Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students made history when they elected Danielle Geathers, the school’s first-ever black woman student body president.
MIT students had to leave campus in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, so Geathers campaigned online and through social media from her home in Miami, Florida. Students voted online.
Geathers and running mate Yu Jing Chen won the student government election, becoming the president and vice president of the Undergraduate Association.
Geathers just finished her sophomore year and is a major in mechanical engineering, according to CNN. Last year, she served as the Undergraduate Association’s diversity officer.
“In terms of coming from that diversity space and being focused on promoting equity across MIT, it would kind of be important to have someone in the President’s role who’s focused on that,” she said.
CNN reports that she plans to make the school as inclusive as possible in her role.
“Although some people think it is just a figurehead role, figureheads can matter in terms of people seeing themselves in terms of representation,” she said. “Seeing yourself at a college is kind of an important part of the admissions process.”
According to school data, black students make up about six percent of MIT’s undergraduate community.
“I think one thing that the election taught me was kind of the power of social media and how to leverage on new different resources to get the word out,” she said.
Her term started once school got out for the semester and she’s already been participating in meetings — including discussions about how classes will resume in the Fall.