For most students, one of Michigan Student Assembly presidential candidate Sabrina Shingwani’s interests probably seems a bit strange.
“Funding really excites me,” she said. “As boring as that sounds.”
Currently serving as MSA treasurer – and as a sociology major with a sub-concentration in economics, business and society – the LSA junior explained that she likes to see students’ events come together from beginning to end.
“Seeing them from scratch, and then seeing the event completed and done and when everyone came to it, that’s kind of what drew me to funding in general and that’s what drew me to be treasurer,” she said.
Shingwani’s colleagues said there are numerous qualities that would make students support her.
Current MSA President Mohammad Dar said Shingwani works harder than anyone else on the assembly, earning the respect of its members.
“No one has put more time working in the MSA office this year than Sabrina,” Dar said. “Hands down. She puts in more hours than anyone else on MSA. She went above and beyond the call of the job. Really, her best talent is that she brings out the best in everyone else’s ideas.”
Because she’s running on the Michigan Action Party ticket, which won three-quarters of the vote in last year’s election, some have raised questions about whether Shingwani would make MSA more transparent if elected. Many, including MAP’s opponent, the Defend Affirmative Action Party, have criticized MAP on the issue.
In response, Shingwani said MSA needs to look for ways to improve if students outside the organization perceive a problem with the assembly.
“If students are voicing that (transparency) as a concern, then yeah, of course it’s a concern,” Shingwani said. “And we’re addressing that.”
She pointed to a recently passed resolution that requires each representative to write a monthly report about what he or she has done in office. She said the assembly would begin posting these reports on a new website slated for launch in August.
Along with her plans to increase MSA’s transparency, Shingwani, a New York native, pledged to work to connect alumni and LSA students looking for summer jobs and internships and to improve the availability of financial aid resources for LSA students. Shingwani suggested a plan that would realign financial aid advisors so that each student is assigned an advisor, similar to the way academic advising works.
Though Shingwani appears to have some clear ideas for what she’d like to do in the assembly, Business School junior Arvind Sohoni, who’s running on Shingwani’s ticket as the vice presidential candidate, said Shingwani won’t go on a power trip if elected.
“I don’t think she was one of those people that came to Michigan thinking that student government was going to be what she wanted to do,” he said. “I think she just realized how much fun it’s been.”