Ben Shakespear Shared Gratitude and Excitment for His Time Spent at Minnesota State Mankato

Ben Shakespear, a native of Sydney Australia, moved to Minnesota three years ago to enroll at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Although Shakespear is a long way from home, he has made a home here at Minnesota State Mankato.

Political Science major with a nonprofit leadership minor. Shakespear has become active in the international community, the Minnesota State Student Association (MSSA) and Greek organizations— all of which have provided practical learning experiences outside of the classroom.

Shakespear chose Minnesota State Mankato because of its thriving international student population and because of the Cultural Contribution Scholarship that is awarded to all international students who are able to maintain a 2.5 GPA and complete 25 hours of service hours to the local community each semester.

In addition to his involvement among the international community, Shakespear has been involved in MSSA for the last three years. He’s served as Senator, Vice-President and in 2014-15, he will be the Speaker of the Student Association. “A lot of people hear the words ‘student government’ and cringe,” Shakespear says. “But in all honesty this organization does some amazing things for students, including a free attorney during the school year, a rental textbook program, and a rental car service.”

Becker was undecided about what major she wanted to pursue when she first came to Minnesota State Mankato. Because she had no idea what majors to even explore, her registration advisor encouraged her to sign up for the First Year Experience course. During this course, she was connected to her undecided advisor, Sara Granberg-Rademacker. With Granberg-Rademaker’s help, Becker started exploring various resources around campus to help narrow her interests.

Shakespear’s involvement in MSSA has taught him the importance of civic engagement and advocacy. He has realized that MSSA “has been an extraordinary addition to [his] college experience” because he is able to join “a dedicated group of students lobbying [for their peers] behind the scenes at the administrative, state and federal levels.

Another organization Shakespear has joined is the Sigma Nu fraternity. His involvement with the Greeks has provided him valuable life lessons that can’t be learned from a textbook. He has been able to endure lessons and experiences of leadership, academics and social skills the life-long friends.

Shakespear can already see that his involvement in many different organizations on campus has impacted his experience at Minnesota State Mankato as well as his personal development. As he considers finishing his studies in the near future and what it will mean to be an alum of Minnesota State Mankato, he also sees how important alumni are to the University. “To the Alumni, thank you for what you have already done and what you will do in the future for this great institution,” Shakespear says. “The recent future has seen what started as a small teacher’s college and has expanded to become the top public university in the state of Minnesota, none of which could not have been achieved without all of you.”

Shakespear also has a message to share with the incoming students: “You are yet to realize what a fantastic University this is but you soon will, he says. “Minnesota State Mankato gives you the opportunity to join one (or more) of more than 230 registered student organizations, watch Division I hockey at its best, advocate, be a part of a massive social force with the Women’s and LGBT centers, find yourself, fall in love… and out… and then in again, change your community and the world, participate in a vast array of academic programs with experts from around the world and explore your big ideas with real-world thinking. Jump on every opportunity to serve your fellow students and your community—only then will you get the most out of your education here. Go Mavericks!”

As Shakespear waits for the upcoming academic year to begin, he is starting to look forward to what is yet to come. He mentions that he wants “to squeeze everything out of what’s left of my experience at Minnesota State Mankato—there are so many classes left untaken, so many Maverick victories yet to watch, friends to meet and discussions to enjoy.”

This story highlights students, faculty, staff, and/or events from Student Affairs Offices fostering big ideas and real-world thinking on campus and in the community.