FEARLESS FRIDAY: Senait Weldemariam

Senait Weldemariam ’16 is today’s Fearless Leader! Senait, originally from the Bronx, NY, is currently a senior at Gettysburg College who is majoring in History and minoring in Educational Studies. During her time here, she has been involved with the Black Student Union (BSU), the Gospel Choir, and the Latin American Student Association (LASA). Specifically, Senait has been involved with the BSU since her freshman year.

She was first attracted to the organization during Get Acquainted Day and knew immediately that she wanted to get involved. As a sophomore Senait began to take on leadership roles within the BSU, first assuming the position of secretary. By her junior year, Senait became the organization’s president. She had been wanting to take on greater responsibility with the BSU and, as president, Senait knew that she’d have the opportunity to put her ideas in action and work with a strong executive board. One of the major projects of her tenure as president of the BSU was the Alumni of Color Networking Event, in which alumni of color returned to Gettysburg to sit on a panel and answer questions from current students of color, helping to connect generations of Gettysburg students together.

Additionally, Senait worked on organizing the annual step show, which is held in November, and the yearly lock-in that occurs around Get Acquainted Day, functioning as a way of allowing prospective students to get a true feel for living at Gettysburg. She also helped supervise the development of the campus-wide discussion on police brutality in the context of Ferguson. Her role in the BSU’s biweekly meetings required her to lead frequent discussions that revolved around issues currently faced by minority communities. These discussions, Senait says, were geared towards generating understanding of certain issues and determining how students can “contribute to the cause.”

After graduation, Senait plans to take a year off and gain experience teaching. Then, she’d like to pursue graduate school to receive her Masters in education. She hopes to one day get her Ph.D. so that she can teach history at the college level. Senait’s passion for history is connected to her belief that if you learn everything you can about the past, you can make the present and the future better. In learning to work towards a better tomorrow, you learn how to work towards becoming a better person. Senait keeps an Eritrean saying related to history close to heart: “to remain ignorant about the past is to remain a child.”

Much of Senait’s motivation to lead comes from her experience as a first-generation college student. Her achievements, while they are important to her personally, mean a lot to her parents and to her younger family members as well. She knows that her younger relatives look up to her. Speaking of her family and her accomplishments, Senait says that “this [graduation] is my gift to my parents. Nothing is impossible. You can do it.”

Thank you, Senait, for all that you have done to make our campus a better place!