Meet your 2023-2024 student body presidents; safety, care and community are top priorities

Five 5C students walk away from the Honnold Gateway at Scripps College.
TSL interviewed the student body presidents of each of the 5Cs, asking them about their journey to the position and what they hope to accomplish. (Wendy Zhang • The Student Life)

With fall semester in full swing, this year’s student body presidents are committed to building inclusive, safe communities on campus where students can thrive both academically and socially.

Zane Yamamoto CM ’24

For ASCMC President Zane Yamamoto CM ’24, serving in student government is not a new endeavor. He has previously served as senator, class cabinet member, sophomore class president and executive vice president.

Yamamoto is passionate about uniting communities in the face of controversy, alluding to the passing of a controversial resolution to return social life at CMC to its pre-pandemic form.

“There were many points throughout my journey where I considered retiring from student government,” Yamamoto said. “It was in the aftermath of some of the most contentious debates on our campus surrounding the social life and campus culture when I remembered what called me to the job in the first place.”

Moving forward, Yamamoto hopes to facilitate a campus community where all students have spaces where they can feel at home.

“As a fourth-generation Japanese-American who was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, I understand that coming to college is enough of a culture shock already, even before you mix in issues of identity, inclusion and belonging,” Yamamoto said.

Other goals include using student fees to enhance student programming and engagement, and repairing the loss of institutional knowledge and experience caused by COVID-19.

“I believe in the unique role that student government has in solving the problems our community faces, the unique role it plays in representing our constituents and fellow classmates to external stakeholders and each other and the unique role it plays in leading the student body through initiatives and by example,” he said.

Lily Dunkin SC ’24 

Though this year’s Scripps Associated Students (SAS) President Lily Dunkin SC ’24 started her journey in student government just last year, she has been a prominent community member since she first came to campus.

Dunkin was a strong advocate for the removal of the controversial Nazi-oriented “Young Woman” statue from Scripps’ health and wellness center, circulating a petition that highlighted the statue’s reflection of the “toxic white femininity” present on campus.

One of Dunkin’s main priorities as president is connecting Scripps College’s administration to its students. She hopes to facilitate conversations in which students, faculty and staff can effectively work together.

“We are already beginning to have some really important conversations — starting with our Student Leadership Institute — where we are able to talk to a lot of different administrators about things we’re seeing on campus,” she said.

Dunkin cited the topic of student educational initiatives on drugs and alcohol as an example. According to Dunkin, the current punitive measures ultimately do more harm than good. Instead, she strives to create a culture of care.

“When college students behave as college students, the most important thing is keeping them safe and not punishing them for behaviors,” Dunkin said. “The reality is that when you make rules that punish students, people continue [their] dangerous behaviors in private.”

Sanya Dhama PZ ’24

Pitzer Senate President Sanya Dhama PZ ’24 has been involved with student government since she served as her sixth-grade class president.

A strong advocate for sexual assault prevention and education, Dhama testified for Assembly Bill 2683 at the state level last year. As president, Dhama plans to continue empowering survivors and fostering a safe community on campus by addressing the turmoil stemming from issues within Pitzer’s Title IX office.

She said Senate is currently “in the process of rebuilding trust with the student body and the Title IX office,” and she expressed her desire to advocate for the community this year.

Overall, Dhama said she loves the direct connection between students, faculty and administration at Pitzer, as it allows students to influence change on campus.

“The college literally needs students — our passion, our commitment and our dedication to understanding issues — to really gather input,” she said.

Henry Hammer HM ’24, Kayleah Tsai HM ’24

ASHMC co-presidents Henry Hammer HM ’24 and Kayleah Tsai HM ’24 both drew immense inspiration from their predecessors, Ruby Foxall HM ’23 and Mavis Stone HM ’23.

Now, Hammer and Tsai are eager to follow in their footsteps while instituting new and important changes.

Hammer and Tsai are hoping to make the notoriously stress-inducing room draw process “less of a chaotic experience for everyone.” Additionally, they hope to change the nature of post-pandemic career fairs across campus by holding at least two in-person events this year.

Hammer noted the importance of the Honor Code.

“As always,” he said, “the Honor Code is a big, evolving thing at Harvey Mudd, and we are working with the faculty, with students and with our awesome Honor Board chairs to make sure it’s as strong as ever.”

Reflecting on their abbreviated time on campus due to COVID-19, Tsai recalled feeling impressed by people who made friends online.

“I think it just goes to show that Mudders have that gung-ho spirit where, if they want something, they’ll try and get it,” Tsai said.

Whether it’s making friends online or running as co-presidents, Hammer emphasized collaboration.

“We believe that things get done faster, obviously, when there’s more people, but more importantly, things get done better when there are more heads put together,” Tsai said.

Timi Adelakun PO ’24

For the last two years, Timi Adelakun PO ’24 served as a commissioner of campus events. Last spring, he decided to run for ASPC president.

In an email to TSL, Adelakun said his prior experience has given him “valuable insights into the needs and aspirations of our student body,” which he hopes to “channel into meaningful action as student body president.”

Adelakun emphasized that he is committed to fostering a more inclusive and supportive campus environment, promoting diversity and equity and strengthening connections between students and administration.

Adelakun said that a “nurturing, inclusive campus culture is the foundation for a vibrant and enriching academic experience.”

When asked about one piece of advice he would give his freshman self, Adelakun responded, “I wouldn’t give him any advice. In fact, I would ask him for advice now.”

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