You’ve seen Omar Taweh around campus screaming in the middle of the seal and posting in the Facebook group “Buy or Sell UConn Tickets” about the latest UConn scandal. Or posting about his thick thighs and the bitopia.
Taweh is involved in everything: He was the director of programming for the Residence Hall Association, a member and former vice president of the club track and field team, the managing editor of Nutmeg magazine and the public relations director for USG.
Taweh assisted with the Global Health Symposium, worked as a barista at Starbucks, assisted other on-campus organizations like SUBOG and the Black Student Association and volunteered at the Yale Refugee Clinic once a week.
He worked in three labs during his time at UConn, did freelance photography and worked with the Office of the President and the Dean of Students to produce a “Protect Our Pack” module that all freshmen will take starting in the fall. And he will protest anything or anyone, whenever and wherever under any circumstances.
Taweh is graduating with the class of 2019 as an honors student with a bachelor of science in physiology and neurobiology and a bachelor of arts in psychology with a minor in human rights. This summer he will travel to Jordan to do research with a Fulbright scholarship. We sat down with Taweh to ask him how he does it all, and to reflect on his time at UConn.
How do you do all of the things?
As much vodka whenever I can, tweeting all of my insecurities, sleeping on intermittent schedules and not having a circadian rhythm, and surrounding yourself with people who won’t flop around you.
Why did you decide to do all of the things?
I have too many interests and I have severe ADHD, so I would be so bored if I did only one thing. My horribly sporadic brain was like “do anything and everything,” and so I did. And here I am, barely hanging on by a thread.
What is it like being the most famous person at UConn?
During UConnPalooza I was on Fairfield Way and some person drove by and yelled “Facebook Omar! We love you!” and then someone else went “I love you too!” and I feel like I don’t know what to tell people when they say these things. I just do a lot of things because I enjoy doing a lot of things. You can all be as well-known as I am if you just scream about everything at any given time, with little to no sleep, and were a member of the bitopia.
How were you able to go from a random UConn student to The Buy or Sell Guy?
One of the ways you can become really well-known on this campus is exposing yourself in ways that are lending yourself to freshmen. The things that I have done have built it so that I have a lot of influence. My reputation as “Buy or Sell Omar” preceded me with “Facebook Class of 2019 Omar” where I would post a lot of satire things and was lowkey a troll. I was half human being, half troll, kind of like The Daily Campus. It’s finding a balance between what’s stressing me out and what’s stressing other people out, but also making satire out of it.
How do you make a protest happen? Do you just post in Buy or Sell, or is there more of a science to it?
Posting in Buy or Sell is an easy way to find others that are interested in the same cause. There are also administrators in Buy or Sell, so that can help get them involved. I also talk to people about it. In classrooms with a lot of students, I toss in sentences about things that are happening and being planned. It’s aggressive sharing about words and ideas. You can become good at it and acquire the status of someone who has respect in the activism community, but to get there you have to really force it down people’s throats. People call me annoying and that’s understandable, because I am annoying and I’m going to make you listen to what I have to say.
What is your hottest take and most unpopular opinion about UConn?
I think that this university’s student body is overwhelmingly complacent. We don’t have a lot of students who are lower-income, unless they are coming from lower-income backgrounds with the direct purpose of giving them an education to go back and serve their communities, so people will get pissed off when you say that. When it comes to UConn, the real hot take that they hate to hear is that they don’t care. It’s not every single administrator—there are a few that care a lot and it makes up for those that don’t care. That being said, this university operates on an economic, capitalist, financial, status-based agenda. As any other university does. When you challenge administrators, then there is action. I shouldn’t have to remind you to put a student on your transportation committee to get student input on transportation routes without data. Same with diversity issues. When TPUSA came, this student union looked like a jail. The first thing that struck my mind was the police presence, and that is a triggering thing to some people. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the person who works for them and is the vice president appointee, was on vacation that week. There was an oversight because she wasn’t there in the fact that this person would have noted there should not have been a lockdown on the place that houses the five cultural centers. Why are they doing things without asking the students? They build relationships with students out of the goodness of their hearts, but also to get them to shut up.
Switching gears, what are your thoughts on the men at UConn?
Oh my God, um, what is the largest piece of garbage that I can acquire and deposit in a safe and respectful environmentally friendly manner? The reality is that the men are trash, but if you go to a PWI, every Chad, Brad, they’re all the same, these are the cis-heterosexual men. The gay community is very cliquey, caddy and skinny like Mariah. The male community as a whole, I would give a strong 5.4. It’s very lacking.
Tell us about the bitopia.
Well, nobody is straight. I usually ask people, “How tall is the tallest person you know and how short is the shortest person you know?” So the height range is, everyone else you know falls somewhere in the middle, and height is determined by many different genes and the environment, in the sense that if you don’t eat, you will not grow. Now thinking about a normal distribution curve, everyone falls in the middle somewhere, but as you go out to the sides, less and less are there. Sexual orientation is coded in general and determined by many genes. It’s very sporadic. Up until the Industrial Revolution, technology of the world began to advance very very quickly, and here we are many years later with people with disabilities living around us, so natural selection would select against people who could not reproduce. Now that there are always going to be humans on this world, people with disabilities and a set of traits that will not let them reproduce can live freely in this world. Most people are lining up on the more heterosexual side, but with more conversation being had, more people are falling in the spectrum. Eight percent of the population of people under 34 identify as bisexual. Welcome to the bitopia.
Okay next question—
Wait, did any of these questions come from that Daddy of the Week article?
You were a Daddy of the Week?
I was the trademark Daddy of the Week. It was two or three years ago. I look so heterosexual in the picture they used.
What is your favorite thing about yourself?
These thicc thighs! I was outside at SUBOG spring weekend and I asked these guys if I could take their picture and they asked to see it so I showed it to them and they were like, “You’re Omar with the thicc thighs” and it floored me for a minute, like did they just say that out loud? They were like, “Your thighs are so powerful, like look at mine.” And now that’s my name on Twitter. These shorts also make my ass look so fat. Look.
Last question, do you have a final message to the UConn community?
Just do it. I know that’s a Nike quote, but I said it before them. I mean that in the way that I’ve done the most that I’ve done in four years because I’ve just done whatever I was interested in and I very much never shied away from doing what I also thought was fun. Make the most of anything and everything you can. But I don’t know why anyone would listen to me. They’re like, “Go back to the bitopia.”
Ashley Anglisano is the associate news editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.