Community, Connection, Change: First Male SGA President’s Vision

Kwame Opoku, a sophomore at Mary Baldwin University and the first male student body president, aims to enhance student engagement and community involvement.

Kwame Opoku ‘26, a sophomore at Mary Baldwin University, was recently elected as the president of the Student Government Association (SGA). He will begin representing his classmates in the fall for the 2024–25 school year and, adding to his achievement, Opoku will be the first man to ever serve as Mary Baldwin student body president. 

MBU became a co-educational institution in 2017. By the start of the current academic year, the university’s male demographic continues to grow, but is far from evened out, with a majority of students still identifying as women. 

Opoku joined MBU last year from the Eagle Academy for Young Men in New York City. He grew up in the Bronx, raised by a mother who immigrated from Ghana and has worked at Mount Sinai Hospital for years. The Eagle Academy and Mary Baldwin entered into a partnership in 2021 to help ensure continuing education for the academy’s students.

At Mary Baldwin, Opoku studies political science and intends to become a lawyer. This past summer, he worked as an intern for Citizens Bank in New York, which he called an instructive experience:

“I was able to meet with a lot of different people within the company, across all different levels and departments. It was a great experience because I was able to see how it felt to work from 9 to 5, and it was really interesting to work in commercial banking under Don McCree to see exactly what this field is about and how it works.”

Donald H. McCree, vice chair and head of commercial banking for Citizens Bank, is connected to Mary Baldwin by his wife, retiring Board Chair and alumna Gabby McCree ‘83. In fact, MBU’s partnership with the Eagle Academy first originated through a connection with the McCree family and Citizens Bank.

As SGA president, Opoku is energized to make a difference for his fellow students. 

“Some student concerns might be minor, a complaint about this week’s dining hall menu or something else, but I think there is a way to make everyone happy. We can involve student polling or voting whenever there is an issue like that to make sure everyone feels heard and comfortable on campus.”

Sit down and ask yourself ‘what does this thing I’m doing lead to’ or ‘what should I be doing to get what I want or make what I want to happen, happen.’

Continuing about his future plans, Opoku explains, “I really want to make a platform for students to broadcast themselves and promote themselves locally. Giving students a chance to make connections in the local community feels like something that’s missing that we can address by helping students develop a brand for themselves.”

In addition to his plans for enhancing democratic decision-making and increasing student involvement in the community, Opoku is also planning on initiating a clothing drive and lifting up existing student organizations (he also serves as the president of the African Student Kollective).

When asked about the advice he would give to another student interested in making a difference, his answer is focused on intentionality of action: “The best thing you can do is sit down and think about what you want and what you see happening. Sit down and ask yourself ‘what does this thing I’m doing lead to’ or ‘what should I be doing to get what I want or make what I want to happen, happen.’”

Interested in embedded learning opportunities like Kwame Opoku’s internship at Citizens Bank? Visit the McCree Center’s website to see what opportunities await you!