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Congratulations to Mercy’s New Student Body President-Elect Eniola Ogunlade ’23

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Eniola Ogunlade ’23, recently elected president of the Mercy College student body, is making plans for her term that begins in the fall. The psychology major, who will graduate in May of 2023, said she is looking forward to meeting more people and taking a leadership role in student government.

Ogunlade has been a familiar face on the Mercy campus ever since she first arrived as a freshman. Over the years, her participation has ranged from dance and step teams to student government to advocacy groups like the Black Student Union. She also worked in the Office of Student Life where she was able to meet just about every person on campus.

The catalyst for much of Ogunlade’s involvement, both in high school and at Mercy, has been inspired by her father, who was incarcerated while she was in high school. She became involved with the Osbourne Association, which provides services for incarcerated people and their families. There she overcame her fear of public speaking and learned to advocate for herself and others. Among her accomplishments: lobbying for a bill that would provide transportation for family members to visit incarcerated loved ones and working at an after-school program with children of incarcerated parents. “Because of what I had experienced, I was always able to provide them with motivating words,” she said.

Also in high school, Ogunlade was involved with the Give Back Foundation, an organization that provides mentorship and scholarships to students who have faced economic hardship and other adversities such as foster care or the incarceration of a parent. The Give Back Foundation, in partnership with Mercy, provided a scholarship for Ogunlade, and many other students, to go to Mercy College and obtain a degree without the burden of costs typically associated with higher education. Now, as Give Back Scholar at Mercy College, Ogunlade is thriving academically and in her extracurricular pursuits. Along with her steadfast determination and grit, her success has been supported by the Give Back Foundation’s college-readiness services, as well as Mercy’s student support resources.

Ogunlade said she looks forward to listening to students and being an instrument of positive change. “As student body president you have a big platform where you can say and do a lot to make a difference,” she said. “Being a black student can be challenging,” she added, but expressed her appreciation for supportive members of the Mercy staff and administration who have demonstrated their openness to discussions with students who feel that the College can be more inclusive.

The student body president-elect plans to become a teacher, a goal that has become clearer during her time at Mercy and through her experiences as the child of an incarcerated parent. While volunteering, “I met so many children who didn’t know how to cope,” she said. “I was able to help them because of everything I experienced and the people I met. My dad’s incarceration set everything in motion, and now I’m excited to begin this new chapter.”