As a first-year student, Saaed Dabbour was not involved in many organizations on campus. Now, three years later, the junior business marketing major is involved in 13 different student organizations.
Dabbour was born and raised in Saudi Arabia and said he experienced a bit of a culture shock when he first moved to America. Now, thanks to his heavy involvement with organizations on campus, he said he has adjusted well to life in America and specifically USD.
“There definitely was a culture shock, but once you get involved, you learn to understand and enjoy USD a lot,” he said.
Dabbour said his involvement in so many organizations has helped him enjoy his time at USD more and pushed him to grow his leadership skills.
“Student organizations provide me with the opportunity to incorporate the business skills I learn within my major, with the skills gained throughout my experience with organizations,” Dabbour said. “(The organizations I am involved in) strive to provide a wide array of opportunities for all students on campus, and I think that’s something that sets us apart from other institutions.”
Dabbour joined his first student organization, African Student Association (ASA), in the spring of 2016. He said ASA is special to him because it was the first organization he joined and it inspired him to become more involved on campus.
Diamond Hall, a junior sociology major, and ASA member, met Dabbour through the Center for Diversity & Community. She said Dabbour has been a strong asset to the ASA.
“He is very enthusiastic and very opinionated, but he will do his best to help anyone in need,” she said. “He has grown so much since the first time I saw him. So far, he has taken a variety of leadership roles in student organizations and he was able to conquer tough obstacles throughout his involvement with the CDC and in organizations.”
Since then, Dabbour has become involved in a variety of other groups through the CDC. He also started working there as a marketing student assistant in October 2017.
“I was involved (in the CDC) way back since Spring 2016, my first semester of my freshman year,” Dabbour said. “What I mainly do in the CDC is to really help market events, taking care of events by the student organizations associated in the Center, and also taking care of the Center’s space.”
Dabbour said his time as the marketing student assistant in the CDC has helped him further his marketing education because he gets to put what he learns in classes into practice.
“Being a part of these clubs taught me how to take on a marketing strategy towards these student organizations, like how do we want to be marketed, where is the location, timing and the list goes,” Dabbour said.
Santina Lokonobei, a senior biology major and ASA member, met Dabbour on her first day at USD. She said she was instantly drawn to his bright personality.
“He was just this loud personality and was super amazing and made me laugh,” she said. “He is just a spectacular individual and ever since then, I have been friends with him. My USD has always experience had him in it.”
Lokonobei said Dabbour is a natural leader because of his ability to speak about topics most people are too afraid to speak about.
“Saeed is amazing at being the voice for individuals who are afraid to speak for themselves,” Lokonobei said. “He often will speak out for others and comment on things that others are afraid of. He is not afraid to speak up for groups that he is not apart of. I think that is one of the aspects a leader needs to have, they need to speak up for everyone who looks up to them. He just has this beautiful personality that makes people want to be friends with him. I think that is why he has been so successful as a leader in the groups he’s involved in.”
Initially, when applying for colleges, Dabbour said he was drawn to USD, but had planned on only staying for a few semesters. Now, six semesters later, he said he has no intention of leaving USD before graduation.
“(Getting involved) improved my time at USD tremendously, the opportunities the CDC gave me and the leadership growth I’ve gotten to have was honestly an amazing experience,” Dabbour said. “(As for my remaining semesters I am) hoping for continuity with all these student organizations and for future incoming students to be involved and carry on these student organizations and the students develop leadership skills.”