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March 24, 2010 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2010-03-24

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SA senior Yousef Rabhi got an
early start on political activism
when, at age three, he helped
clean up Mallets Creek in Ann Arbor to
raise awareness about urban pollution.
The involvement hasn't stopped
Perhaps it's no surprise then that
Rabhi is currently immersed in the
most significant campaign of his politi-
cal career: his own.
In a group whose members range in
age from late 30s to early 60s, 21-year-
old Rabhi is the youngest candidate
vying for a spot on the Washtenaw
County Board of Commissioners.
Rabhi, who is running as a Demo-
crat, said that years of political activ-
ism have made him not just a qualified
candidate, but a formidable one as well.
His political career is marked by
several key turning points.
First, Rabhi arrived on the Univer-
sity's campus a wide-eyed idealist with
visions of radical social change.
"When I first came to campus I was
full of inspiration," he said. "I was.
ready to change the world."
However, Rabhi said his experi-
ences taught him to set more realistic
goals, saying "The University (showed
me) the challenges one faces as an
From his early involvement in
University groups like Michigan
Peaceworks and SOLE - Students
Organizing for Labor and Economic
Equality - Rabhi said he learned first
hand that social change is a gradual
"The important thing is to never get
discouraged," he said. "Every step is a
From Page 5B
on the Wolverines at the Big House
with his dad every football Saturday.
"I was pretty much a Michigan
maniac my whole life, and it was
always a dream of mine to be able to
come here," White said.
Davis said she was set on attending a
smaller school but knew if she wanted
to keep skating with White, she would
have to don the maize and blue.
"I decided I'd give Michigan a try,
and I'm so glad I did," Davis said. "It
was the best decision in the world."
After returning from Vancouver,
the Olympians didn't have much time
to celebrate their win in Ann Arbor.
White said it was "back to the grind" as
they continued training for the World
Championships in Italy, where the two

step in the right direction."
As a freshman, he and 11 other
members of SOLE were arrested after
holding a sit-in in President Mary Sue
Coleman's office demanding the Uni-
versity tighten its code of conduct for
apparel suppliers.
According to Rabbi, the arrest was a
critical juncture in his life.
"Getting arrested - it wasn't really
a wake-up call, but afterward I real-
ized there were other ways to affect
change," Rabhi told the Daily in Janu-
ary. "Politics is one of them."
Rabhi subsequently joined the board
of the Ann Arbor Democratic Party
and eventually became its vice chair
for campus relations. He also founded
and led a student group endorsing
Dennis Kucinich in the months leading
up to the 2008 presidential election.
Last August, Rabhi got a taste of
local campaigning when he worked on
current Ann Arbor City Councilmem-
ber Steve Kunselman's (D - Ward 3)
election bid.
The work mainly involved student
outreach, Rabhi said.
When the primary election arrived,
Rabhi said he went to student neigh-
borhoods and encouraged them to
vote, in some cases walking people to
the polling station himself.
Kunselman ended up winning the
primary election by six votes, according
to an Aug. 4 article in the Daily.
In the article, Councilmember Kun-
selman said Rabhi's work directly con-
tributed to his victory.
"I feel pretty confident in sayingthat
it was the student vote that tipped the
scale," Kunselman said. "And Yousef
gave me a presence in those (student)
neighborhoods that I had not had in
previous races."
Rabhi's prior political activism con-
vinced him that not only was he inter-
ested in the commissioner position, but
he was qualified for it as well.
"I'm only 21-years old and I have all
this experience already," Rabhi said. "I
have proven my ability to serve in the
compete this week.
Though Davis and White spend
most of their time training off campus,
both said the University community
has recognized them for their achieve-
ments at the Winter Games.
White cited one instance at Zinger-
man's Deli when a group of Univer-
sity students congratulated him, while
Davis said she went to Good Time
Charley's for a friend's birthday and
people wouldn'tcstop buying her drinks.
In addition to student recognition,
the University Board of Regents hon-
ored the ice dancers with a framed
commendation at their monthly meet-
ing last week. During the meeting,
President Mary Sue Coleman called for
a recess to allow time for the regents to
greet and take pictures with the ath-
letes - and their medals.
Due to various public appearances,
White and Davis said they have not yet

The Board of Commissioners is
charged with assigning state funding to
cities and townships, as well as setting
budgets countywide. Rabhi said he's
running both to help defend key ser-
vices the county provides, like health
care for the working poor and homeless
shelters, and "to make sure the commu-
nity's voice is heard."
Rabhi, who's running in the student-
heavy 11th district, faces competition
from two other Democrats, LuAnne
Bullington and Michael Freed, accord-
ing to Jennifer Beauchamp, a Washt-
enaw County Deputy Clerk.
Nevertheless, Rabhi is confident that
he can win, especially with community
To that end, he has already garnered
public support from several influential
local residents, including Ann Arbor
City Councilmember Mike Anglin (D -
Ward 5).
In an interview with the Daily, Ang-
lin said he considers Rabhi clearly ready
for the Commissioner position.
"I think he's quite qualified," Anglin
said. "And not only does he know grass-
roots (campaigns), he's participated in
Rabhi's current campaign work
includes getting donations, designing a
website and finalizing a campaign logo,
all as he prepares for the Aug. 3 primary.
Though he has confronted the reali-
ties of local political activism, Rabhi
said he has not lost the sense of hope
and optimism that led him to political
activism in the firstplace.
"There's something in the eyes of
our generation," Rabhi said. "I feel like
we're on the cusp of a better future."
WHY: P.. , T /'. 11AC 1 V V:

Sacrifice. It's a word that's cer-
tainly familiar to Michigan
gymnast Kent Caldwell these
days. But the way he uses the word, it
doesn't seem like such a bad thing.
As a result of his decision to
double major in Cognitive Science
and Behavior as well as Fine Art,
Caldwell is a fifth-year senior in
both LSA and the School of Art and
Design - he also happens to be the
epitome of a student-athlete at the
He's known from the start of his
academic career that it would take
five years to accomplish his goals,
and as a result, he's taken advantage
of the spectrum of academic and
artistic offerings on campus in addi-
tion to stepping up to the challenges
of a varsity schedule.
Fortunately, the plan worked out
well for Caldwell this year when he
was able to use his final year of eli-
gibility and compete for the Wolver-
ines once more. (Caldwell missed last
season with a fractured fibula.)
If taking 16 to 17 credits a semester
on top of daily workouts at the Coli-
seum - not to mention extracurricu-
lar activities - means less down time
or sleep, those are sacrifices Caldwell
said he is more than happy to make.
"I feel like gymnastics keeps me

on my academic game; they help football and basketball. And while
each other," Caldwell said. "I'm able most students have spent much of the
to come into the gym and not think winter bemoaningsub-par seasons in
about school for a while, and it gives those same major sports, the Michi-
me a break. When I'm at school, I gan men's gymnastics squad has qui-
get a break from the gym. I can keep etly inched itself closer and closer to
those two parts of my life sort of dis- the top of its sport, even earning a
tilled. Because of that, it strengthens No. 1 ranking for a two-week period
both components." last month.
Caldwell has been selected as both The rankings are calculated on
a College Gymnastics Association a purely mathematical basis, but
Academic All-American and Aca- Caldwell said there was something
demic All-Big Ten three times, and special about knowing his team was
his outstanding academic perfor- considered the nation's best, even if
mance earned him a nomination for the ranking was fleeting.
a Marshall Scholarship - awarded to "It's cool to be able to tell other stu-
graduates from U.S. colleges or uni- dents, 'Hey, we're ranked No. 1 right
versities with a minimum GPA of 3.7 now,' " he said. "But at the end of the
for a chance to study in the United day, we're really looking at each per-
Kingdom. formance throughout the season, and
On a team loaded with upperclass- (asking) 'are we improving?'"
men, the redshirt senior fits right Last year's men's gymnastics team
in with teammates he's competed was co-Big Ten Champion - along
alongside for years. "Chemistry" is with the University of Illinois - and
a word often overused in sports, but finished second in the NCAA Tour-
for this year's squad, it's the perfect nament.
term to sum up how well a team with Caldwell said the ranking created
just two freshmen and two true soph- "some pressure and expectations"
omores can work together. The team for this season, especially given the
dynamic is nothing new. veteran-laden roster. As the team
"We all understand each other looks toward the postseason that
really well," Caldwell said. "We have begins in two weeks, the Wolverines
such good gymnasts. It's so cool to know they can rely on their veterans,
be a part of that, and to be training including Caldwell on both floor and
alongside these guys who are incred- vault, to anchor their squad.
ible at what they do." See CALDWELL, Page 8B
Most students
on campus don't
follow the men's WH'O: K E .N T CA LDWXTL L,
gymnastics team -
or at least not with WHAT: MEN'S GYMNAS TICS
the intensity they ..'.'..'''.
reserve for the rev- WHY: 5CHO1L0 A R ATjHl ET
enue sports like

chosen where they plan to display their
At the time of the interview last
week, White said he usually carries
it for "safekeeping," but believes he'll
showcase it in the library at his house
in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. - where he
keeps all his medals. Davis said her
medal was on her kitchen counter but
that she wants to frame it and display
it on a wall.
"Something besides tucking it
away," she said. "You know we don't
want to hide it. It's something we
should be proud of."
When asked about their future
goals, Davis said they're not done skat-
ing, and the 2014 Winter Olympics
Games are "definitely a possibility."
"Going for gold again would be an
amazing experience, and we haven't
ruled that out," White said.

From Page 4B
and hospital administrators, Pandey
* noticed a lack of communication.
" "The villagers didn'thave enough
: knowledge about health care. They
didn't realize the doctors there
. were legitimate doctors who could
. help them get better," Pandey said.
* Now, thousands of miles from the
humid hospitals in Honduras or the
* suburbs of India, Pandey has not
. forgotten her experiences. She said
: her time abroad didn't "quench her
t thirst" to enact change.
. "My long-term career goal is
. starting my own non-profit where I
* can work to deliver. low cost medi-
cine and medical equipment to plac-
. es around the world," she said.


H ailing from Atlanta, Ga., She has held a number of posi-
Lauren Washington chose tions with various University orga-
to come to the University nizations, including serving on the
because she wanted a big school that executive board of her multicultural
had a strong athletic tradition and council, holding leadership positions
also provided her a with wealth of in her sorority - Delta Sigma Theta
opportunities - the fact that her Sorority Inc. - and serving as an
entire family are University alums LSA representative in MSA. She also
may have played a part in her decision served as co-chair of the minority
as well. affairs commission on MSA - a posi-
Through her four years on campus, tion Washington said was very impor-
Washington seems to have made her tant to her.
desire a reality. "I kind of just dabble "I did a few things on MSA," she
in anything, wherever work needs said. "My favorite was co-chair of
to get done," said Washington, the the Minority Affairs Commission,
current president of the University's just because there are a lot of issues
chapter of the National Pan-Hellenic there that are very close and dear to
Council - an organization of nine my heart"
historically African-American frater- In her current role as president of
nities and sororities, according to the the University's National Pan-Hel-
NPHC website. lenic Council, Washington serves as
This hard work ethic has followed spokesperson for the group and helps
Washington since freshman year plan all the events the organization
when her involvement be an. sponsors like the annual Step show,
as well as monthly community ser-
WHO: LA U R EN WA SH NG TON vice events and programs. Last year,
................................................................... Washington served as secretary for
[WHA. AT L.PANHELL NIC , .TC L "It's a lot of work that goes into
S ..........i "........ "......i ................... .... ...-.....i..... I' lto"o k th tg e t
WHY: E UCATI ION E(UALI ITY (being president)," Washington said.
..........................i.......................................,...*See WASHINGTON, Page 7B

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