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Presidential passion: sitting down with Daniel Acheampong

By Leah Ruth

Section: Features

February 4, 2011

PHOTOS BY: Alan Tran/The Hoot

Student Union President Daniel Acheampong ’11 has an incredible ability to make anyone feel right at home. With his easy smile and quick laugh, he can make them feel heard, valued and appreciated.

When Acheampong was seven, he moved with his family from Ghana to Brooklyn. There he grew into a young man who loved to read, travel and play sports. He attended Louis D. Brandeis High School, where he was the president of the National Honor Society.

When he was applying for colleges, his college advisor suggested he apply for a Posse Scholarship. Getting the scholarship, he said, was one of the best things that had ever happened to him. “I became a part of a great organization that really has a mission of bringing the best out of students, it took me to many wonderful places, and I’ve met a lot of inspiring people,” he said.

After Acheampong had been accepted to the Posse program, he was looking through a list of schools to apply to and saw Brandeis. He was immediately drawn to it because of the name it shared with his high school, but after doing some research, he knew it was the right college. “There’s just so much spirit, so much passion, so much purpose, such a social justice mission to hold students from the beginning to the end and make us aware of global society and our ability to make an impact,” he said.

As the captain of both the varsity soccer and varsity basketball teams in high school, Acheampong was no stranger to leadership positions when he joined the Student Union. Second semester of his first year at Brandeis, he became an assistant treasurer. He later became treasurer, and last year was elected to be the president. “After having been in the Student Union for so long, I’ve learned so much about the great service that the Union provides—to amplify students voices and advocate for them. It’s such an important thing, such an important responsibility,” he said.

As president, Acheampong hopes the student body will recognize that the Student Union has represented them through university transitions like the searches for a new provost and senior vice presidents.

“As president, I hope that students will know that the Student Union is here for students, it was developed and built by students. When I graduate, I want students to know that this is an organization for students to make sure their voices are heard and they are being included.”

His face lights up as he brags about the students he represents, clearly as inspired by them as he hopes they are by him.

“Brandeis students have so many great ideas, I wish I had more time to see them and to attend the events that they hold,” he said.

At a conference, Acheampong met Maurice Coleman, whom he now considers his mentor. He has always taken one thing Coleman said directly to heart: “Service is the rent that we pay for the space that we occupy in this world.” Acheampong has always been involved in community service, and that passion is something he plans to continue for the rest of his life. After graduation, he will return to work at Goldman Sachs, where he has interned. Then he hopes to attend graduate school and get a joint business and law degree. “I just want to help people, and I know this may sound cliché, but it’s what I really want to do,” he said.

If there’s one word that defines Acheampong and his approach to life and his love for the Brandeis community, it’s passion.

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