Really Old School

(U-WIRE) PULLMAN, Wash. – David ‘Blue’ Waterstraat doesn’t see what the big deal is — he’s just another fraternity member. NBC’s “The Today Show,” however, seems to disagree. Reporters from the national morning program will visit WSU next week to tape a segment about the 59-year-old Blue. “We want to capture what his life is like,” said Lauren Kapp, spokesperson for “Today.” “How becoming a member of the fraternity has changed his life.” Blue, who joined Phi Kappa Sigma in early July, received publicity in The Daily Evergreen’s Aug. 19 issue and was featured in the Spokesman Review last week. Producers at “Today” saw the Evergreen article while sorting through human-interest stories, and contacted Blue the next week.”I was really surprised,” he said. “My first reaction was disbelief.” “Today” told Blue it plans to film for two days to capture the life of an almost 60-year-old returning student who discovered greek life. “It’s a unique story,” Kapp said. “We are always looking for stories or events that convey inspiration or entertainment to our viewers.” Blue, who earned his nickname from a character in the movie “Old School,” led an enterprising life before comin to Pullman, Wash. Originally from Spencerport, N.Y., Blue spent 12 years in the Marines as a translator. “When I was ordered to go to Fukienese (f??-kyen nez) language school, I was like, ‘What the Fuk is that?’ ” Now, however, he has a little different attitude about language and is fluent in Chinese and Japanese. He also served in Vietnam, has been a business and restaurant manager, and was the owner of a chain of dry cleaning stores in the Seattle area. But after 9-11, Blue was laid off and searching for a job. With his experience, he didn’t think he would have a hard time getting back into the workforce.”What I found is that I couldn’t even get an interview,” Blue said. Because he lost his job, Blue qualified for the Dislocated Workers Program, which offers as much as $6,000 toward school. He made the decision to come to WSU because of the high-ranked Hospitality Business Management program and hopes to work in China after graduation. Blue got involved with the Phi Kaps after seeing an associate member at My Office’s steak night. He was introduced to other members and made a visit to the fraternity house, where he was asked to join. “My primary goal here is to get an education and get back out to the work market,” Blue said. “If I have a little fun while I’m here, I have no objection to that.” Since joining, Blue has received much positive feedback from the Greek community. Even alumni think it’s a good thing because he can help younger members with problems because of his life experiences, he said. Blue is enjoying the new experience and said the best thing is the people he has met. Although he is becoming a local and national celebrity, Blue isn’t taking many steps in preparation for the camera crews, he said. “I threw my dogs in the fraternity pool,” Waterstraat said. “I might even break down and give them a bath.”