A Student Council President Committed to Building Community
During the 2018-2019 school year, you most likely saw Kasongo Butler, now a rising 4th year Master of Divinity Student at Wesley, in transit from a class, an Urban Fellows’ meeting, a Student Council meeting where she served as President, or from a Washington Theological Consortium meeting where she served as a student Board member. Although Butler juggles many roles and responsibilities in the course of a day, she will greet you with a smile, and is willing to take time to listen to concerns and suggestions from students and the Wesley community.
Butler, a Florida native, can relate to the experience of moving away from home and family, and adjusting to seminary life at Wesley. “The first year was exciting, created anxiety, and was overwhelming, all at the same time. I moved from Florida; I had never lived anywhere outside of Florida. I also moved from my family, and from a house to an apartment on campus. However, the sacrifices and changes were worth it for Butler. “All of that was really good! It helped me to be able to focus on my studies, it helped me to be able to make sure that I felt connected to other people in the community, and to acknowledge that there were people here who were in similar circumstances, and were able to push pass those circumstances and be successful while they are here in seminary. So, I feel like people were pouring into me from the very first step of my journey towards Wesley, and actually since I’ve been here.”
While in her third year at Wesley during the 2018-2019 school year, Butler reflects, “Because I am more aware of the nuances of the community, I’m able to be somebody who recognizes where there are gaps in the community, and I’m looking at ways to creatively fill those gaps with people here who have the strength, power, and motivation to fill those gaps, and that means from students, to staff, to faculty, and everybody in Wesley’s community. One of the things I was able to do last year was work in the Dean’s office. That was very helpful as far as having a role in Student Council because having access to the Deans gives you the ability to get advice from them when there are student’s concerns, and to co-partner with Administration in resolving any issues, or even just creating something that’s absolutely beautiful and new to the community.”
With all of her leadership roles, Butler considers herself to be a “servant leader.” “I really look at how can I be beneficial to the entire community, whether that is speaking on behalf of the community, identifying gaps that may be in the community, and looking at how to bring different people together like student organizations and Administration to address an issue.” Butler continually asks herself, “How can I be a servant for those in a beneficial and positive way, so that people can see that I am working towards something that is positive?”
During her term as Student Council President, she has been “intentional” in guiding the Student Council to be more engaged in the daily life of the seminary. “One of the things that I decided in going into the Presidency was to look at who would really be interested in building collaboration in community among all members and organizations within Wesley. I was looking for people who would promote enthusiasm and would be creative with productive and engaging activities and initiatives for the community.” If someone is interested in joining the Student Council, Butler advises them to “contact one of the student board members to let them know of their interest so they can join. We will have elections again mid-spring. You can also become involved in a student organization which is related to Student Council.” She also reminds students that they have an open invitation to attend Student Council meetings.
Whether you are able or unable to participate in student meetings and campus events, prayers are always welcome for our student body, faculty, staff, and Wesley community. Even though she is passing the baton to incoming Student Council President, Ellie Crain, for the 2019-2020 school year, Kasongo will always be a servant leader, and asks for prayers to “acknowledge that we are a part of God’s creation, and that we are able to genuinely and authentically see each person that way; and that when we interact with each other, we interact with that understanding, and we interact with the ability to be able to assist others with that process.”