Thilini Weerakkody and Veda Patil elected 2020-2021 Campus Y Co-PresidentsFebruary 13, 2020 • Camille DiBenedetto • No Comments
On Tuesday, February 11, student members elected Thilini Weerakkody and Veda Patil as the Campus Y’s new Co-Presidents.
Weerakkody and Patil, who ran unopposed, released a comprehensive platform that outlined their goals ahead of election day. This document, entitled “A Place at the Table,” detailed their plans to:
- Prioritize marginalized voices at the Campus Y by ensuring make that their Executive Board reflects the diversity present at UNC;
- Create spaces where students feel comfortable having honest conversations about race, identity, and privilege;
- Promote self-care and restorative practices for activists;
- Institute a collaborative, joint coalition of student leaders from affinity and identity-based organizations through the Campus Y and Student Government.
Weerakkody and Patil also want to promote education, accessibility, and solidarity to address many of the power structures that exist in both social justice work and social justice institutions like the Campus Y. During the Campus Y Co-President Forum last week, they acknowledged that many social justice organizations use academic language and information that is inaccessible not only to newcomers, but to minority populations that the language claims to represent.
Learn more about Weerakkody and Patil and what the Campus Y means to them in the bios below.
Before being elected as Co-President, Weerakkody served on the Campus Y Executive Board as the Co-Director of Outreach working to support Campus Y committees, create safe spaces, and foster connections between the Campus Y and other UNC organizations. In addition, she served as a member of the Campus Y committee AGRADU, which connects students to ethical, grassroots organizations in Uganda. Weerakkody was also a Global Gap Year Fellow, traveling to Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and Greece to volunteer and conduct research before beginning her freshman year at UNC. Weerakkody has also served as a Bonner Leader for the RENA Community Center and Grow Your World, a youth development organization.
“To me, the Y is a space where I am constantly challenged and held accountable for my actions. As Campus Y Co-President, I hope to continue my service to this space and incredible community, building on the work of the brilliant leaders who came before me and ensuring that others receive the same enriching experience as I did…I want to learn how to be a better leader, member, and service provider in my community.”
Patil previously served as the Co-Director of Outreach on the Campus Y Executive Board, creating relationships with student groups who haven’t always felt represented in the Y. Like Weerakkody, Patil has also served as a Bonner Leader during her time at Carolina, working for the Marian Creek Jackson Center, an organization that serves the historically Black communities of Northside and Pine Knolls, for two and a half years before beginning work at Grow Your World with Weerakkody.
“Ultimately, I view the Co-Presidents’ office as the best way possible to give back to a community which has given so much to me. I’ve made some of my best friends, had some of the most inspiring conversations, and truly developed my leadership ability and sense of self in the Y…. I’m looking forward to the relationships I will hopefully foster, and the ability to use the platform of Co-Presidency to implement meaningful change within the Y and in the broader campus community.”