Hailing from Dayton, Ohio, Galen Squiers ’16 has served this campus as a dedicated squash player, enthusiastic WOOLF leader and spirited member of the WOC board. In addition, he told us, he has also served in another very important capacity here at the College: making people uncomfortable. The Record sat down with Galen to discuss everything from his experience farming in rural France to why he may be known on campus as “the naked guy.”
Where are you from?
I am from Dayton, Ohio.
Wait, I’m from Cleveland! Did you like Dayton?
I grew up to appreciate it. My freshman year I was pretty not about Ohio. Nothing happens there ever, but looking back now it was a pretty great place to grow up. I had great friends, went to a great school. Can’t complain.
You’re on the WOC board. How did you get involved with that?
My freshman year me and Raja Singh [’16] decided we were both going to apply to be on WOC board and it was this huge thing and we were pretty excited about it. And then for some reason, I didn’t apply. I just didn’t turn in the application, but I loved my WOOLF experience and still wanted to. Last year, my sophomore year, I forced myself to do it. I got to know the WOC director a lot better. You know Scott Lewis? He is just the man. I wanted to work with him. [The board members] are really, really cool. My WOOLF leader was on WOC board, so that helped.
How was WOOLF? I’m supposed to ask you about a “group poop” that happened…
That was sophomore year. The legendary group poop. Not saying that I am legendary, but it was. So there was this kind of mythology built up about pooping on WOOLF, because you know, everyone is constipated and you have girls who won’t poop for five days. You have boys that would hold in any bowel movement for any reason whatsoever. As a leader you have all these things you are supposed to desensitize them to pooping and there are all these different forms and stuff. I remember from my WOOLF trip as a freshman, Sarah Vukelich [’15], who was my leader, and Ben Eastburn [’15] doing, like, the helicopter poop, when someone is on someone else’s back and twirling around.
[Laughs.] Ben Eastburn is our editor-in-chief.
He is going to love this. So there was just, like, this allure about pooping. But I have never heard about anyone actually doing the group poop. It’s just not something that is done. Then my kids were like “Why not?” And so I got really excited, like “Let’s Go!” So pumped. So that was cool. I didn’t poop alone the rest of the trip. I think the second day out we met up with Ryan McCloskey [’16] and Sophie Chatas’s [’16] group. On the trail, we played “WAH” and all that stuff. When I got to talking to Ryan, I told him we weren’t pooping alone and making it a group thing, he was like “No way! That is so cool! I’ve got some guys who would love to do that.” So on my trip we discussed the regulations for group pooping. It is a group poop if it is more than two. If it is two it is a partner poop. But if you get to seven, it becomes a party poop and it’s a pretty big deal. And it happened. We got a bunch of people from his group to do it with us and it was this transcendental experience. [Laughs.] Sitting in a circle with people and hearing soft grunting. It was really cool. I got really lucky with how cool my kids were.
What else are you involved with on campus besides WOC and the squash team?
Well, streaking has become a large part of my life. This is kind of weird but my freshman year, I was kind of known as “the naked guy.” I don’t know why. I was never naked that much. Just a few times that happened to be notable. This past week I was on a polar bear swim and talking to Chris Wayland [’16], and was like, “I feel like my job for freshman year was to make people feel uncomfortable.” And he was like “Galen, that is your job at Williams. Your job at Williams is to make people uncomfortable.”
Can you elaborate on the notable times your first year?
When I found out I was going to be a WOOLF leader, the instructors came and introduced themselves and were like “Oh we are going to have a big party.” I wore this ridiculous green striped tank top that was my favorite tank top. Super crunchy and it had holes in it everywhere. I wore it inside out. That, and overalls. So we go to this party. It is SUPER hot in the basement. Gross, sticky, disgusting. Everybody takes their shirts off. By this point, everybody is a little … you know. We go to the Hoosic, not the Green River. I have bits and pieces of clarity that night, one of which is this image of thirteen pale asses sticking up in the air. We were trying to swim in a river that is six or seven inches deep, and the water was cold, and the rocks were slippery. So people were army crawling, not swimming, back to shore. And that is when I lost my shirt. I never found it again. I also lost my underwear. So all I had left were my overalls. On our way back, we all left, my training trip group. We decided to play pants-less WAH, which is a WOOLF leader tradition. But at this point I was sans underwear, and so me and my slightly-inebriated state thought, “I have socks. I will just use a sock.” So I wore a sock playing pants-less WAH for the whole time, and then security came and it got weird. That was like the one notable experience. I have kind of solidified the naked guy thing.
I was also told to ask you about not liking people touching your head.
Oh, god. It is the worst. It is something I really have to work on. I cringe to the deepest, most inner depths of my soul when people tousle my hair. That kind of thing, or, if you do something and someone’s like, “great job” and rubs your hair, I can’t stand it. It is terrible. I freak out and get really tense. It is bad.
You wouldn’t think that would be a common occurrence when you are older.
Oh yeah. It happens to me an inordinate amount, though. You’d be surprised how often my hair gets tousled. I am just the odd one out maybe. Maybe because my dad was a teacher at this K-12 school and I would hang out in his office. Everyone who walked in would tousle my head – that is the theory. I am working on it, trying to get over the phobia. Not phobia, just utter distaste. I got in a small altercation with one of my captains freshman year. I was sitting outside on the quad in Paresky and my captain comes up, says some nickname and tousles my hair. I jump around and am ready to punch him in the face, just an overly aggressive, over eager freshman. I am no longer an overly aggressive freshman, maybe still an overly eager person.
Are you going abroad at all?
I wanted to, but squash is stupid and has a dual spring and fall season. I did not want to sacrifice a season of squash to go abroad for a semester. It sucked because I’m a French major. I went to France last summer though, and took classes over there to try to finish up my major. The second half of the summer, I stayed in France and WWOOFed [World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms] with a family. If you ever get the chance to WWOOF you totally should. For the first half, I was in this small medieval town entirely surrounded by ramparts about an hour north of Montpelier. During WWOOFing, I had the most incredible time staying with this family. I ended up staying with these artisans and we made and sold these vegetable fritters that we sold in market a few days each week. It was amazing. There was this little girl who was my host parents’ daughter. Her name was Sophie. I got to calling her Professor Sophie, because she essentially taught me French for all intents and purposes. She was just the wisest little girl you would ever meet. We would be playing on the trampoline and she’d be teaching me how to do a backflip, then just look up at the sky and say “Do you ever think about what is beyond that?” I was like, what? You are going to have a hard life, girl, don’t worry about this now. That was really cool.
Do you have any idea of what you want to do beyond Williams?
I am a French and Biology major. So, I have this insane dream of working with Médicins Sans Frontières, which is the parent French organization of Doctors Without Borders, ideally in Haiti. I have a friend who was hit very hard by the earthquake there, so that got to me. I am thinking of something like that. Working with them as a doctor or surgeon would be the big goal.