While going through my final two years at Oberlin, I came to fully grasp and understand the significance behind representation and feeling seen in different campus environments. Through my time as a varsity track and field athlete, PAL and Peer Mentor, and a Bio pre-med major I saw how important it was for me to exist in these spaces where there aren’t many individuals who look like me or share similar experiences. As a result of this, I see myself being a good fit to be on the Board of Trustees. Oberlin prides itself on being change makers and an institution where students and those who work at the college can create waves for those who are currently enrolled and for those to come. I see myself being an advocate for future athletes, a voice for incoming African Americans who need encouragement to strive towards medical school, but most of all as an example of what it means to give back to your institution. Oberlin has given me more back than I could have ever asked for, and for this I feel I have the right disposition and attitude to be our Class Trustee that works to make the experiences and climate for Oberlin better than it was before.
I would like to participate in making institutional change here at Oberlin. I have served in various student leadership positions since my first year including Student Senate, where I served as the Racial Equity Liaison. During my time in this position, I spearheaded the Cultivate Compassion Initiative in collaboration with the Office of the Dean of Students and the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. My ability to identify areas of growth and opportunities for collaboration makes me an incredibly strong candidate for the position of Class Trustee. It would be my esteemed honor and privilege to serve on the Board of Trustees, and I would use my platform to leverage the needs of students most disempowered in Oberlin’s community, as well as brainstorm ways that Oberlin as an institution can restore relationships with the broader Oberlin community.
I've spent the last 6 years at Oberlin and have become really passionate about the future of Oberlin. I've experienced lots of changes at Oberlin, prior, during, and now post-pandemic and I would love the opportunity to utilize my leadership skills and contribute to the Board of Trustees. I've graduated with degrees in both the college and the conservatory and I am familiar with numerous resources, organizations, faculty, and staff on campus. It would be an absolute honor to continue to serve Oberlin College as well as the Oberlin community for the next 3 years.
I am Darielle Kennedy (she/her/hers). I am a Posse Alum (Posse 12) from the south-side of Chicago. I care deeply about the student body at Oberlin as I have demonstrated through my creation and institutionalization of the Racial Equity Liaison and COVID-19 Liaison positions on the Student Senate and through my service as President of the Student Body in 2021-22. As a trustee, my mission would continue to be working in collaboration with senior administration and the student body to create a community that embraces, uplifts, and protects equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Oberlin College saved my life. If I had not come here for school, I might not have made it this far, to be writing this for you. I came from a difficult family, having experienced child abuse and domestic violence. More than kind, many of the people I met at Oberlin were also competent. They not only wanted to help me, they knew how to do it well. For me, it took the form of 2 semesters of medical leave in eating disorder treatment. For others, it could mean increased financial accessibility, through ObieCares or through need-based aid. Oberlin does a good job, for the most part, at meeting people where they're at, and supporting them through this often challenging transition to adulthood. I want to help Oberlin do it better. Going to college in today's world cannot be more different from when Oberlin's professors, staff and the Board went to college. Mental health matters now. The cost of tuition has skyrocketed. Finding a job in an economy teetering on the brink of recession is incredibly hard. Women are more empowered than ever before, and yet sexual assault is still rampant. I have experienced eating disorder treatment and a thyroid cancer diagnosis while at Oberlin, and still managed to come out successful. I may not have faced all the issues that Obies face, but I have faced some of them. More than anything, I am willing to listen to Obies about their challenges, and use my position on the Board to make concrete and lasting changes based on that. I think the members of the Board do deeply care about Oberlin, but they are disconnected from the day to day functioning of the institution. I have experienced a lot of what the Oberlin of today has to offer, from evacuating for 10 months and doing a summer semester, to life-changing classes and amazing cultural and musical events which probably didn't exist in the past. As a member of the Board, I will be the bridge between the Oberlin the Trustees experienced, and the one the students have, and hopefully make the current one better in the process!
For the past four years while I’ve been at Oberlin, I’ve seen a lot of changes in the school, and the school has made a lot of changes to my life. These changes have been sweeping and have shaped me into the person and musician I have become. I feel as class trustee, I can work to help these changes continue. I could serve our class and help provide future generations of Obies the opportunities that we have had the privilege to receive.
As a Fulbright scholar working alongside graduates of colleges from across the country, I am profoundly grateful for the opportunities that I was afforded at Oberlin College. I see my position as a Class Trustee on the Board of Trustees as a chance to give back to the community that supported and affirmed my growth as a scholar and helped me to imagine what I could be capable of accomplishing. I spent my time at Oberlin working as a leader in a variety of capacities. My roles as a Stage and Production Manager in the Theater department and as a Writing and Course Writing Associate in the Rhetoric and Creative Writing Departments, among others, helped me to understand the needs of departments, professors, and students both as members of communities and as individuals. My time occupying the spaces between faculty, staff, and student has afforded me a unique perspective that I believe will have great value on the Board of Trustees. As a member and representative of the class of 2022, I hope to be able to help the Board support and strengthen the Oberlin community as the College continues to navigate and move past the Covid-19 pandemic. My experience with this turmoil and the immense changes that impacted our campus—finding new modes for education, community making, and campus living—gave me a serious appreciation of where Oberlin is in the present moment, and where it could be headed in the years to come. As a member of the Board of Trustees, I will use this perspective to inform my role in discussions and deliberations as we address the immediate challenges of education in a post-pandemic world and a growing student body, and think creatively about the long term issues—those of the future of higher education, the changing political landscape, and Oberlin’s distinct role as a leader in access and inclusion—that will continue to affect our College.