"The American Story has long been written by immigrants. too often, however, we look at their economic success rather than their contributions to strengthening our democracy. In fact, the founding fathers were not American citizens when the signed the Declaration of Independence. They spent decades, after the founding of our country, building a country that would live up to the ideals that they set, ideals that each subsequent generation of immigrants drives towards."
President Oballa Oballa left his home of Ethiopia to embark on a journey to a better life and education. At 20 years old, he did not become discouraged when people said he was too old to finish high school or pursue higher education. He took that challenge and ran with it, knowing that there was more to this life for him.
Since beginning college, Oballa has become extremely engaged on his campus and in his community of Austin, Minnesota. Although he was not able to participate in the 2018 election, he did not let that get in the way of other students being civically engaged and participating in our democracy. He has organized voter registration drives, driven students to the polls on Election Day, and constantly encourages his peers to be involved.
Oballa's work doesn't just stop at voter engagement! He is a strong advocate for addressing food insecurity on college campuses. By sharing his personal story to the legislature in the 2019 session, Oballa inspired legislators to pass the Hunger Free Campus Act in Minnesota, which guides campuses on how colleges can better support their students who suffer from food insecurity on a monthly basis.
Oballa has worked tirelessly over the years to engage students, create positive change, and help those who need it, and his hard work has paid off.
On December 17, 2019, Oballa Oballa officially became a US citizen!
Congratulations, Oballa! Thank you for all that you do for our community!