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

The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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

The Battalion

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 23, 2024

The No. 3 Texas A&M baseball team took on No. 1 Tennessee Thursday at 1 p.m. at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Alabama. Despite its...

Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
Down but not out
May 23, 2024
Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

SBP-elect Benigno looks ahead to his tenure

Shelby Knowles
Joseph Benigno

In the dimly lit silhouette of the statue of Sul Ross on Feb. 20, Joseph Benigno was announced as next year’s student body president.
He would have to weather an appeal of the election results in the following tumultuous weeks, but on March 5 the Judicial Court opted to confirm the original result. And despite questions raised about possible violations in one of his campaign videos, Benigno remained SBP-elect.
As he looks ahead to Muster on April 21, when SBP Kyle Kelly will pass the torch, Benigno prepares to lead the Student Government Association after three years working within it.
Benigno comes from a house divided. His mother went to the University of Texas and his father went to Texas A&M. He said at a young age he knew that the men he looked up to and wanted to be like were Aggies.
“My dad was an Aggie, his brothers were Aggies, guys who mentored me in high school were Aggies, my pastor was an Aggie,” Benigno said. “It was clear that the culture and people at Texas A&M were a good fit for my personality.”
Involved in student government since his freshman year, Benigno has served as a Fish Aide, a student senator and executive vice president.
One of his tasks will be working with new university president Michael Young. Benigno said he has had the opportunity to meet Young on a few occasions and is optimistic about their relationship.
“I think that the relationship between the administration — and obviously he’s the leader of the administration — and the student body president is extremely important,” Benigno said. “At the end of the day, I’m just an advocate for the student body. There’s not a lot of real power that comes with this position, and I’m fully aware of that. What that means, though, is the relationship with administrators is one of the most important things the student body president can focus on, because when we go and speak with them, the relationship there is what matters. His willingness to listen is based on our relationship and his respect or understanding of where I’m coming from.”
Throughout campaign season, ways the university could embrace diversity and promote underrepresented groups on campus became a chief topic of discussion. Benigno said focusing on what each person has to offer brings diversity in its truest sense.
“I said this at the debate and I stand very firmly behind this quote — ‘Diversity for the sake of diversity is foolish, but diversity for the sake of fairness and equal opportunity, that’s the goal,’” Benigno said. “What I want is that everyone gets a fair opportunity to be part of whatever they want to be a part of. I could not care less about race or gender, religious background or anything like that. As long as the character is there and the love for Texas A&M, people will be qualified to serve in their positions.”
As far as goals go, Benigno said the structure of his entire administration — applications for which are now open — is built around the idea of “preserving the best of our past and promoting the best of our future.”
In preserving the past, Benigno said they want to keep the focus on the spirit, traditions and core values of Texas A&M through continuing to promote these and by setting up an endowment for families to be able to attend Silver Taps.
Additionally, Benigno said he wants to send student representatives to different Muster ceremonies held around the state.
“I think this would be a great way to reach out to those former students and show them that traditions matter to us still and they’re very important,” Benigno said. “Not only could they give a speech, they could also just serve as kind of a unifying bridge between former students and current students. They could update them on events on campus, like the new president, the new stadium, the new conference — all those things have changed. We want to show them that through that change, the things important to us are still the same. We’re changing on the outside, we’re getting ‘new clothes,’ but the ‘person’ of Texas A&M is still the same.”
To promote the future, Benigno said his administration wants to revamp the TAMU mobile app, advocate for tax-free textbooks in the Texas state legislature and create a new cabinet position that would act as a representative of the student body to the City Council of College Station.
“Obviously Texas A&M and the university system affects a lot of college life for students here but not all of it because some students live off campus,” Benigno said. “Things like construction and everything the city offers affect us as well. We want to make sure our needs are being heard.”
With a deep-rooted love for Texas A&M, Benigno said the overall inspiration for pursuing the position of student body president was his favorite tradition — the Aggie family.
“That, to me is, the ultimate tradition — it’s the foundation for Muster,” Benigno said. “Why do we have Muster? To honor our family that we’ve lost, and the same goes for Silver Taps. That’s why we stand in Kyle Field. We stand together as an idea that we are one group of people. That’s why we say ‘howdy.’ For The Big Event, we give back to this group of people and say thank you to people who have supported our family. It’s just really great once you think about it in terms of the Aggie family with everything branching off from it. Everything seems to come together as a very clear picture of Texas A&M.”
Benigno said he doesn’t think he will be able to grasp the significance of this position for years to come.
“I couldn’t be more thankful for the people around me and how the Lord has blessed this campaign and my life through Texas A&M,” Benigno said. I’m extraordinarily humbled and proud to serve such a fine institution.”

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