Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
placeholder article
placeholder article

Andrew Meriwether

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at F and M chapter.

With a creative, inquisitive mind and a desire to celebrate and share many forms of art with his school, Andrew Meriwether is no ordinary member of the F&M community.  As a Philosophy major, resident of the Arts House, and leader in the Rumspringas improv group, Andrew has ventured far down the artistic and imaginative avenues offered here on campus.  He has held a pivotal role in fostering an active and passionate network of singers, poets, and performers of all kinds at the Arts House.  Even more, his efforts have increased the temperatures of respect and appreciation for the arts on campus, which is an inspiring notion, especially when students are leading the charge.  Andrew surrounds himself with friends who share in the joys of creative, thoughtful conversation and who are willing to challenge his views.  Of course, his invaluable attitude and presence is palpable on the F&M stage, and so it is necessary that we share his celebrity worth with the Her Campus audience.

How has the Open Mic Night scene at the Arts House evolved since you came to F&M, and what role did you play in increasing its popularity and recruiting enthusiastic student artists to perform?

When I arrived at Franklin and Marshall, open mic night was something that happened maybe once a semester at the Arts House (where Phi Psi currently is), and was not a well-known venue on campus. Arts House residents and their friends mostly attended the events. Few members from outside that group even knew it existed. When the Arts House was relocated and I became one of 6 members of the house, we knew that we wanted to make open mic night a more frequent affair and more prominent on campus. We wanted to create a judgment-free environment where students could feel comfortable sharing their artistic talent with fellow peers, and students could support them in return. It was also important that this environment be accessible throughout the semester, and not just a one-time event. By making the open mics bi-weekly, a type of stable arts culture was created and it became a part of the everyday life of F&M students.

This summer you worked on campus studying aesthetics with a professor.  What were some conclusions or even interesting questions that arose from your work?  How did the project shape your appreciation of aesthetics in other performance-based arenas of your life?

This past May I worked with Nola by helping her set up a philosophical museum exhibition titled “Examining Nature” in the Phillips Museum of Art on campus. Nola’s project asked questions about how we think, perceive, and interact with nature through various mediums. This consisted of curating a space with various representations of nature; from small creatures dipped in Lucite to a TV installation done by Dirk Itzin in the TDF department. The greatest lesson I received while working with Nola was that philosophy does not always take the form of writing papers, and in fact showing philosophical ideas can sometimes be more powerful than telling them.

The Rumspringas is a popular and hilarious improv group on campus.  Can you tell me about how the group rehearses and what it’s like to interact with the members and audience?

The great thing about improvisational comedy is that it is all about trust. You can have the funniest group people in the world (which we do), but without trust, everything falls apart. When we rehearse, I think that is mostly what we are working on; becoming so connected and comfortable with everyone in the group that there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that they will be supported by the rest of the ensemble. The mindset is quite simple in concept: just be open-minded! But of course, like most things, it is much harder in practice than in theory. In improv, you have to be willing to accept whatever your partner throws at you, without question. If she says it is raining pancakes and canaries you better damn well act that way! I realized this semester, when I really started working on accepting in improv scenes, how much I deny suggestions of people in my everyday life. When you think about using the acceptance concept of improv in your life it becomes something rather radical: imagine taking and working with every idea that was proposed to you by someone. This fosters astounding cooperation between people, which I find moving and powerful.