The Jasper Pack was the name of the game during last week’s student government elections. The party swept all nine executive board positions, and sitting at the head of the Pack was the new student body president-elect: Micaela Bishop.
Bishop is currently a junior at Manhattan double majoring in government and economics while also double minoring in philosophy and communication. She plans to graduate in May of 2018.
From early on, Bishop had an interest in politics. Aside from her work in both high school and college-level student governments, she has done extensive work for local legislators, gubernatorial candidates and even presidential campaign, such as Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
“When I was in high school, I was working for a legislator, and I was kind of able to see her work, no matter how big or small, actually affect people. And I kind of knew that I wanted to do something on that scale one day,” she said. “This basic concept of politics kind of caught my attention at a young age, and that has just stayed with me throughout my years.”
Bishop’s passion for government and politics extend to her career field. Following a planned gap year after her graduation next spring, she hopes to attend law school. Originally, her plans to hold a leadership role in student government did not coincide with her career aspirations.
“At first, I thought that it was kind of implausible and wouldn’t make sense because I was going to go to law school right after, so preparing for LSATs and making sure applications are fulfilled, there was no chance with coursework and internships. But when I finally decided I was taking a gap year during undergrad and law school, I decided that I would have enough time my senior year in order for me to run,” she said. “I think that passion sometimes overrides all the other things, so I kind of just knew I wanted to do it, and that it was the right thing for me to do.”
Being from New York, Bishop had originally desired to leave the city to pursue her college education. However, MC was presented to her as an option and her connection to the campus was almost instantaneous.
“I came to visit, and it was kind of immediate. As soon as I set foot on the campus, I absolutely loved the idea of being in the city, having a campus,” Bishop said. “I would say the minute I stepped on campus, I knew I wanted to come here.”
As early as her freshman year, Bishop became involved in the college’s student government after one of her friends ran for freshman class representative. Her engagement in student body politics increased, and she swiftly climbed the ranks as a sophomore class representative and, most recently, vice president for commuter affairs on the outgoing student government executive board.
“Commuters were kind of at the center of what I thought needed to be done at Manhattan, so we did a lot of work this year with commuters,” Bishop said. “When you sit on the executive board, you are kind of overseeing a lot of the stuff that goes on in student government, so I wanted to continue that.”
When Bishop made the decision to run for president, she also had to assemble a number of fellow candidates for her party, now known as the Jasper Pack. According to her, these decisions could not be made arbitrarily.
“You have to put a lot of thought into it, and I wanted to make sure that I was covering all kinds of schools, all different clubs on campus,” she said. “Our job is to represent the student body, and I wanted to make sure that there was somebody to represent each different sector of the student body.”
Bishop ultimately ended up choosing Phillip Mourikes for executive vice president, Patrick Mauer for club administration, Kaitlyn von Runnen for educational affairs, Gregory Gorman for finance, Adam Genners for social life, Patrick Estanbouli for residential affairs, Tara Marin for communication and Margaret Flores for Bishop’s previously held position of commuter affairs. According to Bishop, both von Runnen and Gorman had expressed interest in running in her party from the very beginning, and also had previous experience on the student government executive board.
“We held quite a few meetings for the campaign, and the Jasper Pack was kind of an immediate group of students that bonded over so many issues,” Bishop said. “We would never have a silent room. We would have meetings in here and everyone kind of quickly jumped into ideas and working together.”
Taking all nine seats on the executive board is no mean feat. Bishop provided one reason for her party’s great success: teamwork.
“We ran as a team, so it was ‘Vote for the Jasper Pack’ from the initial start,” Bishop said. “We were constantly promoting the team and promoting Jasper Pack.”
As student body president, Bishop’s primary focus will be on increasing school spirit. She plans to do this in three main aspects: bridging the divide between the athletic department and student body, improving social events such as Quadstock and a potential “Class Wars” event and providing more outlets for student feedback.
“We need to focus on Quadstock and bringing it back because fall concerts are just as important as Springfest in the end,” said Bishop. “We want to make sure that the social life committee, that now Adam Genners is going to be the head of, is large this year and hearing from students and what they want to promote social life.”
In addition to school spirit, the Jasper Pack also has their sights set on addressing various minor issues across campus, from facilitating a dialogue between the students and Gourmet Dining to installing printers in dorm buildings.
Bishop also wants to continue the work of the current executive boards, which had goals such as ridding the dorm buildings of mice, increasing access to study spaces and Leo Hall and improving the Wi-Fi connection across campus.
“There’s a lot of things that have already been brought to the table in student government now, and I don’t want to just put them to the side because they’re not brand-new ideas,” she said. “A lot of these little concerns just get washed away in chatting and everything. I want people to feel comfortable going to any of the people on student government and talk to them about their concerns and that they are met and aren’t just a conversation you have at the table in Locke’s.”
But what is of particular importance to Bishop and the rest of the Jasper Pack is facilitating an outlet for the student body to express their feedback on what is occurring at the college.
“We really want to hear from the students. I think that’s probably the most important thing that we’re trying to get across here.” Bishop said.