Name: Maxine D.
Major: Political Science
Minor: Queer Studies
Hometown: Beaverton, Oregon
Maxine wears a green Columbia Mountain Hardwear jacket with mustard jeans from H&M and a J. Crew white button-down.
What are you out here doing today? I’m here with the Ducks Squad campaign, which is an organization of students committed to inclusivity, diversity and creating an equitable campus. I am running for Senate Seat 5, which is EMU Board.
Why did you decide to run? I had been approached by someone on the campaign, someone whose politics I really respect. I know a lot of activities and people who are really passionate and have great ideas who were started up by this organization. I said, “Yeah that sounds like a great way to get involved.”
Can you tell me about what you are doing tonight? So tonight in Lillis 282 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. we are doing a send off-show for the UO Poetry Slam team, which I am a part of. And then a few hours later, at midnight, we will leave Eugene, and then head to the Portland airport and hop onto a plane to get to Texas for the College Union Poetry Slam Invitation, aka CUPSI.
What are you most excited about for CUPSI? I’m going to eat such good burgers. But on a serious note, yes I’m excited for the food, but also, it’s the biggest poetry event I will have ever attended. There are going to be a lot of really cool people sharing some incredible work, and I’m excited to see that work.
What is your CUPSI fashion style? People yelled at me for how often I brought up clothes, and I was like, “Y’all this is really important.” Like what if you end up on Button? What if you look bad on Button? I bought shorts on Saturday, even though I am not a shorts person. But we will be in Texas, so I don’t want to get heatstroke. I probably will for the first time in my life. I’m going for “frat bro” style. I’m going very Ivy League prep. I have navy shorts and khaki shorts and button front shirts because I also always try to wear a collared shirt when I am performing.
Why collared shirts? It’s a signal to myself that I’m taking what I’m doing seriously and also to the people around me. I’ll iron a shirt beforehand or something. It’s honoring the work that I’m trying to present to people.
Is it important for you to dress simply while performing so the audience can focus on the poem? Yes. I try not to wear anything distracting. I’m wearing a white shirt right now. Th last time we had a show, I wore a light shirt. I try to go solid or pretty understated, so it’s not super distracting. Like nice, but clean.
Is there a connection between your poet style and student politician style? It’s generally all me, but like I said, poetry is a little bit cleaner. I will wear louder things when I’m not doing something. Political style is also cleaner, but I want my personality to get across more so with the clothes.
Her shoes and socks are both from Nike, though her shoes were thrifted.
Is this the first time you have been involved with campus politics? This is the first time I’m running for ASUO, but I have been involved with other political things here and there. I am a volunteer with UO for the Oregon Student Association, and I have been helping people register to vote, but that’s nonpartisan, so it’s a little different.
With ASUO elections and CUPSI, how are you getting through this week? What sort of self-care are you doing? I’ve been trying still to recognize what my limits are. I’ve been making lists, checking in with people who care about my health and having them say, “No. What you should do is do your laundry and do this.” Trying to stay grounded is really important.
In preparation for CUPSI, Maxine had her hair cut and dyed by local hairdresser, poet and activist Foxy Roxy. “She gave me a nice pep talk. We almost cried. I laughed,” said Maxine.
If you win your position, which students will you be giving a voice to? So, I’m paying for college myself, which means that I’m poor, and I could easily speak towards tuition affordability, issues like that. I’m a Pathways student, which is another financial thing. I’m a student of color. I try to stay conscious of what conversations people are having, and what seems like a need on this campus…
Words by Hannah Steinkopf-Frank, @HSteinkopfFrank
Photos by Elinor Manoogian-O’Dell, @