Q&A with the New Student Senate President

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Kayla Padilla has recently become the new Student Senate President after a hard-fought race against Tyler Baker. Many people are excited to see the Manchester Campus being represented with this win and are eager to hear what Padilla’s plans are for the coming school year. What are her motives for running? What would change? What would her priorities be?

I reached out to ask her a few questions in anticipation for this Fall semester.

Q: What made you interested in the position of Student Senate President?

A: I was inspired to run for Student Senate President because there had been constant talk of needing Manchester representation within the Henniker campus and vice versa. I am not afraid to put myself out in the public eye and speak to others. I care a lot about the school I attend, the community I belong to and I want to best represent them and their wishes and interests.

Q: What are your initial plans for the early stages of your presidency? What are the first things you’d like to focus on?

A: My early-stage plans as president are bringing anti-racism and anti-discrimination education and resources into Freshmen Orientation and expanding on it within the Bridges first year program.

Next, I want to work with Campus Safety on getting the shuttle between campuses to run at more convenient times. I don’t want the 35-40 minute drive to feel like a canyon students cannot cross.

Lastly, I want to establish a newsletter that describes what Student Senate is doing for the community. I want students to know what we are working on and what issues we are working on.

Q: What do you see as New England College’s biggest strengths?

A: One of the biggest strengths I see here at NEC is a sense of community within the school. There are so many different groups available that I believe students can find a place to call their own. I am speaking from my own experience as a student.

Q: What is a major problem you see New England College facing?

A: A major problem I see NEC facing is performative activism. To say that one is an ally is not enough, you have to act, you have to constantly educate yourself and most importantly you have to be aware of your privilege. I am constantly educating myself on how I can best uplift the voices of other POC who need my support, figuring out who needs more POC support and how we can best use our privilege to advocate for people without my platform.

Q: What would you say are your biggest strengths and weaknesses as a leader?

A: One of my greatest strengths as a leader is my confidence in difficult situations. I am not afraid to tackle a problem head on and collaborate with others on how to best solve an issue.

Something I have been working on is my tendency to overwork myself. I’m beginning to prioritize myself, alongside my schoolwork and commitments. These things are all equally important to me and I want to give them the time they deserve.

Q: One major concern among students and faculty is our nickname, “Pilgrims,” as it is seen as problematic. What is your take on this and are there plans for a name change?

A: I believe that the mascot of Pilgrims is 100% problematic. It is 2021, we are fully aware of the ugly history associated with the pilgrims and to say that the mascot doesn’t represent that history is negligent of how many BIPOC have been affected by that history. I want to see a name change. I want to see a mascot change or even a placeholder. I want NEC to take this first step in doing better for its students and it’s community. This is something I am going to work on during my Presidency.

Q: Are there any final thoughts you’d like to leave us with?

A: I just want to thank y’all for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts and plans. I appreciate everyone who voted and I’m so excited to represent not only the Manchester campus but the student body as whole. I want to accomplish a lot but I also want to pave the way for people to continue this work when I graduate next year. Thank you again for this opportunity.

A huge congratulations to Kayla for winning the election and a huge thank you for agreeing to do the interview. We are all looking forward to the next year with you in office.

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