International Student in the Executive Chair


Nana Owusu-Achau first heard about Calvin while working as a college counselor at the American Embassy in his hometown of Accra, Ghana. A girl he was advising told him about the small Christian school in the Midwest. At the time, Nana had envisioned a future as an engineering major at an Ivy League school. Something about Calvin, though, caught his eye: “I saw a Calvin brochure that had some worship information on it …,” he said. “I thought, ‘This is really unique.’”

This past September, Nana, now a senior, stood at the podium during Opening Convocation to welcome students, faculty and staff as the college’s first African student body president.

Called to leadership

The post is not Nana’s first experience with leadership. He was a prefect in his all-boys school in Kumasi, Ghana, where he also competed in debate and captained the basketball team. At Calvin, he has served as a resident assistant and an orientation leader, but when elections for student body president loomed, he wrestled with whether to throw his hat in the ring. “But it was one of those things where I felt—I don’t like using that word—I strongly felt that I had to occupy this role,” he said.

Nana’s campaign strategy was pretty grassroots. Along with his running mate, Becky Kim, Nana went door-to-door in the residence halls, talking with students and listening to their goals. It was effective: “Students saw I had involvement,” Nana demurred. “I’m just being real with people.”

A change of plans; a definite vision

Nana came to Calvin certain that he would be an engineer, but after a few site visits, that future no longer appealed to him. Instead, he has gone into information technology, a field he believes needs to be cultivated in Ghana.

“I don’t know if it’s going to be right after graduation, but I know I’m going back home,” he said. “God had a reason for birthing me there.”

Used with permission by News & Stories


Student Senate

Nana and his executive team lead Calvin’s 13-member student senate, providing services to students, representing student perspectives to the administration, and engaging the student body in projects that have both local and global reach.  

Senate Projects 2011–2012

  • Re-igKnight (“reignite”): monthly prayer services and prayer groups among students, faculty and staff that remind us to be conformed to the image of Christ
  • Operation Christmas Child (a Samaritan’s Purse project): packing shoeboxes for children in Africa, Asia, Central and South America.
  • Calvin discount program: discounts for college students in need at local restaurants
  • Calvin community bike club: providing bikes for 24-hour use or for a whole semester

Get Involved

See yourself as a student senator? Elections for first-year senators happen early in the fall. Go here for more information about student organizations.

VERGE: spring 2012

First-Year Experience