By Hai Bui,
Geofrey Bilabaye, a first-year law student, was voted by his eighty member 1L class to represent the 2018 Woodbury Class at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School as one of three class senators. Bilabaye, who speaks several languages (including French, English, and Tanzanian languages), pursued education in France and South Africa, assisted the United Nations with foreign relief efforts, and graduated with a degree in Pre-Law and Computer Science from Central Methodist University. These opportunities afforded Bilabaye optimal cultural awareness and an advantage in dealing with the diverse student population at Cooley. Bilabaye left home at the age of thirteen, the threshold of adolescence, in hopes of becoming an active member in third-world countries. Today, I sit down with Bilabaye to gain insight on what propels him into politics and policy reform.
Pillar: How are you? Studying for finals yet?
Geofrey Bilabaye: I’m good! Yes, the library is my
refuge. It’s my castle--excellent!
Pillar: Yeah! I hear you’re the last one to leave every night!
GB: I love it so much.
P: Where did your passion for education come from?
GB: There’s a lot of violence in the world and growing up, I learned that you couldn’t wait for someone to do something. You have to do something. For me, it starts with learning.
P: You just came back to the U.S, right?
GB: Yes, in 2011. I travelled from Tanzania.
P: What did you do there?
GB: I worked with the United Nations in the Department of Human Rights. The UN is where I hope to be after graduation.
P: How are you enjoying classes? How are your professors?
GB: They are excellent! They do everything in their power to make sure you understand the material. They stress office hours and have an open door policy. I like all of them, all sweethearts.
P: What are a few policies you would like to see that would increase our bar percentage rate?
GB: More mandatory assignments in our respective classes. Because we are only graded twice throughout the semester, the feedback is tremendously important and highly valued!
P: In closing, what are some words of wisdom for incoming 1Ls?
GB: Relax, be proud that you’ve made it to law school, and prepare every day. Enjoy working hard.
Bilabaye has recently asked the SBA to extend library hours from 11am to 3am during the weeks leading up to finals and has been in and out of senate meetings since inauguration. Alongside fellow senators, classmates, and professors, Bilabaye continues to represent the Woodbury class and WMU-Cooley Law School in honesty, hard work, a lot of heart . . . and coffee.