areas, and it’s a nice city. It was nice to have my little space, but I couldn’t really do much until I could start to drive.
TC: As an economics major, what do you like about the econ department?
CS: I’ve had some amazing professors in the econ department. I think a lot of the faculty is really open minded about economics, and about critiques, and challenging classical approaches. I’ve also been able to study abroad with the econ department; with Mark Smith, I went to the U.N. Climate Change Conference last year. And that was just an amazing experience and really changed my study of economics. I picked up an environmental issues minor, too.
TC: What is your worst memory from your time abroad?
CS: I had bedbugs for like a month. At the beginning of the semester I was staying with a host family in Florence with this wonderful woman who I called Nonna, which means grandmother in Italian. And she was amazing, but she didn’t speak any English and I, of course, didn’t speak any Italian. And so I start getting these bumps all over my body for the first couple of weeks I’m there. Everyone’s worried about it and I’m like kind of itchy and just super bumpy. And I realized I had bedbugs and I couldn’t tell anybody about it because I didn’t know how to speak Italian. So I just kind of made these big scratching gestures for the first couple of weeks and she just thought I was sick. And the situation remedied itself eventually; we just washed the sheets and we washed everything and it was all good.
TC: How do you throw a good party?
CS: I’m really into themes, strong themes. I think it’s always good if you help people dress up — if you have some masks or necklaces at your party so people feel included in the theme. Rhyming themes are good, too; culturally relevant themes, consent-oriented, inclusive.
TC: What’s a wild experience you’ve had as an Admissions Ambassador?
CS: Ooh I’ve had some pretty wild tours and really odd questions. But one of my favorites is when I took a tour group to the top of Shove Chapel. I thought it’d be a fun thing to do, a little bird’s eye tour; I was new to the job. Mid-tour, the woman who worked in Shove Chapel called my boss to report me and I almost got fired. But it was a beautiful experience. And we got to the top of Shove Chapel after climbing all the stairs, we realized we didn’t have the keys. We had to go all the way back down — the whole tour group. It was a rough day.
TC: What bizarre talents do you have?
CS: I can identify like 100 types of dogs. It used to be more; I’ve lost a couple. My family owns a pet lodge — just like a hotel for dogs and cats — in Maryland, so I had that knowledge.
TC: Can you tell me about your hairstyle history?
CS: Oh geez. I’ve cut some hair a couple times. I thought it went better than the person whose hair I cut have. But I’ve had some bloody haircuts. I used to do technical interviews; when someone was applying to be a hairstylist, they’d cut someone’s hair to prove they could cut hair. And so, there I was, getting my ear chopped and these awful bowl cuts. And I’ve also done hair shows, like for hair conventions, where I, like, walked the runway with a haircut. I used to, like, kind of have a rat tail. It was kind of unintentional, but I thought it looked cool. It was, like, the bowl cut in the front, the rat tail in the back.
TC: In 10 years, how would you hope that your friends describe you?
CS: I like to think I’m unpredictable and I hope in 10 years I’m still kind of unpredictable and really going for things that I’m passionate about and not being afraid to just do them. Yeah, I guess passion is really important because if someone is passionate about something and is able to really pursue that passion, put other things aside, that’s a really admirable quality. And I hope to pursue my passions that I have now, find new passions and really pursue them fully.
TC: Why are you passionate about environmental issues?
CS: Before I came to CC, I was kind of unwoke about the whole environmentalism thing. But really, going to the U.N. Climate Change Conference was kind of a pivotal moment. I became vegetarian for like six months, declared a minor. And really for me it was just about the people. Because that conference hosted by Fiji, it was kind of focusing on indigenous peoples and communities vulnerable to climate change. And so when it became more of an eco-justice issue, I realized that I had to care about it, it’s my responsibility, not just that it was good to care about.
TC: What is something that not many people know about you?
CS: I can put my feet behind my head. That’s a fun party trick that usually I don’t like to do at parties. I can also turn my feet backwards.