Street: What are you guys studying?
Eric Shapiro: I’m in Wharton doing an individualized concentration in Innovative Leadership and Education.
Wyatt Shapiro: I study mechanical engineering, so I always joke that combined we’re M+T. But two people. Not as impressive.
Street: Eric, you transferred from NYU—what’s the biggest difference between NYU students and Penn students?
ES: There’s so many...
WS: I can sum it up. The man bun was more popular.
ES: I didn’t have it then! Well, the fashion is very different. You’re also in New York, so people just do crazy things.
Street: How does the Fellowship for Building Intercultural Communities work?
ES: It’s a group of seven upperclassmen and we work with 12-15 freshmen and sophomores...The discussion component hits on various topics: microaggressions, power and oppression, various topics. That really builds off of the lived experience and the experience people are bringing into the room...The other main component is the capstone, which is a project that the fellows create all together and execute.
Street: And do you go see Wyatt’s Mask and Wig shows?
WS: Funny story actually, freshman year, most guys didn’t know I had a twin. And they saw him out in the audience and they were like, “What the fuck? Wyatt, get your ass back in the bandstand, what are you doing?!” They were freaking out. All of the cast was just watching “me” watch them, and I’m supposed to be in the back.
Street: And Wyatt, you also work with Engineers without Borders?
WS: Yeah, I traveled all the way out to Cameroon...We try to implement sustainable engineering solutions...The point is, we don’t buy or bring materials over, we do it all locally. And we contract a lot of the stuff out, like for carpenters, construction, it’s all local people. We’re just there to make the solutions as simple as possible, and sustainable.
Street: What projects did you work on?
WS: We worked on a water filtration system that also served as water storage. We actually managed to triple the water capacity and reduced bacteria by tenfold within the current system they had.
Street: Describe the other twin in three words.
WS: I would say grungy, greasy, and something else with a g... gregarious
WS: I’m not fratty at all!
ES: Okay so alt-fratty, nice, good looking. No, man-bun-less and beard-less.
Street: Did you ever swap places as children?
WS: I mean we did it in middle school. One of us would get up, and ask to go to the bathroom, and then the other one would be waiting outside the door. The first one would walk out, and then two minutes later the other one would walk back in. It worked! The teacher didn’t know.
ES: It was pretty funny because we had different clothes on.
WS: We didn’t even try. And all the kids of course were giggling, they knew right away.
Street: So who’s older?
ES: I am. By a minute.
WS: He also holds that over me.
Street: Do you guys hang out a lot?
ES: You brought us together.
WS: Thank you! I mean we text, sometimes.
Street: Give us a cheesy pick up line.
ES: My pick-up line would be “No, I’m not Wyatt” or something like that.
WS: Like... “Girl here are some skittles, let me taste the rainbow,” something like that. Or I would pop some skittles in her mouth then say that.
ES: This only furthers my, “No, I’m not Wyatt.”
Street: If you could have a drink with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you drink?
ES: We’d have nice pour over coffee, but I don’t know who it would be with.
WS: Buddha, man. You’d have it with Buddha for sure.
ES : I don’t think he’d accept.
WS: I’d have Early Grey tea with J. J. Johnson, he’s a trombone player and my idol.
Street: What’s the most disappointing present you’ve ever gotten?
Street: Shouldn’t it be the other way round, if he was born first?
ES: Yeah, that’s my answer, I’m taking that one.
WS: No, screw you, that’s my answer.
ES: That doesn’t make any sense.
Street: Tell us about your first kisses.
WS: Mine was pretty good, I think...It was post-movie, post-dinner...post-quesadillas.
ES: Mine was pretty sloppy. It was in a movie theater—it was one of the Bond movies.
Street: If you are what you eat, what are you?
WS: Probably Hot Cheetos and Takis.
Street: What’s your guilty pleasure?
WS: That’s not a guilty pleasure
ES : But I spend $4 on it.
Street: What will you be doing on this day in 10 years?
ES: I’d be doing a lot of shit—running a coffee shop, directing a film, doing something cool with entrepreneurship and education.
WS: I’d say setting up shop for Shapir–bros Incorporated. Who knows what we’ll be. It’ll encompass education, coffee and some machines in the back. It could be a toy making company.
ES: Coffee for adults and toys for kids. That’s our one–line summary.