Karim Awwad, an American citizen who grew up in Jordan, was determined to be different from his 10 cousins and brother. He wanted to attend school in the United States but not Moraine Valley Community College like they did. But after several discussions, they influenced him to choose Moraine Valley. Nearly a year later, the Orland Park resident not only attends Moraine Valley but he now represents all of its students. He was sworn in on April 15 as the student trustee for 2015-16.

“It’s a great honor to represent all students. My goal is to listen to the needs of my fellow students and to be a fair and respected voice for them on the Board of Trustees. My hope is that I will work closely with college administrators and the board as I represent the voice of our diverse student population. I want to make sure I fulfill my responsibilities and always, always stay connected— I will represent the college as a whole, not just a particular vantage point,” said Awwad, 19, who was born in Chicago but grew up in Amman, Jordan.

It was baby steps initially that got Awwad to where he is today. “My brother and cousins explained the benefits, so I came to orientation in the summer and decided to stay one year and see what happens,” he said. What happened was that he decided to become more involved in campus life through clubs and organizations— he holds the position of treasurer for the Student Government Association, the Inter-Club Council representative for the Arab Student Union and a member of the Model Illinois Government Club. He now acknowledges that “all of these opportunities would not have been very possible if I had gone to a four-year school. Moraine Valley is truly a place of opportunities waiting to be found.”

As student trustee, Awwad, wants to promote involvement to all Moraine Valley students. “Students need to know what opportunities are available on campus—we are fortunate to be here,” he said.

He believes he will have a real connection with all students—local and international students. He attended high school in Amman, where he was active in different extra-curriculum activities including student council and Model United Nations. “I understand what local students and international students are looking for in their education and campus experience, that’s why I hope to see a change in some common issues that affect us as students and to make Moraine Valley a convenient choice for everyone, local and international students included.”

Awwad, who is majoring in economics/finance with a minor in political science, said that when he was told that he had been elected student trustee, “it was the best moment of my life. But now the real work starts. I want to make sure by the end of the coming year that at least I represented all of our students—I delivered the issues the best possible way, and that no particular group of students were alienated or otherwise disregarded.”

Awwad ran on a platform that included student involvement, sustainability and whatever else is on the minds of students. “If students have issues, I will listen to them, and make sure to deliver them to the board, and come up applicable solutions,” he said. Awwad also would like to make sure students take advantage of the college’s internship program. “Being involved outside class will shape your personality, make you gain life skills, and most importantly make each of us unique in the real world,” he said.

After he completes his term in April 2016, he has his eye on attending the University of Illinois to earn his bachelor’s degree and then pursue an MBA. After that he may start his own business or work in the government sector either in the U.S. or Jordan—wherever the best opportunity arises.

For more information, call Mark Horstmeyer, director of College and Community Relations, at
(708) 974-5275, or e-mail: horstmeyer@morainevalley.edu.