Oba2

Remember all those things you’ve wanted to do, the places you’ve wanted to go, and the amazing people you’ve wished you could meet? And have you done those things? Not many of us can say we’ve even tried to meet our idols or go to our dream destinations, but passive and wistful are the last words anyone would use to describe Trent’s own Oba Banwo.

Oba is a fourth year Biology major (with an emphasis in Health Sciences) and a student Don in LEC. Lately, it’s been hard not to notice the headway he’s been making on a foreword thinking project he took on in November of last year. From popping up at the well-attended Trent Mudder, to an outpouring of support from his LEC comrades, he’s hard to miss. #GetObatoTheWhiteHouse has been his social media campaign to do just as the hashtag suggests, get him to the White House to meet his idol, President Obama.

Oba looks at Obama as a role model but did not consider meeting Obama a plausible idea. Then he realized that if there was one way it could happen, it was through social media. Like many others, he wondered if there was a formula, so to speak, for making something “go viral” and has since set about making it happen.

Oba has created a GetObatoTheWhiteHouse Facebook group, as well as a Twitter account. He tweets up a storm, particularly to various celebrities whose support would help gain publicity for his efforts.

Oba tells us that this really didn’t turn anything until a few weeks ago when a high school student successfully requested a date with Kate Upton on YouTube and had it work. This story encouraged a slightly discouraged Oba and since then, his efforts have been met with some success. He contacted American writer Dusten Carlson, who posted the story to his website “SocialNewsDaily” and in that way has helped Oba’s cause gain some traction.

We asked Oba, “Why Obama?” and he told us that the reason is simple. Having looked into who Obama was before becoming President, he sees Obama’s story as a reminder of how anyone can achieve anything, without high social class or “connections,” a fact that encourages Oba to “put his eye on the prize” and work towards it.

If he were to meet Obama, we wondered what Oba might ask him. Oba told us he’d ask things like, “What’s the hardest thing about being President?”, “What do you want to do after being in Office?”, “What moment of your presidency so far has resounded with you the most?”, “What do you want your lasting legacy to be after your presidency?” Most importantly, of course, he wonders, “Mac or PC?”
Oba describes the response thus far as phenomenal. He told us “even though everyone thought it was a joke, they were really supportive and optimistic. Now that everyone has realized it is serious, I have been overwhelmed by how helping everyone has been, including strangers. My family, friends, and students have been unbelievably enthusiastic, and that’s been fueling me to keep going.”

Oba also told us, “I realize how ridiculous this project sounds, and it is an incredibly long shot, but I’m going to keep trying and trying, and I’m going to have the time of my life doing it.”

If anything this is a prime example of a healthier way to celebrate the celebrities we look up to. Rather than simply copy or even emulate Obama in his own life, Oba is looking for a real life connection. It’s refreshing to see this much enthusiasm and thought put in during a day and age when so many “role models” are much less deserving of the title than Obama, and when young people are looking to copy lifestyles rather than take inspiration from life stories and accomplishments.

So, Trent, every idea, story, and campaign has a starting place. If Oba’s campaign is to be a success, he acknowledges that he needs the help of his Trent family. We’ve proven before that this school is small but mighty, so here’s how you can help get one of our own all the way from here to the White House.

Oba

Step 1: Make a sign that says #GetObatoTheWhiteHouse (it could be a simple paper design, or something more imaginative)
Step 2: Take a picture of yourself with it
Step 3: Post it on the #GetObatoTheWhiteHouse Facebook group or Tweet it at him (@Oba_Ban)

Good luck Oba!