One in 2000: Chad Lorenz ’13

With nicknames like “Chad Bro Chill Bro” and jobs like “President of Vice,” it’s tough not to get lost in the mystique of Chad Lorenz ’13. And having long heard legends of the Williams Ultimate Frisbee Organization (WUFO) star, I set off to see just what all the hype was about. So it was that we cozied up in armchairs with a tape recorder between us, riding out the Massachusetts madness of our own Hurricane Sandy. He regaled me with memories of adventures in Amsterdam’s red light district, stories of the famous “Mark Hopkittens” and aspirations of urban planning America’s next big city.

Any idea why you were picked as “One in 2000?”

That’s a good question! Because when I told someone today that I was going to be “One in 2000,” they said, “Don’t they normally pick unique people?” I don’t do anything crazy or bizarre or anything like that, but I do have my fingers in a lot of different things on campus.

One of those things is WUFO, right?

Yes, I am the social chair of ultimate Frisbee, which is big for me. But in addition to that, I work with the Sustainable Growers and DJ a radio show with WCFM from midnight to 1 a.m. on Tuesday nights.

Jeez! And did I hear you used to play lacrosse, too?

Yeah, I got a call from [Head Lacrosse Coach George McCormack] that winter [of my senior year of high school] when I was shoveling snow off my sidewalk in Maine. I had gotten deferred originally, so he just said, “Do you still want to come?” And of course I did! So I guess that’s how I’m here.

But you don’t play anymore, right?

I played for one season before having to get a pretty big knee surgery. Coming off that surgery, I just thought a lot about the next few years. I knew I wanted to go abroad and could only do that in the spring because of my major … I guess there are other things that matter a lot to me.

And you did end up going abroad?

I was caught between New Zealand and Copenhagen but knew I wanted to travel in Europe. I guess I could do it later, but I wanted to do that now! Cope[nhagen] had a great sustainability program, so I could stay within my major. It’s super progressive environmentally, so it was cool to learn about in my fall classes before setting off.

What was the weirdest thing about being there that semester?

It’s very western, but they have some bizarre quirks for sure. Like when you’re walking across the sidewalk, you’re not supposed to wave. Like ever. And you can’t just strike up conversation randomly if you’re waiting at the bus stop. We were always kind of wondering how you make friends as a Dane.

And did you get a chance to do that Euro-trip you’d wanted?

Yeah, there was sort of a poo-poo platter of sorts that spring break. I went to Norway with some kids on my program and hiked in the fjords and all that. I went to Berlin by myself for a few days and biked all around the city. I am a really bad amateur photographer so I took lots of awful photos. Ended up in Venice!

And what was the craziest thing you did abroad?

I mean, there are some things I can’t say…

Any print-appropriate mischief?

Oh, yeah! I went with my class and traveled to the Netherlands for a study trip. We all went to the red light district in Amsterdam one night when we were allowed out. Long story short, I came home and I had the word “sexy” written across my stomach. I guess you can use your imaginations from there. Do with that what you will.

So it must have been a big change of pace to come back here…

Definitely … there were some classmates who I hadn’t seen for a whole year! I also felt like I didn’t know half of the student body. But it’s evened out now, and I’ve been working a lot of the time on my thesis.

Thesis?

I am writing on why people don’t bike more in Boston, comparing it to Portland. Portland is the best biking city in the States, and Cope[nhagen] is one of the best worldwide; it works so well there! So I guess I will try to quantify and qualify what makes it so successful.

Awesome! Where did this idea come from?

Well, I am an environmental policy major, so it’s in my wheelhouse I guess. The last two summers, I’ve stayed in Williamstown and done related things. Two summers ago I worked with the Hoosic River Watershed. And this summer, I did an individual research project on urban bike share programs, visiting places like Denver, Boston and New York.

Is that something you’d do after graduation, then? Where would you want to be?

If I could do anything as a job, I’d probably do something design-based. Something like urban design or architecture or land-use planning … something creative. But this is weird because I’ve never categorized myself as an artist. Even still, I’ve always thought that I was creative. I’ve never taken an art class, and I don’t want to pursue art. I’d like to apply the theories I learned in environmental classes to urban design.

So you’re “creative,” but you don’t do art … tell me more!

I used to play tons of Sims and roller coaster tycoon. I never played Sims to play alternative reality life. I just wanted to build the house! I wouldn’t even play the game. I’d just build the house and then start over. I took an architecture design course first semester in high school. We had to build a one-story house and did like the experience. I’ve never been taught it as much as I would like.

That makes a lot of sense. Is this something people know about you?

I don’t think so! But it’s always been true. I remember when I was eight, I told my parents not to buy their next house, that I would design it for them instead.

And are you still planning to do that?

Sadly, I don’t think that will work out. So I’ve settled for decorating my room. I love that stuff!

Decorating, huh?

Well, maybe that’s not the right word. Last year, I had a senior single with [the] “Mark Hopkittens” for one semester, and I rigged up all these little pulley systems. I made it so that I could open my door from my bed! And then I rigged up a pulley thing so that I could open my shades from the other side of my bed. Maybe it’s not decoration necessarily, but that’s the way that I’m creative.

Did you say “Hopkittens??”

I was in [Mills-Dennett 1] my freshman year, and I picked in with all but three of the guys from my entry, so like seven or eight people, plus a few others. We selected the third and fourth floors of [Mark] Hopkins ‘B’. My friend was the Baxter Fellow, and he made the theme “kittens.” So he changed everyone’s name a little … I was Charles Furrenz. There was Rhys Watkittens, Megan Lampurr and a few others. So that’s when we decided we were going to be the Mark Hopkittens. We made a Twitter at one point; it was awesome.

What’s one thing on your bucket list before graduation?

I have been so busy that I haven’t really thought about a bucket list. I certainly haven’t slept in Sawyer yet … not that I am trying to. One thing is that I would really want to tube down the Hoosic River!

Alright tube-kid, what’s one thing you want Record readers to have learned here?

I guess that I am not a conventional “bro.” My nickname may be “Chad Bro Chill Bro” or whatever it is, but that’s not really me. At least not the way people understand it, which I think is often really negative. Don’t be put off by the fact that that’s what I am called; always come up and say hi.