Benjamin Forrest, a second year student at Frostburg State University, is a student leader committed to ensuring that students' voices and perspectives are represented in decision-making at the University. He is one of four students serving on the University Advisory Council, a group composed of leaders of our faculty, staff, and student shared governance bodies. He has demonstrated a deep commitment to alleviating polarization between groups. In his role as student affairs chair of the Student Government Association, he has facilitated conversations between students and local law enforcement officials to ensure effective communication and reduce stereotypes that may exist among both groups. Ben has also been an active participant in our town halls that are designed to openly address difficult, controversial, and complex issues. Prior to his enrolling here, Ben served as an Eagle Scout; his project focused on increasing the safety of the neighborhood surrounding his church. Through his volunteer work, he has acquired considerable insight into the most critical needs of our most vulnerable populations. Ben understands the role poverty plays in preventing many individuals from pursuing the opportunities routinely available to others; he is committed to developing partnerships focused on reducing poverty in our community.
From a very young age my parents instilled in me that no matter the situation you find yourself in, you are always in a position to help someone. That belief was reinforced when I volunteered with my grandmother at Children In Need, Inc., a non-profit that provides children basic necessities such as clothing, and the Washington County Community Free Clinic, sorting medications that were distributed to low-income patients. I gained insight into how poverty diminishes the quality of life of many members of our community. These experiences taught me that it is vital to remember that we, as members of local, state, national, and world communities, are only as strong as our weakest member. On campus, my focus is advocating for students' interests and well-being, and doing what I can to build bridges that can mitigate the political polarization that is dividing our country. In the community, I am committed to partnerships to address poverty and the hurdles it presents for those who are trying to create better lives for themselves and their families. Finally, I am continuing to explore ways to contribute to the safety of our community by working closely with law enforcement agencies.