Over ten Community College Initiative (CCI) Program participants have been elected into leadership positions in student government associations, clubs, and organizations within their community colleges. Taking on active leadership roles is just one way that CCI participants help U.S. community colleges internationalize their campuses and engage community college students with global perspectives.
Depending on the college, Student Government Associations (SGA) have a variety of roles and missions. At Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC), the SGA serves as the voice of the FVTC student body and convenes with college leadership to discuss student-related concerns in an attempt to enhance each student’s college experience.
A month ago, Nkululeko ‘Victor’ Masombuka and Juliet Malambe, two CCI participants from South Africa, were elected to serve as Vice President and Secretary for the SGA at Fox Valley Technical College.
We asked Nkululeko and Juliet some questions about running for SGA and about their plans to represent the FVTC student body.
Why did you want to run for student government?
NKULULEKO: Two reasons drove me to run for student government in a foreign country—the opportunity to learn and the opportunity to serve my fellow students because I’m touched by the affairs and concerns of people. I love people and I always want help when I can.
JULIET: Impact. I believe in being an active citizen and student so I can make an impact in the lives of people around me. I saw the opportunity of being an executive of the SGA as being the voice of both international and civil students at my college. The most effective way to make things happen is working to be part of the change that you want to see.
What impact would you like to make on your campus as an SGA officer?
NKULULEKO: The one thing I really want to do is to encourage social participation and professional inclusion among students within the campus. What I’ve noticed is that many Americans do not include themselves in many activities within their institutions; many of our fellow students function like islands, and I believe that we were meant to coexist. Another thing I would like to initiate is college to high school engagement. This will bridge the gap between high school and college, and by so doing encourage many students to enroll with Fox Valley Technical College.
JULIET: I want to work with my team to ensure that more students (not just international students) are more involved in extracurricular activities at school and get more people involved in the community.
It can be tough to make connections with voters, so what did you do to let people know about you or get elected?
NKULULEKO: I am a very social person. Because I knew I would run for Vice President of Student Government I engaged with a lot of people about almost anything. I joined and attended clubs, so when the time came, all I did was open my mouth and announce that I was running. I used social media and word of mouth to get the word out. “Make sure you don’t vote alone!” was my theme.
JULIET: I worked on building relationships with my classmates, students from the dorms and international students, even before the election process began. I also joined many clubs at school and from that I met more people. When the election process began I made an announcement on my social media platforms to let my friends know that I was running for a position and how they could vote for me.
As SGA officers, Juliet and Nkululeko will present FVTC students’ feedback, concerns and suggestions to the college staff and faculty to help build a better college community through collaboration and shared governance.
Fox Valley Technical College isn’t the only place where CCI participants are taking on leadership roles. At Northampton Community College, nearly half of CCI students enrolled at Northampton are in leadership positions across their campus. Kelvin Osoria was elected to be on the Student Senate, and in the International Student Organization Alfred Mosuswa was named President, Munira and Rashid Bin Adam were named co-Vice Presidents, Ruky Bakare was named Secretary, and Vishal Gupta was named Media Relations Representative.
From SGA to special-interest clubs, CCI participants were also elected to the following positions at several other community colleges:
Josephine Acquaah – Secretary of the Supply Chain Management Club, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
Shaimaa Abdelkareem– Vice President of the Supply Chain Management Club, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
Mihail Baez Avalo – Vice President of the Global Connections Club, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
SK Fahad Bin Salam and Bunga Yuniasari – Communications Co-Officers for the Global Connections Club, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
Andres Erazo Paz – Treasurer for the Student Chamber of Commerce, Houston Community College
Md Emrul Mehedi – Secretary of the NOVA StartUp Squad Club, Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria
As a result of CCI leadership, nine countries (Bangladesh, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and South Africa) are represented in officer positions at various CCI host colleges, helping to internationalize U.S. community college campuses.