Get to know Wellesley’s 2018–2019 College Government Cabinet

Polaroid photos of the 2018-2019 College Government at work.
Photo provided by Wellesley College Government
December 17, 2018

Every spring, Wellesley College students elect nine of their peers to serve in the College Government cabinet for the upcoming academic year. When the Student Government Association was founded in 1901, students could not have imagined the role that Wellesley’s College Government would have today. Besides helping address students’ concerns, the cabinet manages all student-run organizations and their funds, upholds the Honor Code, and helps foster diversity and nonpolitical education on campus. Members of College Government work with other student organizations, staff, faculty, and the wider Wellesley community on a diverse range of projects throughout the year.

The 2018–2019 College Government cabinet members hail from across the world, live on every corner of campus, and study in departments ranging from biology to classics. On the eve of the second half of their terms, cabinet members share what inspired them to get involved, their goals for the rest of the school year, how their roles are preparing them for careers after Wellesley, and more.

Who inspired you to get involved in college government?

Saafia Masoom ’20, vice president: I owe the inspiration to run for my current role to a lot of incredible women in my life. First and foremost is my mom, who has taught me the most valuable lessons I know about leadership by example and good advice. In addition to her, my older sister held a position in student government similar to mine during her college experience, and I was encouraged by her commitment to advocate for issues that she believed in and wanted to do the same here at Wellesley. In large part, the work of last year’s CG cabinet also influenced me to run, not to mention that I was in Senate one fateful day when CGVP Karen Su ’19 made a moving plea that someone step up to be her successor. I will always be grateful to her and Maryam Khan ’18 for believing in me at the beginning of this journey. And, of course, there are the friends who, during my first year, joked that they could see me getting involved in College Government because of the way I talked about things I was passionate about. They planted a seed that I really did not realize I had held onto until I took a chance and ran.

Why did you want to get involved in a leadership role on campus, and in campus governance?

Sarah Sansón Hernández ’21, secretary-treasurer: I always knew I wanted to get involved here at Wellesley as I saw that as a quick way to get to know campus as a first-year. I saw getting involved in CG as a way to advocate for the rights and the interests of my constituency and other Latinx students on campus. Being a Senator and now as secretary-treasurer, it has given me the opportunity to get to know the inner workings of Wellesley and learn how to best trigger change from the inside out.

Maya Nandakumar ’19, chief justice of the Honor Code Council: Serving as chief justice has been an opportunity for me to give back to the Wellesley community and to influence campus policies. I am a strong advocate of joining institutions to improve them, so chairing Honor Code Council has allowed me to effect positive change by rethinking the procedures and rules that govern our conduct.

How is your role preparing you for what you want to do after Wellesley? What skills and takeaways will be helpful for your future career(s)?

Ninan Pollack ’19, Committee for Political and Legislative Awareness (CPLA) chair: After Wellesley, I plan to pursue a career in criminal law as a public defender. Though the role of CPLA chair is not directly related to my future career, in this position I have been able to develop my communication skills and I have learned how to be a better advocate for the community that I am representing. In addition, CG cabinet has taught me to be a better manager and delegator, which will surely assist me in my future workplace.

Hazel Wan Hei Leung ’20, multicultural affairs coordinator: I’m mainly interested in careers in academia, advocacy, or policy after Wellesley, and my role this year has definitely enabled me to practice active listening and compassion. Through conversations with students both inside and outside of the CG structure, I have realized that policy and institutional change need to be informed by those who are most effective. I’ve learned to be more patient and to be more deliberate in my actions—even if that means delaying certain things—so that any change and projects we work on within CG are truly owned by all students.

What are you excited to be working on? What goals do you have for the upcoming year on the cabinet and for Wellesley?

Kimberly Chia ’19, president: It isn’t flashy, but my main goals moving forward next semester are to strengthen organizational governance within College Government and define College Government’s role within the Wellesley community. This includes reviewing and amending sections of our constitution, creating structures for consistent engagement with members of Wellesley’s senior leadership, and clarifying in what areas College Government will be most effective at giving students a voice. The aim is to build a firm structural foundation for future College Governments going forward, and re-articulate College Government’s mission and purpose to the wider student body.

What’s your favorite movie?

Pollack: Snowpiercer

Nandakumar: The Godfather

Leung: The Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom