by Madison Franks, Student Writer
One of the greatest things about coming back to Providence every year is seeing new leaders rise out of the student body. This year, we are graced with the new leadership of Jesudamilola (Dami) Abiona, a former Resident Assistant (RA) made Student Council (STUCO) President.
Dami came to Providence from Calgary, and the move was anything but easy for her. Leaving a noisy city with hundreds of thousands of people and arriving in a peaceful, rural community made Dami feel out of place. Even though the home she found at Providence was an unlikely one, it helped her grow immensely.
“We always think that growth happens in the big places, in the loud noise,” Dami reflected, “but actually you can experience growth in the quiet, the small spaces, too.”
When asked why she decided to take on the role of Student President, Dami responded, “I want to use my gifts and abilities to impact the school that has impacted me so much in the last few years.”
Many of Dami’s peers shared that she’d be a good fit for this job that requires a healthy balance of extraverted-ness, light-heartedness, and leadership skills – three things that, if you know Dami at all, you realize she possesses in abundance.
Having Dami as an active leader on our campus is beneficial for multiple reasons. One of them being that there is no shortage of fun and inclusive activities to raise spirits and increase serotonin levels. While Dami enjoys a good party as much as the next person, she equally enjoys the peaceful and reflective moments Providence offers. This gives her leadership a well-balanced approach.
When speaking of Dami, President Kent Anderson once said, “I’m thankful you’re not all hype!” And it is true. Dami’s presence on our campus helps create an environment where questions are welcome and where students can feel comfortable speaking openly about what they are struggling with. Our STUCO President sees the value of vulnerability and believes that “to live a life of genuine faith requires vulnerability; first with yourself, and then with others.” As she leads in her role, she has helped equip students with a greater understanding of what it looks like to walk in this vulnerability that she esteems so much.
Dami has become a face of realness on our small Otterburne campus, and this is an asset for every new student who walks through our doors who does not come from a faith background. She excels at living out her beliefs. This is a big part of who Dami is as a leader. She intentionally extends invitations to her peers to walk alongside her through the difficult questions life conjures up. Our Student President operates under the belief that the best way to make disciples is to “open spaces to inquire with a foundation of relationship.” She adds, “Creating opportunities for the people who do not come from a Christian background to be part of our community is one of my goals in my role,” and so far, she has been succeeding at this.
When asked what advice she’d like to give to our students, Dami responded by saying, “Continue to be open to the possibilities of how you can be shaped and molded by this place. Challenge yourself, and don’t be afraid to experience those uncomfortable places because it brings about so much growth.”
If you haven’t met Jesudamilola yet, and you see her strolling (or more likely dancing) through the halls, make sure you introduce yourself (and maybe salute – she is the president after all). You won’t regret it and you’ll add a remarkable friend to your repertoire.
MADISON FRANKS is in her third year of studies at Providence, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts. Her program major is in the Interdisciplinary Arts with concentrations in English Literature and Sociology.