SGA President Wants to Sponsor Daily Events and Activities
By Sara Owen, Managing Editor
UNCP’s SGA president Biruk “BK” Kassaw, 20, was once “wild,” but now he has ambitions and big plans for both UNCP and his home continent, Africa.
Born in Ethiopia, he traveled with his family to the United States when he was 7 years old and has since gained citizenship. He hopes to go back and reform the way the African government currently works.
Kassaw said he was a “wild child” growing up and that he regularly received punishment from his teacher, mother, father and uncle. His teacher, who taught him English and math, was also his mother’s best friend.
“Back home when you get in trouble your teacher could actually punish you, so I used to get punished,” Kassaw said.
He said that his teacher would punish him at school when he would “mess up in class,” and then she would go to his home and tell his mother, who was also a teacher. His mother would punish him for the same reason as his teacher, and then he would receive punishments from his father and uncle.
“When I made a mistake, that was basically the chain of reaction,” he said.
He said he would get in trouble for being “outspoken” and telling people the truth as he saw it. He said people did not like that, but that is just the way he is.
“I don’t like sugar-coating it,” he said.
Despite his childhood mischief, Kassaw has grown up to be “open minded,” “spontaneous” and “outspoken.” He said he is “open-minded to try new things.”
“I don’t like narrow-minded things,” he said. “Just because you tell me something…I’m gonna do my own research, I’m gonna check on things before I make my decision.”
He is not proud of his past as a “troublemaker,” but it has led him to see “the other side of life” and gain “perspective.”
“Now when it comes to making decisions, I can actually make an educated decision on a lot of things,” he said.
After graduating from UNCP he would like to possibly enlist in the Air Force and then pursue a master’s degree. He also wants to travel around the world before returning to Africa. He said he wants to be the “first continental president in Africa.”
“America is one country, so why can’t Africa be one too?” he asked rhetorically.
He said he would like to see all of the countries in Africa be like the states in the United States and be under the government of one president. He would like to “unify” the different countries and have them act as states instead of whole countries.
He said he would be “satisfied” if he could get the many countries in Africa to act as “one nation” during his lifetime.
His long term life goal is to help the people of Africa.
His short term goal is to have as many campus events as possible to bring life to the UNCP campus. Kassaw said he wants there to be an event or activity for students every day.
His ambition is to help people. He has left his wild days behind to make a life for himself as a leader at UNCP and one day possibly the continent of Africa.
“As long as I give back to people,” he said.
Kassaw, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, was elected as SGA president during the spring semester and has since made himself a presence on campus. He attends as many campus events as he possibly can. On Aug. 22 he attended and participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge outside the Annex.
Photo by Sara Owen. SGA President Biruk Kassaw attends Convocation on Aug. 18.