Every year, our Director of Alumni interviews student leaders for the 5,000-strong alumni readers of The Packer Magazine. Enjoy David Minder’s conversation with Student Council President Taspia ’22 and Vice President Rohan ’23.
What do you think sets Packer apart?
Rohan: The community here at Packer is extremely strong, both student-to-student and student-to-faculty relationships. I think students feel comfortable communicating their needs and wants to teachers.
Taspia: The way the school has taught me to stand up for myself and the injustices I see is very special. Packer encourages students to be advocates and prioritizes it as an important part of their education.
What was a memorable or defining experience for you?
Taspia: The Symposium trip I took to Peru sophomore year. That was the first time I traveled outside the country without my parents, so it taught me how to be more independent and encouraged my learning of the Spanish language and culture. I came home more globally minded, and the relationships I formed [with classmates] on that trip are very dear to me.
Rohan: For me, it was a Packer trip to the Dominican Republic in Eighth Grade. We paired with the Mariposa Foundation and helped mentor young women while they taught us Spanish. Living with classmates and eating meals together brought everyone closer. That was very impactful.
What has been your goal for the year at Packer?
Rohan: Last year we were hybrid, which was tough on a lot of students. So, trying to bring back some school spirit and Packer clubs was something I wanted to focus on. Some of them are just for fun, but a lot of them work toward meaningful change.
Taspia: For me it was to make Packer a safer, more inclusive space for everyone, especially those who feel underserved in our community, like People of Color and other minority groups. I think that was highlighted in my work as the leader of the South Asian Students Association and other diversity work I’ve done over the years.
One of my other main goals was to do things within the community to help educate and spread awareness about global issues, so students are inspired to make changes to create a better world.
How does it feel to be a Packer student today?
Taspia: Packer feels a little rocky to me. I think that’s due in part to all the administration changes and everything that’s happened over the past couple of years, with protests for change. Students need to spend time getting acclimated to the new administration and all the other developments at the school.
Rohan: I feel very comfortable working with the administration now. Bringing student needs to the administration, and working with them instead of against them, has been a shift over in the past two years. Now, we put an emphasis on working together. [Read more in our Spring 2022 Magazine feature story.]
What are your thoughts and reactions after meeting with members of the Alumni Board?
Taspia: I’m very appreciative of the work the alumni do to make Packer better and keep it going for future generations. Seeing that has made me want to stay part of the school community and continue giving back for years to come.
Rohan: Packer has helped make me an outgoing, friendly person who is willing to tackle issues and lead groups. I’m very appreciative of that. I would love the opportunity to be a part of the Board, donate or contribute back to this community after graduating.
What would you say to the graduating class?
Rohan: As a junior, I’ve formed very strong relationships with some of the seniors. There’s going to be a lot of “I’ll miss you.”
Taspia: Oh, that’s really sweet. For the seniors, it’s also going to be a lot of “I’ll miss you!” And I’d add: “Take what Packer has given you, and use it to your full capacity.”
Rohan: If I could use one phrase, it would be “inspire change wherever you go.”