The green queen

Vanessa Schweizer

Photo by Jimmy Boegle

Vanessa Schweizer is one of the busiest students on the University of Nevada, Reno, campus. The senior physics major, who will graduate this summer, is a member of the Campus Greens. She has just ended her stint as contemporary issues chair of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada. The 22-year-old has lived in the area since she was a baby and is a graduate of McQueen High School.

Is it easy bein’ green?

No, it’s not easy. People give Greens flak a lot of the time. They call us hippies in a demeaning way, and they blame us for Bush being in office—"a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush” and that kind of B.S. But I’d always say that a vote for Gore is a vote for Bush, because they are basically the same.

But Nader is a big reason Bush is in office right now.

But I don’t think there would be much of a difference. Gore didn’t strongly disagree with the missile defense project. He doesn’t have a much better record than Bush on the environment, and they both look out for the monied interests. Their foreign policy is the same. He never did anything to separate himself from Bush.

Well, at least Gore can string together a coherent sentence.

That’s true. Bush isn’t scoring very many brownie points there. I won’t disagree with you on that.

What do you think is in the future for the Green Party?

I am not speaking for all Greens here, but I think the ball is in the court of the Democratic Party. If the Democrats are going to be more progressive and separate themselves from the Republican Party, it will be better for society and much better than the one money party we have now. … If the Democrats continue [the status quo], the Green Party will continue to grow and be more active in the future.

Are you a possible Green Party candidate in the future?

Well, possibly.

Any announcements you’d like to make here?

No, not at all. Just that I’ll be taking a break next year from everything, at least from school. I need to regroup my thoughts so I can decide what to do next.

Sounds like senioritis.

I would call it burnout as opposed to senioritis.

How’d that happen?

I think my major had a lot to do with it. I realized late in my junior year that physics is not where I want to stay. Social causes are a much stronger pull for me right now. That’s where the burnout came from. Physics can be a very demanding field, and I am not even sure I’m making the right decision [in moving away from physics as a career], as it’s still interesting. I’m just kind of confused right now.

Hey, join the club.

Right. I am just not accustomed to it. I come from a family where people plan their lives 10 years in advance. I make my parents very nervous when I tell them I’m taking a break for a year.