It ain’t Long Island: South Dakota style

Forget the first 10 people you met at GW – not everyone is from Long Island. Or New Jersey, for that matter. Or even Pennsylvania. Though many times you may hear students asking one another “Nassau or Suffolk County?” GW really does attract students from interesting locales all over the country and the globe. Meet Irene Conley.

Cow-tipping might be the most well-known farm country activity, but sophomore Irene Conley is more familiar with another type: buffalo-egging. It’s like cow-tipping, South Dakota style.

“You know how on homecoming most people go egg houses? We egg buffalos,” Conley said.

The buffalo don’t always take very kindly to the pranks in Rapid City, S.D., where Conley grew up. Once, a disgruntled buffalo charged. “The buffalo tore up the back of the truck,” Conley said. “We told the friend’s dad that we hurt the car while off-roading.”

Conley and her friends could have very well been 14 years old at the time. In South Dakota, teens don’t have to wait until they turn 15 or 16 to get a driver’s permit like they do in most states.

After an accident during her sophomore year of high school, however, where she said she “flew off a cliff and totaled” her father’s new car, Conley backed away from driving for a while.

With her father in the military, Conley moved around frequently when she was a young child, living in places including Utah, outside Seattle and Germany. She calls South Dakota home, or as she says “SoDoKo,” because it’s where she spent the most time.

Conley has found her place in D.C. through her passion for politics. While giving tours in a South Dakota goldmine, Big Thunder Goldmine, she met people who got her involved in Republican John Thune’s 2004 Senate campaign.

Working on the Midwest Coalition for Republican John Thune, Conley was able to meet George W. Bush, Laura Bush and Dick Cheney. Now, Conley interns at Thune’s Capitol Hill office.

Even though she’s pursuing her political passion in D.C., there are some things she misses from back home.

“I miss walking into a restaurant and knowing everyone. I miss the friendliness of South Dakota.”

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