Benedicta Arthur represented the Class of 2016 as the student speaker at Commencement.
This summer, we are following Calvin students, the Class of 2016 and a number of Calvin alums as they continue their journeys around the corner and across the globe. Benedicta Arthur is currently investigating where she can best apply her passion and experience through work in the nonprofit sector.
- Name: Benedicta Arthur
- Class: 2016
- Hometown: Nkroful, Ghana
- Major(s): international relations and strategic communication
- Next step: working for a nonprofit organization which focuses on women and children's rights
What are you most passionate about? How do you see that passion manifesting itself in this next step you are taking?
Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I am very passionate about issues regarding women and children’s rights! Specifically, I am interested in researching more impactful ways through which nonprofit organizations can gain more leverage in the implementation of policies that can enable women and children from any socioeconomic background to achieve their highest potential in Ghana.
How did you discover this passion?
My mother has been a key person in the discovery of my passion. For most of her professional career, she worked for the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs under Ghana’s government. It was intriguing to see how tirelessly she would work to ensure that the right legislation would pass in parliament. I enjoyed spending some overtime hours with her in the office. During these ‘late-night sessions’, I discovered the unequal playing field that disadvantaged women and children in the Ghanaian society. Even though most of the legislation did not pass, I will not forget how much her hard work impacted me. Sadly, as the years went by, I put this path on the back burner and did not think much of it until I re-discovered it in a class I took here at Calvin called Communication and Gender with Professor Stacey Wieland.
What’s a risk you took at Calvin and how did it impact you?
Running for Student Senate my senior year. I had always wanted to be on senate but somehow the timing was never right. In the spring of my junior year, I was approached by two members of senate who encouraged me to run. I told them both that I was seriously considering it but I did not want to be stressed out during my senior year. I remember praying, “Lord, if this is your will, let someone come up to me this week and ask me to be their running mate.” And I was approached! Although I eventually didn’t run with him, I knew that I would be making the right decision to join senate. Did it end up being stressful and everything I feared it would be? Yes! But I loved serving the Calvin community. I always say that senate is a longterm service project, and it’s true, because up until the last day I found myself placing the needs of the larger student body before myself. And it was very rewarding.
What’s one thing that surprised you at Calvin?
How passionate people are. It is very evident that students, staff and faculty members are very passionate about learning, and they want to infuse this culture of always asking, prodding and discovering more about our world and the role that we play in it. I remember an instance my sophomore year when I went to the Center Art Gallery with a friend. I had no idea what the exhibition was about, but I was intrigued so I went anyway. At every art piece, he carefully explained to me the detail of the piece and the technique that the artist might have used in the artwork. What fascinated me more than the artwork was the fact that an international relations major (just like me) knew and cared so much about this art showcase. He is just one of the many individuals at Calvin who place the highest value in caring about what may not necessarily relate to their major.
What’s one thing you would want to tell someone starting his or her journey at Calvin?
Identifying what your passions are but failing to do the necessary groundwork to pursue those passions does not get you anywhere. You can be whatever you want to be—if you put your work in. There are many resources here at Calvin to help you navigate your way—but you have to take the first steps. I can count the numerous times that I failed at many endeavors here at Calvin because I refused to ask for help. Learn to follow up your ideas with action.