Messages from the P&P Co-Exec Directors, Tejashree Jadhav & Ilse Spiropoulos
Message from Co-Executive Director Tejashree Jadhav
Everyone affiliated to Whitman College, and everyone who is not. We often, throughout our tiny lives, affiliate our bodies and hearts to places, groups and communities. Our identities, our static, inconstant, sometimes stretched-to-fit-in identities are fed by these affiliations. Sometimes we need these identities to make sense of ourselves and reserve a small space for us in a vast universe. Sometimes, though, as much as we despise it, our identities are used against us, backstabbed, rejected or worse, ignored and unacknowledged. We have grown smarter over the years to make barriers more subtle. There may not be discriminatory boards outside gates but the way to the top floor is only through a staircase.
The Power & Privilege Symposium is an important part of the year, not a mere day, but a push to do something, anything. This symposium is an invitation to rethink the ‘regular’, the staircased pathways to the top, the unquestioned systems that block some of us out from a life lived to its fullest. This year we question Accessibility. As aware as we are that we don’t possess all the answers, we hope that this symposium urges us to question.
Many of the session leaders are students. For some, it's their first time to address a big crowd while bringing stories that demand their vulnerability. I hope you come with engaging and welcoming minds, embracing all that the symposium has to offer. Thank you for your presence. It takes every one of us to go Beyond the Bare Minimum.
Message from Co-Executive Director Ilse Spiropoulos
While Whitman College, along with many other liberal arts colleges, has progressed toward equity there is always the threat that progress will plateau. One of the primary threats to this progress is a simple lack of access to modes of advocacy. Too often on a global level change stops at the first step which leaves behind any voice not at the first conversation. It is imperative that we, students, faculty, staff, and administration, do not allow surface level policies to serve as a replacement for genuine structural change. This year’s theme asks Whitman to go beyond the bare minimum in the way we interrogate power and privilege.
As Whitman students we have the fortunate opportunity to bring forward and discuss our own insights to the systems of power and privilege that impact us during our time here. The Power & Privilege Symposium has been designed from the beginning to expose underlying bias and inequality built into the institution's core. For students to truly put to use the knowledge we gain, we have to go beyond what is expected of us or what is sufficient to gain social status as an “activist.” I have faith that our team has created a symposium that will allow every participant to gain access to the knowledge and opportunities necessary to go beyond the bare minimum themselves. I hope that this symposium, as a recurring event, is not the end but the beginning of new roads to change.
Please enjoy the 2022 Power & Privilege Symposium: Beyond The Bare Minimum.
Meet the Student Executive Leadership Team
Tejashree Jadhav (she/her)
Tejashree Jadhav is one of the P&P co-executive directors. “I feel grateful to be offered this position and am looking forward to doing my best and making this symposium a success this year. There is lots to do and lots of enthusiasm!” Jadhav is a sophomore from Pune, India and has not declared a major.
Ilse Speropolous (she/her and they/them)
Ilse Spiropoulos is one of the Co-executive Directors. “I am very excited to get to work with an awesome team of people to involve Whitman in the Walla Walla community in education and change.” Ilse is a junior philosophy major from Palmer, Alaska.
Ategeka Musinguzi (he/him)
Ategeka Musinguzi is one of the Programming Directors. “I am grateful to get the opportunity to continue the important work this symposium does of educating, impacting and questioning existing systems in the world and also in the local community. It is important for me that change is made both in the community but also in people's own thinking, this way people take the change with them wherever they go. I am looking forward to working with the team this year!” Ategeka is a first year student from Kampala, Uganda and has not declared a major.
Nishtha Rajbhandari (she/her)
Nishtha Rajbhandari is one of the Programming Directors. “I am very excited and honored to work with the Power & Privilege Executive Team this year. I believe engaging in conversations is one of the initial steps towards bringing change and hope to offer a platform through P&P that allows active engagement in conversations about current societal issues. My hope is for these conversations to pave way for our community members to take actions which would help set an impact and bring about positive changes. I’m looking forward to having the P&P in person this year and hope it encourages us all to think about existing power structures in the society and ways of approaching inclusivity.” Nishtha is a sophomore from Lalitput, Nepal and has not declared a major.
Nomin Batsukh (she/her)
Nomin Batsukh is one of the Operations Directors. “I am really excited for this year's Power & Privilege symposium. I hope we can use the in-person privilege and make this year's P&P more engaging and initiative for everyone." Nomin is a sophomore from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and has not declared a major.
Eboni Haynes (she/her)
Eboni Haynes is one of the Operations Directors. “I am very pleased to be a member of this team of students and faculty who want to make this year’s Power & Privilege Symposium as accessible and impactful as possible. I am also looking forward to growing community engagement for this event!” Eboni is a junior psychology major from Cedar Hill, Texas.
Eyleen Menchú (she/her)
Marketing & Communications Director
Eyleen Menchú is the Marketing and Communications Director. “I am excited and grateful to be part of the organizing team this year. I hope that we can create a positive impact before, during and after the event. I also hope to contribute to this space with my creativity and ideas!” Eyleen is a first year from Guatemala who has not declared a major.