Keep your eyes open for the October issue of The Blue & White, which, after a delay from the printers, has finally arrived to campus! In the meantime, Bwog will honor our heritage/amorous affair with our mother magazine by posting highlights of the upcoming issue online. Among the treats to look forward to: Knickerbocker Motorsports: a surprisingly gripping history, an examination of Columbia’s updated sexual assault policy, and the festive search for magic on campus. In Campus Characters, the Blue & White introduces you to a handful of Columbians who are up to interesting and extraordinary things and whose stories beg to be shared. In the current issue, staff writer Sam Herzog profiles the ever energetic Brandon Thompson, CC’12.
Brandon Thompson, CC ’12, has a credo. “Senior year: get yours.” But everyone who knows him will tell you that Brandon has always “gotten his.” He’ll make anyone self-conscious about their resume.
“There are very few people in this world that don’t need to sleep,” laughs friend and suite-mate Alexa Goldson, CC’12, “and Brandon is one of them.”
That’s helpful, then, because Thompson’s extracurricular engagements leave little time for rest—let alone a quick nap. He juggles his positions as Undergraduate Recruitment Committee Co-Chair, Vice-Chair of the CC 2012 Senior Fund, and Campus Campaign Coordinator for Teach for America (a position he’s held for three years). He plays varsity squash, researches for history professor and race, identity, and resistance specialist Natasha Lightfoot’s new book, and is involved with the CU Bach Society. In the spring, he will turn in two theses for his double major in American History and Hispanic Studies. It is rumored that he has a key to Low.
As Meredith Kirk, CC’12, puts it, “I’ve never known anyone so dedicated to his work.”
And while he’s invested in his work, he’s equally eager to find the next generation of Columbians—working with the URC, he genuinely enjoys showcasing dear Alma for fresh-faced high-schoolers. He’d probably be able to tell you why you said you wanted to come to Columbia. “It’s actually kind of sad, now that I’m Co-Chair,” he bemoans, “I don’t really get to give tours anymore.”
When celebrities stumble onto campus, though, Admissions calls in the big guns. And you can be sure that when Thompson leads a tour he gives Butler just a little extra love. It is currently, after all, his primary residence.
“All the janitors and staff know my name,” he comments. With the way Raj at Butler Cafe smiles at him and says “a tea for Brandon,” it’s clear that he always has a spot in 310 waiting for him. You will be leaving long before he does.
That poorly lit palace of self-loathing for most students is where Brandon feels most at home. There’s nothing he loves to talk about more, except maybe Rihanna’s new music video. “California King Bed” is his top played song on iTunes, but to his surprise. “Honestly, I thought it would be ‘S&M,’” he muses.
His history with the library goes back to what he calls his pitiful freshman year. “I honestly didn’t know what I was doing,” he reminisces. “For the first few weeks I actually went to 209 every day.” It wasn’t until his first spring that he discovered the fifth floor, which he claims determined his academic destiny. Spending time in 502 and 503, the American History and Literature and Latin American Studies reading rooms, proved providential.
“I thought it was so cool that my interests were right next to each other. That’s how I picked my academic career here. My relationship with Butler has just shaped my education.”
Brandon Thompson is undoubtedly determined (especially in reserving spots in the library), but his accomplishments, academics, and daunting schedule are not what define him in the eyes of his friends and peers.
“Let’s talk about his interpersonal qualities for a minute,” Goldson beams. “He’s a really good listener, a great friend, he remembers everything you tell him, and he’s a really good body-roller.” He leaves nothing out, she continues: “Brandon does everything that he wants to do, never sacrifices anything for any reason whether it be to sleep or to party. He can do it all.”