Senior class elects its first Black president

Kalleen Rose Ozanic and Melina Khan

Olamide Gbotosho is the first Black senior class president in Quinnipiac University’s Student Government Association (SGA) history.

The newly-elected class of 2021 president said that while it’s an honor, her race is not what makes her role significant.

“I think the person that’s running should be responsible, ethical and things like that, so it’s definitely an honor to see that Quinnipiac has kind of changed route of who they’ve been voting for and they chose me,” Gbotosho said.

Garnering the vote and earning the position is not only important to Gbotosho, but to her peers.

“I think it is extremely telling of the demographic we have not only at school, but in the student government association,” said Ja’Vielle Foy, President of the Black Student Union and junior political science major. “Olamide is the first (senior) Black president the student government association has had. Representation is extremely important and, with Olamide as class president, it will include more diversity in the student government association and encourage more minority students to run.”

No stranger to SGA or the senior class, Gbotosho, a management major, served as vice president of her peers for the past three years. She has also been a resident assistant, peer catalyst and orientation leader.

Gbotosho said she is excited to bring her leadership experience to the new role.

“I just love being a student leader because I’m able to be someone that people can look up to and say, ‘I wanna be like this person,’” Gbotosho said. “And I think that when you’re able to show change, people around you can change also.”

Gbotosho is not the only student who has recognized a changing student body.

“(Gbotosho’s election is) just a great step in terms of diversity and inclusion for the university,” said Lydia Jones, Vice President of the Black Student Union and junior health sciences major. “Obviously the university is majority white, so to have representation in a high office is a big deal and that people here are willing to have her win a position of power is really great. I hope that she gets what she wants accomplished not only for the senior class but minorities at the school.”

Students being willing to change and be more aware is also important, Gbotosho said.

“I was very impressed with how the students took a stance (in response to the latest nationwide racial justice movement) and supported each other because you don’t see that all the time,” Gbotosho said. “Overall the students have been behind the minority students, which is really amazing.”

This year, Gbotosho is most excited to work on senior-specific initiatives.

“Right now, a lot of seniors are hoping to have the most normal experience of their last year of being in college,” Gbotosho said. “I’m really excited to … see what I can do to make sure that students remember their last year and making sure they look back on it and say, ‘I had a great senior year.’”

On her list, Gbotosho said she plans to discuss the logistics of an in-person graduation, refunds for study abroad trips cut short because of COVID-19 restrictions and developing a new allyship program “for people to better understand minorities and people in those demographics.”

As for her personal goals for SGA this year, Gbotosho said she is eager to have a successful cabinet.

“I’m hoping to have a cohesive cabinet where each member can say that ‘I’ve done this’ and ‘I’ve impacted Quinnipiac in a certain way,’ so I’m hoping that I’m able to drive that change for the cabinet,” Gbotosho said.

Gbotosho also said she hopes to support the Quinnipiac community during the        COVID-19 pandemic through supporting students and upholding the rules for both the student body and professors.