By his fourth year at McGill, Per Kraut never imagined he would be involved in so many diverse communities at McGill.
“I came to McGill thinking I wouldn’t get involved in that much,” Kraut explained. “But suddenly here I am in fourth year. I guess I just like to try new things.”
Kraut’s role as Vice-President External of McConnel Hall in his first year kick started his involvement in the Rez Life office for the following two years. With Rez Life, Kraut planned programming and events for first-year students, as well as working with the first-year councils.
In addition to Rez Life, Kraut has maintained his involvement in McGill’s Best Buddies program for the past four years. Best Buddies is a campus club that sets up friendships between students and adults in the community with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
“[My buddy] will come over and we’ll make Kraft Dinner or we’ll go get pizza—that sort of thing,” Kraut said. “I’ve been with the same buddy actually for four years since I started, and I’ve been on the executive for three. Last year, I was VP Outreach and this year, I manage the website. It’s a great group that I am glad I’ve been involved with.”
Kraut noted that spending time with his buddy gave him an opportunity to explore Montreal with someone else who was equally excited to see the city.
“We went to the Biodome together, we’ve walked around Old Montreal, and we’ve been talking about going to see the new planetarium,” he said.
However, Kraut’s favourite university experience by far was the opportunity to participate in McGill’s Panama Field Studies Semester. This semester-long research program allows students to take classes for McGill while living in Panama City and taking field trips across the country.
“Instead of going to class we had [biology] in the rainforest,” Kraut explained. “And the professor would say, ‘this tree is this’ or ‘this species is that.’ ”
The students also received the opportunity to visit coffee and banana plantations for their environment management classes, and most of their history course was spent studying at historical sites and with Indigenous communities.
“I am realizing how unique this experience was—it was a whole semester of classes outside the classroom,” Kraut added. “We were in the classroom [only] once or twice to discuss what we were learning [….] It was like the Suite Life on Deck.”
Now in his final year, Kraut reflects on how rewarding it has been to become involved in so many different communities.
“My roommate goes, ‘I hate walking through campus with you because you say hi to so many people and I don’t know who they are,’” laughed Kraut. “All of these different things connect me to all these different people.”
What is your favourite pizza topping?
I actually just went a few weeks ago to Il Focolaio, just by the Bay. They have tons of toppings and I got a pizza that has Portobello mushrooms, eggplant, and feta, and it was so good. I wouldn’t say those are my favourite toppings […] but it was just different.
What do you like to do on a rainy day?
Working in the library. No, I don’t like to, but that’s what I end up doing. I like movies. I know everyone likes movies, but I’m really into cinema. My family and I used to play board games too.
What was your best Halloween costume?
This year, my costumes weren’t super creative. I was a giraffe [last Saturday]—I [wore] a onesie. Last year—I’m very tall [six foot six] if you haven’t noticed—and I dressed up as a normal sized person in stilts. So I had boxes up to my knees, which were the stilts, and I bought cheap shoes and cut holes in them so they could go up to my knees. So I pulled pants up [high on my waist] and I felt very creative. And I got over 100 likes on Facebook.