c/o Andrew Lu, Assistant Photo Editor

c/o Andrew Lu, Assistant Photo Editor

Eight first year students—Catherine Auerbach, David Tu, Liam Farrell, Lilly Hoefflin, Paul Quach, San De Min, Sarika Akila, and Zoe Sonkin—were elected as senators to the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) for the 2022-2023 academic year. Following the voting period, held from Monday, Sept. 12 to Friday, Sept. 16, the results were announced in an all-campus email from Election Coordinator Ava Petillo ’25 on Saturday, Sept. 17. 

Nine first-year students ran for the eight seats, with a total of 130 voters in the election, according to a WSA executive report. The newly-elected senators will serve through the end of the spring semester, when they will face re-election. They shared different inspirations for wanting to join the WSA, with Hoefflin explaining that she wants to build connections between the University and the Middletown community. 

“I saw ways my presence on [the Wesleyan] Student Assembly could positively affect students and the larger Middletown community through initiatives to creatively connect us,” Hoefflin wrote in an email to The Argus. “The relationship between Middletown and Wesleyan is an important connection to intentionally foster as a way to encourage positive relations and give back to the larger community through collaborative social events and sharing of resources.” 

Farrell explained that he wanted to join the WSA to elicit change on campus, and aims to listen to fellow students’ needs and desires. 

“While this might sound cliché, I want to enter WSA with an agenda of ‘listening to my peers’ rather than strict goals,” Farrell wrote in an email to The Argus. “On whichever committee I serve during my time as a senator, I want to make sure that I speak for the people I represent.” 

As a first-generation, low-income student of color, Quach explained that his desire to run for the WSA stemmed from his hope of bringing more representation to the student assembly. 

“At every chapter of my journey, I found myself doing ‘something’ that my community or family had never done,” Quach wrote in an email to The Argus. “I decided to run and join the [WSA] to continue to be the representation I always wanted and share my story to uplift others along this journey.” 

One of Tu’s goals while serving as a WSA senator is to change what he views as the transactional relationship between the University’s administration and its student body and employees. 

“To me, college is first and foremost a business, so anything [the administration provides] for the students and/or workers is an incentive, not an obligation,” Tu wrote in an email to The Argus. “My long-term goal is to change that fact.” 

Some of the newest senators participated in high-school student government. Hoefflin was president of her student government and Farrell was the vice president of his, while Quach was a representative on advisory committees at his school and also worked for his school district. Quach’s extensive leadership during high school, which drove him to run for the WSA, also showed him the importance of using his voice to represent his communities. 

“It wasn’t until I started using my outspoken voice and being the representative for my community in larger conversations that I found passion in youth advocacy from historically underrepresented and underserved communities through the power of voice and self-confidence,” Quach wrote. 

In addition to being the president of her high school’s student government, Hoefflin was also involved in working for local elections and Senate campaigns. However, her experience in high school was limited by a lack of support from the school’s administration, and she hopes to see a different side of student government at Wesleyan. 

“[My high school] administration was not incredibly supportive of student advocacy, thinking of unconventional solutions or involvement with the larger community,” Hoefflin wrote. “The WSA has agency, and has been able to accomplish real change on campus that affects daily life, such as free laundry services for students. I feel a sense of less limitation.” 

On the other hand, Tu doesn’t have any prior experience working in student government, but hoped that his political interest would help him bring a new perspective to the WSA. 

“I actually don’t have any experience with student government, but I’m very ideologically charged and unapologetically political,” Tu wrote. “Before coming to college, I felt like I interpreted higher education in a, well obviously, political way. So, I felt like I had something new to offer to the assembly.” 

The senators attended their first WSA General Assembly meeting on Sunday, Sept. 18. 

“This all still feels surreal for me as both excitement and anxiousness fill me heading into the first ever WSA meeting,” Quach wrote. “However, I am beyond ecstatic to meet other like-minded leaders and to begin serving the larger Wesleyan community.”


Jem Shin can be reached at jshin01@wesleyan.edu

Spencer Landers can be reached at sklanders@wesleyan.edu

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