A difficult man to track down, Jeff Levin ’12 was eventually captured and led to the windowless business office inside the Record office for his interview. I found Jeff to be quite pleasant, although initially a bit evasive.
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, had the family up for the weekend.
So what year are you?
I’m a junior.
Okay, nice. I’m a sophomore. I actually just transferred from NYU. Are there any tissues in this office?
Er . . .
[Our fruitless search led to many newspapers but few tissues. I tried to keep things on track.]
So, you just transferred from NYU. How’s that going for you?
It’s going well so far here, I really like it. I’m playing soccer, so it was easy to meet people and get affiliated with the school through that. NYU was pretty fun,Â theÂ city is a very good time, but I kind of wanted that campus feel â€“ small college â€“ and Williams is a good school. Overall, I think it was a good decision.
Well, you definitely have the small campus feel.
Haha, that’s true.
I know you’ve only been here a little while, but what are you seeing that’s maybe an interesting difference between the schools?
Two things are huge, actually: the classroom environment and the social scene. Obviously, for many reasons, the social scene is different. The classroom is a lot more entertaining here than at NYU. At NYU, it’s like 300 kids to a class so you don’t participate as much, and the professors just stand on a stage and lecture. Half the people wind up not going. Here, the teachers are much more outgoing. They involve you and kids are always talking to them. I like that as a change.
So the classroom scene of NYU mirrors the social scene â€“ half-capacity, disinterest, etc. . . .
In New York, the kids are a bit crazier in the sense of going out a bit more often, like every night to bars, clubs and things. There’s not the same atmosphere here that you have at a New York City club or a bar.
Not at all. And where are you from originally? New Hampshire, right?
Yeah, I’m from Hanover. It’s pretty low key. I couldn’t imagine staying around there for another four years. It’s a nice town, and it kind of prepared me for a town like Williamstown, although this is even smaller than Hanover.
Is there anything about yourself that you find worthy of One in 2000?
The fact that I’m a transfer means I see the school in a new way. Also since I don’t get the entry experience, I can kind of shine a light on what it’s like to be a transfer and getting affiliated with Williams without an entry, or joining the soccer team as a transfer.
You can shine a light now, a bit.
I’d say the entry experience is pretty important here. Luckily, I have the team and I knew a few people, a couple kids here from high school. I would say it’s pretty difficult â€“ unless you have friends already or are on a team â€“ to get into the social scene.
You live in Dennett Basement?
Yeah, Dennett Basement. You can put that on the record that Dennett Basement is a dark place . . . there are leaks out of the toilet, which is just disgusting. One time, I was in my room and heard a couple girls walking by â€“ which is rare to have girls in there â€“ I hear a couple of girls walking by my room who say, “God, whoever lives down here must be creepy.” I was like, “Come on,” you know. Really? My philosophy on the whole thing is that they should put transfers in better dorms, not below the freshmen.
Is that a main message from the basement?
Yes, we’re not creepy. Dennett Basement is . . . well, could be fun. We could throw some parties down there. I think my neighbor is trying to move out, actually. If they keep having floods out of the bathroom, I’ll move out, but so far it’s all right. When I’ve shown my friends the room, they said they’ve never known this floor existed.
Wow, it’s good that you’ve made friends then, with all this trouble.
Yeah, I mean, I’ve come out of the basement several times to explore the world above earth, but it’s not too bad. People are really relaxed down there.
Considering this cramped space, it feels like I’ve lured you from one basement to another.
[We both take a gander at the paper-strewn room.]
Yep, no windows, feels like home.
Wait, what? There are no windows in your room?
No, no. I’ve got windows. There are windows above ground actually; I was dreading the no-window room. A friend of mine at another college has that room, and that sucks.
[I then spent some time educating Jeff about such Williams delights as the neighborhood system and Tyler Annex, which Jeff has been told was located “somewhere in Vermont.” Most importantly, I more fully introduced him to the Record and even encouraged him to research previous Dennett Basement coverage the paper has done.]
Anything else you want to make sure goes in?
I mean, I don’t really care what goes in, as long as it doesn’t make me look like a fool â€“ well, even so, that’s not always a bad thing. Maybe shout-outs. It could be kind of funny to embarrass a few people â€“ nah, I mean, whatever you put in. I trust you.
Jeff, I’m glad you’ve had so positive an experience of the Record in such a short time.
So this is a serious newspaper, huh?
You could say that.