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A Modern Renaissance Man: Vaishant Sharma

NorthWest Wing | Cody Shallow | April 7, 2016

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There are elusive, enigmatic people, and then there is Vaishant Sharma. I caught up with the highly sought-after sophomore this week to ask him some important questions regarding who he is, what he does, and what he brings to our diverse community. Vice President of the South Asian Student Association, Head of Standards for Beta Theta Pi, former DC Reads tutor, current National Gallery of Art employee, and lover of all things gray, Vaishant was happy to answer my inquiries.

Q: Who are you?

A: Pablo.

Q: Where are you from?

A: Basking Ridge, New Jersey, otherwise known as Central Jersey.

Q: What’s your favorite Spotify playlist?

A: “The Preferred History of Music,” which is my favorite 25 albums arranged in chronological order. Follow me. Also, if you don’t have Spotify premium, get it for the student discount. I know you have it—that’s for anyone reading this interview debating whether they should get it or not. I’m also a fan of the playlists you have on Spotify though.

Q: What’s your song of the week?

A: Absolutely “Forrest Gump” by Frank Ocean. I know it’s old, but I don’t think I can get tired of it.

Q: If you were a building on campus, which building would you be?

A: Katzen, probably. Not even because I like art. Also, put a winky face next to Katzen, ‘cause I feel like Katzen all alone would show that I’m boring but I like to be lively sometimes. “Katzen ;)”

Q: So right now, what activities do you engage in on or off-campus?

A: Well, I’m Vice President of SASA (South Asian Student Association), which takes a lot of my time. I also am the Head of Standards for Beta Theta Pi, dealing with brothers who are accused of violating the rules and regulations of the chapter. Any extra time I have is spent at various art museums, but mainly at the National Gallery of Art where I work.

Q: So being of South Asian descent, did you feel compelled to take a leadership role in SASA?

A: SASA has always been really important to me because it allows me to engage in a community that has been crucial to my life. I want to improve the ways we engage with our community on and off campus. We’ve done that by hosting events that promote the culture of South Asia and attract those who are not of South Asian descent. It’s important to me, as it is to all of us, to include those who may not be South Asian but want to engage with the community and learn more about the culture.

Q: I think organizations on campus try to have that outlook as well. How do you fulfill that with your role as the head of the judicial committee of Beta?

A: I think my position gives me the power to influence the lives of brothers, which in turn influences the AU community as a whole. So my SASA position is far more engaging with the community, I still have the ability to make a difference.

Q: Overall, what’s one thing you wish to change on campus before you leave?

A: I think I just want to make student organizations more interactive with student life and the greater community, from Greek life to cultural organizations.

Q: Who’s your role model?

A: Probably Young Jeezy; have you heard The Recession? Or T.I., both pretty valid role models in my opinion.

Q: What is your favorite activity (or activities)?

A: Number one is taking naps. Number two is probably playing NHL against you.

Q: Do you want to play NHL right now?

A: Yes.

Vaishant and I have been friends since the beginning of our time at AU, and I can truly say he is a leader without realizing it. Though he despises having to discuss his positions in organizations, I was able to lure him by playing “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”, and it worked. Vaishant is certainly a growing leader on our campus, whether you see him in MGC dressed in a gray shirt with his matching gray sweatpants, or if you see him quadding in shorts and a t-shirt reading, “BLOCK ISLAND.” Thanks Vaishant, for always being unapologetically yourself.