Drumroll pleassseee! It’s the first interview! This is the first of hopefully many to come and it’s with the impassioned Matthew Quinnsley. There were some technical difficulties with the Skype but we got there in the end! Here’s Matt talking about his wonder.

Matthew Quinn: hey

The Wonder: hello! how are you?

MQ: haha. I am exhausted lol

MQ: had the PAU show today. 7 hours of dancing :s how are you lil miss blogger?

TW: i’m good thanks! 7 hours of dancing sounds insannne! I’d just like to say thanks for being the first interviewee for my lil blog!

MQ: No problem, keeps me on my feet. I really like the look of your blog too. The Kanye thing really struck a chord.

TW: thank you! I love that Kanye performance, so inspiring. I’m guessing you didn’t have a chance to catch x-factor with all that dancing

MQ: I did not. haha. Who got chucked off?

TW: I honestly can’t remember haha. I don’t think you’re missing much. Let’s talk about what you’re passionate about. What’s your wonder?

MQ: My wonder……hmm. Do you need a word? lol.

TW: Oh, you don’t have to be specific! Mine for example, at the moment anyway, is talking to people and finding out what they’re all about. That’s what made me start the blog. And i’m also obsessed with hands. Very random.

MQ: Hands!

TW: I know it’s weird!

MQ: Wow. My wonder. A situation I find myself in always and a lot of what I do, can probably be explained by this- simply helping people. Not just from a humanitarian side but even helping someone brainstorm about how to apply for a job or helping someone become more confident, overcome over their fears. I wasn’t always the confident outgoing leader that I am and I think that’s the root of it- that it was a long fumbling sometimes painful journey to get here and I wish that there was just a random positive helpful person there to guide me through a lot of it.

TW: What helped you get through it?

MQ: Truthfully, not a lot. It was a struggle sometimes. I was bullied realllly badly and when that stopped, I just started growing up. Realising that ‘being different’ by nature wasn’t a bad thing. My parents have always been a guiding force, in everything teaching me to provide for myself and here I had to apply that rather than weighing them down with self pity. I will always owe them that.

TW: Wow. I think it’s an amazing journey you’ve been on.

MQ: It was really up and down, some of it attributed to puberty I guess lol!

TW: Whilst I was snooping on your Facebook page, I mean doing research, I saw you quoted Gandhi. It appears you’ve done as he said.

MQ: HAHA! Exactly! You know, I wish more people just got that. That one thing. That if you want change, you have to make it for yourself. If everyone is mean to one kid and you think its out of order, you be good to him and enjoy it, learn from it, grow from it and others will see that that is the better thing to do. Probably not immediately, but things take time.

TW: Why did you decide to join the stop AIDS society? Why not another cause?

MQ: Well, my parents have raised me to always get involved, and give back wherever I can.
Ooooo before I joined them, I would always fundraise for Save The Children.
Entirely, you can’t go wrong there. Children are innocent. (Note I am also a member of Amnesty). But at Southampton I didn’t see Save The Children and the other mainstream causes seemed bureaucratic RAG, Amnesty, Unicef had the HUGE sign ups and nothing to show for it. Then I came across Stop AIDS unheard of cause, small, dedicated society.

TW: I think it’s interesting that you chose to help the underdog, a small, unheard charity.

MQ: The President and the VP at the bunfight were up, excited moving around grabbing people the Amnesty guys sat on chairs…watching people oooo at the name and sign up sounds like a ridiculous monopoly to me at the first meeting Sarosh (President) made it very clear that there was no committee status quo that all ideas are brilliant and should be explored and that however little you can get involved everything is appreciated and you were always welcome I remember coming home and saying to my housemate that I really like the set up, and that I thought I could help them out alot. and here I am haha!

TW: haha. What’s been students’ response to the society?

MQ: Erm. Last year, it was a very confused reaction. [It felt like] ‘HIV and AIDS aren’t issues here’, but that is wrong. HIV is the fast spreading STD at the moment. But this year, I think with the success we had last year, it hasn’t been questioned. There is a real passion and result led satisfaction in our attitudes when recruiting no one has questioned us. Maybe….part of the change is that we did raise awareness on campus and that schools are educating people about the topic better.

We had a complete overhaul last year, Stop AIDS is here and it’s not going anywhere.

TW: That’s one helluva slogan!

MQ: haha thank you. new logo, new website, new events, new approach. It was pretty funny, the Stop AIDS campaign is national there’s about 14 societies around the country. The “Big Players” have typically been Sheffield and Edinburgh and then last year we had the speaker tour come (which travels to all the involved Unis) and they were totally taken aback. We gave them all double beds (when they usually get sleeping bags on floors) and we had over 60 people attend the event + MP Alan Whitehead and at the National Conference we blew them away with ideas and fundraisers they’d never thought of (that weren’t that revolutionary to us). So out of nowhere Southampton Stop AIDS just exploded haha.

TW: I think that’s another slogan right there!

MQ: I can be a little slogany 😀

TW: It’s a good thing, the society is clearly doing an amazing job. So, what do you when you’re not saving the world? You mentioned PAU.

MQ: haha. Well, I dance like an idiot when I go out and my friend was involved in Street Dance last year…talked me into joining. It is ridiculous exercise and from the outset I saw it as a massive challenge. It was really cliquey. It was a society with 5 guys and 130 girls and an all girl committee. So I joined and I stuck with it. I learned from people, I helped them and now I am the social sec.

Having been the leader in Stop AIDS I can only really be a leader. That’s what social sec is, being a social leader, setting the example…..which should………eradicate thh clickyness whoops typo lol. Furthermore I have extensive committee experience and the committee is made of dancers who are some on the most dramatic irrational people to work with, don’t get me wrong they are brilliant people and can be very powerful when focused “can” lol………dancers haha. I really enjoy having a different perspective, trying to orientate the committee to SERVE the members and generally being a positive force. A lot of what I have gained from Stop AIDS has transferred Inspiring people in a different way or even today helping the freshers contain their stage fright

TW: aww, freshers!

MQ: ooo tell me about it…..I’m more like Argh, freshers! I went off on one there.

TW: haha, you’re in your final year now. I’m just left wondering, how does civil engineering fit into everything? Where do you have time for it, for one!

MQ: haha. Umm I travelled a lot with my parents when I was younger. I’m good and maths and physics and I found bridges, skyscrapers and dams fascinating. Civils seemed like the right move. Time…I make it. I use my time suuuuper efficiently. I will do work til 10.20 some nights then go out. lol.

TW: Such good advice. You should let the freshers in on that one. lol

MQ: haha. Well I wasn’t like this in my first year. Takes trial and error.

TW: Definitely. I think that’s about it!

MQ: 🙂

TW: Thanks for taking part.

MQ: No problem. I feel very motivated now. lol.

TW: The blog’s doing its job then!

MQ: YEAH! Good luck with it, let me know when you post it. :d

For more information check out the websites on the Stop AIDS society at Southampton University and the Street Dance Society.