SLS Awards 2020 - President’s Award for Outstanding Community Service
Sarit Cahana BA ’20 is one of two recipients this year for the President’s Award for Outstanding Community Service. This is the highest honor Student Leadership and Service (SLS) presents to a graduating senior. One of SLS’ student staff members caught up with Sarit recently to learn more about the great work she’s been doing at Lewis & Clark.
SLS: Which roles have you played at Lewis & Clark?
Sarit: I’m a graduating senior finishing up my studies in English and Gender Studies. Outside of the classroom, I’m co-president and founder of the Disabled Student Union (DSU), where I manage our work, lead meetings, and advocate for changes in line with our club’s goals. I am also DSU’s Pio Log liaison.
This year I was the Student Life intern in SLS, organizing projects with RACE TALKS and Books to Prisoners, facilitating weekly staff meetings, writing the office’s weekly newsletter, managing transportation and much more.
Also, for fun, I dj’ed at KLC!
SLS: What does service and leadership mean to you?
Sarit: They are both about collaboration. The most important work I’ve done has been in collaboration with other people. The service element is about learning from each other and working toward a common goal. Leadership is similar, but more focused on taking on a motivator role and providing positive energy that lifts people up.
SLS: How has service and leadership have been incorporated in your life, both at school and beyond? How do those concepts relate to your goals?
Sarit: My work in SLS and DSU make up a big part of what I do. Professionally, I’d like to go into disability advocacy. I notice how ableism and other oppression happens on a day-to-day basis and how individual actions perpetuate those systems. That’s why I want to put in the work to change things.
SLS: What hopes do you have for the future?
Sarit: When I came to Lewis & Clark, I didn’t hear anyone talking about disability, and disabled students were not really visible. I didn’t have a lot of people to relate to. I didn’t even meet another disabled student until my second semester here. Yet, in just four years, I’ve seen a lot of change! Dr. Kayleigh McCauley in Student Support Services, VP Robin Holmes-Sullivan and other staff have been great listeners and supporters of this change. I have a lot of hope for the future of Lewis & Clark!
SLS: Is there anything else you’d like to add or share?
Sarit: I’ve been surrounded by a lot of really good people, and am so grateful for that. I hope people continue to lift up the voices of disabled students and others!