Student Senate Election Statements

Student Senate

Ailing “Eileen” Cao
College sophomore

Endorsed by the International Student Association and the Chinese Students Association

I am Ailing Cao, and my friends call me Eileen. My pronouns are she/her/hers. I come from Shanghai, China. I am a sophomore interested in comparative politics. I’ve been involved in the Chinese Students Association and the International Student Organization. I eat in Pyle Co-op and have just been elected as a food buyer for the co-op.

I want to be a Senator because I want to create a direct channel for international students to communicate with the Student Senate and the College. In the future, I plan to gather more reliable information about the needs of all international students at Oberlin College. I also would like to work with the Career Center to improve the international student-alumni database and to bring more career opportunities to international students.

In talking to the current student senators, I have learned that Student Senate is willing to serve the international student community but needs someone with an international background and understanding of international students’ needs and experiences to better do so. I would like to be that person!

Grace Evans
College junior

Hi! I’m Grace. I use she, her and hers. I am a junior East Asian Studies major and a co-captain of our varsity softball team. I am running for Student Senate because I want to make the athletic resources on campus more accessible and visible to the majority of the student body and, by doing so, bridge the gap between the athletic department and the rest of campus. Recently there have been many good strides, such as creating a gym in South, but more communication must be facilitated. Additionally, this is my second year working for the athletic department and my third year working in CDS. I have a strong work ethic, and challenges only add fuel to the fire. I am eager to work with students, faculty and administrators to create a more unified and communicative student body.


Austin Feuer
College first-year

Endorsed by the Oberlin College Democrats

Accessibility of printers is imperative, especially for students with disabilities and/or struggling with events on school grounds. Placing at least one printer in each dorm will alleviate the stress of plenty of students and make it easier for students who cannot afford printers to print their work on winter evenings.

I hope to represent my peers as best as I can, and so another objective is to inform all students of the happenings in the legislative process and to receive input in return. I will provide surveys on social media and share my email address and office hours to hear from students about the issues that concern them.

I intend to hold monologue sessions (you speak, I listen) with groups of color and other marginalized groups on campus at least twice a semester — once before midterms, once after. I will bring their concerns, verbatim, to Senate meetings.

I want to start a program that places two sustainability and voting/registration representatives, respectively, in each dorm.

Lastly, there needs to be consent education and PRSM [Preventing and Responding to Sexual Misconduct] training during the first week of school. Sexual assault is an epidemic on college campuses, and it is simply ludicrous not to provide these training sessions prior to first-week events.

Natalia Garcia-Sanabria
College junior

My name is Natalia Garcia-Sanabria, and I am currently a third-year Environmental Studies major with a focus on Sustainable Communities, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. I am a Latinx womyn from the Bronx, NY. I love home-cooked meals, late-night conversation and reading. I would love to be elected as a Senator. It would be a great opportunity to get more involved with the community. I want to continue to understand the issues that face the Oberlin community and help develop solutions for them. I want to make sure that Senate is accessible and a comfortable place for students to come and address their concerns. Last year I had the privilege of serving on the Student Finance Committee, which allowed me to learn more about the interests of many different corners of the Oberlin community and help them financially. My work with the SFC helped me be a better listener and learn how to defend my positions. I learned the appropriate times to be subjective and when to be objective. I was subjective when my past experiences were necessary to defend or argue against an event and, while objectivity is hard to achieve, I did my best to be consistent and follow the policies. I would take the skills I have developed with the SFC and bring them to my position. I am reliable with regard to always showing up and organizing meetings (that was my responsibility on the SFC). I have no issue voicing my opinions, thus making me a great Senator. I work hard; I’ve always had to work harder than my counterparts to get what I want and therefore give everything I do 110 percent of myself. I hope to be elected!

Ezra Goss
College first-year

Endorsed by the Oberlin College Democrats

Among all the issues that we should face, I specifically aim to encourage inter-organizational debate and cooperation on the more controversial issues that plague the campus. As a progressive institution, we should not just be known for our passion and energy for individual special interests but as well be on the forefront of solution-building and mock peace talks for those issues that affect the student body both directly and indirectly. I have extensive experience in student government organizations. I served as executive director of a Youth and Government delegation of 200 people. During my tenure, I sat on a committee that raised $15,000 for program scholarships for students in the delegation. This not only shows my ability to work well with a team, but also my motivation to get practical things done.

I’ll also be spending the next few weeks actively asking students what they want changed — you can find me at Dascomb Dining Hall from 12 –1 p.m. all week or Wilder from 1–2 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and if you can’t find me send me an email at [email protected].

Gabe Hitchcock
College junior

Endorsed by the East Hall Council, Fairchild Hall Council, Neuroscience Majors Committee and The Synapse

Good day! My name is Gabe Hitchcock, and I am running for Student Senate. I am a College junior Neuroscience major and Art History minor. During my time at Oberlin, I have been the editor-in-chief of The Synapse, co-chair of the Neuroscience Majors Committee, an analyst with the Investment Club, a [Lead Residental Assistant] with ResEd, a piano teacher, a tutor and a number of other things. However, this year I am foregoing several of these roles so that when I become a student senator, I can focus on what I am most passionate about: supporting Oberlin students. With my experience growing organizations, resolving conflicts among residents and working with administrators, I am confident I can do so. I am also keenly aware of the precarious financial situation that our school is in, and I promise to work to prevent that burden from falling on the student body. In the end, I am running for Student Senate to achieve two things: to advocate for transparency within Oberlin’s administration and to make certain that the 150plus student organizations retain their financial flexibility and are well represented among the Senate. Thank you.

Nimo Ismail
College junior

My name is Nimo Ismail, and I am a College junior Politics major. I consider the role of the student government to be one of the most important roles on campus, as they represent the student body and must be able to put the interests of the community before theirs. I want to become a senator this semester because I know I am capable of taking that responsibility. If I get elected to Student Senate, I will work on making communication between Senate and the rest of the student body more efficient and on diversifying representation. Even though I appreciate Oberlin, there are issues, such as student health, both physical and mental, that we need to work on. For us to be great, our health should be a priority. With my background as an international student from Somaliland, I will be able to bring a different perspective into Senate and different methods of problem-solving. Also, because my schedule is more flexible this semester, I have more time to dedicate to the responsibility of being a senator. With the skills I have attained in the different settings of Oberlin I partake in, I will be better able to serve the Oberlin community.

Ben Jennings
College sophomore

As a student senator, my main goal would be to collaborate with those who wish to strengthen relationships between the student body and the College’s administration by acting as a liaison. I feel that there is a palpable divide between groups within the student body and the administration, especially with regard to campus culture, and that this fosters a perception of confrontation rather than cooperation between the various parties involved. One prevalent belief expressed by many about this ongoing tension is that the administration does not appear as accessible to students as it should be. If elected, I would reach out to campus organizations that are currently in place, such as the Dialogue Center (Yeworkwha Belachew Center for Dialogue at Oberlin College), to create a more cohesive community and would seek to establish more streamlined systems of communication between the appropriate student and administrative representatives. In addition, I would work on creating a system of checks to make sure that such lines of communication are sustained. In Student Senate, I would strive to achieve these goals in conjunction with my fellow Oberlin students.

Deborah Johnson
College sophomore

Hi! My name’s Deborah, and I’m a College sophomore and was previously on Senate last year. This year I’m hoping to work with other students to create more support for survivors (ex: support groups that use methods of art, music, creativity, etc. to help heal, a phone line), make sure RideLine runs at the proper times and have staff drive when students aren’t able to, make College resources more accessible to members of the town and clarify the process of working with the Student Support Initiatives Fund so we can have some money for textbooks, clubs, medical needs, etc.

Sadie Keller
College first-year

Endorsed by the Youth Council Coordinating Committee

Hi! I’m Sadie Keller (she/her/hers) and a College first-year. This year I’ve been overwhelmed, over-stimulated and really excited (is that a freshman thing?).

At first, I wasn’t sure Oberlin was my place. There were so many people and so many discussions; where did I fit in? Before transferring, I wanted to give Oberlin a fair shot. By fully immersing myself, I’ve found people who are well-informed and passionate about having an impact in our community. We discuss the pros and cons of human adaptation in regard to global warming while eating undercooked beans in Stevenson Dining Hall. On Saturday nights, we prefer warm cookies (vegan optional) and yelling “yes poet” at the top of our lungs.

As cliché as it sounds, these truly Oberlin experiences have made me realize that I don’t have to know it all, want to do it all and be good at it all. But when it does matter, I have a voice, and I am beginning to find places to share it.

A good advocate is honest. I’ve talked authentically about my own experience, and now I want to hear yours. In Student Senate, I will be available, transparent and committed to creating spaces for new voices.

Jeremy Poe
Double-degree junior

Hey! I’m Jeremy (he/him/his), double-degree junior, and I’m running for my second year in Student Senate.

Last year, I knew some students struggling with depression and anxiety; being at Oberlin was hurting them. Senators kept promising to work on student health and wellness, but were unable to make any progress. I decided that the least I could do was try and help.

One year later, our successes in Senate are numerous: weekend hours at Student Health, funding for the SIC to offer emergency contraception, a Counseling Center feedback form and women and trans hours at Philips gym, to name a few. Senate’s successes have not just come in the areas of health and wellness: statewide organizing to protect student voting rights, meals over breaks and new efforts to evaluate dining on campus. But there’s so much more work to be done.

As Senate’s Liaison, I represent Senate and students in discussions with administrators, faculty, alumni and the Board of Trustees. I also manage Senate’s projects and legislative work.

I’ve worked to advance the interests of students — first by listening, then by preparing and finally by acting. I’m asking for your vote so I can go back to work.

Drew Styles
College sophomore

I am a second-year at Oberlin College, and during my time I have been fortunate to have been a part of a number of teams and communities. I am a co-captain of the Oberlin College quidditch team, a goalie for the Oberlin College ice hockey team, a member of the Dead Hears Footsteps radio show, a member of Lambda Union and a participant in Oberlin theater since my first semester. I have seen many sides of Oberlin and have experienced the diversity of thought, action and individuals. I believe that my experiences in the Oberlin community will help me excel as a student senator, if I am elected. I hope to be an effective part of Student Senate, helping in any way possible and working for the students of Oberlin College. Thank you for your consideration.

Elijah Aladin
College first-year

Sydney Allen
College first-year

Matt Banda
College first-year

Michael Drougas
College sophomore

Thobeka Mnisi
College sophomore

Tyler Wagner
College senior

The Oberlin Review does not endorse any candidate in the upcoming Student Senate election.