April 26: Student Governance & Student Organizations

Kaila Teague

Nominated by Alex Morse
Kaila hit the ground running from week one at Pitzer College when I hired her to be an Overnight Visit Intern within her first few days as a student. At that time, I could see her potential shining through and knew she would make a splash in our community. Over the last three years (and especially during the pandemic), she has worked tirelessly to contribute to the community and leave Pitzer better than she found it. She has been a superstar as a student worker in the Office of Admission – she’s capable of serving every function a student worker can, while most students are typically trained in just one or two functions, helping to bring in the next generation of Pitzer students year after year. This year alone, she is one of two students who are running our month-long virtual Admitted Student Program. In addition to working in Admission, she has worked as a CEC Programming Intern, as a Student Assistant for the Office of Study Abroad and International Programs, and this past year as a ResLife Community Assistant. Outside of her many work roles on campus, she has studied abroad in Italy, completed summer research on Virtual Language Acquisition, performed with the Pangea 5C Dance Team, and most importantly (and the main reason why I’m nominating her) has been the pinnacle of student engagement and leadership. To this end, she has served on Identity Board, worked as part of the Black Student Union leadership team, and is currently the Student Senate Junior Class Representative and President-Elect. Through her roles in student government and student org leadership, she has been involved in countless initiatives to improve diversity, equity, and access at Pitzer. Her initiatives include work on the BSU Address, CBO outreach within the Office of Admission, postponing the major declaration deadline for juniors during the pandemic, creating identity-based positions and a public relations manager role in Student Senate, developing Senate’s DEI audit, advocating for a shift to test-blind admissions, and advocating for the creation of a Residence Hall Council and a Student Voice Committee. She has done all of this before taking on her upcoming role as Student Senate President – I’m sure we’ve only seen the beginning of the changes she will make that will improve our policies and community for generations to come. I can’t say it enough – this girl deserves an award (or several) for her service to the College!  

Nominated by Patrice Langevin, AVP of Facilities

Kaila volunteers her time to serve the Pitzer community, including serving as: the newly elected Student Senate President, on the COVID Task Force, on the Food Services Reopening working group, and on the interview panel to find a new VP for College Advancement and Communications. Unfailingly cheerful with a smile that lights up the zoom screen, Kaila actively participates in these various meetings and offers suggestions on student outreach so as to better share updates with the student community.

Quentin Jenkins

Nominated by Dr. Alicia D. Bonaparte
Quentin is truly an advocate of marginalized and underprivileged students and works diligently to help students navigate their collegiate experiences. His work in so many different affinity groups and organizations such as the Queer Resource Center, Pitzer’s Black Student Union, and as part of the Racial Justice Initiative demonstrate his willingness to work towards collective action. From his collaborative programming to honor graduating seniors part of BSU to helping develop new curricular developments, Quentin demonstrates a student well-deserving of numerous accolades.

First Generation Club:
Sergio Quechol, Ophilia Le, Jennifer Vidal, Xitlaly Franquez, & Linda Huang

Nominated by Carlos Alvarez
First-Gen Club has made an effort, as many other groups, to stay engaged, offer mentorship and community with students within their organization. The reason for this nomination stems from my experience as a First-Gen alum. As a student in College, I recall how challenging it can feel to reach out for help and connect and not feel like you don’t belong in a higher education environment. Through guidance, support and continuing to extend community through a club/org makes such a difference. I see it through Facebook posts and the meetings I attended as a staff member offering support. It’s wonderful to see our students striving to connect with those newest to Pitzer that face a wealth of challenges being the first in their family to attend college.

LYBL and Pitzer Advocates

Nominated by Anonymous
Their outstanding work with supporting their campus and local community.

Nicki Aquino, Vice President for Student Engagement

Nominated by Alayna Session-Goins
Nicki jumped into the role of VPSE with enthusiasm and a willingness to learn, grow the position, and adapt it to the needs of Pitzer students as everyone was virtual due to COVID-19. Nicki stayed committed to developing a strong foundation for the role of VPSE so when students returned to in-person learning there was a framework set to better support student engagement on-campus, and specifically support Pitzer student organizations. From moving the Fall Pitzer Clubs & Orgs Fair online, to promoting the 5C Club Fair, to creating the @pzvpse Instagram account where she posted the weekly club meetings and events, to overhauling the Student Organizations webpage on the Student Senate website, Nicki definitely stayed busy this year. And then in the fall, Nicki served on the hiring committee that hired the first Coordinator of Student Engagement position at Pitzer College, that will work directly with the VPSE in future years to better support Pitzer student organizations. Thank you Nicki for keeping Student Engagement a priority during this academic year spent on Zoom!

Senate Executive Board:
Lily Fillwalk, Cameron Stockford, Becca Zimmerman, Zyana Slade-Bridges, Owen Keiser, & Nicki Aquino

Nominated by Alayna Session-Goins
The Senate Executive Board has been a stable presence for Pitzer, during a very unstable year. This team of student leaders led Pitzer’s Student Senate during a year that saw many challenges both in how shared governance needed to be run and picking up the pieces from an abrupt end to the the 2019-2020 academic year. This team responded to the Pitzer community with support in the midst of worldwide turbulence, they spoke up for marginalized communities and demanded change, they helped Senators write thoughtful legislation that addressed past, current, and future needs, and they partnered with administrators, faculty and staff to address student and community needs in the face of a raging pandemic. The Pitzer community is very fortunate to have had such a stable group of Senate Executive to help lead us through this year of many challenges, but also coming out on the other side much stronger!

James Karsten

Nominated by Anonymous
James regularly attends and participates in FEC meetings; he is a student representative on this committee. Because of his Student Senate role, he also participates in meetings of the Budget Implementation Committee. This level of involvement is high, and these are both very important governance committees. I have been impressed with the contributions James makes to discussions as well. He clearly listens carefully to discussions and presentations, and on more than one occasion, he has made a constructive suggestion that helped the committee move forward in its consideration of an issue. James’s comments reflect a good understanding of Pitzer College and he is an excellent and persuasive advocate for student needs. His commitment to the College, to participating in our governance system, and to seeking solutions to problems are admirable. He is a model student leader.

Wilfrido Batista; BSU

Nominated by Suyapa Portillo
Wilfrido has been a leader and thoughtful mentor to many of my students. They have stood up to injustice on and off campus and have collaborated to improving campus climate overall. They valued and promoted mutual aid campaigns during covid-19. I value their work, their intellect and their organizing.

Identity Board:
Kaila Teague, BSU; Jing Jing Wang, APAC Milena Passage, WALH; Jocelyn Vega, LSU Jacob Brittain, RPC; Sahar Dabirian, MESA
Pooja Desai, SASA; Angel Feliz, First Gen
Leah Leslie, MIX; Z Slade-Bridges, ID Board Chair

Nominated by Anonymous
Identity Board has been a leader this year in ensuring that all Pitzer students are being considered in decision making and given the support they need by the college. The members of Identity Board have contributed a significant about of time and labor to working with campus administrators, staff and faculty on supporting Pitzer’s most vulnerable populations of students during COVID-19. Identity Board members have been a consistent student voice during College committee meetings, Senate meetings, and in their own affinity groups. Identity Board has established roots that have supported and fostered an important sense of belonging, and community for students during this year.

A Cleaner Tomorrow (ACT), Asian Pacific American Coalition (APAC), Black Student Union (BSU),First Generation Students Club (FirstGen), Latinx Student Union (LSU), Live Your Best Life Records (LYBL), Mixed Identity Exchange (MIX), My Skin, My Logo (MSML), Pangea Dance Company, Pitzer Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault, Pitzer Chess Club (PCC), Pitzer Soap Carving Club (PSCC), PZ Threads, The Outback News, Tutors for a Cause

Nominated by Anonymous
These student organizations kept meeting during the 2020-2021 academic year, which provided a much needed outlet for Pitzer students during a challenging year online. These student organizations offered opportunities for lighthearted activities, to student organizing, to community service and engagement, to student support, to self care opportunities. The student leaders that kept their groups going online have been incredible role models for new students and their peers.

CRC Think Tank: Kenny Butler

Nominated by Nigel Boyle
Kenny Butler has anchored the CRC Inside Out Think Tank for years, and been a great trainer of faculty preparing to teach IO. His work has made out CRC programs possible