Isaac Obioma and Abbi Yachini have stepped out of their roles as Student Government Association president and vice president, and they now prepare to take a step toward the graduation podium to accept their diplomas.
While both Obioma and Yachini plan to return to WVU, they acknowledge their time in SGA is over.
“I feel like I did my time, and I had my time,” Yachini said. “I did what I wanted to do, and I think it’s just time to pass on the baton.”
They said they’re willing to provide guidance and advice to future administrations.
Obioma said he’ll be interning at Thunder 11, a New York PR firm, over the summer. Once summer is over, he’ll either extend his internship or work in Morgantown for a year before getting a masters in business administration at WVU. Yachini said she’ll begin graduate school at WVU in the fall, where she’ll be in the higher education administration program.
Obioma said watching the new president, Kate Dye, get sworn in lifted a weight from his shoulders.
“Generally, people have a harder time walking away if they didn’t accomplish what they wanted to accomplish,” Obioma said. “And I think that’s why [Abbi and I] feel pretty at peace about walking away.”
The former president and vice president pair said they’re optimistic about the future of SGA.
“There’s a very, very young SGA right now, in terms of [the] Assembly, and I think that’s a good thing; it’s definitely going to give a fresh perspective,” Yachini said.
Obioma said critics throughout his year in office made him tougher.
“I think when I came into this, I was very concerned about what people thought of me, and I would let that affect how I interacted with people, how I did things, ” Obioma said.
“I’ve learned to look people in the eyes and challenge people,” he said. “And I think it’s made me better.”
Yachini said dealing with criticism strengthened her backbone, and both her and Obioma said the job had increased their patience.
When asked what was one of his most rewarding experiences as president, Obioma said that moment came several months ago, at a vigil for Leah Berhanu held a year after her death. Berhanu was a 21-year-old WVU civil engineering student who was struck and killed by a car on Feb. 1, 2018.
Obioma said Berhanu’s family members thanked him for the work he and SGA did to address pedestrian safety in Morgantown.
“In the moment, I didn’t know how to respond,” Obioma said. “That was a moment that just felt very pure, just really awesome, and it really gave me a lot of energy to keep going through the rest of the semester.”
Obioma said another proud moment came when people thanked him for his work to create a welcoming SGA environment.
Yachini said she was glad to see the diverse and welcoming environment and that she expects that environment to continue.
She said while she couldn’t point to a specific rewarding moment, “Seeing our administration, in every way, our Assembly, our executives, our interns, grow into exceptional leaders over the year was really incredible.”
“We just got to watch it happen,” Yachini said.
“It’s been an incredible honor,” Yachini said. “[I’m] so grateful [of all the support] we’ve received, and I’m even grateful for the criticism we’ve received, because it only made us stronger.”
She said she would cherish her year as vice president forever.
“The lessons I learned definitely changed me as a person,” she said.