You don’t expect the ‘smooth guy at the bar’ to be the guy who likes watching Anime in his free time.
However, Lionel Attawia, Student Governor and all around campus good guy is anything but stereotypical.
Attawia shared a different side of this ‘smooth guy at the bar,’ persona.
He took the opportunity to step away from the stress of academic life and shifted his focus to helping others in need.
Traveling to Ghana and Sierra Leone for seven months in West Africa, Attawia worked in schools and orphanages. Also, he volunteered for churches in Africa, playing guitar and just building relationships with kids.
Commuting to a boarding school, Attawia taught English and math to children ages’ kindergarten to eighth grade. He described those experiences [eating with teachers, hearing their stories and just being with all the children] as one of the most rewarding parts of his trip.
“It was really, really humbling to be there,” Attawia said.
One church stood out for him as he participated as a volunteer guitarist. The way that the Pastor and the community had a reverence for the Word of God was enlightening.
“I really enjoyed seeing people live their lives in a very honest and real way,” Attawia said.
An unexpected reward that he took from the trip was the fact that the people he met there impacted his life far more than the differences he thought he made in their lives.
“The entire journey was challenging,” Attawia said
He shared a story where he was visiting a house in a village; he had to walk through a really dark, woodsy area, where there was barely any lighting and he had to use the flashlight on the back of his phone to navigate his path. He saw his life flashing before his eyes.
This was a defining moment for him, knowing he was completely alone if something did happen.
Attawia made it through, but facing challenges without knowing the outcomes really resonated with him.
Attawia is an active member of the fraternity Phi Delta Theta, executive member of the Western Activities Council, and has been President of RHA, Griffon Edge leader, an English department tutor and been apart of many other organizations on campus as well.
Alex Atkinson, who met Attawia through WAC and then recruited him for Greek Life, believes his personality is a rare find here on campus.
“Lionel’s talent to connect with everyone he meets and his passion for everything he does makes him an amazing leader that Missouri Western is truly lucky to have,” Atkinson said.
With Attawia being so involved with organizations here on campus, he has to choose his battles when it comes to schoolwork and a social life. He can confirm that academics and grades will always reflect those choices.
What Attawia is looking forward to next is playing a bigger role in rescuing women subjected to sex trafficking, specifically in Cambodia.
Ashley Filipelli knows Attawia through Greek Life on campus. When asked what she thinks about him, Filipelli said, “He believes in the small things.”
Filipelli believes Attawia takes time out of his day to stop and say hello, he doesn’t just ask, he listens.
If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.
With everything that Attawia is doing, he has his community believing too.
Can’t wait to see what he does next.