Monday, May 19, 2008

Who Are the People in Your Network? (Part II)

So after a long absence I'm back with a new post. I hope that everyone's having a good summer so far. A long time ago I posted an interview with Miranda Soucie and promised others. Well here I am making good on my promise. Meet Conor O'Brien, incoming Vice President of the SHN, who was kind enough to answer my questions.

Q: Where are you from?

A: I'm from Brecksville, Ohio, but I consider Chicago home. I went to undergrad in the city and lived on the North Side for several years while working in the western suburbs.

Q: What year (in law school) are you?

A: Since finals are over, I have the distinct privilege of being a 2L (second year law student).

Q: What did you do in New Orleans last December?

A: Last Winter break in New Orleans I did physical labor with the Lower 9th Ward Community Village. We gutted damaged homes, removed debris, re-roofed the local community center and built a temporary kitchen structure to serve meals to members of the community still living in the Lower 9th Ward.

Q: What do you anticipate will be your biggest challenge as Vice President of Illinois Chapter of the Student Hurricane Network?

A: Funding. We were one of the largest groups of law students to help with SHN [in New Orleans] over the past year and the largest ever from the College of Law, but this was a banner year in terms of grants from the university and fund raising. We will need a great fund raising effort and some more help from the university to reach the Executive Board's goal of 2 trips to New Orleans.

Q: What prompted you to run for Vice President of SHN?

A: I decided to run for VP because I have a background in fundraising and logistics from my previous career in marketing and finance. Given this background, I figured I could help to make this year's SHN trip the most successful yet. I had a great experience on last year's trip and really wanted to be a part of the team that helps organize such an important effort. It's amazing how much work there is to be done for this area almost 3 years following the storm and the breach of the levees.

Q: How did you first hear about SHN at the College of Law and what interested you in participating?

A: I actually heard about the Student Hurricane Network the summer before I came to Champaign from one of my friends who attends law school at the University of Iowa . It sounded like a very worthwhile cause and I was excited to find that University of Illinois had a Student Hurricane Network Chapter where I could participate.

The Jesuit priests have a deep commitment to social justice and human rights activities. I have had a great experience with the Jesuits throughout my education and wanted to maintain some of their ideals even though U of I is a secular institution. My experiences while enrolled in St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, OH and Loyola University of Chicago really established the importance of promoting the welfare of others.