Meet Lola Sosanya, SPU’s Student Body President

Around 310 students are involved in leadership at Seattle Pacific University, with roles in student government, as Resident Advisors, in ministry, student media, and beyond. We’re introducing you to some of the leaders who are serving students this year, starting with this year's student body president, junior Oluwadamilola Sosanya.

Lola Sosanya

Lola Sosanya used to introduce herself only by her nickname. Now, when she meets someone for the first time, she’ll say: “Hi, my name is Oluwadamilola, but I go by Lola.”

This year, Lola — a junior and premed student — is president of the Associated Students of Seattle Pacific (ASSP). She was born and raised in Portland, Ore., and her parents are Yoruba, an ethnic group in Nigeria. “It’s something I have so much pride in,” she says. “My mom has taught me to be strong, despite adversity. That's a part of being Yoruba.”

It’s her mother, and a couple of teachers, who first saw leadership skills in the way Lola volunteered at her church. They encouraged her toward student government in her small private high school.

Lola in the ASSP office

Coming to SPU, Lola wasn’t sure if she’d serve in student government again. Then she arrived on campus. Lola remembers the moment she decided to pursue SPU leadership. She’d been feeling stressed. Moving in was hectic and confusing. It felt overwhelming. “I remember being welcomed by my residence life coordinator (RLC) and the Ashton Hall Council. They were so friendly,” she says.

Talking with the student leaders on Hall Council, Lola’s stress faded away. They answered her questions. She felt welcomed. Ashton Hall quickly became like home, and Lola has met many of her closest friends there. She joined Ashton Hall Council, and was later elected Ashton Hall vice president for her sophomore year.

As president, she’s part of ASSP Officer Core, a team of students elected each year. Their vision for this year is inclusivity: the valuing all students. However students might feel different, Lola wants to create an environment where they can be included. 

In her role, Lola is a direct representative of the SPU student body to President Daniel J. Martin, the SPU administration, the Board of Trustees, and the greater community. “It’s been a privilege to be in those places,” she says. “I feel grateful to be able to be a voice for the student body, and also to start advocating for students on the margins who are represented at SPU.”

After graduation, she’ll study for the MCATs — but hopes to find time to visit Nigeria before starting medical school. She's interested in women's health, family practice, and has also been exploring the possibility of pursuing a master of public policy.

“ASSP is based on the belief that leadership gives students opportunities to develop qualities that SPU wants to see in its graduates … character traits like integrity, honesty, responsibility,” says Whitney Broetje, director of the Office of Student Involvement & Leadership. “Lola is incredibly thoughtful as a leader. She has a vision for deep care of the individual.”

Midway through the school year, Lola says she’s asking herself “What more can I do? What hasn't been done, and how can I fill that? I hope that the next person in that position can do the same.”

“Leadership is about serving others,” she says. “It’s not about myself. It’s about doing things on behalf of the greater community.”

Meet More SPU Leaders

ASSP Officer Core — which includes the president, executive vice president, public relations manager, and vice presidents of ministries, finance, intercultural affairs, and campus activities — is just one of many ways students are involved in leadership at Seattle Pacific. Here are some of the many other leaders investing in SPU students this year.

Loriel Arcangel

Year: Sophomore
Major: Biochemistry
Hometown: Dededo, Guam
Leadership Role: Student Ministry Coordinator (SMC)

I decided to be a student ministry coordinator because I wanted to be a big brother and friend to my floor, just like my SMC was for my floor and me. An SMC promotes community, spiritual growth, and also looks out for the floor, cares for each and every person. As the SMC on 3rd East Emerson, I aim to bring my floor closer to Christ and closer to each other as we move throughout the year.

Danielle Meier

Year: Junior
Major: Global development studies and political science
Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Leadership Role: Senator at Large

ASSP Senate meets every Monday night. Any time a club aims to spend over $750, we look over their proposal. Every student on campus has a Senate representative for where they live — whether that's a residence hall, campus housing and apartments, or if they’re a commuter — and another representative for the department that their major is in. Then, everyone has access to the two senators at large, so I want to plug in with different student groups and ask how I can advocate for them.

Mary Kate Gleason

Year: Sophomore
Major: Nursing
Hometown: Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Leadership Role: Ashton Hall Council

There are six of us on Ashton Hall Council. Lola was my neighbor in Ashton last year, and she encouraged me to get involved. I'm actually deaf, and that definitely makes me more aware of advocating not only for myself but for people in general.

I was drawn to this position because I would be advocating for Ashton Hall, and I can also share about the challenges of being deaf and hard-of-hearing. I want to encourage people to advocate for themselves and to get involved to help make positive changes in their communities.