“Even at my busiest times, I get about five hours of sleep a night,” explains Alexandra Cavoulacos ’08 over a late brunch. “When I can get away with it, I aim for 14. And I never work when the sun is out.”
The comment makes me wonder how late Cavoulacos must stay up in order to do all that she does. The Silliman senior currently serves as executive director of Global21; she is also a freshman counselor and an amateur photographer. Additionally, she was the business manager of and a performer in the a cappella group Proof of the Pudding until her junior year.
“What amazes me most about Alex,” said Sabrina Snell ’08, editorial director of Global21, an organization that puts out magazines at college campuses worldwide, “is that even though I know she does amazing things at Global21, when I’m talking to her, I start to realize how much other stuff she is involved in.”
Of all Cavoulacos’ activities, she says Global21 has proven to be the most life-altering. According to Cavoulacos, the most significant moment of her life occurred during her sophomore year when she was involved in the founding of The Beirut Globalist, three days before war broke out between Lebanon and Israel.
“We had editors in chief in both Jerusalem and Beirut, one of whom was in exile. We couldn’t not do anything, so we did a special coverage of the Middle East … Allowing students taking part in the conflict to express themselves during that time was truly incredible.”
Cavoulacos admits that her work at Global21 is not without cost. “It’s an unpaid, full-time job,” she explains. “In a bad week, I can put in up to 35 or 40 hours of work.” Yet her global interactions, she says, make it all worthwhile — and they don’t end with her work at Global21.
“I did Bulldogs in Brussels between my sophomore and junior year at the Southeast England Brussels office,” she says. “I basically did regional lobbying and representation work … I had a front row seat in the European Union.”
The following year, Cavoulacos got a job at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, where she performed research for her senior thesis and at the same time studied the current state of the Muslim population in France.
Yet despite all her work in government, Cavoulacos has no intention of professionally entering the public sphere.
“While I was in Paris, I realized that I really do have a passion for international affairs, but I don’t think I could ever work in government.”
I have to ask how, at 21 years old, Alex has already become such an international citizen.
“My father is Greek, and my mother is Belgian Hungarian,” she explains. Born in Washington, D.C., Cavoulacos moved between D.C., New York, and France until she was ten years old, when she finally settled in Paris, where she would eventually attend the former NATO high school. She explains all this without a trace of an accent.
“Even in high school, she was super involved,” says Sophie Cavoulacos, Alex’s younger sister. “Clearly everything she did she was passionate about, but she was passionate about so many things.”
And that passion is what keeps her going.
“I like efficiency, diversity, being able to travel and learn, and being surrounded by people who are intelligent and interesting,” Cavoulacos says.
Looking at the clock, I remember that Cavoulacos is driven not just by passion, but by something much rarer in the Yale population: an insistence on a good night’s sleep.