Hannah Gonzalez '19

I am a rising third-year student at Connecticut College majoring in Government with a minor in Philosophy. With a nomination to the Posse Foundation from Trinity High School, I received a full-tuition leadership scholarship to study at Connecticut College for my Bachelor of Arts. My passion for activism and work in the realm of diversity, equity, and inclusion began at Trinity where I was an officer of Students Aligned for Equity and Empowerment. At Connecticut College, I have continued my work to make my College a more equitable and inclusive place through my participation in campus life.

As a first-generation college student and a student of color, I enrolled in the Genesis mentorship program hosted by Race and Ethnicity Programs at Connecticut College which pairs incoming first-year students with an upperclassmen mentor who shares the identity of a first-generation college student, student of color, or low-income student. The support I received from the Division of Institutional Equity and Inclusion in my first year inspired me to pay it forward to other students. As a sophomore, I began my work as the Leadership Development Ambassador of Race and Ethnicity Programs. My job allows me to work on the Community Engagement team of my College’s multicultural center, Unity House, where we design events and programming to celebrate and support students of color. In my first year on the job, I established the Racial Affinity Club Executives, a consortium of student leaders of 10 race and ethnicity-based student organizations to who I will assist in designing cross-cultural events and provide leadership training in the coming years. As a student staffer for the larger Division of Institutional Equity and Inclusion, I have had the privilege of working with fellow student staffers from the other offices within the Division such as Gender and Sexuality Programs, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Programs, and the Office of Sexual Violence Prevention and Advocacy. This year, inspired by the dedication of the student body to engage in conversations on activism, we were able to organize the College’s inaugural social justice conference, Elevate. As a student host, I loved having the opportunity to interact with students, faculty, administrators, and our guest speakers about the importance of social justice education at the College and beyond.

Since my first year, I have also had the honor of serving on the Student Government Association at Connecticut College where I was able to expand my interest in equity and inclusion work. As a Senator for the first two years of my undergraduate career, I served as a member of the Equity and Inclusion Committee where I worked with members of SGA and other students-at-large to design a policy that furthered the interests of the Division of Institutional Equity and Inclusion with the campuswide platform that the Student Government Association provides. This spring I was elected by my peers to the Executive Board of SGA where I will serve as the Chair of Equity and Inclusion. Through this position, I will be in charge of the College’s Equity and Inclusion Committee and its associated funds, giving me the opportunity to work with students to advocate for the needs of marginalized student groups. Connecticut College’s value of shared governance, the belief that all members of our community should have a say in our decision-making process, inspires students to create change. I hope to use the skills I have learned about advocating for the needs of others and the communities I care for as I pursue a career in law.