Ernie Klepeis '13
An Unpredictable Leader
The only predictable thing about junior Ernie Klepeis is his reliable unpredictability. In high-school, Ernie studied to become a Catholic priest for two years before realizing that it wasn’t the best fit for him.
Ernie experienced a personal renaissance when he decided to explore new things, one of which was an exotic gathering of fire dancers on what Ernie calls “the most amazing plot of land in the world, hidden in the woods about a mile away from my house in Hudson Valley, N.Y.” After attending the festival, Ernie was persuaded to abandon his plans of faithful service in favor of new way of life that embraced the wild side of the human spirit, rallied on by music, dance, and art.
“It was a change in what I believed externally,” says Ernie, and when he first visited GMC, he knew that he had found a place of open-mindedness that would mesh with his new sensibilities. By majoring in fine art and philosophy, Ernie had found two outlets to let his newfound spirit manifest.
“Insane,” Ernie says. “That’s the word I would use to characterize my art, or at least the process of creating my work.” He says that he’s always made more of an effort to diversify his artistic capabilities over a variety of areas rather than try to perfect one art form over another. Ernie’s art is intentionally nontraditional and, at times, controversial. “I also really like art theory—asking questions like, ‘What is drawing, really?’ and, also, learning more about yourself… my art’s for me.” Even thought Ernie’s art has been largely a personal exploration, he’s also had his work frequently displayed on campus for various events.
In keeping with characteristic spontaneity, Ernie also ventured into the theatre over his college years, appearing in last year’s production of The Flies, directed by Lisa Much ’11 and in last year’s Shakespeare on Main Street production in Poultney, directed by adjunct music professor, Gary Meitrott.
Ernie rounds out his studies in typical liberal arts fashion, making sure he has a balanced diet of hands-on and contemplative components to his education. “Well I wanted to study philosophy because all the smartest people are philosophers,” he chuckles. “You know, art is very hands-on, theatre is very-hands on, and I like that philosophy is something that can be done in an armchair while closing your eyes.”
Soft-spoken but open and gregarious, Ernie works as a student ambassador, meeting and greeting prospective students and giving tours of the campus. A natural teacher, he served as a teacher’s assistant for a painting course last year.
With all of that, Ernie’s found the time to serve on the student senate as well. After serving as vice president as a sophomore, he was elected President of the student body last year.
So far, Ernie has really enjoyed being able to help facilitate change on campus and in the community. One of their recent efforts has been helping support the local Stone Valley Market cooperative in Poultney.
“I don’t think they would be open right now if it wasn’t for GMC’s student government,” he says. “To walk in there and be able to buy local and organic products really made all of our efforts pay off in the long run.” Ernie also played an integral part in rewriting the student body constitution during his first year here and is currently working on updating the college’s honor code.
“I don’t really know how I get caught up in all of this,” Ernie says. “But I’m enjoying it.”
By Chad Skiles ‘12