The 2006-07 school year marks the beginning of a new chapter for Sadika Sulaiman, the new student life coordinator for Mills College.
Sulaiman was a former assistant residential director for the University of Virginia (UVA) before working in admissions at Stanford.
“I was looking to return to residential life,” said Sulaiman. “I tried the admission side of things and found that I missed the contact with students.”
She stated that she chose Mills, her first experience at a women’s college, because it offered her the best opportunity to “build community.”
She says she feels that the fact that women hold so much power on the campus will allow her to do just that.
“I’m extremely appreciative of an institution that empowers women. . .When you look at Mills and see who are in these [staff] position, it’s women,” Sulaiman said.
Sulaiman had previous experiences with women’s education at UVA, where she pursued her graduate education in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration.
Interning at the school’s Women’s Center, Sulaiman helped develop the Women’s Founder History Project, an archive Lynda Majarian of the UVA View newspaper describes as video interviews with women about the development of the Women’s Center and the Women’s Studies major/minor at the university. Her job was to compose questions as well as conduct and transcribe the interviews.
Sulaiman also wants to maintain social justice awareness at Mills.
Hannah Peragine, a Mills sophomore and RA for the Leadership and Social Justice Living Learning Community, said that during RA training over the summer, Sulaiman engaged the RAs in “affirming-style race dialogues,” which are designed to make students proud of their heritage.
In previous years, Sulaiman addressed race, sexuality and class issues via the African American, Latino, Native American and Asian Student Center (ALANA) at UVA and her stint as the student coordinator for the Summer Enrichment Scholarship, a funding source for students typically marginalized in college financial aid.
Beyond social issues, Sulaiman plans to connect with students through the Living Learning Communities, where freshwomen reside with others who share the same academic interest, and the Mary Atkins Lounge, which hosts the resuming/commuting students. She also lives in the continuing students’ floor of Orchard Meadow, a Mills dorm.
Mary Taloff, a junior at Mills who worked a Freshman Orientation information booth with Sulaiman, is also optimistic about the new coordinator’s ability to communicate with the community and ease college pressures.
“She talked to this one family [during orientation] for 10 minutes! It makes parents feel better about kids going off to college.”
Sulaiman says staying connected with students is important to her, citing her own college undergraduate experiences as the impetus.
While attending the University of California at Santa Barbara as a Religious Studies undergraduate, Sulaiman said that the campus community provided her with the support that, as a first generation college student, she might have otherwise lacked.
“People dedicating their life to students. . . makes a difference,” Sulaiman said of her college community. “I hope I can do the same for students at Mills.”