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KAMP Interview Series 2023: Tilly

Interviewer: Luke Wise

Interviewee: Tilly

Date Interviewed: April 10, 2023

Edited By: Liam Larkin-Smith

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Thank you for supporting the KAMP Interview Series 2023. To listen to this interview or watch it in full please explore the links above. All interviews take place live on air every Monday from 5-6 pm. Click the streaming link in the top right corner in order to tune in online or tune in on 1570 AM radio every Monday from 5-6 pm.

Luke: Hello and welcome back to the KAMP Interview Series. Today we've got a real special guest, Hayden Tilly Tillinger. He goes by the name Chili Chillenger. He's here to talk with us about life and about all sorts of things. Tilly, how was your day?

Tilly: It was great, up until you called me Chili Chillinger.

Luke: I'm sorry, I called you by your first name as well. My bad.

Tilly: Well, that's fine. Yeah, that's fine. Yeah. My name is Hayden Comma Space Tillinger comma space.

Luke: Chilly?

Tilly: No, not quite there. No. But, yeah, I go by Tilly here at the University of Arizona. That's how most people know me. So. I'm excited to be here.

Luke: Me too. Me too. Yeah. A lot of topics for you today.

Tilly: Do you really?

Luke: Let's get right into it.

Tilly: Let's do it.

Luke: All right.

Tilly: I do want to mention before you get going that when I heard I was being interviewed, I specifically requested that you be the person interviewing me.

Luke: I don't want to let you down today.

Tilly: Okay. You won't let me down. You can't.

Luke: Let's say let's see where we start off with let's do it.

Tilly: All right.

Luke: Your last month yeah. In college, are you excited to graduate?

Tilly: Yes and no.

Luke: Okay, that's good, because my follow up question is, what are you excited about? And what are you worried about?

Tilly: Good. I like that you had a follow up question. Not strictly limiting it to yes or no's. So yeah, I've got one month left in college. Pretty nervous to have to be an adult suddenly. They always say you go to college to be an adult. But as you know, there's a lot of safe things in a college environment, a lot of security. You know where you're going to be every day. You have a schedule. It's pretty flexible. You have a walkable campus. You have friends. You have built-in communities with clubs and everything. So going out and being a real adult, you have almost none of that safety net.

Luke: Sink or swim

Tilly: It's sink or swim a little bit. I'm going off. I'm taking a little break from what I currently study and what I currently was projected to have a career maybe in, and I'm hoping to take a little bit of a gap year and just have some life experiences.

Luke: Anything planned for the gap year?

Tilly: Nothing planned right now. I think it's kind of just fly by wire. It's going to see what feels right, what feels good. Mainly the biggest move for me is that I'm moving to Seattle, and I'm going to be living with my parents, actually, for a little bit. So thanks to my parents, shout out for that. But that's a huge leap of faith because I don't really have any friends in Seattle. I do have friends here in tucson. I'm not really doing what would be necessarily comfortable, and I struggle with that on almost a daily basis. I think about how much easier it would be if I just decided I wanted to stay here, but I know ultimately making these leaps is good for me, and it's a leap I made when I came here. I knew nobody at Arizona. I grew up in Montana, I don't know if you knew that. I'm pretty sure you did.

Luke: I did. Question number nine is about that. Oh, is it really?

Tilly: Yeah. I grew up in montana, and I didn't know anybody here, like, literally not a single soul when I came here, but I just kind of did it, and it was one of the best experiences I wanted to transfer for a long, long time, but it was one of the best experiences I could have done. So making another big change, doing a similar thing and heading off, and it's a little scary and I'm a little bit sad to leave college behind and some of my best friends that I've made here, but it'll be fun.

Luke: Yeah. Speaking of Seattle, you've been to a lot of places?

Tilly: I have, yeah.

Luke: Tucson, montana. I know that there's a place your parents moved to in between Seattle and Montana.

Tilly: You want me to tell you?

Luke: Is it Nashville?

Tilly: It was Nashville.

Luke: Nashville.

Tilly: Yeah, it was Nashville.

Luke: And in all those places, all unique. Could you tell me a little bit about Montana? How is that? Where did you grow up? Around. What did you like about it? What do you not like?

Tilly: Yeah, that's an interesting question. I have a lot of love for that state. A lot of really pure love. Maybe not for everybody who lives in that state. Not that I hate anybody.

Luke: Oh, well, you got to hate some guy.

Tilly: No, I don't really hate anybody, but I maybe don't always have the same political views as people who live in Montana. This is the best example of that. But I love the state. It has so much natural beauty. A lot of experience can be had in Montana, especially in nature. And my parents made sure that that was something that was routine throughout my childhood and my early development. Yeah, it's a real special place. I maybe lost track of your question there, but

Luke: That was good.

Tilly: Yeah, it's a cool place to grow up as a kid, because there is so much natural beauty that you feel like kids already. Everything is so new to them. They're always making new observations. That when you also add into the fact that you can experience all the things that a city person could experience, plus all these other natural experiences, it makes you feel, I guess, maybe more connected to the world and more appreciative.

Luke: Yeah. Growing up, I also had a lot of experiences in nature. Love nature. It's the best.

Tilly: Where did you grow up?

Luke: Well. It's not so much where I grew up, although originally I was in California for like, three years, and I had a lot of cool animal experiences. There was massive snails in California on my backyard. And then I went to a lot of national parks throughout my career before going to college.

Tilly: Your career?

Luke: Yeah, my career on the planet Earth.

Tilly: Yeah.

Luke: Do you have a favorite national park?

Tilly: Wow, that's a tough one. I grew up going to a lot of national parks. My parents took us to a lot of national parks, national monuments, all that good stuff. I think the one that is my favorite and quickly becoming not my favorite is Zion National Park.

Luke: What happened in Zion?

Tilly: Yeah, so my mom used to take us, my brother and I, down to Zion every spring break because in Montana, it would still be getting, it was still pretty cold. Sometimes we'd have snow in late March, and so we go down to Zion, and it's perfect weather. I mean, like 65 degrees, sunny, no rain, and we go hike through the national park. It was awesome. We did it multiple spring breaks in a row. I have so much love for that national park.

Luke: You do Angels Landing?

Tilly: I've done it several times.

Luke: I've done it twice.

Tilly: Cool hike.

Luke: Crazy thing.

Tilly: Yeah, really fun. Really fun. And yeah, it's a great park. But I went a couple of years ago, right? Kind of after a lot of the COVID stuff was winding down. Vaccines were out and everything. I went with a buddy in early May right after school got out, and it was ridiculously packed. And that's one of the things that I struggle with a lot, is, like, national parks encourage people to get out and experience beauty, but when they get so packed, it does harm the natural environment that is so beautiful and drew people there in the first place.

Luke: Yeah.

Tilly: So it's one of those things, too, that's almost a little bit gatekeepy of me. Like, I had so much love for this place, and now that people have found out about it, it hurts.

Luke: I think that's pretty valid, especially when it comes to an environmental protected area.

Tilly: Yeah.

Luke: Sometimes I think that people shouldn't, they shouldn't even be visited. It's protected land, and we don’t have a lot of that.

Tilly: Yeah, that's an interesting point you bring up. I've actually talked about that in some of my classes and especially my environmental ethics class. There's kind of two sides to that coin. It's hard to maybe get movements and environmental movements to happen if people haven't interacted with super beautiful nature like that. But at the same time, interaction is maybe what causes a lot of the natural beauty's downfall. So it's kind of a catch 22, but yeah. Interesting point you bring up.

Luke: Have you read that book?

Tilly: No, I haven't.

Luke: Is it a book?

Tilly: I don't know. I think it's a series on HBO or something. Amazon? Isn't it like a war movie or

Luke: It's a book.

Tilly: Okay. I'll look into it.

Luke: Okay.

Tilly: I'll read it and let you know. I'll read it tonight.

Luke: Really?

Tilly: No.

Luke: Speaking of tonight, the softball team Downy Soft, a team Tilly and I, Luke, both play for, plays their final game tonight. You think we're going to win?

Tilly: I think we're going to win. I think we have a good chance. Okay. Yeah. We're up against the team we played first week, and we rolled them pretty good.

Luke: Rolled em

Tilly: should be all right.

Luke: Like a wheel. Yeah, like a wheel.

Tilly: You know who invented the wheel?

Luke: Somebody?

Tilly: Yeah. I don't know. I was just asking.

Luke: Yeah. Trickster.

Tilly: I know.

Luke: Okay, so I know you didn't want to talk about this that much.

Tilly: We can talk about it.

Luke: You're a water policy expert.

Tilly: I wouldn't say expert.

Luke: You're an expert on water policy.

Tilly: I would not say expert. There's a long ways to go for that.

Luke: You're working towards becoming

Tilly: I'm working, sure. I'll take that.

Luke: All right. Right now, Arizona, facing a bit of a water crisis. The entire Southwest is, major drought. California right now is sort of in a legal battle about water rights with the coalition of Southwestern states.

Tilly: That's true.

Luke: How do you think that's going to turn out? And could you explain more in depth what that situation is?

Tilly: Oh, man. You're asking me to pry open four years of school.

Luke: Oh, sorry.

Tilly: No, you're good. That's a tough question to narrow down, and I have to be able to talk about it in a simple way because nobody's going to understand anything if people like me can't do it. And we've been trained to talk about it. There's a coalition of Southwestern states trying to vie for this water. However, California specifically would love nothing more than to take all of the water possible, and that's for multiple reasons. They have power generation needs via the dams. They get a lot of power from Hoover Dam especially, and then they also have water needs because they have a lot of people, and they've managed to deplete a lot of their natural water resources in Southern California. How is it going to pan out? I have no idea. There's actually-Someone I heard talk about this last maybe two weeks ago mentioned that there is the possibility that someone an appointed person. The Secretary of Interior, which I guess I could describe real fast. The executive branch has appointed cabinet members for each, I guess, government department. So the Department of Interior, which handles things like national parks, the USG. Logical Survey, the Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, all of those agencies fall under The Department of Interior. At its helm is an appointed person called the Secretary of Interior. They have a lot of power with water rights, specifically with the Southwestern water rights and the Colorado River Compact of 1922. And so there's a possibility that, I am by no means an expert, so don't take this literally hopefully don't quote me on this and put me in court, is what I'm saying.

Luke: All right.

Tilly: There's definitely a real how do I say this? The secretary of Interior has the ability, if these states cannot, cannot bring, I guess, their own interests together and compromise and make the appropriate cuts that they need to make. If the states can't do that, the Secretary of Interior can come in with an iron fist and make all the allocations it wants to based off of whatever factors it deems necessary.

Luke: Really?

Tilly: This is totally within that realm of possibility, and honestly, it could get to that point. A lot of these states have made cuts in the past. I think there was a drought contingency plan in 2015 that was approved, but that didn't make anywhere near the amount of cuts they had to make in the Southwest to achieve a sustainable level.

Luke: Was that because of the plan, or because people didn't follow the plan?

Tilly: No, the plan is they're following the drought contingency plan. It's what they agreed on. But they've realized that the scarcity and the drought is much more dire than they thought. maybe in 2015 it would be in the future, which now, the future is present day. And we're dealing with the harsh reality that some more significant cuts need to be made. Where those cuts will be made is so up in the air, you can't just blanket statement, say that agriculture takes up 70% of the water use in the state of Arizona. Let's cut ag first, because honestly,

Luke: You need food.

Tilly: You need food. And Arizona can grow. Its growing season is eight months or nine months, or in some places in Arizona, twelve months, as opposed to other parts of the country, where they maybe only get one or two harvests over the course of three or four months.

Luke: In fact, Yuma, the lettuce capital of the world.

Tilly: That's right.

Luke: In the wintertime.

Tilly: That's right, it is. Yeah. All of your cruciferous vegetables, your leafy greens, your broccoli and everything, all of that in the winter in the US. Almost all of it comes from Yuma. Wow. Yeah, there's no import costs or any of that. So yeah, there's some of that. If you like beef, they grow alfalfa to feed beef. And in Arizona, some of these farms can get nine to maybe ten, 11, 12 cuts of alfalfa. Twelve harvests in some places of alfalfa every year. There's a huge cost benefit of doing that in Arizona, even if water is scarce. So you can't just cut ag blanket, and then you look at metro areas and you physically, I mean, you cannot cut off people's water. You can do things like Tucson has done, which is encourage people to remove their lawns and instead put in zero escaping, figure out other ways to conserve water, put in more efficient appliances, that kind of thing. But yeah, it's all, it's all it's been a shell game up until now, and now people really need to get serious about it and start actually conserving the water.

Luke: I'm going to ask you for a hot take, then we'll move away from water policy.

Tilly: All right. I'll let you know.

Luke: There's a lot of hub up about the U of A lawn.

Tilly: Oh, yeah, the mall.

Luke: Yeah. What do you think? You think that we should keep it?

Tilly: Yeah, it's fine.

Luke: Okay.

Tilly: Yeah. And you might be like, why would you ever think that? Actually, that mall is all watered with reclaimed water. Okay. So basically all of the wastewater, your poop and pee water in Tucson

Luke: My poopoo peepee water?

Tilly: Yeah. It goes to a reclamation facility that treats the water appropriately, removes all the bad stuff from it, and then, depending on the treatment facility, you can treat it to either be drinkable grade, which they've done in El Paso. Or you can treat it to one level below that, which is basically everything that's needed to be done to make it drinkable except add chlorine. And a lot of that is what waters things like non edible crops like cotton, and then also lawns, golf courses, all of that.

Luke: Got it.

Tilly: Some golf courses don't use it, but yeah, the UA mall does use reclaimed water, as far as I know. So I don't have a huge problem with it. I do have a problem with the fact that they like to use it as a parking lot and then tear up all the grass and

Luke: pretty weird

Tilly: new sod down, like, once every month. That does bug me because that sod's being grown elsewhere, but in general okay. Yeah. Not such a hot take.

Luke: Thanks for, thanks for going down that tangent.

Tilly: Yeah. Sorry about that.

Luke: Let me take you back.

Tilly: Sure thing.

Luke: So something you've done recently? Got rid of social media.

Tilly: I did.

Luke: You threw it right on out.

Tilly: Most of it.

Luke: What do you keep?

Tilly: I keep YouTube, discord if you include it, just because of the KAMP stuff and some people I talk to. Um, and then yeah. Snapchat.

Luke: Oh, interesting. I didn't know that. Well, could you talk about that, why you made that decision?

Tilly: Yeah, I can. I got rid of Instagram first and foremost, I guess. Actually, it stems a couple of years ago. My sophomore year. I'm a senior now. My sophomore year, right after finals week, I downloaded TikTok little app. If you haven't heard of it, it's pretty popular.

Luke: Hey, what's this? TikTok?

Tilly: Yeah, what's this? Tiki Tack app, as you would say, but as you've never said, actually, maybe you have? I'm going off on deep end there. Yeah, I downloaded TikTok, and I waited till after finals to download it because I'm like, I'm going to be putting a lot of time on this app. I can tell pandemic time. It's a video.

Luke: What year is this?

Tilly: Okay, spring of 2020. Yeah, actually it was my freshman year right after that. So my freshman year, spring of 2020. And then I download it, and over the summer I'm using it. It's pretty good. It is pretty good. It's a good app. I get into fall semester, I'm back in Arizona, living in an apartment with a buddy of mine, and it's COVID time, so we're not seeing anybody. I'm still on TikTok. I go through winter break. I'm on TikTok. January comes along in the next semester. And I know COVID was probably wearing at me, on me at that point. So I was realizing that I was dedicating five or 6 hours a day to TikTok. I was going on for a 30 minute homework break, and I was leaving that 30 minute break, and it was like, three or 4 hours later. Ridiculous. And I instantly knew, like, the algorithm was too good for me to use the app sustainably. Deleted TikTok for like, a week. I had withdrawals, like legit, like, checking my phone, always trying to get on it, going crazy, not having that instant gratification of that, like, just one more swipe sort of thing. So I'm like, all right, whatever. So then I didn't ever redownload TikTok. I've never redownloaded it.

Luke: Nice.

Tilly: But I've always had Instagram since I was like 14 or 15, and it's been a constant in my life. But Instagram introduced this lovely feature called Reels, which is just TikTok for Instagram.

Luke: Reels gets me sometimes.

Tilly: And for a while it was bad. It was not good. The algorithm they hadn't figured out and everything still on Instagram for a long time. About last semester, I started to realize I had kind of a problem with Instagram because I was putting about three or 4 hours a day on it and the reels were getting me in the morning. I wasn't maybe getting up on time because I was in bed looking through reels first thing in the morning. Yeah, the Discover page got more tuned in, started to really damage my mental health with comparisons and that kind of thing to other people and just that sort of thing, the general social media stuff. And it also just left me after I'd get off Instagram, it would leave me just kind of feeling like I had a pit, just kind of depressed every single time I left the app. So what, do I go back to the app seeking that validation again. So then winter break comes and I deleted it two days before Christmas and redownloaded on Christmas. I couldn't do it.

Luke: Hey, there's, Christmas present for you.

Tilly: Couldn't do it. Yeah, right. Yeah. Little Christmas present to get back on this highly addictive social media app that's horrible for mental health. That's right. I deleted it, and then I got it back. And then this semester, I just really threw in the towel. My good buddy Ellis had deleted it for a while and he was enjoying life again, so I thought I'd give it a go. And yeah, I deleted it. And I've since redownloaded it usually once every week and a half or two weeks, mostly because I get stressed out about people trying to follow me and me feeling like I'm ignoring them. And I don't want them to think that. So I just check who's tried to follow me and then I check my DMs. And most people that are trying to DM me now know that I'm not on Instagram anymore, so they don't really hit me up. And yeah, it's a lot easier. I redownload it. Five minutes, check it, delete it. But yeah, it's been hard. The first month was really tough.

Luke: Okay. Have you felt a positive impact on

Tilly: 100%

Luke: on time and mentally?

Tilly: Yeah, I feel a lot honestly, a lot less depressed since deleting it and time. It's hard to say. I think my other big vice is YouTube

Luke: Me too.

Tilly: YouTube shorts doesn't have their algorithm. There that, though, so the short videos don't get me. And I think the difference between YouTube and Instagram on time is that when I open a YouTube video, I know it's going to be like a ten minute commitment, whereas Instagram, I'm thinking, I only have five minutes, I'm just going to check it real fast, and then I end up being on for ten minutes. So it's easier to manage time, for sure. I cut down on my phone usage. I'm not even kidding. I looked at my screen time 50% after deleting Instagram.

Luke: Wow

Tilly: Yeah. So now my screen time is three to 4 hours a day instead of eight or nine.

Luke: Nice. Yeah.

Tilly: Yeah. Sorry. That was a lot longer of an answer than

Luke: You're doing great work.

Tilly: Thanks.

Luke: You're telling a lot.

Tilly: Yeah, I figured that's what this is for.

Luke: Yeah. Another question for you. Believe it or not, it's not over yet.

Tilly: Oh, my God. It's Joever.

Luke: A lot of people are saying a lot of people are saying yeah, you're super cool, dude.

Tilly: Oh, thank you. All right. Says you.

Luke: So along with that, do you have a certain mindset you go into your day with?

Tilly: No.

Luke: Okay.

Tilly: Yeah. I don't know. What do you mean?

Luke: Well, I wasn't exactly sure, but I have a similar question that is, would you say you have a more positive or negative outlook on life in general?

Tilly: I think it was negative for a long time, but now it's probably more positive.

Luke: Okay.

Tilly: I feel like I have kind of hopes for what I want my future to look like, and I think that hope for a future in general signifies that there's some positive there. So I think definitely a more positive outlook. There's barriers in that way. Like moving to Seattle, like, very stressed out about that, and that maybe is a negative, but in the way that it's contributing to an overall greater positive. So maybe a net positive is the best way to put it. Okay. Yeah. There's just yeah.

Luke: Got you. Thank you. Yeah. Something I know you enjoy.

Tilly: What do I enjoy?

Luke: You enjoy Americana music.

Tilly: I do.

Luke: The early American folk tradition, the lights just got a lot brighter.

Tilly: I don't know how that happened,

Luke: But, yeah, Americana music,

Tilly: I do. I love it.

Luke: Did you grow up with a lot of Americana music in your life from, like

Tilly: Yeah, I think so. I mean, my dad was a huge Bob Dylan fan, huge Neil Young fan. He listened to a little Grateful Dead, but not like he wasn't a Deadhead, necessarily. John Fogerty, a lot of these kind of guys that like I guess Fogerty was more of a rock and roll musician, but

Luke: He made Center Field classic

Tilly: In his acclaimed solo career.

Luke: Got sued for it.

Tilly: Did he really?

Luke: He got sued for writing a song too similar to CCR.

Tilly: Wow.

Luke: Yeah. Even though he is CCR. It was really weird.

Tilly: That's amazing. I'll have to look into that. Yeah. That's a lot of what I listen to, like, classic rock and then a lot of folk Americana. Peter, Paul and Mary CSNY. That kind of stuff.

Luke: Okay.