Clarkie of the Week: Dan Oliveira


Celine Manneville

Oliveira is an environmental studies major from Rhode Island.

Anna Schaeffer, Scarlet Staff

Dan Oliveira (‘19) is an environmental science major. He sat down with The Scarlet to talk about Herban Gardeners, his summer plans, and Clark’s contract with Sodexo.

Scarlet: What track are you taking in environmental science?

Dan: I’m doing conservation biology.

Scarlet: What do you like most about it?

Dan: My favorite part of conservation biology would be the lab work. I always imagined myself working with animals at some kind of refuge, but recently I’ve been really interested in the actual biology and genetics itself.

Scarlet: Do you know where you want to take that right now?

Dan: Not really, probably doing lab work, or in conservation.

Scarlet: You’re in charge of Herban Gardeners, right? How long have you been doing that?

Dan: I’ve been doing Herban Gardeners since I’ve been at Clark, so since I was a freshman. I’ve only been in charge since fall of last semester.

Scarlet: Are there a lot of responsibilities for that?

Dan: No, not really. It’s actually very laid back. Late fall and early in the spring we don’t really do a whole lot. We just started doing a spring clean up this week, for example.

Scarlet: Where do you want to go with that this spring? Do you guys have any big goals?

Dan: Well, there’s not a whole lot of work left to be done since the semester is almost over, but we’ve been cleaning up, and we planted a bunch of stuff last week. It’s really awesome over the summer for the people who stay on campus. It’s like a community garden. Anyone can plant anything they want there. So few people really know about it and there’s already so much growing. It’s a gem in the summer.

Scarlet: Is the Main South community involved with the garden or is it mostly Clarkies?

Dan: I think there are a lot of people who go there and take things, but I think mostly it’s Clarkies who really do the planting and upkeep and stuff.

Scarlet: Have you done any work with Freight Farms?

Dan: I’ve heard a lot about it and I’ve toured the Freight Farms, but we’ve actually never tried doing any work with them.

Scarlet: Do have any plans for the summer?

Dan: Yeah! This summer I’m actually going to Michigan for an internship with the National Science Foundation. I’ll be there for eleven weeks.

Scarlet: What are you going to be doing for the internship?

Dan: I’m gonna be in the biology lab, so I’ll be doing my own research but with a mentor. We’ll be studying fish and their genetic responses to different conditions. Not really sure what that means yet exactly, but I guess I’ll find out!

Scarlet: How did you find the internship?

Dan: I applied to a bunch of opportunities with the National Science Foundation. They really have tons. It’s a great program.

Scarlet: Is that far from home for you, or do you live in Michigan?

Dan: I’m from Rhode Island, so it’ll be quite a ways away from home.

Scarlet: Do you do any other sports or clubs here?

Dan: I don’t really do any sports, but I am a big runner. I’m trying to train for a marathon, so that’s my current obsession. As far as clubs go, I do a bunch of different things. I’m involved with this thing on campus with Sodexo, called “Listen Up, Sodexo!.”

Scarlet: Can you tell me a little about that?

Dan: The contract with Sodexo is almost up, so we’re trying to take the change in contracts as an opportunity to influence how the university purchases organic, real food. We want the next contract to be more aligned with Clark values, we want Clark to buy more local stuff, and we want a contract that will work better for everyone. Our school could do so much. So many students eat here and we have so much opportunity to make change.

Scarlet: When is the contract up?

Dan: Spring of 2018, and the Fall of 2018 is when the new contract would take effect. We’ve been working for over a year. We’ve finished our demands and given them to the administration. We’ve even talked to President Angel, and he was very receptive to that. We started off in the club Food Truth on campus and the Real Food Challenge in Boston, and we’ve kind of worked with them but it’s been pretty much student driven. We meet every week and are making some progress.

Scarlet: What’s a piece of advice you’d give to an incoming freshman coming to Clark?

Dan: I remember when I came to Clark I had this perception that everybody was going to be like hip and cool, but don’t try too hard. I’m friends with people on athletic teams and then other people too. Be yourself, put yourself out there, and you’ll find your place. Also stay aware and stay involved, and not just on Clark’s campus. Participate, be involved, and know what’s going on out there.

Thanks for the interview, Dan!