It’s hard to be uncheered by Lili Kadets. The senior and president of Rho Epsilon Pi, Wesleyan’s lone sorority, projects an air of indomitable positivity as well as a down-to-earth ability to get things done. In between her work rescuing food for Eddy Shelter in Middletown and her slam poetry performances, Kadets was able to talk with The Argus about the value of sororities, the need for compassion, and what she would tell all of Wesleyan if she could.
Argus: So, why do you think you were nominated as a WesCeleb?
Lili Kadets: It could be the fact that I’m the one with the orange backpack and curly hair who smiles a lot? I think that’s probably a main reason why.
A: There were definitely references to your positive outlook and general kindness in your nomination. Is there a way you cultivate that positivity within yourself?
LK: I think one of the reasons why I really value positivity is because I hope that if I’m positive, others will see it and want to be positive as well. And I think sometimes when we’re really busy in college we sometimes forget that giving someone a compliment or giving someone a hug makes someone’s day. So I think that’s where it comes from, just trying to spread the positivity around.
A: You work a lot with [Rho Epsilon Pi]. Do you want to talk about your work there?
LK: Well, I’m currently the president, and it’s been a crazy roller coaster of a ride, but one I love dearly. I’ve met so many wonderful people, so many people who have made my experience at Wesleyan what it is. Especially meeting older people and also cultivating relationships with younger students as well, and I think particularly post-election, finding a space for women where we can talk about issues and be together has been really important for me.
A: What do you think is the value of sororities, more generally, would you say?
LK: Bringing together a group of people who might never have an opportunity to meet. I would say that’s my biggest plug for why I joined Rho Ep and why I think other people should as well.
A: And you worked a lot with the food rescue project?
LK: I’m one of the coordinators of food rescue on campus and that’s a really important program to me, too, because we could just waste so much less if we donated all the food that we don’t eat to people who need it. So we’re combating waste while also helping people who need it most, who don’t have a home.
A: Are there other projects in campus that you are involved and want to talk about?
LK: I have been more recently engaged in some poetry slamming which has been really fun. I’m actually performing on Saturday in the Grand Slam, which will be cool. Writing has been something that I’ve been doing on the side for a while and it’s been a really cool opportunity to get to do that senior year too.
A: As someone who’s been here four years, what are the ways you’ve seen Wesleyan change in the years you’ve been here?
LK: I don’t necessarily know. That’s a hard question for me to answer because I can’t necessarily decide if Wesleyan has changed or Wesleyan has changed me, and therefore my perspectives have changed. I think if that’s the case, then I definitely feel as though Wesleyan has opened me up to always reading between the lines and never accepting something as it seems but to really take a second look. And I don’t know if that has always been the case for Wesleyan or if it’s just something that you learn while you’re here.
A: Do you know what you’re doing next year?
LK: Well, no. I’m currently applying for jobs. I have an interview tomorrow morning, which should be interesting.
A: Good luck!
LK: Thank you. I’m interested in health care, I’m interested in the relationship between technology and health care and I think there’s a lot that can be done in the health care industry in terms of helping people who don’t have health care, or who could have better health care receive it, and I’m really passionate about that. So hopefully I can find something that will allow me to do that, but also allow me to help other people.
A: What kind of things do you think you’ve learned from doing things like food rescue or Rho Epsilon Pi that you can apply to the real world?
LK: I’ve just learned that the need for compassion is so underestimated. We just don’t realize how important connections with other people are, and even just me being at Eddy’s shelter and dropping off a tray with bagels to someone is a really wonderful way to just, I mean, we’re breaking bread, that’s what we’re doing, we’re having a conversation and we’re talking about our lives. We’re forging relationships in a way that maybe we wouldn’t necessarily have done. And I think the same thing goes for Rho Ep. We’re creating relationships that maybe we didn’t anticipate. These unanticipated relationships have taught me that it’s okay to really go out of your way and try to talk to people, try to try new things.
A: So this is definitely a stressful time for a lot of people. What would you say to encourage community and encourage positivity in times like this?
LK: It’s important to be close to the community, to the people around us. I’d say I really just put a lot of thought and time and hope into knowing that future generations, including us, including ourselves, are gonna put positivity first. I have faith that there’s a strong type of people, especially those type of people at Wesleyan who can push positivity and I think that I am an optimistic person and I like to think that, in the future there will be people like me and people around me and those around me who will stand up for what they believe in.
A: As someone who has a little bit of a soapbox right now, is there anything you want to tell the Wesleyan community?
LK: People who know me know that when I walk out of a room I always say, or I try to always say, “You’re beautiful in every way and words can’t bring you down.” So if I do have this soapbox then I would hope that everyone could hear me say that very loudly.