History was made earlier this month at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology when sophomore Danielle Geathers was elected student body president, according to the school's newspaper The Tech.
On May 3, Geathers became the first Black woman ever elected student body president in the school's 159-year history, and she will serve her term in the upcoming school year.
The accomplished sophomore is studying mechanical engineering at the elite school and created an organization that seeks to increase the number of Black women who apply and enroll at MIT, according to Because Of Them We Can.
Geathers and her running mate Yu Jing Chen won a very close race, garnering 878 votes over their opponent's 850.
On their campaign website, the two said they were looking to "protect and improve the parts of MIT we’ve all grown to love, while advocating for solutions to the many problems we all face."
View this post on Instagram
Hello 🦦! We are Danielle and Yu Jing and we are happy to announce that we are running to become the next Undergraduate Association President and Vice President. 👩🏾💼👩🏻💼 We both love MIT (ihtfp) and are eager to fight to keep the things we love while also advocating for improvements. This year is unlike any other. Now more than ever, the UA needs responsive leadership. Our values of unity, equity, and authenticity will guide our response to this pandemic and other obstacles we face. Follow this page to stay updated on our campaign as we approach the voting period! 📮 Choose Different: Vote for Danielle and Yu Jing!🥳
"This year is unlike any other. Now more than ever, we need to be united. COVID-19 has changed a lot for us, there’s no denying that. But we won’t let it define us. Your support systems matter. Your MIT experiences matter. The homes we’ve created together matter. Whether it is advocating for those of us hardest hit by this pandemic, those unseen and unheard, or bringing together our community in these times of uncertainty, we all need the right leadership," Geathers and Chen wrote.Their detailed platform explained their plans for their time in office, which will include reinvigorating school pride, creating a diversity council, adopting the Indigenous Peoples' Day name change, expanding sexual assault and harassment education and expanding identity-based community spaces.
They're also hoping to bring greater transparency to student leadership organizations and continue diversity initiatives.
In an editorial for the school newspaper, a student wrote about the things Geathers has achieved since making her way to MIT.
"As UA Officer on Diversity, Danielle collaborated with the Office of Multicultural Programs to host an event focused on fostering a relationship between campus police and students. She also implemented Tomorrow Time in collaboration with MIT’s Student Support Services, which engaged over 400 students and resulted in the donation of 600 meals to the Greater Boston Food Bank," Kelvin Green II wrote
In her committee, she manages eight committee members and a $13,500 budget used to foster student unity. Starting in December, she collaborated with the PKG center, MIT’s home for public service, to host campus-wide civic organizer dinners, with the third one happening last week," he continued.
He also noted that she has been heavily involved in dozens of diversity initiatives and was instrumental in pushing for the school to remove the SAT as a requirement for admission.
Geathers has spoken at length about the need for more Black women at the school, and through her Talented Ten program, she has worked to change things.
“Someone asked if the UA president was a figurehead role [during the debate]. I think no, but minimally, a Black female in that role will squash every perception that MIT is still mostly white and male. Minimally, the immediate image of that will make MIT a more welcoming and inclusive place,” Geathers said according to Because Of Them We Can.