Seven students—Noah Coyle ’25, Yun Huynh ’25, Valerie Lee ’24, Ava Petillo ’25, Meg Rubenstein ’25, Anton Vasel-Roku Lulgjuraj ’24, and Jack Vigue ’25—were elected as senators to the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) at the end of the fall semester. WSA Chief of Staff and Election Coordinator Isha Jha ’23 announced the results in an all-campus email on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021.
Some of the newly elected senators have previous experience in the WSA. Lee, for instance, was appointed as a senator in the fall and wanted to continue with the WSA in a more prominent capacity.
“I enjoy working with people in general, and I really appreciate that the WSA is not a mimicry of a top-down political system that I was acquainted with,” Lee wrote in an email to The Argus. “It means a lot to me if I could play a part in advocating for the wishes and needs of the student body even when they don’t necessarily align with the status quo.”
Like Lee, Vigue was also elected to the WSA as a permanent member after being an appointee in the fall. Vigue ran with the intention of helping to bridge the gap between University students and the administration.
“There are a lot of issues on this campus that go unnoticed, notably issues surrounding our university’s relationship with the Middletown community, and I wanted to be a part of the change that helped mend that relationship,” Vigue wrote in an email to The Argus.
The new senators who were not a part of the WSA last semester still bring valuable experience with student government. Throughout high school, Coyle participated in student government and political internships. Additionally, Petillo served as the secretary of her high school’s student council for three years and created a student-run political magazine.
“These two activities allowed me to become immersed in my community and connected with the student body,” Petillo wrote in an email to The Argus. “I learned how to be proactive in advocating for the needs of my peers and helping them voice their concerns.”
Unlike Petillo, Rubenstein has no formal experience working in student government within high school. Nonetheless, Rubenstein is looking forward to taking initiative and leading projects.
“Between being a Girl Scout for 12 years, the captain of my cheer team, the president of Medicine in the Media Club, and more, I think I will be able to put my leadership and teamwork skills to good use on WSA,” Rubenstein wrote in an email to The Argus.
Although it is still early in the semester, the new senators are ready to work on their goals for improving the University. Vigue, who is a member of the Community Committee (CoCo), hopes to continue the work he started last semester with regards to the WSA’s ongoing work with the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships. Vigue also mentioned that he is excited to address students’ concerns regarding student involvement and clubs.
“I am excited to hopefully develop more tangible ways for students to know what’s going on in Middletown and how to get involved,” Vigue wrote.
Lee, who is also a member of CoCo, claims her most ambitious goal is diversifying the WSA election process.
“This is personally important for me since I came from a background where democratic elections are rare if not non-existent; I could fully understand if someone from [a] similar background would be rather inexperienced in or even somewhat discouraged by the election process,” Lee wrote. “I think people’s background shouldn’t be a conditional barrier when it comes to trying to be on the WSA and serving the student body.”
Lee is also currently working on organizing a spring Common Moment for the class of 2024, which was unable to have one due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I really wish this could be a fun event where [the class of 2024] could connect more with their peers, especially for those who remained in their home country/region during their first year,” Lee wrote. “I’m also really looking forward to rebuilding traditions in the post-COVID Wesleyan community. As a part of CoCo, I’m looking forward to revitalizing many common spaces for student groups on campus.”
Petillo, who is currently a member of the Student Life Committee, hopes to become an integral resource for students.
“I will work to add more fun, COVID safe activities for the student body in order to strengthen our sense of community,” Petillo wrote.
Cameron Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.