Malik Balogun felt at home at Clemson University even before he enrolled as a student.
He grew up tailgating before football games. His mother, Sonya Spratley Balogun, is an industrial engineering alumnus who has devoted both time and treasure to her alma mater.
But in talking with his classmates, Malik noticed that some, especially students of color, were missing out on the same sense of community he felt.
“That is something every Clemson student should get to experience, no matter their background, ethnicity or identity,” he said.
Malik, a junior majoring in industrial engineering, wanted to do something about it, so he ran for student-body president.
He and his pick for vice president, Julia Blouin, came out on top in a six-ticket race and are starting to make the transition from campaigning to governing.
One of the top priorities for the new administration is a proposal to work with the city of Clemson to have the First Friday Parade end in a block party downtown.
“Getting all the student organizations in one place to celebrate football season would be a great way to start unifying that student experience, making connections between students across student organizations and cultural gaps,” Malik said. “It has so much potential to be something bigger that makes student organizations around Clemson feel more connected.”
Serving as president will be just the latest chapter in Malik’s Clemson experience. He has been involved in PEER & WISE, worked a co-op with Advoco and is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity Inc., which provided crucial support for his campaign. For this summer, Malik has lined up a technical sales internship with IBM.
He is on track to graduate in May 2023.
Malik said he doesn’t see politics in his future beyond graduation but said he does want to be involved in serving his community.
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