What's with the name?
When we came up with this name (with the help of friend and fellow SLU student Paulina Menichiello), it was meant to be a play on the common phrase, "I'm entitled to my own opinion." We all summon our own opinions, no matter how ill-formed, as if we're pleading the Fifth, a false surrender to fact without acknowledgment of our own error.
How ironic, it is, then, that five days before we launched our podcast and this website, Americans were offered "alternative facts," which seemed to validate the common strategy to plead our opinion, no matter how contrary to fact it really is. We're desperate to know: Why do our opinions blind us from fact? And, just as vitally, how do we separate opinion from fact, or tell what is factual in the first place?
Our answer: We listen and entertain others' opinions. And not just friends we agree with, but also the ones who staunchly oppose all we stand for. What is the root of our misunderstanding? We hope to practice intellectual humility and bridge intellectual gaps, to ask experts to enlighten us and peers to engage us. We are hyperaware of our generation's incestuous instinct to perpetuate partisan ideologies while closing itself to new opinions. In many ways, our name is an ironic anthem to this misguiding nature of our generation, hoping to propel ourselves and others into the exposure of new ideas. We long ago established our own opinions, and frankly, we're sick of brandishing them. So, now we turn to you all. Forgive us if we're infringing, but we do believe that we're Entitled to Our Friend's Opinion, and that you are entitled to ours, as well. All in the search for truth.
Who we are
Brian Dugan is a Senior at Saint Louis University studying Psychology with minors in English and Theology. He plans to graduate this coming May and do a year of service before applying to graduate school.
Brian has lived his entire life in St. Louis, save for four months when he studied abroad in Galway, Ireland. An avid traveler and writer, he often sacrifices sleep for the excitement of 3 am.
If you're looking for someone to talk about Harry Potter or the Cardinals with, Brian is an overqualified candidate.
Bob Garvey is a musician, outdoorsman, and avid consumer of corgi videos living in the heart of Midtown St. Louis. Youngest of six and first of his family to attend university, Bob is eager to explore the existential.
He is currently a senior at Saint Louis University studying Public Health with minors in Biology and Urban Poverty Studies. He plans to serve for the next two years as a Teach For America Corps member in New York City, NY before attending medical school.
Amongst other passions, Bob is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist in his band, Brother's Frontier, for which he writes and composes music. He is currently working on several creative projects which includes a collection of poems and a one-man show production.
Josh VanKooten is a Senior at Saint Louis University studying Business Administration and Management with a focus in Sport Business. While he is undecided about what he will do after graduation his long term goal is to be the commissioner of the NFL.
During Christmas 2014, Josh was diagnosed with the incredibly rare - neuromyelitis optica. This started him down a path of becoming passionate about health, wellness, and self improvement. Among these passions Josh is also an avid Tom Brady fan, enjoys world history and is trying understand this crazy thing called life.
We at Entitled to My Friend's Opinion are continually working to formulate a team of qualified, driven, and passionate team members to write for our blog. Our aim is to accumulate a group of individuals from diverse backgrounds and ideations to spur conversations with ample representation from each side of every issue. The partisan nature of the world may never change, but equal representation of each ideology is possible.
Garrett is a junior at SLU and studies economics. He is an Intercollegiate Studies Institute Honors Scholar and the Vice Chairman of the Lincoln Society. He has interned with Representative John Shimkus, Governor Eric Greitens, and the Mercatus Center. Garrett is originally from the small town of Altamont, Illinois, and he plans to attend law school.
Check out Garrett's KSLU radio show The Witness Review
Justin is a Senior at SLU majoring in Communication with a concentration in, and passion for, journalism. He was raised on "The Hill," an Italian enclave in St. Louis city, and studies the Italian language in case his dream of growing old in southern Italy and talking politics with olive-skinned octogenarians should ever come to fruition. His passions include: running in the rain, ice skating, eating frozen thin mints, and dancing so hard that everybody within a 10-foot radius walks away both bruised and entertained. He plans to write and travel (be poor) for the rest of his life.