Meet Lola Sosanya, SPU’s 2016-17 student body president
About 310 students are involved in leadership at Seattle Pacific University, with roles from student government to Resident Advisors, ministry to student media. We’re introducing you to some of the leaders who are serving students this year, starting with this year’s student body president, senior Oluwadamilola Sosanya.
Lola Sosanya used to introduce herself only by her nickname. Now, when she meets someone for the first time, she’ll say: “Hi, my name is Oluwadamilola, but I also go by Lola.”
This year, Lola, an SPU junior and premed student, is president of the Associated Students of Seattle Pacific (ASSP). She was born and raised in Portland, Ore., but her parents are Yoruba, an ethnic group in Nigeria. “It’s something I have so much pride in,” she says. “My mom has taught me to be strong, despite adversity. That’s a part of being Yoruba.”
It’s her month, and a couple of teachers, who first saw leadership skills in the way Lola volunteered at her church. They encouraged her toward student government at her small private high school.
At Seattle Pacific, Lola is one of about 310 student leaders. Leadership roles for Seattle Pacific students are focused on transformational leadership, says Whitney Broetje, director of the Office of Student Involvement & Leadership, “ASSP is based on the belief that leadership gives students opportunities to develop qualities that SPU wants to see in its graduates … character traits like integrity, honesty, responsibility.”
Lola remembers the moment she knew she wanted to be in SPU leadership, at the start of her freshman year. Moving in felt hectic and confusing. It was overwhelming. “I remember being welcomed by my residence life coordinator and by the Ashton Hall Council. They were so friendly,” she says.
Talking with the student leaders on Hall Council, Lola’s stress faded away. They answered her questions. She felt welcomed. Ashton Hall quickly became like home, and Lola has met many of her closest friends there. She joined Ashton Hall Council, and was later elected Ashton Hall vice president for her sophomore year.
This year, as ASSP president, Lola is a direct representative of the SPU student body to President Daniel J. Martin, the SPU administration, the Board of Trustees, and the greater community.
She’s part of ASSP Officer Core: a team of seven, each elected by SPU students. Their vision for this year is inclusivity: the valuing all students. However students might feel different, Lola wants to create an environment where they can be included.
“Leadership is about serving others,” she says. “It’s not about myself. It’s about doing things on behalf of the greater community.”
Meet more SPU leaders
ASSP Officer Core — which includes the president, executive vice president, public relations manager, and vice presidents of ministries, finance, intercultural affairs, and campus activities — is just one of many ways students are involved in leadership at Seattle Pacific. Here are some of the many other leaders investing in SPU students this year.
Name: Loriel Arcangel
Hometown: Dededo, Guam
Leadership Role: Student Ministry Coordinator (SMC)
I decided to be a student ministry coordinator because I wanted to be a big brother and friend to my floor, just like my SMC was for my floor and me. An SMC promotes community, spiritual growth, and also looks out for the floor, cares for each and every person. As the SMC on 3rd East Emerson, I aim to bring my floor closer to Christ and closer to each other as we move throughout the year.
Name: Danielle Meier
Major: Global development studies and political science
Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Leadership Role: Senator at Large
ASSP Senate meets every Monday night. Any time a club aims to spend over $750, we look over their proposal. Every student on campus has a Senate representative for where they live — whether that’s a residence hall, campus housing and apartments, or if they’re a commuter — and another representative for the department that their major is in. Then, everyone has access to the two senators at large, so I want to plug in with different student groups and ask how I can advocate for them.
Name: Mary Kate Gleason
Hometown: Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Leadership Role: Ashton Hall Council
There are six of us on Ashton Hall Council. Lola was my neighbor in Ashton last year, and she encouraged me to get involved. I’m actually deaf, and that definitely makes me more aware of advocating not only for myself but for people in general.
I was drawn to this position because I would be advocating for Ashton Hall, and I can also share about the challenges of being deaf and hard-of-hearing. I want to encourage people to advocate for themselves and to get involved to help make positive changes in their communities.