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Spelman College

President's Letter to the Community

Spelman Students Shining Stars During Election Season

November 8, 2018


Election night at Spelman was truly an inspiring experience. Our thanks go to the students who led the evening and to faculty, staff, alumnae, Atlanta University Center colleagues, media outlets and elected officials who partnered with them. Spelman’s 2018 Election Watch Party exemplified community collaboration at its best.

For their dedicated advocacy, I join the entire Spelman community in especially thanking these student leaders: SGA President Bria Paige, C’2019; SGA Co-Directors of Leadership and Engagement Nia Lundkvist, C’2019, and Kristen Walker, C’2019; Spelman Chapter NAACP President Amari Fennoy, C’2019; and Spelman Young Democrats Association Presidents Kristen Wilder, C’2020, and Makailah Pempleston, C’2020. They’ve done a phenomenal job in engaging the AUC community and beyond in the electoral process.

They and their Spelman Sisters registered voters – hundreds – before school even started, during New Student Orientation, participated in Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote initiative, and conducted voter education sessions. Their advocacy continued through Election Day with their student-led Voter Help Desk initiative which was staffed by students who were armed with information to assist in the voting process and provide transportation to the polls.

Students collaborated with their counterparts in the Atlanta University Center and marched to the polls on Election Day, chanting, “V.O.T.E. The changes start with me. Grab a friend or two and let’s make history!” Even the inclement weather did not deter their commitment. On Election night, I was moved to join them in Upper Manley as they shared impassioned addresses about the issues that mattered in this election.

We extend our gratitude to several alumnae and elected officials who participated in the Election Watch Party: 2014-2015 SGA Vice President Jasmine Payne, C’2014, who is now an advocacy and education specialist at the Atlanta Community Food Bank; 2015-2016 SGA President Zarinah Mustafa, C’2016, who had spent the day helping voters at the polls; Rep. Kim Schofield, Georgia State Representative, District 60; and Rep. Park Cannon, Georgia State Representative, District 58.

Thanks also to Dr. Aditi Pai, associate professor of biology and co-director of the Teaching Research and Resources Center, who led the Spelman Teach In, “Why I Vote,” in October, to provide more education to the Spelman community. Thanks go to all of the presenters who  took the time to share the important reasons they vote.

This community effort included the Bonner Office for Civic Engagement, who offered students community service credit for attending this event, the Social Justice Program, which identified student speakers and the President's Office for their support of events throughout the electoral season.

The work is not over and, as a community, we stand ready to continue “undaunted by the fight.”
Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.
President, Spelman College