Darnell K. Williams, a freshman, has an impressive record of civic engagement primarily focused on education opportunity for youth in inner cities, in developing countries, and even on our campus. Motivated by his Guyanese mother who exposed him to the need for education and equal access to education, Darnell at the early age of 12 began participating in humanitarian trips to Caribbean nations to help build and repair schools with his family and church. As president of his high school's National Honor Society, he addressed educational opportunities and needs in his home town of Lima, Ohio. Darnell organized a tutoring program for high school and middle school students, and he organized fundraising for the local food pantry and a coat and hygiene product drive for the homeless. Darnell now serves in Student Government at Wright State, spending his energy on the Legislative Affairs and Accessibility, Health, and Safety Committees. He and his colleagues took up the issue of textbook affordability and prepared testimony for Ohio House Bill 337 that would remove the sales tax on textbooks. He has also founded his own nonprofit, called "Undergraduate EMS," that seeks to improve health and safety for students on campus.
I first became passionate about providing equal education opportunities for those in underrepresented communities and third world countries when my mother explained to me the many trials and tribulations that she, along with others in her home country, dealt with while trying to get an education. During a trip overseas I saw for myself the issues my mother had discussed. I immediately recognized that I needed to help. I returned to those countries over the next few years and helped build schools, tutor and mentor children, and aided the locals in bettering themselves. I have also participated in numerous community outreach initiatives designed to increase the prevalence of minorities in educational settings. The goal of those programs was to make the educational process easier for underrepresented populations to navigate. Another issue that is close to my heart is text book prices and the fight to lower their cost. I lobbied the Ohio House of Representatives in an effort to bring this issue to the forefront. Lastly but certainly not least is a program I coordinated is a book bag drive for underprivileged children in my community. I believe the community needs to work together in order for real change to occur.