The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Miss Texas 2022 and candidate for Texas’ 112th House of Representatives Averie Bishop builds community at SMU

SMU alum leads a conversation of the importance of growing community, local elections, and bridging a gap.
Hannah Jacobbe
Averie Bishop, center, concludes her presentation.

Last Wednesday night, wearing a professional black dress paired with Nike beaters, SMU alum Averie Bishop leans casually against the podium of the Hughes-Trigg Auditorium. She gives off an older sister energy that you didn’t know you were missing as she mingles with event goers, reminiscing about Dr. Halperin’s America’s dilemma course and Program Council’s old 24 hour musical.

With a friendly smile, Bishop invites those dispersed in the audience to sit closer. She begins her presentation by having them raise their hands in response to questions, such as; Dallas Hall or Fondren? Taylor or Beyonce? Her reasoning – to teach students how to appreciate their differences.

“When you build your community, when you surround yourself with people, you’re not always going to have the same likes and similarities,” she said. “In fact, I think an incredible community, when you build it, aspires to cultivate the differences we find in each other.”

Bishop is not only a TikTok famous, first generation college student and law graduate. She was also the 2023 Miss America second runner-up and the first Asian-American to earn the title of Miss Texas in 2022. Now, she’s a democratic candidate running for Texas’ 112th House of Representatives, aiming to shift the way we view the typical ‘politician.’ Last week, she was back at her alma mater to lead a conversation on the importance of growing a community with SMU Social Change and Intercultural Engagement.

Averie Bishop, left, with her prized bell pepper, “Big Daddy”, center. (Hannah Jacobbe )

Bishop’s wish for the SMU student body specifically, was for them to be open to growing, being kind, and respectful to one another. She made a point that it’s hard to cross communities here.

“As SMU students it’s so important for us, especially in the wake of the current state of politics in Texas, is to be open minded, and to not stick to your guns, so to speak-that’s we say here in Texas-otherwise you’re not going to build the community you need to be successful to lean on in the future,” she said.

When Bishop goes into the Q&A section, she doesn’t feel the need to stand on stage anymore. She wants to have a casual conversation with her group. SMU junior and human rights major Citlali Arredondo raises her hand, asking how she can apply community building to the student organizations that she is a part of going into senior year.

“It comes down to building trust with the people within your own community already before you can start growing and expanding it, you have to invest time, energy and patience into the people who are around you already, and then you get to encourage and meet them to expand the community from there,” Bishop said.

Arredondo has been a member of Bishop’s fellowship program since 2021, having found her on TikTok and followed Bishop through her law school and Miss America journey. Averie has supported Arredondo, a fellow first generation college student and women of color, through her college experience.

“Averie is the entire reason why I’m at SMU,” said Arredondo. “It’s amazing working with Averie, she’s so chill and laid back but she’s so structured and organized though that I never feel lost. There is so much happening but she’s so accessible.”

Averie also shared the importance of civic engagement off campus, emphasizing her current campaign for Texas house. She recognizes a need to let student voices be heard.

“Our generation feels left behind, we don’t feel like we’re a part of the law making community in Texas, that is a very specific community that is gate kept for certain people to be in,” Bishop said. “They are afraid that we will build a community so knowledgeable of what it means to be kind to one another and then we will demand what we believe that we deserve.”

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