“I believe the future is always made by your present activities” -Sanjaya Balami

Each semester since Spring 2015, the Centennial Student Union honors eight students selected for campus student leadership and CSU student staff excellence. Nominated by staff members from Student Affairs, the Kearney International Center, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, selected students are recognized on the BEST Board, a 55-foot display in the CSU Hearth Lounge created for Boasting Exceptional Student Talent.

Sanjaya Balami, as 2019-20 International Student Association President, played the lead role in organizing a March, 2020, emergency relief effort for International Students put in jeopardy by the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic. While the University was just putting together a response to address the unique needs of International Students, Sanjay, Mohammad Sajal (ISA Vice President), and the ISA Board of Directors moved quickly, found a private donor, and distributed $3,500 among more than 70 international students from a wide assortment of countries.

Sanjay Balami has also helped the Mankato Kiwanis Club for years with its Sibley Park Holiday Lights program, and put in long hours cleaning and fixing stuff at the Kiwanis’ Camp Patterson which is a kids camp located nearby on the shores of Lake Washington.

In Sanjaya’s own words:

How has campus involvement and/or campus employment enhanced YOUR COLLEGE EXPERIENCE?

Involvement in different activities and engaging in different leadership inspired me to make myself a a promising leader.

How has campus involvement and/or campus employment enhanced YOUR FUTURE?

I believe the future is always made by your present activities and my future will be more inspiring and involvement to find a solution to people who need, where I can lead them to a good directions.

How has campus involvement/campus employment enhanced YOUR LIFE?

It helped me to become strong and helped me to grow.

Provide one or more detailed examples where your campus involvement/work experience made you a better leader.

Being an International Student Association, we were able to put the international flags around CSU to welcome the international students and to reflect the diversity among campus, when there was a COVID-19 situation, being a president of International Student Association I immediately appealed for a support, and from the private donor I was able to collect around $3700 that we distributed among 10 different countries as a relief a week before our school started the relief program. Being an Off-Campus Senator, we were able to bring a realtime GPS to all the buses and bring the federal funded Sunday bus service as fellow international were not able to get any transportation on Sunday. Being a president of International Student Association collaborating with the president of Student government, we were able to break down the health insurance into two different payments as it was very difficult to pay as a single payment, helped to minimize the Cultural Contribution hours into point system where now international students do not have to struggle to get hours like before and also helped to get the International Grant for our International Students. As being a Nepali Student Community President we were able to bring Nepali Night which was a biggest hit after 5 years in MNSU to reflect our culture.

What advice would you share with fellow students in helping them make the most of their college experience?

I always followed the CSU quotes; “INVOLVE, ENGAGE AND INSPIRE” and I would like them to follow that as well.

Throughout your college experience at Minnesota State Mankato, what has provided the greatest personal growth, memories, satisfaction and/or personal pride.

Unlocked the spectrum of Opportunities, Helped me to grow and become independent, Explore my options and explore outside the classroom and to invest in myself.

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