Emma Kelsey – Staff Writer
Gustie of the Week, Senior Regina Olono Vidales, has made her mark here on the hill. A Political Science major with minors in Public Health and Peace Studies, her passions extend beyond academics into other aspects at Gustavus.
Vidales is a committed member of the Student Senate and Ignite here on campus. She finds it incredibly gratifying to be a part of orgs that are persistently making a difference for Gustavus students.
Vidales speaks on the importance of the student senate, sharing that “We are constantly passing legislation that helps the student body. We are always looking for ways to include the student voice in whatever we do,” Vidales said.
She adds that it is especially valuable to her since she knows on a personal level how difficult it is to be heard as a student within an academic institution like Gustavus at times.
Furthermore, she speaks on her passion for Ignite, an org that strives to educate women on their political power and assist them with resources including networking, voter education, and other opportunities. This org also has a special place in Vidales’s heart; she says that it focuses on
bringing opportunities and guidance to women of color. “…it is important to me because as a woman of color at a PWI I know how difficult it can be to navigate school and job opportunities without guidance from people that look like me,” Vidales said.
Beyond her pursuits in academics and student organizations, Vidales expresses that her favorite part of Gustavus is its community. Meeting people through her classes, orgs, and activities she has been a part of, has led her to meet the people that have influenced her life and experience here in such a positive way. She believes that her experience here “would not have been as fulfilling” had she not met those people now in her life today.
Not only does she see the Gustavus community as having an impact in her own life, but as an influence that can bring about change in other areas. “It truly is beautiful to see how we can all gather together to work on issues that are important to us,” Vidales said.
As a senior, Vidales reflects on this last year on the hill as being far from normal, with students transitioning back to (mostly) in-person classes and activities. She believes this transition has brought not only a source of normalcy, but also one of burnout. Despite these challenges, Vidales says it has been “amazing” for her to have one last somewhat-normal year here at Gustavus. She believes that while the Gustie community has had many difficulties to face this year, those same challenges led to us becoming closer to one another.