“I am a big fan of three things that cover my personality. Thing No. 1: Lana Del Rey. Thing No. 2: history. Thing No. 3: talking to people,” said Tré Thomas, senior history major.
Thomas found Lana Del Rey while in high school. Thomas now listens to her so much that her music has molded their personality significantly, said Thomas.
“I feel like a lot of people know me as the person with the Lana Del Rey sweatshirt. I walk around campus and stuff like that because it is my favorite sweatshirt,” Thomas said.
To Thomas, Rey’s music is “theatrical.” Her music contains many sad and emotional lyrics with a sense of hope underneath, explains Thomas.
“It spoke to a part of me that was emotional because, as a teenager, when you have a lot of things going on emotionally, when you find someone feels like you, you think ‘they get it, they get me,’ and you start to feel more attached to that,” they said.
For Sarah Bell, career development specialist, her favorite memory of Thomas comes from a playlist filled completely with Lana Del Rey songs.
“When Tré was a Fiat Lux mentor with me in the fall [2019 semester], they made me a Lana Del Rey playlist, titled Lana Del Bell, that I could listen to during an upcoming trip that I had planned,” Bell said. “It was a very thoughtful gift, and still one of my favorite playlists.”
Thomas came to Waynesburg University originally as a pre-law major with the desire to become a defense attorney. As Thomas progressed through their classes, however, Thomas realized they were not as interested in law as they thought they would be. Then Thomas took a United States history class.
“I had such an amazing time in that class. I learned so much, and I got such a passion for history that I was talking to [Professor Karen Younger] one day and she said, ‘Have you ever thought about dual-majoring in pre-law and history?’”
Thomas took up Younger’s suggestion, but eventually dropped the pre-law major altogether. With history, Thomas felt they were more well-equipped to help people. In this situation, people in the past would be Thomas’s focus, not those in the present.
“I just love history, because it felt to me like I was able to give that same voice to disenfranchised people like I wanted to do as a law major, but now I’m able to do it for people in the past,” Thomas said. “‘rewriting the system,’ is where I feel like my skills are better.”
Around campus, Thomas has been a part of many extra-curricular activities. Thomas was the Symphonic Band president and has played two years with the jazz band. They have spent two years with the Student Senate in the positions of junior class senator and academic vice president. Thomas has probably spent the most time in the Goodwin Performing Arts Center. Being a part of many productions in the GPAC, Thomas also served as president of the theatre’s honor society, Alpha Psi Omega.
“This year, I have been involved with almost every single production in the GPAC, from one acts to major productions to a lot of different things,” Thomas said.
Thomas’ involvement in Student Senate is the oddball amongst the theatrical and musical activities they have been part of. To them, however, politics aren’t too far removed from the arts and from history.
“I tutored for a history class, and whenever I would talk to people I was tutoring, I would always say ‘you have to think of history like it’s a TV show.’ When you hear the story and hear the facts, if you think of it like you’re watching something, it makes it so much easier to remember. It also makes it so much easier to deconstruct, because you can replay those moments in your head. That theatricality of theatre comes in,” Thomas said.
Politics has theatricality, as well, explained Thomas. To them, much of political science involves public speaking, where words and performance matter.
“Theatre definitely gets you thinking about the words you’re using and how you say them. So when you apply that to politics or anything else like that with history, when you’re writing stuff, how you say it and the words you decide to use matter.”
After graduation, Thomas will attend graduate school at West Virginia University. Thomas hopes to become a professor or work a job where they can communicate history.
“Tré is passionate, adaptable and dedicated,” said Bell. “They truly are outstanding.”