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Diana Li – Class of 2017 President

This first year/soon-to-be sophomore is already taking Smith College by storm as the Class of 2017 President. Find out what inspires Diana and what it takes to be a leader at Smith.

What is your favorite thing about Smith? I love the professors. The faculty here is remarkable in that they’re all extremely accessible and open to conversing with students. In my experience at Smith, professors are here because they genuinely enjoy teaching and creating relationships with students.

What made you want to run for Class of 2017 President? Last summer, I worked on the Christine Quinn Campaign for Mayor of NYC and thoroughly enjoyed the experience; however, there were things I wanted to change. Since I was a fellow, I was unable to implement much change. I also did Model UN in high school and wanted to apply my debate and public speaking skills. I knew that I could create change by voicing the strong opinions of the Class of 2017. In addition, I always seek to learn more about the community that I am in. Being Class President has afforded me the opportunity to create many relationships with the student body at large, and I’m extremely grateful to have been chosen to represent them.  

What inspires you? Veni, vidi, vici. I took Latin for five years, and it was a tough journey for me. However, I came, I saw and I … kind of conquered. I’ve always been quite competitive with myself because I believe in constantly improving. When I get discouraged, I think about how much I have left to learn, and it gives me the strength to power through.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your extracurricular commitments? If so, do you have any tricks for balancing everything? It’s inevitable that there will be a lot of work assigned in the same week as I’m planning an event. In this case, I will give myself a timeline and goals. I will tell myself, “By 6 p.m. tomorrow, you should have an outline of your Econ paper, and after your meeting ends at 9:30 p.m., you should start your history outline.” It also helps to tape all of your assignments or meetings on the wall above your desk. Your friends might come into your room, look at your wall and think you’re crazy, but you don’t run the risk of missing any deadlines or meetings, so it’s worth it!

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the SGA? Honestly, there are so many things, but I absolutely love speaking in SGA Cabinet or Senate (as a King House Senator). Public speaking is something that I’ve enjoyed after being on debate and Model UN. I also spent all summer speaking to strangers, encouraging them to vote for Quinn. I love being able to apply the skills that I’ve acquired to actually make a more visible difference! It’s something that you either love or hate; thankfully, I love it.

Do you have any advice for incoming Smithies about getting involved in SGA? If you think that it’s something you could be interested in, give it a shot. What do you have to lose? The Smith community is such an incredibly kind and accepting place that will soothe any worries you may have. It’s a great experience, but you have to make sure that you’re completely dedicated to it because it is also a big job. If you love what you do, that passion will be your North Star.

Do you have a future vision for the Class of 2017? Ideally, I will have accomplished the goal that I ran with: a completely inclusive class. As said in Senate, when I was invited to speak, my hope is that the Class of 2017 can continue being a most inclusive class. This is a remarkable class of wonderful Smithies who I hope will continue to embrace every personality. After all, the bond that is created now will hold us together for the years to come!  

Liberty is the Cofounder of the Smith College branch of Her Campus and a member of the class of 2017. At Smith, Liberty is an economics and medieval studies double major and competes on Smith's equestrian team. Outside of school, she has a talent for sarcasm and baking, and lives for long walks on the beach with her dogs. Liberty hopes that she will one day shatter the glass ceiling and dares anyone to try to stop her.
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