Dear Wellesley Community,
It seems like a long while, but it really has only been just about three weeks since I was elected. Settling into my role has not been easy. I am adjusting to a much busier schedule where I am running from meeting to meeting, learning to find my voice when meeting with administrators, and getting to know the people within College Government.
I am thus incredibly grateful for the chance to finally retreat into a slightly more comfortable space: writing a column! Beyond being a space that communicates what College Government is doing, I hope that my weekly columns for the President’s Corner will also challenge and comfort you in equal measure. As I intend to write from a more personal perspective, I must add a disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this column are mine, and do not purport to reflect the opinions and views of College Government and College Government Cabinet as a whole.
Easing into my new leadership role, improving communication is proving to be a challenge. As I raise concerns about needing access to information about particular college policies, I have become aware of how much we as a campus community (students, staff, faculty, administrators and beyond) need to take the extra step to be open to sharing and open to listening.
I understand that it is difficult to determine what kinds of information to share with others and to let others know that you are uncertain about what choice to make. Being open is a very vulnerable position to take in a world that increasingly values certainty and comfort. But when it comes to making decisions, especially about things that matter, the choices that we make are by nature uncertain and often uncomfortable. Uncertainty is just part and parcel of asking deep and big questions such as these: What do we mean by making our college policies more just, equitable, and representative of the student body? What does it mean to deal with privilege on this campus? What do diversity and inclusion look like at Wellesley?
These are questions that may not be fully answered, but to borrow a metaphor from the title of Howard Zinn’s autobiography: you can’t be neutral on a moving train. And Wellesley is a moving train that in my view, has been speeding up. There are big changes on the horizon. The College is hiring new members of the administrative leadership, our grading policies are under discussion, and yes, we will also be pulling the plug on Banner and transitioning to Workday. How we navigate these new uncertainties and take responsibility for these changes is really for us to decide.
But we need to counterbalance civic engagement with taking care of ourselves and of each other. Giving to others and this community is a necessary and good thing, but you cannot give when you are running on empty. So for all of us here who strive to make this place better – make sure to be kind to yourself too, and make time to receive love and rest!
Wishing you all good things this week,
Kimberly Chia Yan Min
College Government President ‘18-’19