With a positive and open mindset, senior Fese Elango aims to make a memorable year for Gonzaga students despite challenges brought by COVID-19, as she serves as the Gonzaga Student Body Association (GSBA) president this fall.
Student government has always been a passion for Elango. She has made leadership a priority throughout her academic career at GU. Elango is a biology major and is involved in Black Student Union outside her position with GSBA.
“Gonzaga is really cool because there are so many different ways to serve people and be involved in the community,” Elango said. “I like doing the student government aspect of it because you’re listening to your peers and then advocating for them in different settings.”
Elango has been determined to be involved in student government since her freshman year at GU. She won her first election her freshman year and served as election commissioner. Sophomore and junior years she served as the director of diversity and inclusion.
Elango said her favorite part of GU during her academic career has been her involvement in student government. She has enjoyed working with many like-minded students who love GU and the student body.
GSBA Vice President Taylor Sipila said it has been a blessing working with Elango in preparation for this fall semester during these times of uncertainty.
“Fese is someone who embodies what it means to be a Zag,” Sipila said. “Her focus is constantly geared to how she can best support those around her. As GSBA president, she will be a natural binding force for our student body.”
During her time serving with student government, Elango said her favorite experience has been the white privilege event her team planned and hosted in 2019. The event was held in Cataldo Hall by the former inclusivity chair and had over 200 attendees.
“It was a cool space to talk about white privilege and its impact on different people in our community,” Elango said. “I feel that event helped create the space for it to be talked about more, which is something that I hope becomes a good move towards having conversations.”
Elango said that her and Sipila aim to make this school year as memorable as possible for GU students despite challenges that come with current circumstances.
“Taylor and I are really trying to work to figure out what event programming and GSB will look like during COVID-19 times,” Elango said. “We’ve been trying to work with the administration to get answers and ideas of what the semester will look like. We don’t want this part of the Gonzaga experience to be forgotten.”
Events that would typically be held in person will be moving to a safer online/virtual format.
Students can expect to get involved in creative conversations. Weekend events will manifest in small group settings accordingly as COVID-19 guidelines develop and change throughout the semester.
Elango said the GSBA team is working to plan enjoyable and entertaining events for this fall semester.
Elango reminds incoming or current students who are interested in student leadership to not get discouraged if their first few elections do not go in their favor and to embrace failure along the way. It wasn’t until her third attempt that she was elected a position.
“I think my biggest advice would be to think about why you want to serve the university in this way and what is motivating you to be a part of it and hold onto that,” Elango said. “Have that guide you through the process because not every election goes in your favor.”
Elango emphasizes that she and Sipila would love to answer any questions related to GSBA and student leadership at GU for anyone interested in getting involved.
“I want to see that Gonzaga looks pretty good for the people who get to be here after me,” Elango said. “That’s something that excites me and motivates me to be a part of the team andsomething that I have a big passion for.”