Clarkie of the Week: Heather Riesenberg
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Heather (’19) is a philosophy and political science double major from Des Moines, Iowa.
Scarlet: Tell me a little about where you’re from.
Heather: Well, Des Moines is a bigger city than Worcester. People always think it’s like living in a cornfield when you say you’re from Iowa, but it’s a big city and I really love living there.
Scarlet: What’s the rest of Iowa like?
Heather: It’s more what you would think of when you hear Iowa. There are like two college towns, and those are pretty liberal and up and coming, so that’s exciting to see. But the rest is exactly what you’d expect it to be, cornfields and stuff. It’s weird seeing how divided things are politically too, like my uncle is a huge Trump supporter.
Scarlet: Does that deter you from your political science major?
Heather: Not at all, my dream job is to be a lawyer for like, Planned Parenthood, but that’s very much highballing it. I’d also really like to get into environmental activism and policy. That’s going to get more and more important as time goes on.
Scarlet: Do you have any hobbies here at Clark?
Heather: Yeah! I’m with Divest Clark and on the frisbee team, and I did intramural volleyball as well. I also work at Nu Café.
Scarlet: Can you tell me a little bit about Divest Clark?
Heather: Well, it’s a group of students working with the administration and the Board of Trustees to find a way for Clark to take all of its endowments out of the fossil fuel industry. Basically, it’s a moral dilemma. We don’t have a significant amount of money sunk into it, but we’re still condoning it. It doesn’t make sense.
Scarlet: Are you making any progress with it?
Heather: Yeah, there are two steps to get it through. We made it past the first one and now we have to write a proposal saying how it violates the UN Declaration of Human Rights. We’re meeting with the Board of Trustees in May. People are definitely more aware of it now too.
Scarlet: What would you say is your favorite thing about Clark?
Heather: My favorite things probably all center around the frisbee team. It’s so close knit. We all just went on a spring break trip to South Carolina.
Scarlet: Where would you say is your favorite spot here on campus?
Heather: Probably that little sitting area in Sackler on the first floor right by the window. I really like it there, and there’s that awesome mural of the bacteria that’s cool to look at.
Scarlet: So, I hear you’re a Satanist. Would you maybe want to share a little bit about how you discovered it and what it means to you personally?
Heather: Yeah! I discovered Satanism when I was a junior in high school. I was really interested in it so I just looked it up on the internet, and I found the Satanist Bible. I read it in a night. It’s only about a hundred pages, but I decided then that I loved it.
Scarlet: What part of Satanism would you say resonates most with your worldview?
Heather: I don’t strictly adhere to a whole lot of it – it’s more of a guiding principle, but my favorite thing about it is that it’s kind of an alternative path to Christianity. Instead of doing everything you can now to make it into heaven, Satanists believe there is nothing after life, so while you’re living you have to make sure you are living as prosperously and enjoyably as you can.
Scarlet: Is there a big community of Satanists at Clark?
Heather: I don’t think so, I’ve never run into anyone else who’s openly declared being a Satanist, but maybe they’re just keeping it on the DL. Satanism is usually given a negative connotation – everyone thinks we sacrifice goats and babies. I’ve tried to raise awareness with the frisbee team by drawing the pentagram and then explaining it to them.
Scarlet: What is the significance of the pentagram for Satanists?
Heather: The star and the circle facing upright was a pagan symbol for magic and goodness, so they took it and flipped it. Inversion is a very important part of the religion as a whole.
Scarlet: Do you have anything else you want to share with The Scarlet?
Heather: Shoutout to the frisbee team!
Thanks for the interview, Heather!