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Election result symbolic, foretelling

Staff Editorial | Friday, February 2, 2007

Kimberly Hodges’ recent student body election victory represents more than a successful campaign driven by a goal-laden platform – it marks a milestone in College history.

As the first black president of the 1,500-member Saint Mary’s student body, Hodges is a testament to the College’s initiative to increase minority representation on campus – and an encouraging sign for that initiative’s future.

This year Saint Mary’s boasts its highest percentage of students representing diverse multicultural backgrounds – 10.1 percent. It’s fitting that more of those voices are finding their way into student government.

Hodges helped increase the number of black students from one in the Class of 2009 to 13 in the Class of 2010 – a cause she supported through visits to Chicago high schools.

Those visits shattered the vision of a completely homogenous Saint Mary’s student body, and she returned to Saint Mary’s with at least 50 applications from students with diverse backgrounds.

These recruitment efforts change the College’s image at the most necessary level – the one that will draw prospective students who have the ability to alter the diversity breakdown. There’s nothing more powerful in drawing students to a college than testaments from people who go there and love it.

Hodges didn’t love it immediately, however – and that makes a testament from her more powerful. Although she initially felt out of place as one of three black women in her freshman class, Hodges decided to stay at the College and find her sense of purpose, a much needed attitude that shows ability to succeed at Saint Mary’s does not depend on race and religion.

It is imperative that her push for increased diversity continues during her time on the faculty hiring committee because College professors should reflect the multicultural needs and backgrounds of their students.

Being a minority in a nearly homogenous campus environment can be intimidating, but Hodges’ ambition and student government success offers a updated image of the traditional Saint Mary’s woman and will hopefully contribute to future diversity initiatives at the College.