Campus Celeb: Claire Gatzke


What’s your advice for new Chapman students?

I would say to find your community, but also, don’t limit yourself, and don’t stop looking once you find friends. I’m always the type of person who is ready to make new friends because you never know who’s out there. Someone could change your life. Put yourself out there. Just get involved - it’s hard and scary, but everyone was there at one point or another, if they’re not still there as well.

What do you love most about Chapman?

It’s nice walking around and being able to see people I know, it being a community where it’s small enough to do that. I love how involved most people are, and I feel like a lot of the people who go here wanna make an impact in some way or another in life, have high goals and being around people that are so driven is so awesome. Being in a community of really driven, nice, and helpful people is awesome.

Where’s your favorite spot on campus?

In the Residence Life Area, the Davis community center, because I have spent a lot of time there during my time here, and I have a lot of fond memories there. On main campus, my favorite spot is the Starbucks patio and Starbucks because you can hang outside, do homework, see people as they walk to class, and chat with people.

What is your major?

I’m a Communication Studies and Political Science Double Major.

Name 2 classes you would recommend taking and why.

Anything with Laurie Cox Han teaching - best professor I’ve ever had. Social media in contemporary society, with Dr. Janicke. It talks about social media and happiness, and I think it’s even more important for people to take now. Media and politics - teaches you how to read, absorb, and listen to the news, teaches you to look into things.

What are you involved in at Chapman?

I’m involved in the Residence Life and First Year Experience office. I was an RA for a year and a half to two years, and I was an Orientation Leader this fall. I worked as an office assistant in the department for two years. I was involved in Alpha Gam since the fall of my freshmen year. I have had two leadership positions in Alpha Gam, and then I was a Rho Gamma. I have done on-campus research through The Center for Demographics and Policy Think Tank, associated with Chapman. And I did research for that this past summer, looking at the living preferences of millennials, and how those preferences impacted Orange County.



What’s been one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve had at Chapman?

The single most rewarding experience I have had at Chapman was being a Rho Gamma. For me, joining a sorority was what made me stay at this school. I didn’t have friends until I joined Alpha Gam, that was my plug into this campus. I know it’s not for everyone, but it really changed and impacted my college experience. Being a rho gamma meant being able to help other PNMs go through recruitment so that they could potentially find that as well. It was really rewarding -  being a Rho Gamma was like being an RA to the PNMs for a weekend, and it involved Greek Life, so it was the best of both worlds.


With Rho Gammas at the end of the recruitment period.

Why did you decide to become an RA? OL?

I wanted to be an RA because I really like helping people. I didn’t do it for the free room and board. My freshman year, I liked being able to help my roommates and people on my floor, and I just wanted to help people transition because I know how hard it can be. I wanted to be an OL because I couldn’t be an RA because you have to commit to the full year, and I knew I couldn't because I was graduating a semester early. Still like helping people; still want to help students transition to the University. From what I can tell from previous years, OLs have a lot of fun, so I wanted to end my time at Chapman by doing something really fun with cool people and meet people I hadn’t met before, which I got to do.



What advice would you give to students interested in becoming an RA/OL?

I would say to really get to know their RA or OL, and reach out to them; ask for their experiences, and see if they have any tips. If you want to be either of these student leadership positions, reach out to your RD of your building, or someone in the department, just to talk about it. I would get involved on campus in other organizations in student affairs.

What have you gotten out of these Res Life experiences?

My big takeaway, paired with my political science background, is how important it is for people to have differences in opinions and talk about them in a rational, reasonable, non-emotional way. It can not only add so much value to an environment, but can also help people learn and critically think about their own beliefs and opinions.

Why did you decide to become involved in Greek Life?

I joined to make friends; I did it for the friendship aspect, which I got out of it.

What is your advice to those interested or hesitant about joining Greek Life?

I would say to just go through it even if you don’t think it’s for you. It can really surprise you. You shouldn’t live your life with regret, and you don’t want the “what if” thought.

What do you do to de-stress?

I watch Netflix. I’m a binger. My absolute favorite tv shows that are go-tos for me are New Girl, How I Met Your Mother, and The Office. I am obsessed with The Great British Baking Show. I am currently binging House of Cards, and I am also re-watching Make It or Break It.

What’s your favorite dessert place in the area?

My favorite in the circle is A La Minute. I get the olive oil Madagascar vanilla, and they have the best waffle cones. Outside of the circle: I am obsessed with Pressed Freeze, half chocolate half vanilla with almond butter, chocolate chips, and raspberries. Also, Sidecar Donuts is my favorite donut place of all time.

What’s your favorite coffee place in the area?

My favorite in the circle is Portola. My go to coffee beverage is either a vanilla or hazelnut latte.

My absolute favorite coffee shop in Orange County is Ink and Bean. It’s in downtown Anaheim, it’s a coffee saloon and word shop. They’ve got really cute coffee, with a free library, and cute outdoor seating. It’s a cute coffee shop, I’ll get literally anything on the menu there; it’s really good coffee. I also really do love True Brew; it’s in Orange on Tustin. They have the best hot Vanilla Chai.

Describe your perfect Saturday.

Ideal day would be to wake up and go to church; and then get coffee; and then go to the Huntington Library and Gardens (I love classic art); and then get lunch somewhere (probably a classic In N Out - my favorite fast food restaurant); do some shopping at J. Crew; and then go to Disney for a few hours and get Pressed. The end.

What are 3 things that make you happy?

My family. Jesus. Party planning.

What’s your take on graduating early?

Only do it if it doesn’t mean you’re gonna kill yourself doing it. I don’t think your college experience should be about taking classes and getting out of it as fast as you can. You learn a lot outside of the classroom; you need time to learn the things outside of the classroom, which are just as important as the things you learn inside the classroom. Don’t do it if you’re going to push yourself too much, but if it works, that’s awesome.

If you could change anything from your Chapman experience, what would you change?

People need to be okay with difference of opinions because not everyone in the world is ever going to agree with everything they say or do.


How do you want Chapman to remember you?

I hope Chapman remembers me as someone who was just kind of like a light. For me, the most important thing is that people see God through me and Jesus through me. I hope that I brought light to people.