When College Government President (CGP) Diana Lam ’20 arrived on Wellesley’s campus in the fall of 2016, her primary concern was surviving her first Massachusetts winter. The California native had never lived in snow before, and came to campus “over-prepared” for the cold months to come. By this time in October, Lam was regularly seen walking around campus with leggings under her pants to keep warm.
“My friends would see me around and laugh, but I didn’t care. It was just so cold,” Lam said in an interview with The Wellesley News.
This year, when Lam arrived at Wellesley, the weather was far from her largest concern. Lam, along with other members of College Government (CG) and student residential life, arrived on campus early for leadership training and first-year orientation. Lam said that helping first years on move in day is one of her favorite CG memories to date.
“I honestly can’t even put the experience into words. College Government aside, just to be at move-in day as a senior is … It’s a weird feeling to be the one who is receiving the questions and not asking them anymore,” Lam said.
Lam found her passion for leadership and CG early on in her Wellesley career. During her first semester of college, she became a senator of Bates Hall. She has since held several CG positions, including Executive Senator of Bates Hall and Vice Chair of the Student Organizations Committee (SOAC).
Lam said that her time with CG has been integral to her Wellesley experience and has “given me so much room for leadership development and growth in a way that has changed my life. The chance to be involved with leadership to this degree and to be in a room with staff members, administration and faculty members is just an enormous opportunity.”
The political science major and economics minor has also utilized the leadership skills she developed in CG in other student groups on campus. Lam is a former business manager of The Wellesley News. Additionally, she was a two-time member of the Ministrare Council, which is a body of thirty students that helps lead the Civic Engagement program within Wellesley’s Career Education Program.
Lam decided, in part, to run for CGP last spring because she felt the position would give her the platform to help build community at Wellesley. “I think that my three years of CG taught me that we, as Wellesley students, are never at a loss for ideas for change. But good community change takes an entire community behind it. I think it’s impossible to talk about community change if we don’t first have a sense of community,” Lam said.
Since assuming the role of CGP, Lam has taken several steps to build community on campus. She has continued to foster the relationship between CG and administration by meeting with several administrators to discuss the body’s goals for the academic year. Additionally, Lam is implementing office hours for students to speak with her and other CG members about community concerns and suggestions they have for making the campus better.
Lam wants first years who recently arrived Wellesley to remember that everyone, even student leaders, face struggles during their four years on campus. Lam noted that it is easy for features pieces to “showcase your highlight reel without ever really giving a head nod to mistakes, without giving a head nod to all of those moments where you’re just in a bedroom crying and your best friend is patting you on your back. Those moments happen during your four years at Wellesley. I’m not just saying in the College Government space, but I’m also saying in the academics and as you start to pursue careers.”
She urges students who are interested in finding leadership roles to consider all of the opportunities that Wellesley has to offer. Lam says that all student groups on campus, be it CG or The Wellesley News, have the common goal of making the campus better.
“Think about your strengths as a leader and think about what avenues best fit those strengths. Then, give yourself and give the people around you the grace to make mistakes as you try and become that leader,” she said.