Oh Brother! (And Sister)

What is it like having your sibling on campus with you? Four pairs tell us

Nico and Mason Pollack and Matt and Robert Treiber in their lacrosse uniforms

If you have a brother or sister, you inevitably have a lot in common. You grow up together, share your toys, TV shows, and sometimes your friends, and might well have backseat skirmishes on long family road trips.

For most, though, all that sharing usually ends when one of you heads off to college, when paths diverge and each go their separate ways into adulthood. But for a few Tufts students, college is just another thing to share with a brother or sister.

To mark National Siblings Day this year, Tufts Now talked to four sibling pairs who decided to be Jumbos together.

The Treiber brothers—Robert (left) and Matt—show off their musical chops at the Gantcher Center. Photo: Anna MillerThe Treiber brothers—Robert (left) and Matt—show off their musical chops at the Gantcher Center. Photo: Anna Miller
Robert Treiber, E18, and Matt Treiber, E20

Tufts Now: Are you guys competitive with one another?

Matt and Robert (simultaneously): Yeah! Absolutely!

Matt: Up until high school, we didn’t have the opportunity to be on the same team. Once we started on the same team, we fought a little during practice, but I knew that there wasn’t anyone else on the team who would push me harder than him.

Robert: I think some days we’re a little more competitive and a little more at each other’s throats. But we do a great job of leaving what happened at practice at practice and then go grab lunch or dinner right after. We go to Dewick as a team. It’s always good to take that focus and drive on the field and then separate it and know that that’s not what everything in our relationship is about.

How would you describe your brother?

Matt: He is very driven—he knows exactly what he wants and he will do almost anything to get that. I think that he’s a smart guy. He emulates a lot of stuff that I look for in my friends and that I try to be. He’s always been an incredible role model to me. Almost everything I did as a kid was because he was doing it.

Robert: Matt’s very loyal. He’s a great competitor. I know that any time he steps on the field or set foot in the classroom, he always wants to be number one. His ability to come out every day and work hard is very inspiring.

Have you always been so close?

Matt and Robert (simultaneously): Yeah.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

Matt: Usually my bed. But I really like going to the seventh floor of Fletcher. There are two conference rooms that overlook the entire campus and you can see Boston. It’s a really cool spot. We usually go up there and do homework together.

Robert: Yeah, I’m pretty sure you found that from me.

Elizabeth Lanzilla, left, and Kathleen Lanzilla, near Tisch Library. Photo: Anna MillerElizabeth Lanzilla, left, and Kathleen Lanzilla, near Tisch Library. Photo: Anna Miller
Elizabeth Lanzilla, A18, and Kathleen Lanzilla, A21

Tufts Now: How would you describe your sister?

Elizabeth: She’s very funny. She’s very loud. She likes to make everyone happy. She’s very kind; one of the kindest people I know.

Kathleen: Awww. And I think that she’s very determined in everything that she does, and she wants people to know that she’s passionate and cares about them. And she’s very intelligent. 

What is the best and worst part of going to college with a sibling? Do you get on each other’s nerves?

Elizabeth: The best part is running into her at random locations around campus. There’s one time that I saw her while walking to class and she was going to the dining hall at Carmichael and I got so excited I ran up and gave her a hug. And also when The Bachelor was running earlier this semester, she would come over and watch it with my friends. It was really nice. But she can also be a little bit embarrassing in front of my friends. She likes to tease me. That’s probably the worst part.

Kathleen: The best part is that it’s like a little bit of home being with me wherever I go. It’s like I’m in a different space, but there are people I care about near me. The worst part is that I get in trouble for embarrassing her, and I don’t really hear the end of it.

Do you borrow one another’s clothes?

Elizabeth and Kathleen (simultaneously)Ooooooh yes!

Elizabeth: Sometimes I borrow her clothes, and I always remember to give them back right away. She’ll borrow my clothes, especially because I have a lot more dresses than her, and she never gives them back. I had to go into her dorm room once and I was like, why are there four of my things hanging in your closet? I had to take them all back.

Kathleen: In my defense, I always want to wash them before I give them back.

Elizabeth: They were washed.

What’s something that you both love doing?

Elizabeth: We both like a cappella. We always go to the shows together.

Do you sing, too? 

Kathleen: No! We cannot sing!

Elizabeth: We know our limits.


The Pollack brothers—Mason (left) and Nico at the Gantcher Center. Photo: Anna MillerThe Pollack brothers—Mason (left) and Nico at the Gantcher Center. Photo: Anna Miller
Nico Pollack, E18, and Mason Pollack, E20

Tufts Now: How would you describe you brother?

Nico: He’s smart, reliable, and responsible. He’s also pretty good at playing lacrosse. We definitely get along much better than we used to. We pretty much have been competitive our entire lives—it’s made us who we are today.

Mason: I think Nico is a pretty relaxed person. He’s always a cool cucumber. 

Is being on the same lacrosse team and going to the same school something you’ve always wanted?

Nico: Our parents didn’t think we would end up going to the same college. Once I got here and saw what this program was about, I kind of knew that my brother was going to end up coming here—or at least that he should, because it’s such a great school and the team’s so awesome.

Mason: I agree.

Is there an advantage to having a brother as a teammate?

Mason: I can always talk to him if I’m having trouble with something. Earlier in the season, he asked me to watch how he’s playing and critique him after every practice. So just having someone to do that with makes us better.

Nico: It helps that I play attack and he plays goalie, because I can ask him, “Is that shot good? Should I do that more? What can I do better?’

Do you borrow each other’s clothes?

Mason: I’m too big now.

Nico: Eh, not really. I don’t think you’re too big though. (laughs)

Evan Robison and Lucy Robison on the docks of the Bacow Sailing Pavilion on Upper Mystic Lake Photo: Anna MillerEvan Robison and Lucy Robison on the docks of the Bacow Sailing Pavilion on Upper Mystic Lake Photo: Anna Miller
Lucy Robison, A18 and Evan Robison, A21

Tufts Now: Did you always want to go to the same school and be on the same sailing team?

Lucy: We’re actually fourth generation Tufts students. I really wanted to go to Tufts, but Evan did not want to follow in my footsteps.

Evan: Our dad went here, and we also went to the same high school as our dad did, too, so we were kind of following him around all of the time. So during our college search I was trying to look for a place that was going to be my own. And I realized that in every single area that I was looking for, Tufts just fit the bill. So I bit the bullet and said all right, here I come.

Lucy: We’re actually in a class together for the first time. We’ve gone to school together since he was in kindergarten and we’re taking Big Bang to Humankind, a natural sciences requirement.

How would you describe your brother?

Lucy: Annoying! (laughs) No. Goofy.

Evan: (points to his forehead)

Lucy: Smart! Yeah (laughs). Really fun to have him around. It’s been fun having him this year overlapping for one year.

Evan: Really, really sweet. She’s just a great person to have around. She’s a wonderful, positive source of energy whenever I’m around her. Especially this year more than ever. We had some tough times getting along in high school, and then after being apart for three years, I missed her. And now we’ve gotten to hang out a lot this year, which we wouldn’t have been able to do if we weren’t here together, so I’m really happy to have her here. I don’t know if I would have joined the sailing team if she hadn’t been on it. Now I can’t picture my Tufts experience without this team and without her.

Did you grow up sailing together?

Lucy: Yeah, both of our parents sail. So our first experiences were falling asleep at the front of the boat while our dad won the race. (laughs)

Evan: Our dad sailed here at Tufts for two years I think. Our mom sailed at Georgetown for three years.

Would you recommend going to school with a sibling?

Lucy: Yes.

Evan: Yes, definitely. It’s been really fun to have her around just as someone who has to be friends with me. If I don’t feel like I have the energy to go and do something with someone else, I know I can just hang out with my sister and I don’t have to . . .

Lucy:  . . . make effort to talk. (laughs)

Evan: She gets me. I get her.

Anna Miller can be reached at a.miller@tufts.edu.

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