Q&A with Malini Srikrishna, President of the HDS Student Association (HDSSA)

Post by: Malini Srikrishna, MTS ‘21 and President of HDSSA (2020-2021) 

Malini (MTS ‘21) is a licensed social worker, entrepreneur and minister of love. Her area of focus is Liberation Theology, Business Ethics and Spiritual Care (an area of focus which Malini created herself). The HDS Student Association provides students a voice in the administrative and policymaking procedures of the School and facilitates discussion among students, staff, and faculty. The elected student officers meet monthly with the Dean to discuss student concerns and issues that affect the entire community and provide opportunities for conversation among students, faculty, and staff through roundtable discussions and Town Hall meetings.  

Malini (MTS ‘21) President of HDSSA 

What is the HDS Student Association (HDSSA)? Why is the work of HDSSA important? 

The Harvard Divinity School Student Associationwas set up in order to serve as a vessel for the voice of the student body whenever deemed necessary. Each member of HDSSA plays a unique role in ensuring that every student feels seen and heard. Especially during contentious times, HDSSA becomes the bridge between the administration and faculty, and the student body.  

What are you looking forward to in your work & role as President of HDSSA this year? 

I am most looking forward to working with a team of amazing and unique individuals who have been called to action by our dear community. It is a privilege to be able to serve each other in any capacity. We are facing some unique challenges this year, and I believe there is an opportunity in this chaos to instigate the much-needed radical changes of our time.  

What have you been up to this summer?  

Regarding student-life, I have been taking Theological Spanish as a part of the Summer Language Program (SLP) offered at HDS. Outside, I am a social worker and entrepreneur focused on implementing long-term social transformation initiatives locally and globally. This summer, I have been focused on my skill development startup for underserved youth in India and the US. My personal and professional life are not distinct but different aspects of my spiritual journey.  

Why did you choose to attend HDS?  

I primarily chose HDS due to its unique emphasis on creating a space where people belong due to their unique differences, rather than despite them. Additionally, it really appealed to me that I could take up to 50% of my classes across other schools on campus. To complement and build on top of the foundation laid through my divinity school classes, I have taken classes in areas such as entrepreneurship and neuroscience in other graduate schools. This school has allowed me to shape my own learning and pursue academic freedom rather than ensuring I conform to a standard.  

You participated in DivEx – what was your experience in that program like? 

DivEx was the reason I decided to apply to HDS. Every person in the program became my family in the short week we spent together. Even now, the four people from my DivEx batch are very close and know we can rely on each other unconditionally. I was not only able to understand the culture of the school but the necessary struggles that had to be undertaken by those of us deemed “others” in transforming it. 

Is there anything else you would like to share with prospective students?  

Regardless of which university you do or not do not attend, never assume you are not in school. The universe teaches us through stories, and those stories are our lives. While it would be wonderful to have you as a part of our HDS community, nothing can ever change the destiny that has already been shaped for you. No one can ever decide your worth except you. Recognise your hard work and strength, and all the obstacles that have shaped you. Your fire can never be put out, wherever you go, you will burn with the compassion that guides you. I wish you luck on your journey, and hope, if you are reading this, we can one day cross paths. 

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