In the first of our Board Member profiles, OPIRG Volunteer Matúš Sámel interviewed OPIRG Board chairperson Joseph Sneep.

What is your academic background?

I started here six years ago and by that time I was majoring in Fine Art and I when I finished it I decided to do a Philosophy degree. Next year I am starting my MA in Philosophy here at Mac.

What about your hobbies?

I still do a lot of art, especially drawing. I am also a passionate guitar player for some seven years now. I practice it every day so I guess I am pretty good at it (laugh). Besides that I enjoy gardening. I just got a community garden, which is sufficient to feed myself and some friends. Generally, I enjoy just talking to people, having conversations, which is also a big part of OPIRG.

How and when did you get involved with OPIRG?

I just got involved last year and I did not know much about it before. I just had several friends talking about this funny sounding thing called OPIRG (laugh). I applied for the position when I was done with my degree and I did not know what to do with my life, I was looking for a more some direct experience. I had an empty space in my life and I decided to fill it with OPIRG. I was lucky enough to become a part of this great organisation.

What is your role as the president of the Board of directors?

The Board is entirely consensus–based body and therefore the president does not posses any overarching authority. However, we have to deal with organisation which have more hierarchical decision-making process and it is therefore necessary for us to have someone called ‘president’ to facilitate the interface with them.

How would you describe your experience with OPIRG?

Although the work at the Board is admittedly somewhat indirect, it is an essential backbone for the working groups, as it allows them to do what they want to do. However, we also try to engage as directly as possible. Recently we started the initiative to sell various seeds to students, not for profit of course, but that they can have little gardens if they want. So my experience in OPIRG showed me that, if I want to engage in something it does not always have to be according to the books. Otherwise nothing would ever change and no working group would exist.

And OPIRG itself?

I see it as social diversity on the campus. We are not part of any political organisation or group; we are outside all of that. Naturally, not everyone agrees with us, at least our voice is out there and it makes people think. So it helps to fight against apathy, which I think is a very big problem especially among the younger students.