An Interview with the Brand-Spanking New Student Body President
Once one enters Ari Galper’s room on Bragdon 2, the floor where he is currently HA, it becomes immediately obvious how he was elected student body president. The room is spotless, everything in its place without a hint of excess, full of calming colors and dried flowers. Now that the scene has been set, here’s what he had to say about his new responsibilities.
Q: How does it feel to be the big man on campus, el presidente?
A: I don’t know how to answer that question… I guess it makes me feel like an old man. (significant silence) It’s hard to say because it’s not entirely new, it feels sort of like being a Senator again except with a little bit more pressure to make sure things get done, a little bit more weight on my shoulders. Quite a bit more weight actually.
Q: How do you feel about starting your term on the heels of the Paideia censorship crisis?
A: It’s not the most comfortable or gentle way to start off the term, but it’s definitely interesting to be thrown right into things, and it’s been a great way to get acquainted with the bureaucracy.
Q: How often does the student body president meet with the college president? How often is a gaggle of presidents formed?
A: At least bi-weekly—it ends up being more than that when necessary.
Q: Has past president Bandana Brian been helpful in passing the torch? Also, do you call him by his full moniker or are the two of you on such tight terms that it’s just Brian?
A: (laughs) It’s just Brian and he’s been incredibly helpful, as has been Aidan Sigman.
Q: You said that being president wasn’t so much of a change because you had already been a senator, in what ways is it different?
A: Well, instead of just participating in Senate meetings I have to run them, as well as the executive sessions, but the exact responsibilities I have may vary throughout the semester.
[Here Galper proceeded to run through a laundry list of all of the things he now had to do because he was president to impress upon me that it was not a task to be taken on lightly. But for your sake, dear readers, I’ll condense it and simply say that the student body president helps facilitate everything running smoothly between the administration and the students and the students and the students and boy does it seem to be a complex task.]
Q: Is there anything in particular you are looking to implement during your term?
A: It might not be so much about implementation as it is about maintenance. Having to find a common ground with the administration and doing my best to make sure things aren’t changing too rapidly.
Q: How do you feel about getting free drinks at the Paradox?
A: Best part of the job.
Q: So…why you applied?
A: (facetiously) Basically.
Q: Have you dreamed of being student body president of Reed College since you were a little boy?
A: (without hesitation) No.
Q: I’ve heard people use the term “Reed House.” Could you explain that to me?
A: I don’t really know how to answer that question. It might just be another expression of nostalgia for a time that never existed, but perhaps it means that people used to think of Reed as a kind of insular household in which everyone looked after each other and everyone had similar interests and expectations of each other. That might still be true, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way a lot of the time. I think everyone here just wants what they think is best for Reed, but it seems like there’s a lot of misunderstanding within the community, like some of us are on different pages than other. It’s as if there are lots of holes in the roof and walls of our house, or something like that. I don’t know.
Q: What color would you paint the Reed house?
A: Red. The color of the revolution.