Benjamin Bourgoin, St. Cloud State University
Ben has been an effective strategist and hard-working leader in student organizations and activities that address complex social issues and injustice. He has been instrumental in organizing campus-community efforts to educate and advocate for underrepresented, immigrant, and refugee populations in our community. In fall 2014, Ben worked with many on and off-campus constituent groups to hold the community-wide “We Are One” Coalition Rally & March in support of community members facing anti-Muslim sentiments – in order to better educate the community and foster peace-building. Over 200 people participated in this event and many have continued to be involved in the on-campus teach-ins sponsored by SRSO. In his role as President of the Social Responsibility Student Organization (SRSO) on campus, Ben has lead the recent effort to host ongoing educational rallies and teach-in sessions relating to human rights, racism, injustice, and the like – in the wake of the Michael Brown and other related incidents around the country.
Ben has a true passion for working across race, culture, economics, class, ability and more. In addition to being President of SRSO, he is also involved in the Active Minds student organization – for which he was the main organizer of the “End the Stigma” speaker and event.
-Earl H. Potter III, President
Since my childhood, I’ve always been involved in school or at church or in my community. I loved being involved with student groups–in high school I was in marching band, speech, quiz bowl, and theater. And especially from my church I was instilled with the value of mission, of meaningful action in the community. Through church I have done two mission trips, one in Arkansas on a heifer ranch and the other in Benton Harbor, Michigan where we were painting a school in a very low-income neighborhood. Ever since learning about alternative energy, the pollution associated with oil and now with fracking, my passion is in our relation to the environment, and related socio-political issues. To that end, I am currently a co-leader of the Social Responsibility Student Organization, which organizes events to educate people about these issues and to facilitate discussion. We have co-sponsored the four-day long Global Social Responsibility Conference, as well as hosting panels or discussions about immigrant human rights, police brutality and racism, and we have more planned for the future. My vision is that every person can break through their self-doubt and realize their dreams to create a positive world!