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Humans of K: Margot Couraud: Outdoors Leader

By Mallika Mitra

Sophomore Margot Couraud enjoying the outdoors. Margot is on the Kalamazoo Outing Club Executive Board.

Many may see Margot Couraud ’16 around campus with her signature spunky, short hair, but few know how much she thrives in the backcountry. According to Margot, as a member of the executive board of the Kalamazoo Outing Club (KOC), she has “to put together meetings, make sure trips are running, get trip sponsors, and manage a budget.”

As a board member, she attends KOC meetings every Friday, meets once a week with the rest of the board, and meets once a week with the board and the Outdoors Programs interns.

“I like to orchestrate outdoors events for people,” Margot said. “It’s a really great community.”

This past summer, Margot was a LandSea leader.

“It was a great experience for me because I love being a part of that community and it was just a great group of people and a great program,” she said. “I think it can challenge people from a physical and mental standpoint. Being a LandSea leader helped make me believe in myself and grow in confidence because I knew my patrol trusted me and being there for them was really great.”

The sophomore has also led trips with the KOC, including the spring break trip to Big Bend National Park, which she said was one of her favorite trips to lead. She got to co-lead with some amazing people, found the national park to be a “really cool place,” and was “happily surprised by how diverse the landscape was.”

“I think that being outdoors is a chance to get away from the normal stresses of life. People have a chance to slow down and get to know each other,” Margot said. You get a chance to think about what’s really important”

This summer, she will be working at Crystalaire Adventures, a camp for outdoors trips, as a logistics manager. She will handle logistical aspects of the camp’s trips, including planning routes and figuring out food proportions.

As a member of the Kalamazoo College Cross Country Team, Margot spends a lot of free time running. She also enjoys watching “How I Met Your Mother,” and her favorite movie is “Little Miss Sunshine.” Currently, she is listening to Fleet Foxes, Beach House, and The Temper Trap.

While she isn’t at school, Margot lives in East Lansing, Michigan with her mother, father, and dog Rusty. Them, along with her older sister, are “a great support system.”

 

Humans of K: Mark Ghafari, Student Athlete

By Mallika Mitra

Humans of K: Mark Ghafari

You may have heard of Mark Ghafari’14 as the shooting guard for the Kalamazoo College men’s basketball team, but there is a lot more to the star athlete than many of us know, such as his love for cooking and reading the Wall Street Journal. The friendly K Senior, who is from Grosse Point, Michigan and attended University of Liggett for high school, recently ended his last basketball season at K.

“Being a student athlete anywhere is a really big time commitment,” Mark said. He calculated that he spends an average of 30 hours a week during the season doing basketball-related things, including being in the gym and training room, watching films with the team, and traveling to and from away games.

After graduation, he plans to play professional basketball in Lebanon, where both of his parents were born and raised.

“I’m very excited about it,” he said.

As an Economics Major, Mark was able to combine his interests in economics and athletics for his Senior Individualized Project, which consisted of research on the economic impacts of hosting the Summer Olympics, including a case study of the 1996 games in Atlanta.

During his junior year, Mark was a career associate at the Center for Career and Professional Development at K and is currently one of the president’s student ambassadors. In the past, Mark was involved with the athletic leadership council and K Crew. During his time at K, he interned at the Eaton Corporation and studied abroad in Strasbourg, France for three months.

“I like to cook,” Mark said when asked what he likes to do in his free time. He was planning to have the basketball team over later in the day for a cook out.

Mark enjoys watching ESPN and the Food Network, and will occasionally watch TV series, including Game of Thrones. He also enjoys doing light reading, such as the Wall Street Journal.

Mark brightened up while talking about his brother Carl Ghafari ’15, who is a junior at K and one of Mark’s teammates.

“I have a great relationship with him,” Mark said, explaining that the two played three sports together in high school and have similar interests.

“We have a chemistry on the court that you can’t teach or replicate,” he said about playing basketball with Carl at K.

Mark also has a sister who is currently a junior in high school and considering coming to K.

“She’s probably the smartest among the three of us,” Mark said, smiling.

Mark said his favorite Professor at K is Dr. Timothy Moffit of the Economics and Business Department.

“He’s been really influential of my experience at K,” Mark said.

 

Humans of K: Rian Brown, Campus Activist

By Mallika Mitra

Whether she is in the Student Commission Office working as the Secretary of Student Affairs, volunteering at the Edison Neighborhood Boys and Girls Club for the service-learning program SMART Girls, or channeling her “sprit individual” Beyoncé, Rian Brown ’16 enjoys making changes that will better the world for future generations.

Born in Grand Rapids and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, the Psychology and Religion double-major said she wants to “change the college institutionally for the people to come after.”

In the past, Rian was the Secretary of Multiculturalism and Diversity on StuComm, and worked at “bringing light to the voices of oppressed groups” whose voices are always there, but not necessarily always heard, she said.

Recently, the Secretary of Student Affairs, who puts in about 40 hours a week for StuComm, announced that she would be running for Vice President for the 2014-2015 school year.

“I was ready to take a more direct role on the Commission,” Rian said. “I started (working with) multiculturalism and diversity and I think the student government is changing to be more out with the people and not an exclusive group.”

Rian, who enjoys interacting with her constituents, works as a barista at the Book Club Café. She explained that this is an interesting way to get to know students, and that she gets to hear about their issues on campus, which helps her as a student commissioner.

The student activist, who is involved with the Arcus Center for Social Justice, said she believes she always was an activist, but did not know the term until she came to K.

Being a student commissioner since fall of her first year, Rian is able to hear what students want, and does not want to take a passive role in making a difference.

“We’re here for four years,” she said. “We want to see change now.”

Rian said she wants to “create new culture” through forums, discussions, and actions. One of her favorite actions was the StuComm recall last spring because it challenged her personally.

“People often think of actions as attacking the other, but as a StuComm commissioner for the recall, it made me challenge myself,” Rian said. She added that it made her think critically about her role as a commissioner, how to serve the students, and how to balance that with being a student herself.

“Everyone says I’m an undercover Political Science major,” Rian said and explained that they all think she should be a politician. To that, she said with a smile, “It depends on how I feel about America that day.” Although, she added that she is a community organizer who wants to make changes for the better.

In her free time, Rian enjoys singing, listening to Beyoncé, and watching Scandal and House of Cards.

Humans of K: Disc Jockey Jakob “The Kaptain” Rodseth

By Mallika Mitra

The Kaptain: Jakob Rodseth DJing a house party.

While most of us spend our weekend nights doing homework, hanging out with friends, or getting off-campus, Jakob Rodseth ’16 often finds himself behind a DJ booth. Rodseth mostly works house parties, but when he’s home in Ann Arbor he will also DJ at University of Michigan fraternity parties, graduation parties, and weddings. He’s done a few school events as well.

“I’ve always enjoyed performance arts… but I got really, really into music like, right at the beginning of high school. I became a music nerd,” Jakob said. “I had to listen to everything. I knew a couple of people who DJed…in Ann Arbor and got me into watching stuff online.”

He and a friend combined their money to buy some “high-end gear to start doing gigs.”

For the past two years, Rodseth has been trying to make his own music. It started with mash-ups, but he recently transitioned to making completely original music.

He uses an Ableton DJ set, which is “useful for people who DJ because if you make your own music it’s easy to use hardware to perform that music live,” Rodseth said.

According to the DJ, who sometimes goes by “Kaptain,” there is nothing like interacting with the crowd through music.

“You literally can control the atmosphere and the feeling of a party,” Jakob said. “The music can make or break a party and being able to introduce that sort of new energy and keep it flowing is a lot of fun.”

Usually people will let Rodseth know anywhere from a week to an hour before an event they want him to DJ. Depending on how much time he has, he will usually put together a playlist that incorporates current top hits, music he’s played before that people like, anything new that he thinks will be requested, and anything he’s found over the past week that he likes. Because he doesn’t have a car, Rodseth will sometimes find himself running down the halls of his dormitory before a gig, looking for someone to help him drive all his equipment.

“I listen to pretty much anything but country,” Rodseth said. “I don’t find any particular genre of music unlistenable,” he added.

He will listen to “anything from classic rock, to top-40 hits, to really weird electronic [music] no one has heard of.”
Rodseth explained that he does DJing for the fun of it.

“It’s cooler than it sounds,” he said. “It is just pressing buttons, but it’s pressing buttons in an ingenious way.”