Zahara Osman shares how getting involved impacted her college experience

Minnesota State University, Mankato senior Zahara Osman shares how she lives by the campus slogan,“Big ideas. Real-world thinking,” while being involved in many aspects of campus life.

Majoring in aviation and double minoring in business administration and music industry and entertainment, Osman still finds time to give back to the Mankato community and indulge herself in campus activities. 

Osman went into college undecided when starting her freshman year during the spring semester of 2018. 

“It was crazy because I got accepted on a Wednesday, Friday was my orientation, and on Monday classes started,” Osman said. 

Originally planning to take a gap year after graduation, she ultimately chose MSU since it was close to home, as she lives in Mankato.

“Coming in during spring semester was challenging because everyone already had their friends established, so my first couple weeks were just going to class, library and home. So I thought, ‘What can I do to make friends?’ So I walked to student activities and that’s when I ran into Karen [MSU’s director of community engagement] and she asked if I’d become a volunteer for her.” 

From then on, Osman started volunteering at Campus Kitchen that semester preparing sandwiches leading into summer of 2018. 

After that summer of volunteering Osman was offered the shift lead position, and since then goes to Panera every Thursday during closing hours to pick up donations and drop them off at Campus Kitchen. 

In addition, Osman later became a senator for the student body at-large during the 2020 school year. 

“The reason why I joined was so I could advocate for students and give them a voice,” Osman said. 

As the at-large senator she does not cover a specific department, but rather aids and all different types of departments. 

Her interest in student advocacy then relates to her role in the Student Allocation Committee (SAC).

From being a member of SAC last year to now the current chair along with other students, SAC makes budget recommendations to Student Government following the budget presentations.

“The whole student fees are close to $3 million, and we make recommendations to the department and act as the recommending body,” Osman said.

SAC also deals with any issues regarding ROS programs and travel funding related to education. 

When speaking about the impact she has made through her time here she voiced the importance of building community. 

“Anywhere I go I want to build a community like I built here. I know all the benefits you get and the impact you have by volunteering,” Osman shared.

Being highlighted as February’s Student Affairs Maverick Moment Honoree, recipients are awarded as they foster the university’s slogan.

“When I thought about it, I thought ‘You know what, it does make sense’ because I feel like for the past four years I’ve been living by that slogan. You can interpret it in so many ways, by applying what you learn and solving problems and making a difference in people’s lives,” Osman expressed.

One of her proudest accomplishments is her hand in fighting food insecurity on campus. This issue came to light in the height of COVID-19, as many students were left with slim food options available to them.

“I’ve seen the impact I’ve made, especially with fighting food insecurity. I am happy I am part of that and we are doing our best to make it better,” Osman stated.

Write to Julia Barton at Julia.Barton@mnsu.edu

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