Shapiro explores Infinity and beyond
"Hannah Shapiro, a Toy Story fan, cites Buzz Lightyear as her personal hero.
- Student practices what she preaches
- Trail-blazing senior has a passion for film
- Senior double major enjoys adventure on and off the Hill
Buffalo Grove, Ill. native Hannah Shapiro ’12 is set to graduate this year, though she has only spent four semesters at the College. Hannah transferred from Boston University (BU) as a sophomore for both social and environmental reasons. “At Colby, you sit down in a class and people start talking to you,” she said. “But at BU, people weren’t that friendly.”
Hannah’s love of nature was also an important factor in her decision to move to Maine. Now she is able to go hiking, camping and rafting in her free time, whereas in Boston, opportunities for outdoor activities were limited.
At BU, Hannah had declared broadcast journalism as her major, though she was unsure whether she wanted to enter that field upon graduation. Her doubts about her studies also encouraged her to transfer because, as she put it, “I wanted a broad education. I thought, if I don’t like journalism, I’ve got nothing else.” After arriving on the Hill, Hannah quickly decided to major in English with a concentration in creative writing, and she appreciates the liberal arts education she receives at the College.
She wasted no time getting involved on campus. Hannah joined Hillel in order to become acquainted with the Jewish community, and she took charge of the club’s publicity for a few semesters.
“Nowadays, I try to take a step back because you’ve got to let the new people rise up,” she said, though she still attends meetings, helps make decisions and cleans up after the club’s weekly dinners. Hillel recently finished a successful canned-food drive for the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, and Hannah was an integral part of the collection process.
This year, Hannah has dedicated most of her free time to improving the Colby Outing Club (COC), which is one of her primary duties as the organization’s co-president. With the help of Professor of English David Suchoff, the club has been developing the fly fishing program this semester. Perhaps the COC’s biggest achievement, however, was being approved to create a white-water rafting program. “For years, we’ve been holding roll clinics,” Hannah explained, “but now we can officially get people on the trips” after they train students as trip leaders. “We plan to start paddling in the spring.”
In the upcoming months, students can also expect to see advertisements for the winter decathlon, a new event hosted by the COC. “We want to have all these winter sports activities…and hot-chocolate chugging. Well, maybe lukewarm hot-chocolate chugging—we don’t want anyone to get burned,” she said, smiling.
Hannah capitalized on her passion for the outdoors last spring when she studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador—a city she described as, “scary, disgusting and not architecturally beautiful.” The abroad program’s online information was out-of-date, so instead of undertaking an independent study in Ecuador as she had planned, Hannah took classes at a local university. Whenever the opportunity arose to escape the city, she seized it. “I went on a lot of hikes and rafting trips,” Hannah said. “I got a lot of ‘playtime’ in, so it all worked out.”
When she is not exploring the outdoors both in America and abroad, Hannah is adding to her impressive collection of Buzz Lightyear accessories. Although she’s been watching Toy Story since childhood, she only became attached to Buzz after Toy Story 3’s premiere. “He’s the ultimate superhero….His whole point is to go to Infinity and beyond to pursue everything. He’s always on an adventure and looking out for his friends,” Hannah said.
“It’s funny, though,” she continued, “because when I think about the type of person I am, I’m probably a Woody personality because…I’m very attached to fond memories like he is. But Buzz just comes in and represents the future,” which was enough to trigger Hannah’s obsession.
When Hannah misplaced her hand-painted glasses from Israel a few weeks ago, she bought a new pair with purple and lime green swirls on the sides as a tribute to her Toy Story hero. She also has acquired both a Buzz Lightyear water bottle and a flashlight, with which she enjoys annoying her friends when they are doing homework in the library.
Hannah has a similar playful and carefree approach to considering her life after college. When her family members inquire about her future during this holiday season, she plans to respond, “I’m going to get vetted for vice president of the Republican platform—just to freak them out.”
“I’ll just come up with random things when people ask, usually appropriated to who is asking, just to see their reactions. And then…I don’t know. I’ll figure it out.”