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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Jaillet’s journey

Mikey+Jaillet+was+elected+2019-2020+student+body+president+on+Feb.+22.+Jaillet%26%238217%3Bs+term+will+begin+in+April.
Photo by Meredith Seaver

Mikey Jaillet was elected 2019-2020 student body president on Feb. 22. Jaillet’s term will begin in April.

As the crowd settled into the flag room on Friday night, Mikey Jaillet waited in anticipation for the results to be announced, with his mother and sisters by his side. As the election commissioner read out his name, the crowd erupted and Jaillet immediately embraced his family and friends.
Out of 15,060 ballots cast, 4,764 students marked Jaillet as their first preference for student body president. Preserving his lead through all the instant runoff rounds, Jaillet finished ahead of runner-up Michael Barrera with 57.36 percent of the vote.
The journey to becoming student body president started in October, as Jaillet consulted those he trusted and admired to be certain this was something that would be best for him and the Aggie community.
“I really thought about it — talked to my mom, talked to all my mentors, prayed about it — and realized this was something I thought I needed to do,” Jaillet said. “I wanted to run because I wanted to try and serve students in the best aspect possible.”
Kaci Katusak, management junior and Jaillet’s campaign administrator, has known Jaillet since childhood. Katusak said Jaillet has always encouraged her to become her best self, and when he approached her about running for SBP, his passion sprouted from every bone of his body.
“It started with him being the friend who always told me to do more and saying that what I dreamed for myself wasn’t big enough and I should strive to be bigger,” Katusak said. “And when he was speaking to me about being SBP, I saw that spirit in him and him wanting to push that forward.”
Jaillet’s passion to serve began at a young age when his father was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Jaillet said his father was a huge part of his life and taught him how to live life to the fullest. In seventh grade, he started raising awareness about ALS through blue wristbands, which eventually led to raising $50,000 for the cause. MJs Army — the charity Jaillet started for his father — has continued to grow.
“My dad was the light of my life,” Jaillet said. “He was the most positive guy in the world; he really wanted to live life to the fullest, and he always believed that you can make a positive out of a really bad situation.”
Keeping in mind his father’s teachings, Jaillet did not fear losing the election. He said he would have been thankful for the experience, regardless of the outcome.
“Three weeks ago, I realized that if I lost this race 10,000 votes to one, yeah I would be sad and bummed, but the relationships I would be able to make along the way made this so worth it and I would do it a hundred times over again,” Jaillet said. “I think getting to speak to organizations, made me open my eyes and see how big and welcoming the Aggie family is; that was incredible as well.”
As Jaillet prepares to take on his role in April, he said he will focus on fulfilling his campaign promises, starting with transportation.
“I have been able to talk to people from the Bryan/College Station Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and the Texas A&M Transportation Services, and they are all in agreement that we need to get a task force with a student voice there as well,” Jaillet said. “So we can work to make traffic a little bit better and communicate the resources that are already there.”
Jaillet’s platform also included support for a proposed amendment to Student Rule 7 which would classify absences due to job or internship interviews as university excused — similar to the way the rule currently treats non-reschedulable graduate and professional school interviews.
Jaillet said the Student Senate has made major strides toward having the amendment approved and that it should be completed before he enters office, but if it is not, he wants to see it through.
“With Student Rule 7, the senate is doing great work right now about really finishing that fight,” Jaillet said. “However when I transition, if that is not done we are going to make sure that is done by the time that I leave SBP. Hopefully that will be done by the fall. It seems that everybody is in agreement that it will be.”
Focused on creating a more inclusive Aggie family, Jaillet said he plans on using the Matthew Gaines statue as a stepping stone to representing a more diverse community at A&M.
“With regards to the Matthew Gaines statue, we are really excited about that opportunity and really using it not as the finish line, if you will, but as the starting point about how we can create and launch more of an education effort and communication effort with diversity,” Jaillet said.
Jaillet said he is grateful for his mother’s continuous support and the tireless work put in by his campaign staff. He said without them, this would not have been possible.
“My campaign staff, I cannot thank enough,” Jaillet said. “It was the perfect mix of creativity, hard work and just drive. There were some people that I barely knew that were so generous to jump on and really, really help.”
Jack Tucker, management sophomore and Jaillet’s campaign manager, said he believes Jaillet’s integrity, experience as interfraternity council president and his welcoming personality will translate well to his new position as SBP.
“Something that really stuck out to me was his willingness to go the extra mile for those he stands for and represents … and really go to battle for those he is elected to represent,” Tucker said. “Ultimately at the end of the day, he is a man of his word and lives and breathes integrity.”

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