The September issue of The Blue and White can be found all around campus. You might not know the following figure—but you should. In Campus Characters, The Blue and White introduces you to a handful of Columbians who are up to interesting and extraordinary things and whose stories beg to be shared. If you’d like to suggest a Campus Character, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the getting-to-know-you alliteration name game, Patrick Blute, CC ’12, introduces himself as “Portable Pat”—fitting for someone who’s been skydiving in New Zealand, snorkeling in Guatemala, and dog-sledding in Sweden. It might come as a surprise, then, that this well-traveled cosmopolitan hails not from a global city like New York or Los Angeles but Harwich, Massachusetts, a sleepy town on Cape Cod that still bears the traces of its agricultural past. “I was practically raised under a rock in an idyllic neighborhood,” he recalls. “To get to my house on Idle Way, you have to go down Paradise Path and Happy Way.”
Blute first ventured out as a high school senior when he won an internship with the Student Travel Association that took him on an all-expense-paid trip to 14 countries on four continents. Having grown up “writing [his] own adventures” in Harwich, Blute compares himself to a shaken bottle of carbonated water: his whirlwind tour unscrewed the cap.
With Blute’s craving for new creative opportunities, Columbia proved a natural ending point for his world tour. Campus productions such as XMAS and the Varsity Show attracted Blute because of their made-from-scratch origins. “It’s really about selling Columbia to the community, and nothing does that better than humor,” he says, hinting at his aspirations for a career in marketing. He has entered and placed in various video contests promoting everything from the band Pink Martini to Bridgestone tires. “When I enter a contest, I try to get in the mindset of why they’re selling this,” explains Blute, putting his psychology major to use.
Blute cuts from one scene of his life to another. “I try to live it up and think of the movie that will come after,” he says. “I think in terms of movies.” During this reporter’s two and a half hour phone conversation with Blute, he played his didgeridoo, demonstrated his Jennifer Coolidge voice, and rapped acoustically. “Everyone kind of knows some rap songs, but do they know them acoustically? Why you at the bar if you ain’t poppin’ the bottles?” he asks, deadpan, quoting Nelly’s ubiquitous nightclub jam, “Hot in Herre.”
Friends agree that Blute soaks up life with refreshing and infectious enthusiasm. “He’s the quintessential friend: kind, fun-loving, and sincere,” says Meredith Kirk, CC ’12. She plans soon to join Blute on one of his trips—in this case, a wedding in Canada. According to Kirk, the betrothed couple knows Blute in a “classic Pat” way. Blute is a friend of the future bride, whom he met while travelling through Europe. The bride had hoped her then-boyfriend would join her and Blute speculated that he planned to propose at the airport upon her return. His prediction came true, and naturally, the couple invited him to their wedding.
“I’m just surprised he hasn’t found his way across the world again,” says Emily Wallen, BC ’11, a fellow founding member of the Blute’s Tuesday night Karaoke crew at the Abbey. Sure enough, Pat spontaneously declared halfway through our conversation, “That’s it, I’m going back to Australia… or New Zealand. Oceania! I’m definitely going.”
Illustration by Stephen Davan