Hoffman’s BPA members compete, gain real-world skills, and make connections

Business Professionals of America President Shreyas Gandlur discusses the background of the club as well as some of the successes.

Barathkumar Baskaran, Staff Writer

Business Professionals of America is a club that encompasses a wide range of events ranging from Java Programming to Extemporaneous Speech with several events focusing on business-related topics. Shreyas Gandlur (’16) is the president of BPA and participates in Java Programming and Parliamentary Procedure Team. The following profile is a series of questions regarding the events he participates in and BPA as a whole.

How did you first get started with Business Professionals of America?

I first heard about BPA at a board meeting when I was being recognized for a medal at state for chess. There were maybe fifteen or twenty people being recognized for some competition I’d never heard of called ‘Business Professionals of America’ and one of them received a medal for ‘Java Programming.’ Well, I knew Java, so my interest in BPA was immediately piqued. Later on, I talked to Carter Trousdale (’15) about it and it turned out that he was a part of BPA, so he pretty much helped me out in joining it.

What has BPA come to mean to you?

Many of my closest friends have become my closest friends only because of BPA. That’s the main reason why I like BPA so much.

Parliamentary Procedure Team is one of the events you participate in. At its base level, how would you describe the event?

At its essence, parliamentary procedure is just a method for people to get things done in a fair, open, democratic manner, and really; it isn’t as arcane as it might sound: parliamentary procedure is used by a lot of organizations, including the D211 board.

How did Hoffman’s parliamentary procedure team get started?

Carter and I decided to start parliamentary procedure team two years ago (so my sophomore year). We were just scrolling through the team events in BPA and stumbled upon the word “parliamentary.” Since both of us were very interested in politics, it had caught our attention. So that’s really how the idea for starting a team began.

What were some early difficulties the team faced?

So in our early days, it was really difficult because we had to teach ourselves everything. We had one copy of Robert’s Rules of Order, which is the guide the BPA organization uses for parliamentary procedure. The book, however, is not very accessible. It is approximately 600 pages long and reads like a law manual, so it wasn’t an easy way for us to learn parliamentary procedure. Also, since no one we knew had heard of parliamentary procedure, we had to try to learn it by watching YouTube videos of people using it in competition.

How many years has it been now since Hoffman’s parliamentary procedure team was started and what changes have you felt have occurred over that time period?

This is our third year of doing Parliamentary Procedure team. The most obvious change is that we have expanded so much. We originally barely had enough people for one team and this year, we have two full ones.

What is your future outlook for the event?

The future looks bright. This year, several sophomores and juniors joined and I have faith that they’ll continue growing parliamentary procedure in the future.

In addition to leading Parliamentary Procedure team, you are also BPA’s president this year. From the perspective of that role, how do you feel BPA is doing and how do you feel it will continue to do in the future?

This year we have the largest number of members that we have ever had, and we’ve had several underclassmen join this year. Mrs. Largo and Mr. Canace are amazing sponsors for BPA; knowing the people who have joined this year, I have no worries about the future.