Mikaela Savarese ’22
What inspired you to join the DEAL Senate Committee as a student liaison?
“I wanted the opportunity to expand the work that I already do on campus as a disability and mental health advocate, especially due to the fact that accessibility, while included in the DEAL acronym, is often misunderstood or inadvertently left out of larger conversations regarding diversity, equity and inclusion on Wheaton’s campus. I am a student who holds many intersecting marginalized identities, so this work is very personal and important to me. I participate in DEI work because I want to ensure that we are providing the best possible experience for our students.”
Tell us about the activities that you engage in for your role.
“As a student liaison, I attend the monthly DEAL meetings and meet with the other student liaisons to discuss and continue our work. I primarily work to address the student perception of DEAL’s work while bringing forward student concerns. I also help to elevate student DEI work to the larger platform that is DEAL.”
What have you learned and what skills have you gained from the experience so far?
“I have been able to create partnerships with other members of DEAL and have worked to advance DEI causes outside of the senate environment due to the connections that I’ve made. I also have learned more about some of the behind-the-scenes work that Wheaton is doing to ensure that DEI is prioritized and that anti-racist actions are taken on campus. I have, in turn, been able to take this knowledge and further develop my skills as an advocate for change by inserting the student perspective into DEAL’s conversations and providing feedback.”
Mikaela Savarese is the accessibility chair of the Student Government Association. She is involved in Wheaton’s HHMI Inclusive STEM efforts. She hopes to introduce a series of campus conversations about accessibility and mental health in STEM. She also has a work-study position as a student phonathon caller.