Up Close and Personal With Your SGA
Mohini Banerjee '13, president of the class of 2013
Published: Thursday, March 10, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 17:05
House: ScalesHometown: Los Angeles, California
Why did you decide to run for and participate in SGA?
I was a senator my first year. I started getting involved, and I definitely wanted to continue with it. The choice to run for sophomore class president just kind of came to me on a whim, actually. I never really planned to do it, but then once I did, I just kept thinking about it. It just seemed like a really fun way to stay involved with SGA. I wanted to be able to sit on Cabinet and listen to what was actually going on and see how it worked.
How has it worked since then? What has your experience been like?
It's been pretty good. There was a steep learning curve because at the beginning, you just kind of plop into this position. There were people on the sophomore Cabinet who had been on it last year; a couple of us were new. But it's been pretty good. We've put on quite a few events, smaller ones, and then we have a couple big events coming up in the spring. Cabinet's been pretty good.
What kind of power do you have? What kind of influence do you have on campus and, more specifically, on Cabinet?
As far as on campus is concerned, the sophomore Cabinet should act as a conduit between the SGA Cabinet, the administration and the sophomore class. So I'm there on the SGA Cabinet to promote sophomore concerns, and I spend a lot of time talking to people in my house and on campus and in my cabinet about what's going on and trying to plan events. That's another big thing - it's the main thing we do, and it's not just so that we can have fun. We're trying give sophomores an opportunity to have a place to relax or to do something fun, to get pizza or some ice cream, just on our tab.
As far as power is concerned, we're there. If someone says something to me, it inevitably gets said in Cabinet, and the SGA president, the treasurer, all of them, they'll hear it. That's what we're here for. People are welcome to contact us at any time.
Has your experience on SGA inspired you to pursue government or something government related after graduation?
I'm the president of the debate team, so I've always had an affinity for law and for current affairs, things like that. I'm not sure what I want to do afterwards, but I'll always be involved somehow, even if it's just reading all the possible information that I can get.
One thing that SGA taught me more than to go into government would be management and things like that. It's given me the ability to work with a team of people and make compromises and just get things done.
Debate team - would you say you've always liked debating?
You know, I was actually really quiet until about ninth grade, 10th grade, and then I started doing moot court and mock trial in my high school, and then that definitely broke me out of that quiet part of my life. I am pretty argumentative, but it's mostly just for fun.
As a philosophy major, would you say you're very philosophical, or would your friends describe you that way?
I don't know how my friends would describe me. As far as the philosophy major's concerned, I try to think about everything that comes to my mind, and I don't usually accept things just as face value. I think that's true of a lot of Smithies, no matter what their major is.
Yeah, maybe I'm philosophical. I'd like to think some people think that, but I'm not sure.
You're from Los Angeles - how are you dealing with this weather?
It's tough. Last winter wasn't so bad. Yeah, I was actually in India all of J-term, so it was a real shock to land here after that because it's really warm over there. But I'm dealing. I've got a coat.
Besides the debate team and SGA, do you do anything else, even if it's just a fun hobby?
I draw quite a bit. And I sing; that's more of a real hobby. I do Indian classical singing. I was trained back home and I used to perform a lot, but now, I performed at Mendhi night. It's fun.
So when you're not doing schoolwork, SGA, debate team, or singing, what do you do just for fun?
I love Grey's Anatomy. I just really like spending time with my house and with my friends and just kind of being ridiculous. I really like taking a few moments and having coffee with a person - sitting down and talking with them.
Can you think of anything that no one else really knows about you?
There's one thing ... It's kind of my go-to weird thing about myself. There's a fear called trypophobia that's a fear of holes. It's not like holes in the ground; it's weird-shaped, like, segments that are next to each other. Kind of like a cell body. Or like a plaque, I don't know how to describe it . It's weird, it's a weird thing. It makes me sick to my stomach.
I've read a lot about it because I was curious, and there's not a gene for it, but there's a genetic factor. It'll tend to run in families, tend to run in ethnicities.
Besides that, I don't know. I'm just a pretty normal person.
Just as a fun thing I like to ask, if you could have anyone on SGA, any celebrity, who would it be and why?
I think I would have Noam Chomsky. I don't know if he would count as a celebrity. I would just want him to be there and teach us about linguistics all the time. And then I guess his politics, too. He might be kind of screwy on Cabinet.
Is there anything else you want to add, whether about yourself, your role on SGA or about Smith?
People should try and take advantage of their class cabinets, because we're more than willing to do what the students want, and if we had more feedback it'd be easier to know what the students want. You get this feedback loop where you're doing things you think people would like, and then if people either don't come in that many numbers or give you feedback, you end up doing the same thing. There's no way of knowing.
Everyone on Cabinet is reachable by e-mail . If they have a problem with SGA they should tell us. We'd love to fix that.
Compiled by Camilla Somers '11/ Features Editor