Spotlight on Abdillahi Dirie - 2019/2020 Student Body President
The following article was published on June 30, 2019, via Missouri State (missouristate.edu). It was reprinted with permission from Priscilla Childress, Assistant Director of Family Programs and Student Affairs Special Events for Missouri State University. The article highlights Abdillahi Dirie (Iota Beta/Missouri State 2020).
For those of you that have attended SOAR this summer, you’ve had the opportunity to to hear from Abdillahi Dirie, Student Body President and SOAR Leader, when he welcomes our new Bears to campus. Now is the time for everyone to get to know Lahi better.
Tell us about yourself. My name is Abdillahi Dirie. I was born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and came to the United States in 2005. Since I came to the States, I’ve lived in St. Louis, MO and Kansas City, MO. I currently reside in Kansas City. I have 6 siblings. I have four brothers, two younger, two older, and I have two older sisters. I am majoring in Health Communication with a minor in Health Care Management. What brought me to Missouri State was how friendly the people here are and how beautiful the campus is. I love how you can experience both the big and small university feel at Missouri State.
How did you get involved in the Student Government Association (SGA)? Why was it important to you to be a member of the SGA? I got involved with SGA my first year here on campus. I became an at-large senator by getting 50 total signatures by students at Missouri State. It was important for me to be a member of SGA my first year on campus because I wanted to make a change and advocate on behalf of the students who looked like me. It is always important to advocate for those who sometimes can’t. I knew that some people have to come to college and only be able to work and go to school so I wanted to advocate on behalf of them, those that couldn’t be a part of SGA.
You are the new Student Body President. What are your goals for the upcoming year? What is the role of the Student Body President? My goals for this upcoming school year is to truly listen to students and understand what they want. I want to focus on what can we change to affect as many of students. I want to look at certain policies and see how can we change them to cater to all students. I want to be able to work with my team and see how we can collaborate with other student organizations. I also want to focus on recruitment and retention for students who are first generation students, minority students, and non-traditional students. I want to collaborate with my cabinet and see how can we let these students know they matter and belong here. Some broad things that my cabinet will focus on is mental health, and bettering the student experience so that every student can get as much out of Missouri State as they can while they are here.
Why is it important for students to share information with the SGA? How does the SGA help our students? It is important that students voice their opinions and tell SGA what they want to see. Our motto is “Your Student Body. Your Student Voice” and we live by this for those of us who are in SGA. We want to listen to those who we serve and follow through with what they want to see. SGA helps the students by being able to advocate on behalf of them. We attend countless meetings, and we speak up at those meetings and let those who are in the room know what students are wanting. We usually ask them to follow us on how they are willing to solve the issues that students brought to our attention.
You are in your second year as a SOAR leader. What do you like about being a SOAR leader and what are the benefits? I love being a SOAR leader! I love that I get to interact with the future of Missouri State and help students and families get comfortable where they will be for the next few years. I love that I make many friends with the other SOAR leaders on the team but also the students who come through! Some of the benefits are that you get a lot of opportunities to better yourself professionally. You get to get better at public speaking plus getting valuable work experience!
What qualities do you think a student leader should have? One quality that a student leader should have is being able to be responsible. It is key to be able to get things done. You will be busy with school and the other things that you get involved with but you have to always get your stuff done and manage your time. Student leaders should also be able to hold themselves accountable as well as others. They need to be able to have those conversations with others when they are not doing what they were supposed to do. They also should hold themselves accountable when they are not performing at the level that they are supposed to also.
What is your favorite MSU tradition? Why? Fountain Day is my favorite tradition. It is usually so nice out during this day, and the fountain is turning on. Everyone is enjoying the weather and has lots school spirit. You also get tons of free stuff and get to hang out with your friends!
What advice do you have for an incoming student? Don’t be afraid to take risk! This is a great time to try things that you never have before. Don’t be afraid to fail. This is a prime time to figure things out and see what works and what doesn’t work. For example, you might not know how to correctly study for a subject, that is fine. Just work to find out what works best for you. If you failed a test, you can bounce back by learning from your mistake and changing things up.
What advice do you have for the family member of an incoming student? My advice to family members is to let your student grow. I know this is a tough time, and you want to still want to watch them grow but they are an adult now. Let them figure things out on their own. It is important that they solve their own problems and be able to let you know when they need help instead of you always offering them help when they might not need it. With that being said, still reach out to them and let them know that you are here for them and want them to succeed. Be their biggest cheerleader because when you are supporting your student as they try new things and go through tough situations, it will help them at the end.