Bradley Opere, student body president at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, is a trailblazer in a blazer.
Jason Beaubien, NPR
Kenyan ‘Wonk’ Breaks Barriers As Student Body Prez At UNC
He wasn’t sure he had the right name to run for student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
His first name was pretty ordinary — Bradley. But his last name is Opere — definitely not a familiar-sounding name in the U.S.
“You have to have a white-sounding name to run for office,” says Opere, a business major who’s from Nairobi, Kenya. The ambitious 24-year-old ran anyway.
And with his air of quiet confidence – and the skills he gained from two-years spent at the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg — he won 53 percent of the vote.
Walking across the campus at UNC, Opere in his dark blue blazer stands out amid a sea of Tarheels t-shirts and baggy sweatpants. “I manage about 250 people every day,” says Opere, who’s now a senior, about his role as the head of student government at the prestigious public university.READ MORE