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EC Faces: Activist at Heart

Some people wear their hearts on their metaphorical sleeves, but Emmanuel College senior Jordan Cooper wears his on his neck.

Photo: Mary Moriaty

Photo: Mary Moriatyon his neck.

“Yeah, the tattoo is the first thing people usually notice about me,” he said. The tattoo in question, an outline of North Carolina with a small heart marking the location of Greensboro, sparked Jordan’s most recent blog post about his journey to Emmanuel.

“It’s kind of an amorphous blog right now,” Cooper said. He started it with the intent of collaborating with other Emmanuel students to raise awareness about issues affecting students on campus. Even with Jordan as the only author, the intent of his self-titled blog is still the same: to share thoughts and reflections.

“It started when my friends said, ‘Jordan, we love hearing your ideas, but post them online,’” he said.

He published his first real post about Emmanuel on Jan. 15, in which he discussed some of the major constructive changes revealed in an “Admin Madness” celebration. There were tours of the new classrooms and office spaces, raffle prizes to win, and the shiny new Muddy River Café to enjoy. But beneath the general air of jubilation, there were a few lingering questions Jordan addressed to the Emmanuel community in his post.

These questions revolved around an issue Cooper had found himself caught up in during his junior year: the theater department’s performing space. Before the renovations had started, Jordan had helped his girlfriend, fellow Emmanuel senior Anna Boutin, with her petition to the administration requesting that the theater department keep its performance spaces. At the time, there were various rumors about what might happen to the theater, and Cooper found himself frustrated with the general apathy of the student body as a whole.

“There was this attitude on the student side of well, what are we going to do? What can we do?” he said.

Inspired by his experience participating in the Occupy Boston student march, Cooper assisted Boutin in drumming up over 200 petition signatures, raising student awareness about the issue, and getting people to come to meetings with the administration. As of today, the theater department’s “extra” spaces like dressing rooms and storage rooms have been reduced dramatically, and while the auditorium is available for performances, the department still must rely on off-campus spaces in Davis Square and at the Showa Women’s Institute in Jamaica Plain for the majority of its shows this semester.

Since the initial blog post, Cooper has focused on new issues that he finds particularly prescient. His intent is not to convince people to convert to his opinions; “I just want to share,” he said. Cooper often shares his blog posts on Facebook, particularly within the Emmanuel Class of 2013 open group. Cooper’s passion for campus issues stands apart from the group’s posts on the nitty-gritty details of senior year at Emmanuel: announcements about yearbook pictures, calls for submission to the Hub, student-run events, and club meeting times dominate the feed.

“There’s an ideal Emmanuel for me,” Copper said, and he hopes to share that vision with everyone in the Emmanuel community. In a similar way, he admits to idealizing the Greensboro period of time in his life, an idealization he has immortalized in his tattoo.

As for post-grad life, Jordan is heading to Manchester, N.H., to join an AmeriCorps City Year program that provides tutoring to at-risk students. Cooper is excited to teach them English literature.

“I took my activist soul and focused it on one thing: education reform,” he said. There’s still time to figure out what will happen after his year of service, but for now Cooper is happy to be helping others.

Posted by on May 2, 2013. Filed under Around Campus,EC Faces. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.