Chris Armstrong

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BY ANNA ROZENBERG

Published April 10, 2011

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding former Michigan Student Assembly president Chris Armstrong’s term as MSA president. He was the target of verbal harassment by former Michigan assistant attorney general Andrew Shirvell. In light of this, it’s easy for people to forget everything else Armstrong has done this year.

But Armstrong hasn't.

“I’ve been a part of a lot of really big changes,” Armstrong said.

The push for the University to adopt an open housing policy was one of the most talked-about changes on campus. The goal is to allow students of any gender identification to live with each other in University residence halls. Though the University has only agreed to allow transgender students to live with students of the same gender, Armstrong says the policy is a step in the right direction.

“Even though it wasn’t specifically what people or I wanted, it was a really big step — a step towards something bigger,” said Armstrong.

Armstrong hopes that MSA has a bright future.

“I think the MSA in the future needs to realize they can do amazing things as long as they pick something, focus on it, commit to it and show their passion,” Armstrong said, adding he hopes MSA will start working on issues regarding the University’s environmental sustainability.

He credits the University with teaching him to be passionate about helping the world and to work hard to meet goals.

“This school is constantly teaching me how to learn and care about different issues,” Armstrong said. “I will always say these four years defined me and gave me the opportunity to be who I am, even 50 years from now.”

Armstrong — who was the University's first openly gay MSA president — is graduating with a sociology degree and plans to move to Washington D.C to pursue a career in politics.

“I want to have balance in my life. I want to be able to do a lot of different things — have a social life and a vigorous work life,” Armstrong said.

Despite the negative and unwanted attention he received this year, Armstrong refuses to be hampered by the Shirvell controversy.

“I won't let it define me,” Armstrong said.