Years ago, a tired 27-year-old dad would sneak into Lamar Wise’s bedroom and shake him from his sleep every Saturday morning. Jumping from his bed, Wise would set up the previous evening’s Transformer episode that he had recorded so that he could watch it with his dad who worked nights at Intel.
Wise was born when his parents were 19, and the fact that his dad didn’t run off inspires Wise to this day.
“That’s insane. I cannot imagine having a kid right now, going to school, doing all the things that I do and making it work. He is the epitome of being the responsible dad and doing what it takes to get things done,” Wise said with a smile. “He had to grow up fast, and that’s a lot to ask for a 19-year-old to do. But he did it.”
In his third year at the University of Oregon, Wise hasn’t stopped working, sacrificing or helping.
As an ASUO Senator, Oregon Student of Color Coalition representative, Oregon Student Association member and student, Wise can spend up to 15 hours on campus running from meeting to meeting with just enough time to run home to grab lunch. Sometimes.
Having a place to run, hide and spend some alone time hasn’t always been an option for Wise. Last year he spent most of his time couch surfing.
“I couldn’t afford to live in Eugene and go to school, so I had to make a sacrifice somewhere — and that’s where I made it,” Wise said. “(My parents) have been working with me to try to make sure that doesn’t happen again this year.”
In order to not overstay his welcome, Wise constantly packed his stuff, moved to a different house and began all over.
“It was interesting to move my stuff from one place to another and figure out a way to live without your own space, which was an interesting learning experience,” Wise said.
While moving from couch to couch, Wise was also running for ASUO Vice President. Being involved in student government has always been a passion for Wise, whose first position was study body president of his fourth grade class.
Almost a decade later, the senior class president and close friend of then sophomore Wise committed suicide, blindsiding him. Since then, Wise has vowed to help people, to be considerate and compassionate just like his friend.
“I don’t want to be in it just because I’m in it. I want to be in it because I know there is a need, and I’ve seen it, and because of what happened I think I owe it to him and to my experiences with him to continue that service.”