She Gives Activism New Meaning

Ashley Peters '08

When people think of student activism, they often envision heated discussions and sit-ins protesting the administration. For senior Ashley Peters, student activism has a different meaning.

Peters’ mission is to work for change and social justice within the College. However, rather than fighting the system, she and the rest of the Scripps Associated Students (SAS) executive board work directly with administrators to effect the change they believe is necessary.

Peters’ main focus has been socioeconomic differences among students at the College, and it is something she continues to address. The issue first came to her attention in September, when a first-year student approached Peters and told her she could not afford to buy the $150 Core I reader. When SAS sent out a survey, several of the 230 students who responded said they were choosing classes based on book cost.

Peters and the rest of SAS have since had conversations with College senior administrators to see what can be done to alleviate the problem. One solution is to establish an endowed fund specifically designed to help students from lower and middle classes purchase books they cannot afford. Over winter break, Peters and SAS Vice Chair Fatima Elkabti ’09 compiled a report on the “Hidden Costs of Scripps,” which they presented to SAS in January and will present to the Board of Trustees in March. Peters considers the report to be the culmination of her presidential term—in March, a newly elected student body president will take over.

Peters says her term has been a positive one, but with its own set of pressures. Her role as the first black president has been intriguing and exciting, but, above all, it is always on her mind. There is a fear of failure that comes with the role, but Peters credits current black students as well as black alumnae, friends, fellow SAS members, and family—with whom she speaks every day—with helping to keep her grounded. “I don’t lead alone,” she said.


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