Student Squared: Robert Bischof ’25

In the second installment of a new column, Managing Features Editor Eleanor Walsh ’25 interviews a student from a list randomly generated by Associate Dean of Students Scott Howard. This week's lucky student is Robert Bischof ’25.

Student Squared: Robert Bischof ’25
Bischof spinning discs at his WAMH show, “Route 9 Revisited.” Photo courtesy of Robert Bischof ’25.

In the second installment of a new column, Managing Features Editor Eleanor Walsh ’25 interviews a student from a list randomly generated by Associate Dean of Students Scott Howard. This interview has been edited for length and clarity, and was conducted the Thursday before fall break, Oct. 5.

Editor’s Note: Bischof is the publisher for The Student.

Q: Do you have any classes left before you’re done for Fall Break?

A: I’m done with class for the day but I have an essay due tomorrow and I have a scrimmage for rugby tonight so …

Q: You’re on rugby! I didn’t know that.

A: Yeah! It’s a lot of fun. Definitely hurts sometimes, but it’s a really good team so I love being around the guys. The season’s just getting started. I was a swimmer in high school, and those skills really did not translate very much. But I really enjoyed learning the game here.

Q: What drew you to rugby as opposed to other club sports?

A: Well, I’m certainly no good at soccer or frisbee, but I really liked the rugby guys I met right when I got to school as a freshman, and I thought it would be a good idea to try it. I’ve been with it ever since.

Q: What are you studying?

A: I’m a political science major. I’m going to finish up the major requirements this semester, so I’m looking to also do the Five College IR [International Relations] certificate, so I’m trying to figure out those requirements now. I did AP Gov and a lot of history in high school, and those really interested me. I knew it was something I wanted to try at Amherst and those first few classes I took really let me know that this was the major for me. And within the department there’s a lot of different sub areas that I think are really fascinating, like comparative governance and IR.

Q: Besides rugby, do you do other extracurricular activities here? I know you’re the publisher for The Student…

A: [Laughs] Yeah, that takes a decent bit of my time. Aside from that I have a radio show on Thursday nights. I really love having a show on WAMH.

Q: What kinds of things do you play or talk about?

A: Mostly playing music, and it’s all stuff I like, it’s all stuff I listen to regularly. I try and mix up the genres but there ends up being a lot of classic rock and R&B. More recently on my show I’ve been doing some house stuff. So it really makes no sense once you zoom out, but I try and come up with a playlist where anyone can at least find a few songs they really enjoy. I’ve had friends stop by and pick a few songs, and I’ll have a bit of banter with them on the mics, but I think if I talk too much over the course of the hour I might embarrass myself. I mostly stick to music.

Q: What do you call the show?

A: It’s called Route 9 Revisited. There’s a Bob Dylan album, “Highway 61 Revisited.” So I tried to make it a bit of an Amherst thing.

Q: Is Bob Dylan one of your favorites?

A: Yeah, I’d say he’s up there. His stuff isn’t the best for the radio though.

Q: What’s your favorite song that you’ve ever played on the radio?

A: That’s a tough one. I remember one of my first shows was going into Halloween in my freshman year, and I played whole songs with somewhat spooky titles. So I played, like, “Strange Magic” and “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” and that ended up being a great playlist. Some listener in the Pioneer Valley emailed the station that they liked my show. So that really was one of my favorite memories.

Q: That’s awesome. I have been really curious about the publishing job for The Student and what that looks like.

A: A lot of it is behind the scenes. What I deal with is making sure we have the money to print our paper and then making sure that paper gets to places like Val or the Campus Center. And so I’ll go to [Budgetary Committee], and I’ll get money for the club to print, and then I’ll take the delivery that they send us and make sure the papers get to all the various spots on campus. But that’s the boring part of it. What really interests me is now we’re looking for alternative sources of revenue like advertising, and seeing if we can use those funds to make stickers and maybe tote bags this year. My goal for the publishing section, or we’re calling it the business section, is to get more people on board.

Q: Are you yourself in charge of distributing the paper?

A: Yeah, Will [Scherer ’25] helps me out. But for a bit there last year I was doing it by myself. Usually you don’t know when they come in, so it either comes into Morrow or Keefe Campus Center, where the packages come in. So I have to check those places, and sometimes it comes in Wednesday, sometimes Thursday. Then it’s like, “OK, the papers are here, they should be in Val.” Because I don’t want too many people reading the digital version. It can be a bit stressful, but once you get into the routine I have the best routes in my head.

Q: What’s the ideal route?

A: I always hit the high traffic areas first, also because that’s how you get rid of the bulk of the papers. So that’ll be the library, the Science Center, Keefe [Student Center], and then I look to do spots where people have classes, so Chapin [Hall], Fayerweather [Hall] or Seeley Mudd. Then I go to where faculty offices are so that could be Johnson Chapel, Converse [Hall], Clark [House] and Cooper [House] so yeah, there’s a number of spots. If it’s a nice enough day, I’ll just have my music in [my headphones], and I can just get it done.

Q: Where are you from?

A: I’m from a little town in Westchester, New York called Pelham. I’ve lived there my whole life. I really enjoyed growing up there.

Q: What’s something you love or that you think is special about that place?

A: It’s a really tight knit community, so I’m still friends with people I went to preschool and elementary school with and you can really walk basically anywhere. I think it was a lovely place to grow up for those reasons.

Q: I heard that you’re an Eagle Scout?

A: I am an Eagle Scout! I procrastinated a little bit, so I got it done right before coming to Amherst. I was very fortunate to have my town have a strong boy scout troop, or I guess it’s [called] Scouts BSA now. But I did it for years with a lot of my close friends, so we kind of stuck it out together. I wanted to serve the community and the Eagle Scout project was a perfect way to do that. And I think I had five or six other friends do it alongside me, so we all helped each other out with their projects. And I think we did, not just me but us collectively, a lot of good for our town, which I’m proud of looking back at it.

Q: What was your project?

A: I created a free children’s book library box for the church in my town where I go to church. It’s also where I went to preschool, so I definitely have a strong connection there. People have been donating books and have kept it going through various storms, and it really makes me happy that children can go up there, grab a book to read and leave one.

Q: What’s something you’ve seen on campus lately that’s brightened your day?

A: I don’t know his name — I should go up and ask him — but there’s someone who, on the Val quad, has been playing guitar with a speaker these past few weeks. And a lot of the time I’m walking along those paths, so I overhear it and I’ll pause my music. I like to listen in, and I think he’s very talented. So it’s definitely brightened my day.

Q: Do you have anything to say to the Amherst community, now that you’re in the paper?

A: I would say don’t be afraid to ask your friends and faculty for help, especially when it comes to resumes or looking for internships, or having another set of eyes on one of your papers or help with course selection because I feel like I didn’t realize how much guidance people could give me early on in my time at Amherst. And now that I know that, I’ve found that it’s a part of what makes Amherst such a special community. People are always at different stages and doing different things, so you can get a lot of good advice if you just ask.

Q: Is there anyone in particular you’re thinking of that gave you some good advice?

A: I would definitely say the upperclassmen on rugby gave me a lot of help in the past couple of years. And then my favorite professor, [political science] Professor [Kerry] Ratigan, she’s given me a lot of help.