2021 CLASS TRUSTEE FINALISTS
I am honored and excited for the opportunity to represent the Class of 2021 on the Oberlin Board of Trustees. Our class has experienced Oberlin in a particularly difficult era of loss and change--one that has pushed us to conceptualize a ‘successful Oberlin’ as a more accessible, more just, and more daring institution. In this position, I will continue to practice respect, gratitude, and care for Oberlin on behalf of the Class of 2021 as a bold, emotional, and information-driven voice on the board. Serving on the board means many decisions that impact a lot of people—students, staff and faculty, and Oberlin community members unaffiliated with the College itself. So, relationship-based work is crucial to the decision-making that the Board does. At Oberlin, I was a Neuroscience major with Environmental Studies and Politics minors, and could be found making ice cream in Third World Co-op, talking about dreams on WOBC, or at an Oberlin Indigenous Peoples' Day Committee meeting. Whether in the lab or the co-op kitchen, Oberlin taught me that the best decisions are always made when relationships are prioritized. I will push for decisions which honestly account for the material realities of our Oberlin communities by listening and always putting time into relationships. I am particularly excited to serve on the board's Student Affairs Committee to continue working within my relationships with BIPOC community and student groups which are integral to the wellness of our institution. The past four years, I have worked with the Oberlin Resource Conservation Team and Students for Energy Justice to create more sustainable and environmentally-just realities within the College (i.e., reducing campus waste and increasing resource accessibility) and the greater Northeast Ohio region (i.e., anti-pipeline organizing). Not only have I spent years working with RCT and SEJ budgets—readying me for the Board—but even more importantly, I am especially equipped to advocate for climate conscious decisions that the Board must be pursuing. I want to push for a Board which increasingly prioritizes Oberlin's BIPOC communities, resource accessibility, and climate justice. That's why I want to be Class Trustee. But as our Class's board member, I look forward to hard and important conversation with y'all on what it means for us to finally have a say on the Board of our institution and how I can best make decisions on behalf of all of us. Stay safe and thank you!
Henry Hicks IV
During my time at Oberlin, and specifically through my work as Chair of Student Senate, I’ve collaborated with the Board of Trustees on a number of projects. Working collaboratively with other students, I’ve engaged trustees each quarter with remarks, presentations, and Q&As at plenary sessions, attended committee meetings when invited, and organized events to elevate the voices of students around campus in addressing the board. In my first semester on Student Senate, I ensured that Oberlin Beyond Austerity organizers and OSCA representatives were brought into the room to engage directly with trustees on issues relating to One Oberlin. In following semesters, I worked with students from ABUSUA, OCBMG, BSAG, ASA, and more in the creation of two trustee events to highlight the Black student experience to board members. This student input and guidance on trustee work is critical, particularly as Oberlin continues to respond to so much change. There is a lot of work to be done at Oberlin, especially as the college and conservatory work to implement the recommendations put forward in the upcoming release of the Presidential Initiative for Racial Equity and Diversity’s findings, as the school enters another phase of enacting and interrogating the One Oberlin report, and as we continue to grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. These are all issues that are not necessarily new to the school and community. Students are currently set to begin a third academic year impacted by the pandemic. Oberlin’s attempt to address its financial deficit, along with calls from students on campus to see racial injustices addressed at Oberlin long precede this upcoming year. It’s because of my work previously engaging trustees and administrators on these issues, that I know how important it is for current students leading the charge on campus to have advocates in the room. In addition to my work with Student Senate, I served as a student representative on the Presidential Initiative, as a Peer Advising Leader, a Resident Assistant, as a representative on the college’s Admissions and Financial Aid Committee, as well as on the Equity and Diversity Committee. I’m familiar with the issues impacting Oberlin, as well as the operations and interests of the Board of Trustees; and have demonstrated a level of commitment and experience that will be critical in representing the class of 2021 as a class trustee.