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Making Connections, Student Involvement Important to Student Body President Esther Oluborode

Published Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Esther Oluborode
Esther Oluborode

“Make the time to connect with people.”

That’s the  advice Southwest Minnesota State University student body president Esther Oluborode has for her fellow Mustangs as they pursue their college degree during this global pandemic.

Oluborode believes that through these connections — spiritual or personal — that students can get the most out of their college experience during these most unusual of times. Yes, it’s stressful, she feels. But she looks at it through a positive prism — the glass half full.

She feels SMSU is a great university, and that the sense of community is what sets it apart. “Students feel they have a support system, even when they are far away from family,” she said.

Oluborode is a senior Political Science major who came to SMSU because of research she did with her mother. Her family moved to Minnesota from Lagos, Nigeria, and she was looking for a college that was affordable, and relatively close to family. She found both at SMSU.

SMSU, she admits, surprised her. The student body president says that when looking at a smaller university like SMSU, “you don’t expect to grow as exponentially as one could at a larger university.” She found out she was wrong.  She believes that her SMSU experience has opened many doors — given her many opportunities that will benefit her academically, and personally, as she chases her dream of becoming a lawyer.

Attending college is a big step in any young person’s life, she feels. But it’s part of growing as an individual. A friend of hers was considering attending SMSU recently. Her advice? “Apply. Students need to take a chance to see what SMSU offers — what it is all about. “ And while COVID-19 has changed the delivery of some courses, she’s appreciative of the effort faculty and staff have gone through in support of students’ success.

Oluborode said since coming back from the holiday break, she hasn’t had to ask any students to wear a mask, or wear it correctly. “Our students care about one another,” she said. “We all care about each other’s safety; we all want to return to ‘normal’ operations.”

The reason she ran for student body president is because  she wanted to grow her skills to better herself as part of her educational journey, she said. “I’ve never been a great people person, or known how to start conversations with others easily,” she said. Her experience with student government has helped her overcome some of that social shyness, she feels, which will serve her well once she graduates and pursues her law degree.

Student involvement is important to Oluborode . “Students are the ones using the services at SMSU, and they are the ones who can provide the best feedback regarding possible changes, to help make SMSU the best institution it can be,” she said. “It’s part of my responsibility to make sure that the students are doing well, that they are having a good experience here.”





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