Alex Vidmar is a senior with an independent concentration in Western Esoteric Studies (magic). He’s an aspiring Pirate of academia, he has an S/NC tattoo, he’s the co-leader of the Deans, he’s a coach for Providence high school debaters, he’s an IT service person, and he is simply one of the most positive and interesting people at Brown.
This week, Blog met with Alex to find out what his deal is! We got Alex’s name because someone nominated him through our anonymous Google form. Know someone cool at Brown worthy of being interviewed? Fill out this 1 minute survey here.
So, what is Western Esoteric Studies?
I would say it’s the intersection of the history of science and religion, and also magic. I study why those are three different things.
What’s the most important thing that you’ve discovered through your studies?
If I’ve learned anything, it’s that you should always take people at face value. There is always some kind of meaning or symbolism behind someone’s beliefs. It’s interesting to think about what has meaning to people. Whether it’s “logical” or “real” doesn’t really matter. Meaning matters, and people make meaning.
I hear you have an S/NC Tatoo. What was the inspiration behind that?
I wanted to do something Brown related. I thought, “How do I make it Brown related without making it tacky or too nerdy?” The Brown crest would have been a lot. I guess this is a lot, too actually.
Anyways, I thought about my application to Brown and the “Why Brown” essay. I wrote about how I wanted to be an academic pirate on the open seas of the curriculum with a total freedom to do what I wanted. I realized I chose Brown because I didn’t want to be the same stressed out, over-worried person I was in highschool.
I think S/NC embodies that. Try at what you want to try at.
Oh, and it’s in the official Brown font, too. Minion Pro, if you were wondering.
What are the reactions to your tattoo?
All positive reactions, other than my mom who posted “Wow Really” on Facebook. Not a glowing review, but not terrible.
You are a coach for high schoolers in the Rhode Island Debate League. How do you approach that?
I ask them if Cheesecake is a cake or a pie. It’s highly controversial.
So….Is it a cake or a pie?
Definitely a cake. It wants to be a cake. It has the spirit of a cake. It’s a cake.
Has anything exciting happened while working in the CIT service center?
I’ve been there for four years so it’s been crazy. One of the wildest thing that’s ever happened was actually recent. I guess someone had called in a threat to the Providence Police. The police then did a phone trace, and the threat had apparenty come from a cell phone on Brown’s campus. The police decided to just call the general IT help line at Brown, which was pretty much just me and a bunch of other students, and they asked us to trace the phone.
I just want Providence Police to know we aren’t the NSA and we don’t have that kind of technology or power. We are the IT help center.
What is your mantra or life motto?
We are all Dean.
What do you mean by that?
Did my friends and I start a cult? Maybe.
We had a running joke after I had a meeting with Dean Wolfe in the Bear’s Lair. We thought that “Dean Wolfe and the Bear’s Lair” would be a great band name, and it still would be.
The joke kind of spiraled out of control and we all started calling each other Dean, and eventually, everyone became Dean.
Now we have events called “Deans on the Green” where we put on these embroidered jumpsuits that say Dean, and we sit on the Main Green with free candy and board games and talk to people.
What really is a Dean though?
A Dean is someone who believes in the good will in humanity, and spreading smiles and laughter through absurdity. That’s kind of our mission statement.
How many Deans are there?
Well remember, We are all Dean. It’s kind of like a one is all, all is one philosophy. I’m Dean, you’re Dean, all the readers are Deans. We’re all Dean.