The following is an interview conducted with Vice-Presidential nominee Jisha Jose. Elections will be held on April 5th and 6th.
Harring: Could you just state your name, year in school, and major for me?
Jose: My name is Jisha Jose. I’m a junior-going-on -senior and I’m majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry.
Harring: All right. So, to start off, why did you decide to run for Vice President?
Jose: I ran with Dana because I believe that she is a great candidate, and she has been doing a great job so far, and I feel like it would be an honor to work under her. I feel like I could use my expertise and my experience in student government to fulfill the duties of Vice President very well.
Harring: Okay. What qualities do you feel you possess, like you mention having the experience with student government, that are going to make you a good Vice President?
Jose: Well, I’ve been involved in student government since my freshmen year. I attended several meetings just as a general member, and then I ran for a senate position right away just so I could get the experience under my belt. I served as a senator for a year, and then I was elected as speaker. As speaker, I’m kind of the liaison between all the other branches and between the senate and other outside parties [that are] outside [of the] government, like administration. I feel like I have…a good connection with the senators because they have to go through me in order to fulfill their responsibilities as senators. So, within [student] government I feel like my experience as speaker and a previous senator is useful. And I’ve been involved in [other] orgs in the past. I [was] involved with Pre-health club. I was a resident advisor for a while. So, I’m really tight with the on-campus-community and off-campus [community] since I was both a commuter and an on-campus resident for a while.
Harring: So, like Dana mentioned, you both have a pretty wide variety of places on campus that you understand and can relate to.
Jose: Yeah, my ties with the community at Parkside is very broad.
Harring: What issues would you like to address and bring to the table if you’re voted in as Vice President?
Jose: I feel like Dana and I should team together to address things that we feel is necessary to take care of on campus. Personally, my pet project when I first came in was to create an internship program for mentoring so that students could mentor for credit. That’s something I wanted to take care of. I just kind of like to hear other people’s concerns; the weight room thing is something that is a big hot topic right now. I just kind of support whoever has concerns with what they want to do on campus. Personally, it’s just kind of working day-to-day operations with student government.
Harring: What challenges do you think might occur, and how do you see yourself overcoming those challenges?
Jose: I guess it would be the chemistry between the three branches would be the biggest…I don’t want to say that’s [it’s] a concern, but it’s important to maintain communication, so we all stay on the same page, and we all support each other in what we’re doing and that we’re not fighting each other…that we’re moving together so we can move forward.
Harring: So, you want to make sure everyone’s unified? To be able to communicate with each other instead of saying something like, “Oh, you’re only saying that because you’re Executive!” or Judicial or what have you.
Jose: Yes. Exactly. I don’t want to have any breakdown in communication or any animosity between branches. I want us all to be unified and on the same page and supporting each other. I know that Dana doesn’t like to build rifts between the senate and even though there are some senators that don’t like what she does, she works with them in order to make sure that we are all working on the same page. Like with the weight room resolution, she kind of had some issues and [there were] some senators that disagreed with what she did, but she actually sought them out and wanted to work with them to see how we could all move forward and make progress on this instead of butting heads all the time.
Harring: Well, seeing as how we’re starting next year off with a new senate, how do you think you can build a unified body right away?
Jose: Well, it all starts with knowledge and understanding how PSG operates and how they can start making progress towards making Parkside more of what they want to see as an institution right away. I know that when I became speaker, right away I wanted to create training sessions so that the current senate knew Parliamentary procedure, so they weren’t sitting there dumbfounded and intimidated as we were doing Robert’s Rules during the meetings. Hopefully that helped. [However], because we have so much change in leadership, like [in] the senate, I think only half of the people that we started out [with] at the beginning of the year are currently senators because we’ve had so many filling in those open senate seats as people resign[ed] or lost their seats due to absences. So, I want to make sure that the administrator, or whoever the advisor is, or anybody really who’s in charge of making sure that the senators are up to date and knowledgeable and confident enough to be active senators who are actually doing something and representing their students. I think it’s important to have the senators know that there’s other ways of serving their office hours rather than sitting in the office or doing random projects that we tell them to do. A big way to do that is by going out and talking to their constituents, so if there’s a way they can come back with reports on conversations that they had with constituents [about] things people want to see on campus and this is what [they] would do to help them get that, I think it would look like student government is doing more.
Harring: You mentioned when I asked why you chose to run for Vice President that you really wanted to work with Dana. Was that your only reason or did you just think it was the next logical step because you’ve been a senator and Pro-Temp?
Jose: I know that there are different possibilities and ways I can use my experience within student government and my experience as a student at Parkside. Dana’s the same way. We have different paths that we could choose based on our current experience and what we want to do next. Right now, I’m very comfortable being speaker and I love being a senator. I personally feel the legislative branch is the most important branch of government. I actually kind of wanted to remain a senator. But, I didn’t really know who the prospective presidential candidates were, so I wasn’t really sure who I was going to support yet. Dana was originally going to be someone else’s VP and I was going to be someone else’s VP. It was a totally different picture for a while and then some decisions were made and I found a way to convince her to run for President, along with some friends of mine. When she did, I assured her that…I would drop everything to support her [including being her Vice President]. I guess that was encouraging for her to hear, and somewhere along the line she asked me to be her VP, and I said I would be honored. I feel a lot more confident running with her.
Harring: Aside from both of you having a lot of experience and being relatable to many students on campus, what other aspects about your relationship with Dana will make you two a good team if you’re both voted in?
Jose: Well, Dana and I are both in our third year at Parkside; I’ve known her since [I was a freshmen]. So, we’ve been friends for the last three years now. That’s another important thing I sometimes like people to see; we have a foundation of friendship beneath our working relationship. I think that’s really important. I respect her very much as a professional, but I [also] respect her as a person overall. She’s a really dear friend of mine. We’ve been through a lot together…we’ve shared all kinds of experiences together. That in itself makes our bond very unique; that being the underlying foundation of our working relationship almost makes the working relationship more in synch. No matter what, we’ll always respect each other. We’ve had so many instances where we’ve disagreed, but because we’re adults, we find a way to work it out and talk through it. Sometimes we agree to disagree; sometimes we find a way to compromise. We always come back to the original friendship that got us here in the first place. We work together not only because we have to work together, but also because we enjoy working together. [We have] a really good working relationship and friendship. I don’t think anything’s really going to stand in the way of that.
Harring: One last question, then. How are you campaigning for this election?
Jose: Lately, we’ve just been doing window painting, word of mouth, [and] using social networking such as Twitter or Facebook. Right now, it’s kind of minimal efforts [because] we’re focusing more on doing that final push the week of elections. It’s next week; it’s coming up pretty fast! I think it’s best to do it kind of last minute that way we’re reaching out to the people who are actually planning on going to the polls. It kind of gets lost in their plans if you start campaigning too early.
Harring: Yeah, it’s mostly the week of when there’s posters everywhere, and it’s like, “Oh, elections are happening!”
Jose: Exactly. [If] it’s three weeks from now [they might just] push it away, but if it’s today or tomorrow [they’ll] keep it in their mind.
Harring: Well, is there anything else you’d like to add?
Jose: No, you asked good questions!
Harring: Well, thank you for your time!
Jose: Thank you!