From Feb. 21 to Mar. 7, Pitzer College’s Student Senate will hold elections for the upcoming fall semester’s executive board positions. Although candidates are facing various difficulties with virtual campaigns, all have goals they wish to accomplish next semester, regardless if Pitzer is online or in-person. Get to know the Pitzer College Executive Board candidates’ goals here.
Kaila Teague (PZ ‘22)
During the school year, Kaila has developed many friendships with students across all years. This has helped her realize that many students will possibly be in person without any knowledge of the inner workings of campus.
“I feel the need to be there for all the students, and in a public role that would be as the Student Senate President,” Kaila said.
Besides helping students within different classes, she hopes to utilize her leadership experience to encourage students to see Senate as a resource for their voices to be heard.
“From what I’ve witnessed in my three years at Pitzer, Student Senate hasn’t historically represented the needs of students with disabilities, students of color, first generation students, and international students. I want Student Senate to be representative of what those students need on campus,” Kaila said.
In order to accommodate student needs, Kaila has collaborated with the Identity Board to create the Vice President of Diversity Position. Additionally, she is hoping to expand the weekly drop-in Zoom calls with the Senate President so that interested students can easily speak with other members of the Executive Board.
Overall, Kaila holds the trust of the Pitzer community in high regard and hopes to represent students to the best of her ability.
“If I am elected to President, I’m honored to be able to get the position [and] the trust of the Pitzer community, [as well as] represent these students and look out for their best interests,” she said.
Lily Fillwalk (PZ ‘22)
As someone from an environment different from Pitzer, Lily knows the importance of creating a more inclusive Senate and overall Pitzer community. Lily has worked on committees like the COVID task force and Judicial Council to do exactly that.
“I come from a really rural town in Indiana and when I came to Pitzer I felt like I didn’t necessarily belong on campus. I don’t ever want anyone to ever feel that way,” she said.
Although not initially fitting in, Lily has now integrated into the community on campus by becoming a Robert Redford Center fellow and a Resident Assistant on Campus. Both of these positions, particularly her experience as an RA, have contributed to her expertise in fostering community.
“Being an RA allowed me to identify these issues and see how other students are struggling, so we could write legislation on that,” she said
From these experiences, she has recognized the impact that the pandemic has had on students and is dedicated towards making one of her main priorities supporting students’ integration back onto campus. To do this, she has co-authored legislation on reliable transport to and from the Claremont Collegiate Apartments for students living at the CCA.
Overall, Lily encourages people to vote, stating the unprecedented nature of these times.
“I would encourage people to vote. Shared governance is important especially during the pandemic,” she said.
Owen Keiser (PZ ‘22)
When it comes to the Vice President of Internal Affairs position, Keiser is a veteran. As the VPin last year, he has expanded student voices through creating the Athletics Commissioner position, as well as co authored test-blind admissions legislation.
“I have so much more to learn, and I can’t wait to see what we can all accomplish together next year in Student Senate,” he wrote in his candidate statement.
In addition to his experience in Senate, Owen is a part of the Pomona-Pitzer men’s cross country and track & field teams, and takes many leadership and social-justice courses. He states that his background in leadership has pushed him to become the best leader possible.
“I hope to continue to represent and advocate for low-income, LGBTQ+ identifying members of our Pitzer community, and I hope you will consider voting for me,” he wrote.
Vice President of External Affairs
Quin Mumford (PZ ‘24)
Mumford is passionate about helping his peers, and has exhibited this through his pursuits in high school and college.In high school, Mumford was part of Students Performing Unselfish Deeds (SPUDs), whose main goal was to help local organizations and community members in need through raising funds. Now, as a college student, Mumford is currently a Member of the Campus Life Committee.
“Being part of the Committee has given me a very different perspective of Pitzer than a traditional online student. Seeing faculty bring in Racial Justice Initiative speakers and other unique events made me want to run, given our unique circumstances,” he said.
Mumford also recognizes the unexpectedness of next semester. However, this has not deterred his plans to help the community.
For this election, Mumford is not attached to results. Instead, he hopes that students will elect who will best represent them.
“In the end, it’s not about whether I am elected, it’s much more [about] students making the choice of their leadership they think will best represent their needs,” he said.
Kayla Mathurin (PZ ‘24)
Mathurin is excited to start the school year strong by fostering healthy relationships between students, staff and faculty.
“Healthy relationships are a necessity for a community to thrive. In our community we have so much value in every way and gathering, whether virtually or in person, is how we will build lifelong relationships with all our members,” she wrote in an email to The Outback.
Mathurin hopes to take on the role of Vice President of External Affairs in order to build those lifelong relationships. She hopes to accomplish this through active communication with members outside of Senate.
“There are several communication platforms we can take advantage of. Because so many of us have a preferred way of receiving communication, I think it is essential that we use all platforms to include social media, email, texting, gatherings and more,” she wrote.
Mathurin recognizes the diversity in modes of preferred communication due to the diversity of her experiences. She is a member of the Alumni-Student Relations committee, Judicial Council, and Adjudication board on the Senate, as well as the Black Student Union, First-Gen, Mix and the Claremont Colleges United Nations Chapter outside of Senate.
“Such involvement gives me a unique experience and opportunity to reach out to the people beyond the Student Senate network. ” she wrote.
Overall, if she were to be elected, her main goal is to strengthen bonds within the Pitzer community.
“I hope to increase transparency of our governance with administration, staff, faculty, alumni and trustees. I will advocate for our community and our needs and build platforms that build synergy amongst all constituents,” she wrote.
Ayman Omar (PZ ‘24)
This semester, Omar is dedicated to creating a more inclusive executive board, as well as creating open lines of communication between administration and staff. Overall, Ayman’s focus is to make Pitzer a truly inclusive space, especially for marginalized communities.
“As a Black student who’s attended predominantly white schools all my life, I’ve seen how tensions can arise when there’s a lack of communication between admin and students of color. It’s important to me that students of color have representatives on the exec board who share their concerns and can communicate them to admin at the college,” he wrote.
His experience with the Black Student Union and the Community Engagement Center have helped him advocate for himself and the Black community at Pitzer, as well as understand how impactful community engagement can be.
“If we truly want [to] have an inclusive space, we must center everything we do around our most marginalized community members. It’s only then can we start to envision a Pitzer that’s true to our core values as a college,” he wrote.
Vice President of Student Engagement
Lila Feldmann (PZ ‘24)
Lila Feldmann is not new to the student government scene. Although she is in her first year at Pitzer, she has accumulated experience both on and off campus that demonstrate her passion for uplifting the voices of others. Outside of her position on Student Senate, she has had experience with Sunrise Claremont Colleges and interning with Mark Kelly on Planned Parenthood. Her involvement has further solidified her commitment to representing the voices of everyone in the student body.
“The main thing that I want to focus on is having an open relationship between students and the admin. One thing I’ve noticed about Pitzer is that students have a lot to say and they have really great opinions on how things should be run, but there’s this disconnect between students and administration, and a kind of resentment from the administration to listen to students,” she said.
Hoping to combat the disconnect between students and the administration, she hopes to bridge the gap between the two groups, creating open lines of communication where students can speak directly to administrators. In the past, she has accomplished such through creating a Testing forum, where first years could discuss Pitzer’s testing policy with the admissions office.
“A lot of the time in politics, people can make a big deal out of wanting to hear everyone’s voices, but then they get everyone’s opinions and might not really make any change with what people have said. It’s more about the image of wanting to hear everyone’s voices. But, from my experience on that Senate campaign, I really learned about the significance of actually taking people’s opinions deeply into account,” she said.
Annemarie Gerlach (PZ ‘23)
Gerlach is currently a sophomore at Pitzer. Despite having one year at Pitzer on campus, she feels that she missed out on campus life.
“[When] I was a freshman, I didn’t involve myself as much as I wanted to when I was on campus. Because, I thought to myself ‘I have four more years, so I’m going to focus on my academics for now.’ But now I realize that you really have to take every opportunity that you have.”
Due to her regrets about her lack of involvement her freshman year, she doesn’t want any other students to feel the same way. Therefore, she hopes to improve student engagement by handing out opportunities on a “silver platter”, making it easy to get involved in the Pitzer community, even if school continues to be on Zoom.
“I want everyone at Pitzer to feel that, even though they missed out on being on campus, I want them to be a part of a community and I want it to be inclusive,” she said.
Gerlach credits her extracurricular experience in providing the knowledge needed to foster an inclusive community. As a member of Resident Life, as well as Asian Affinity groups, she recognizes the difficulties that organizations face when working with Senate, such as to receive funding. Thus, she hopes to clear email communication between the two groups to make the process easier.
Ultimately, she hopes that, with her efforts, Pitzer students are able to be adventurous and explore new opportunities.
“I want everyone to be comfortable and I want everyone to seize the day,” she said.
Vice President of Finance
Cameron Stockford (PZ ‘23)
For the past year, Cameron has served as the Vice President of Finance and he hopes to continue serving in this position.
Due to his past leadership experience, Stockford has a clear idea of what he hopes to accomplish in the new semester. Recognizing the impacts that the pandemic may have on the Pitzer community, he hopes to mitigate financial hardship that students are facing.
“Based on the hardship that the pandemic has brought upon us, I’m trying my best to do everything I can, as the Vice President of Finance, to be able to stop that hardship from destroying the Pitzer community that we all love,” he said.
Besides his passion for mitigating financial difficulties faced by students, he also hopes to embody the servant theory of leadership, a concept taught to him in the course Leadership and Social Change.
Following the servant theory of leadership, Stockford has worked on legislation with Kaila Teague, the goal of which is to create more diversity in Student Senate. He hopes to work closely with the new I.D. group positions and clubs in order to ensure that Senate accurately represents their views.
“It’s alway been about how I can not only use my personality and my lived experiences to help my peers around me, but how do I maximize the ability of what I can bring to my community,” he said.
Joanne Oh ’24 is from Los Angeles, CA. She enjoys reading, pretzels, and spending time in nature.