International Student In the Executive Chair

Nana Owusu-Achan

By Andrew Steiner

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