A life of fun and games: Meet the always jovial Erin Cowles
Can you recall the funniest kid in your high school? Several newspaper columnists make millions of dollars by writing about everyday experiences and recognizing the humor in them. Jerry Seinfeld could retire twice due to his recognition of humor in daily life.
Humor can be a tool, a valuable commodity in life. Erin Cowles, a senior in Utah State's communication department, recognizes and reminds many of the comedic value in that stressful college setting.
A brunette Shirley Temple with freckles that powder her cheeks, Cowles is known by teachers and students alike as one lovable gal. Leaving the comfortable halls of Roy High School with the class of '98, Cowles made the jump from Royal to Aggie.
"After I graduated from good ole' Roy High, I made the move to Logan," Cowles said. "I loved Logan when I visited and have been an Aggie ever since. Aggies are just better, what the heck is a Royal anyway," Cowles says laughing-out-loud, "I know cows aren't the best mascot, but there are a lot worse."
The value of student involvement is important to Cowles. It may not be simple to pick Cowles out in a crowd due to what she calls her "growth impairment," (after all she is considered short, almost a legal midget) which may be the driving force for her personality's shining presence in most social situations. Cowles works a crowd with ability few people possess. She is a true people person.
Ever heard a radio morning show where the host must fight for talk time? Cowles has visited the local radio show on assignment to make announcements for the several organizations she is involved with. Result: some people light up a room by entering, Cowles lit up the radio dial.
"Sometimes I have a lot to say and being short, I have to say it when I can," she said with a smile from freckle to freckle. The hosts fought for time as Cowles cracked joke after joke, some even with the host involved.
Jokes and funny lines are a common dose of conversation with Cowles. The real funny thing is, they are never at the expense of others. Cowles funniest jokes are about her own dating life or some other aspect of her life that she finds humorous.
"Who else in the world has double-jointed armpits anyway," said the giggly Cowles as she unnaturally tangled both arms until they spanned completely around her head.
"It's one of my many hidden talents," she added.
Hidden talents, some much more civil than double-jointed armpits, gave Cowles a jump-start at Utah State. As a freshman Cowles got involved in several clubs and organizations on campus. She was chosen to represent the university as a member of the President's Leadership Council helping with new student tours. She also joined the Student Alumni Association.
"I got involved with Student Alumni Association (SAA) my sophomore year," Cowles said, "I was recruited during WOW (week of welcome). I guess I was looking for new friends."
A Saturday-morning-cartoon giggle follows as she recounts the many new friends.
"It was that darned Student Alumni recruiting that sucked me in," Cowles said.
As a first-year member of SAA she assisted with the university's campus wide spring party A-Day, as committee chairperson over advertising. A role that later earned Cowles an appointment spot on the Student Alumni Association's Executive Council as the A-Day Chairperson. Whether she was scheduling the live bands, working on the campus-wide fund-raiser, gaining corporate sponsors or another aspect of the spring bash, A-day is all planned and organized by students.
"That is the great thing about SAA. It gives all its members a chance to be involved with the planning and carrying-out of all activities. It gives the members lots of interaction," Cowles said.
Cowles leadership has proven useful to the organization. After serving on the Roy High student government for much of her high school experience, Cowles has involved herself very actively with the SAA.
"I have been involved in so many ways. It all started with A-day and now I am in my second year of executive board with SAA," said Cowles. "I tried to oversee the planning of that big party last year. You know how I am though, I just had fun."
Over 100 hours of planning were involved with A-day, not to mention the weekly executive council meetings that often last up to two hours. Whether it is homecoming, etiquette dinners, business seminars, or even True Aggie night, Student Alumni sponsors numerous activities for its members all cutting several hours into Cowles' week.
"Student Alumni Association involves over 165 paid members," said Patty Halaufia, faculty advisor to the organization.
Leadership pooled with an almost-patented cackling laugh, and a great sense of self-humor draws so many students to Cowles.
"Anyone around knows when Erin's in the room or when she is coming," said Halaufia. "It's not her overwhelming presence, she just has leadership."
"Any five-minute conversation with her (Cowles) can leave you laughing for the rest of the day," Halaufia said.
Leadership coupled with great humor draw all members to Cowles. No one spills more on themselves than Cowles. She is known for being at formal events and coming formal but leaving casual due to punch draped down the front of her dress. At last years Robins Awards the executive council was admittedly bored until Cowles broke out a heavy arsenal of "Laffy Taffy" jokes. Fun is something that Cowles said drew her to the organization in the first place. She is a fun person, always laughing, but never by herself.
"Laughing is a big part of SAA for me. Last years trip to Arizona was full of jokes, mostly on me, but, boy were they funny," said Cowles.
When eating at a famous Phoenix steak house the executive council challenged each other to test their love skills on a quarter-machine near the front door. A few of the members went first resulting in "hot stud" and "cuddly bear". It was the double-jointed Cowles turn. She grabbed the plastic joystick in order to be measured. The scale, which had repeatedly climbed nearer and nearer to the top-level of love, climbed only two squares to "clammy." Cowles, knowing it was a mistake, pardoned the first and took another attempt. This time, grabbing the joystick ever tighter, she attentively watched as the lights stopped at one square on "dead fish."
"What can I say? I am a clammy, dead-fish lover," she says faking a frown, but then laughing hysterically. "We laughed about it the whole trip."
The trip to Phoenix was memorable as 14 of the 16 council members attended with Halaufia. Workshops, such as this one, are attended yearly by the council on various campuses across America.
"It is a way for the leaders of Student Alumni Association to enhance their goals and carry out the mission," Halaufia said.
A mission which states several purposes one of which is "to develop friendships between students, faculty, and alumni."
"I've made great friends, had good experiences, and seen results of my work efforts through the Student Alumni Association," Cowles said.
The Student Alumni Association provides several opportunities to boost relationships between these groups. Frequently, speakers from various departments on and off campus are asked to speak to the members about what it takes to succeed.
"I think it has shown me a way to stay involved, even after I graduate. I have several friends from SAA who have graduated, but still are involved through the Alumni Association," Cowles said.
"SAA gives so many wonderful opportunities to get involved. It's easy to make friends, even for someone like me."