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Leading Student Government as a Two-Scholar Team

Serving as co-presidents of student government at Bates College this year are Marcos Pacheco Soto ’24 (Chile, UWC Changshu China) and Kush Sharma ’23 (India, Mahindra UWC). They also received the Charles A. Dana Award, given to first-year students for academic excellence and promise, leadership potential, and service to the college and community.

Founder and coordinator of the Intercultural Diversity House during his first year on campus, Marcos also plays rugby, sings with an a cappella group, and volunteers for the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project in Maine. Last summer he received a Stangle research fellowship from the college, to study police brutality during mass demonstrations in both his home country and the U.S. “Living in the U.S. as a Latin American youth has intensified some parts of my identity and experience with oppression,” he reflects. “At the same time, it has highlighted how privileged I am by having the opportunity to receive an excellent education and a wealth of resources.”

Kush is a member of the college’s Bonner Leader Program who volunteers as a robotics team coach at Lewiston High School, and as an assistant coach for the Rosati Leadership Academy, a soccer-coaching nonprofit in Lewiston. He has acted in and directed several theater productions on campus, and received the Community Partnerships Rookie of the Year Award from Bates’s Harward Center for Community Partnerships. “I decided to run for the student body presidency with Marcos because both of us were inspired to do something about the issues that our community was facing by being directly involved,” Kush says. “There’s a lot of work to be done!”