Blake Lively, transformation and Pop-Tarts


NVU Athletics

Elaine Harvey

Elaine Harvey is the director of student engagement and persistence at NVU-Johnson, which is supported by the Title III grant. Currently, she is working on creating a set of focus groups on campus in order to conduct a campus climate survey to explore how this semester has gone for students. When she’s not doing that, she’s likely drinking tea and hanging out with her cat Loki.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Oh, people that are rude to waiters and waitresses, or maintenance staff or janitors. That makes my blood boil. Also, people who aren’t, and this is particularly poignant now, but aren’t careful about personal space and the space they take up. Obviously now, if anyone gets within 20 feet of me, I’m think to myself, “Hmm, you’re a little close.” But even before that, just not being aware of your personal surroundings and how you impact other people. Oh, it gets me.

If you were a pizza, what kind of pizza would you be?
This is tough, because it’s not what pizza I like. I have an answer for that, but that’s obviously very different. I think that I would be a pepperoni pizza because throughout my whole life, I have wanted to please people. Obviously vegans, vegetarians, someone who doesn’t like pepperoni, they might not like the pizza, but I’m going to get the largest swath of people in being that and, you know, I don’t want this to sound superficial, but I do aim to please.

We’ve been in some form of quarantine for about six months now. What are the three bad habits you’ve picked up or three bad decisions you’ve made for quarantine living?
I thrive on structure, and I became, for a few months, a little structureless. I like turning on the TV in the morning. I don’t watch TV really ever, but I was just feeling alone. So, turn on the television in the morning, and that would just turn into “Oh, the TV’s on all day.” That one was really bad, but I’ve broken that one. The next one would be my sleep schedule and getting out of whack with that.
I am a solid eight hours a night type human, and I was really feeling out of touch with time. “What is time? Where are we? Who are we?” For the last one, I think for the first few months, I was so careful about prepping food, not going to the grocery store too much and just being really at home that when places started doing takeout, I was justifying needing to support local [businesses] by supporting local takeout a little more than was probably helpful. I’ve recalibrated a little, but I went on a real local takeout bender.

What are you most passionate about?
Transformation in higher education. I’m currently finishing my doctorate in education, and I’m specifically researching innovation in higher education, because I always tell people that I work in higher education, not because I love it and I think it’s perfect, but because I think it’s broken, and I want to help be part of the solution.
I’m passionate about expanding access to students. I’m passionate about innovating and leveraging the technology that exists out there in an educational setting, not just, “Oh, we used to have a slate, and then we went to a chalkboard, and now we have whiteboards, and now we have smart boards.” I’m looking at true innovation around completely rethinking the way that we deliver content and the way that students access content. Another thing I’m very passionate about is reimagining a four-year model or a two-year model to be much more inclusive of lifelong learning.

If you were a superhero, would you wear your underpants on the inside or the outside?
Outside, hundred percent.

Like old school Superman or something.
I was more thinking Coil Man from that Nickelodeon cartoon of yore. He always wore his underwear on the outside of his khaki shorts, and I thought it was a bold move.

What’s your favorite kind of tea?
Let’s see. Honestly, this is going to be boring, but a good loose-leaf peppermint, like a peppermint medley is always my go-to calm down tea. But lately in quarantine…I have been doing a really nice black chai latte. I know, I know, I know. It’s certainly not something purist, but I do like all black teas. I don’t love green teas as much, and I super love white teas. So delicate. I would err more on the less florally side and more on the herbal, earthy side for flavor. The floral sometimes gets too perfume-y.

What’s the best thing you’ve done in your life?
I was thinking about this the other day, actually. I had this recent series of events where people from my past lives have called, and we caught up, and part of that was COVID pandemic stuff. A couple of them cited a conversation that we had or a time where I told them, ‘just do it,’ or, ‘why wouldn’t you do that?’ They said that really changed the trajectory of something they did, and it was really, really humbling and really made me pause, because I think that’s part of how I do things myself. I didn’t ever stop to think about how that might impact somebody else and to see this little cluster of people that I had impacted made me feel really proud and maybe more conscious of it in both positive and negative ways. So, it’s not a specific one thing, but it’s just a thing that has kind of recently elevated to the top of my consciousness.

What’s your biggest regret?
You know, I actually don’t have a lot of regrets. I really don’t, because I truly believe that where we are right now is a result of every choice we’ve made along the way, and I am really fortunate to feel happy and proud of who I am today and where I am. But, I will say that as I’m finishing my doctoral work, I regret not doing the Masters/PhD combo program that UVM had a couple of years back, because that would have been hard, but it would have just been done. It just probably would have been better if had I knocked it all out. But again, I’m sure there are reasons beyond my comprehension that it didn’t work out that way.

If you were stranded somewhere, like that typical stranded on a desert island kind of stuck, where would you choose to be stuck?
Oh, definitely in one of the huts in the White Mountains like Castle in the Clouds or AMC which has those huts that are partially staffed during the summer months and even, I think, one or two winter months. They’re in these excellent, remote locations, but there’s some amenities. There’s a bathroom and a kitchen. But yeah, I would like to be stranded there, because it’s a great base camp to do some nice hiking or snowshoeing or whatever. But also, I don’t want total isolation. I would hope that maybe some other wayward travelers would pass through. Play some cards and cribbage or something.

So, naturally, because you are stuck there, assuming you can only bring three things with you from the outside world other than necessities, what would you bring?
I would bring, from my kitchen, my little taco stand. Two little tacos can fit in there, because there’s nothing like making a taco and having it fall all over the place. So that would be crucial. I would bring my cat Loki, because he’s excellent companionship and also would be a good mouser in the area that I would be secluded in. And third, I probably would bring my own pillow. Neck support is super important, and if I had a crick in my neck the whole time I was secluded or isolated, it would ruin the whole thing.

Guilty pleasures. What’s yours?
Netflix. I can’t help it. Currently, if we expand beyond just Netflix, it’s re-binge-watching series I’ve already fully seen on Netflix. Like “Gossip Girl.” Sorry, I’m not sorry. Also, “The West Wing,” or “Dexter” was one that I recently did. Those are some examples. Like “New Girl.” I just go for “The Office” type things that have previously brought me comfort, even though I can quote them back to the television. It’s a guilty pleasure. I should be seeking out new storylines or reading more or something, but COVID has really unearthed my Netflix obsession. I will say, not that I think I’m better than anyone or anything, but I cannot stand reality television. I need a story or a way to get invested in characters and storylines. Not saying that “Gossip Girl” is a particularly compelling or anything, but yes, it is.

Who is your biggest celebrity crush?
Oh, Blake Lively. That’s a no brainer. I think, let me just clarify too, she’s got the brains, the looks, the humor. Seems like her family is cute and funny.

I mean, it is Ryan Reynolds.
Those two together are hilarious, and she advocates for causes. She got super into voting and Black Lives Matter, and I think maybe she’s a latecomer to celebrity advocacy, but I remember really appreciating both her financial and awareness campaigns. So, that only made me like her more.

Cake or Pie?
Pie, because I’m always savory rather than sweet, and pies can be really a whole savory business. I could do a shepherd’s, or a cowboy pie, something like that. But cake, I don’t like frosting that much. Pies don’t usually have frosting ever, except for a Boston Crème pie, but, whatever.

Pop Tarts. Are they a calzone?
Yeah. Hundred percent. It’s a sweet calzone. It’s a pastrylike consistency, wrapped around a gooey, gooey inside. If I said that with no context, you would be like, ‘what am I describing?’ Maybe Stromboli, or a calzone or a Pop Tart. You just do basic elements there.

For sure. But this one can be really decisive. I feel like people really have opinions about it.
Yeah, but is a hot dog a sandwich? I mean, you know, it’s just semantics, but you got to fall somewhere.