Campus Profile: Marisa Thompson

Year: Freshman

SGA Position: Senator

Hometown:  Austin, TX

Major: Political Science

Zodiac Sign: Aquarius

Favorite Food: Mexican

Favorite Book: Purple Hibiscus

Favorite Movie: Once Upon a Time in the West/Donnie Darko 

What sparked your interest in Student Government?

I developed an interest for politics and helping people as a junior in high school, which became more intense as a senior.

When did you first get involved in Student Government?

I wasn't in student government in high school. I wanted to get involved at Pepperdine and work with the students. I liked that SGA was more than just a party planning committee like in high school.

What is the hardest part of Student Government?

In SGA we really do work like the government, writing up bills and trying to pass legislation. The hardest part so far has been the steps you go through to implement proposals after they get passed.

Do you plan to pursue a position in government after college?

I’m not sure if I want a position in the government. I’ve definitely thought about it, but I don’t know if I want to go to law school. I’m interning in DC for the fall semester next year so I’ll hopefully be able to get a better idea if that’s where I want to work. I’m just not sure if that’s where I’ll be able to serve to make a change. I’ve also considered working with non-profits.

What is your favorite part of being a part of Student Government?

Being a part of SGA gives me a lot of opportunities to get involved and not the usual stuff. I was able to go to a Title IX meeting and give my input, and I get to be a part of town halls where I get to hear from my peers about what they want and are concerned about. I’ve gotten to meet a lot of people through SGA.

Do you find you face any obstacles as a woman in student government? Why do you think more girls weren’t elected?

Yeah, I didn’t really think about it or think it would happen. My colleagues are really nice, but sometimes we crack jokes and I’m not sensitive about that stuff so I’m OK on that front. What I do deal with, though, is being called “emotional” or “sassy”, or being told I need to “calm down” when I’m being really assertive about something. I don’t think it’s personal, though. I think it’s an unfortunate product of the society we live in.

I think the big difference [on why more girls weren't elected] is how the girls campaigned. From what my colleagues told me about their campaign, the girls weren’t as aggressive for asking for votes while the guys were more in your face.

What tips or advice would you give a girl interested in getting involved in student government?

We were learning in my poli-sci class that women are more likely to run when young and not when they can actually be elected into positions. It’s because they’re less likely to be encouraged. So I say run for a position, encourage yourself and others, and try again. Don’t let a loss stop you from running again.

What do you think needs to be changed in current politics?

I think women’s issues like birth control need to be handled by women. I’m actually writing a paper right now about how the men that are handling women’s issues are a part of the demographic that didn’t receive proper sex education and just don’t understand or have any realistic ideas about these issues.

I also think that men in politics should advocate and welcome women into government. It's unfortunately true that men can subconsciously feel threatened by women at the same level of authority as them.

I think it’s a really good thing that Pepperdine has American Politics as a general education [requirement]. It’s important to know more about politics and how the government works besides the basic three branches. Government and politics in every level in the government from your town council to the president impacts everyone. It’s also important that everyone understands their basic rights, as most don’t.