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April 13, 2011 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-04-13

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T here has been a lot of contro-
versy surrounding former
Michigan Student Assembly presi-
dent Chris Armstrong's term as MSA
president. He was the target of ver-
bal 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 resi-
dence halls. Though the University
has only agreed to allow transgender
students to live with students of the
same gender, Armstrong says the pol-
icy is a step in the right direction.
"Even though it wasn't specifi-
cally 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 amaz-
ing things as long as they pick some-

thing, focus
on it, com-
mit to it and
show their
passion,"
Armstrong
said, add-
ing he hopes
MSA will
start work-
ing on issues
regarding the
University's
environmen-
tal sustain-
ability.
He credits
the Universi-
ty with teach-
ing him to be
passionate about helping the world
and to work hard to meet goals.
"This school is constantly teach-
ing me how to learn and care about
different issues," Armstrong said.
"I will always say these four years
defined me and gave me the oppor-
tunity to be who I am, even 50 years
from now."
Armstrong - who was the Uni-
versity's first openly gay MSA presi-
dent - is graduating with a sociology
degree and plans to move to Wash-

J t is said that nobody is perfect.
But redshirt junior Kellen
Russell's wrestling record would
suggest otherwise.
Russell, who recently com-
pleted a perfect regular season
with 39-straight victories en
route to a national championship
in his weight class, isn't like most
top-ranked wrestlers. He doesn't
usually win by huge margins. He
doesn't rack up pins. But he just
doesn't lose.
Wrestling is unlike any other
sport. When on the mats, just one
mistake in _one split second can
instantly turn into a pin: match
over. Everyone makes mistakes
- including wrestlers - but not
Russell, at least not in his last 39
competitions.
Michigan wrestling coach Joe
McFarland often says Russell has
a "quiet confidence" about him.
His teammates, who say he tends
to keep to himself, praise his focus
and determination, neither of
which cease after he walks off the
mats.
"If you work hard in wrestling,
it's just going to carry over into
working hard in the classroom,"

Russell said. "It's the same as if
you slack off in the classroom, then
you might start slacking off on the
mats, too. So, I think it's important
that if you're working hard at one,
you've got to work hard at it all."
A year from now, the High
Bridge, New Jersey native will be
set to graduate from the School
of Rinesiology.
And though he
will leave Mich-
igan, he doesn't
plan to leave
collegiate wres-
tling. Russell
wants to con-
tinue competi-
tive wrestling
and ultimately
return to college
as a wrestling
coach.
But for now,
the University
is fortunate to
have its nation-
al champion
returning for
one more sea-
son.
"I have

another year, so I've got to start
training for next year," he said,
trying to catch his breath after
winning national title number
one.
And with his work ethic, Rus-
sell is sure to be a contender in the
championship next year.
- DANIEL WASSERMAN

ington D.C to pursue a career in poli-
tics.
"I want to have balance in my life.
I want to be able to do a lot of differ-
ent things - have a social life and a
vigorous work life," Armstrong said.
Despite the negative and unwant-
ed attention he received this year,
Armstrong refuses to be hampered
by the Shirvell controversy.
, "I won't let it define me," Arm-
strong said.
- ANNA ROZENBERG

S tudents have to be extremely
talented to make it into the
musical theatre department at
the University. But to be one of its
brightest stars takes determination
and a knack for teamwork, which
is exactly what senior A.J. Holmes
possesses.
In the School of Music, Theatre
& Dance, Holmes, a musical the-
atre major, has performed star-
ring roles in shows like "Ragtime."
Holmes is also involved with
MUSKET, where he was the musi-
cal director for "The 25th Annual
Putnam County Spelling Bee" and
Witt's End, an improvisational
comedy team. In addition, he co-
wrote three musicals in four years
of college.
"I tend to overcommit myself,"
Holmes said.
In his recent projects, Holmes
has been more than committed.
He was a co-writer for the highly
acclaimed viral Team Starkid suc-
cesses "A Very Potter Musical" and
"Me And My Dick."
"I was a sophomore, and I was
crazy enough to want to write a
musical," he said.
"Me and My Dick" started as
an overzealous attempt to write a
musical in 24 hours, but Holmes
pulled through. "Me and My Dick"

rose to No. 11 on Billboard's Top
Cast Albums chart last year.
Now a senior, Holmes co-wrote
the musical "Gibson Fleck" with
Music, Theatre & Dance senior
Carlos Valdes and Music, Theatre
& Dance junior Ali Gordon. Holmes
regards this as his most significant
achievement in his college career.
But more big achievements are to
come post-graduation, he said.
After the Department of Musi-
cal Theatre Senior Showcase in
New York City, Holmes plans to
move to New York for the sum-
mer to audition for roles on Broad-

nd now in his second year
as Michigan's man-up-
front, from Marietta, Georgia,
Drum Major David Hines Jr.!"
The 100,000-plus crowd goes
bonkers. But one person doesn't
way, take a job as a rehearsal and notice.
audition accompanist and maybe "From the second I take off and
start an improv team. Even in his start running to do the jump and
unforeseen future, Holmes wants the kick and then the backbend -
to keep his dreams big and varied silence for me," Hines Jr. said. "I
by dipping his musical toes in any- don't hear anything."
thing he can. This intense focus is what drives
"People try to push you in one David Hines Jr. Once he has a goal,
direction and say you need to focus he makes it happen.
on this and focus on that, and real- Hines Jr. always knew he want-
ly if I focus for one thing for too ed to join the Michigan Marching
long I tend to get bored," he said. Band, but there wasn't a section for
"It's a dangerous way to live one's bass clarinet - the instrument he
life, but it's been working so far - I played in high school. But, he found
don't see a reason to change it." out that the band needed euphoni-
- ARIELLE SPECINER ums. He picked up the instrument,

practiced for a few months and
made the squad.
Once Hines Jr. decided he want-
ed to be the band's drum major, he
tapped into the same bottomless
well of self-determination.
"Coming out of high school, I
couldn't touch my toes," Hines. Jr.
said.
But with his sights set on being
drum major, he started stretch-
ing and learning how to twirl. He
successfully pulled off a backbend
by his sophomore year. The rest is
history.
As drum major for the past two
years, Hines Jr. has taken his role
far beyond the spectacle he puts on
every Football Saturday.
"Your job as drum major, in my
opinion, is to serve the band and
ultimately the University through

Snly a handful of filmmakers
have their work selected to
screen at the Traverse City Film
Festival each summer and even
fewer of those selected are students.
Though LSA senior Bhanu Chun-
du has not yet received his degree,
that hasn't kept him from creating
films with the same cinematic qual-
ity as professional film-
makers. Over the past
year Chundu has served
as president of both the
Film and Video Student
Association and MFlick.
These clubs aim to bring
popular movies to the
University, sometimes
even before they hit the-
aters as sneak previews.
But watching block-
buster movies is only :
part of being a film stu-
dent. Chundu is just as
much a creator of movies
as he is a fan of them.

"It's really cool to go in rehears-
als and go with the actors because
that's where the movie changes the
most," Chundu said. "And it also
branches out to everything, so per-
formances affect cinematography
and production design and music.
So it's cool being at the base level
SCHUe I NDU_ Page 8

what you do," he said. "(If students)
need help learning how to march,
need help with their music, need
help with life ... my whole idea is
that if I can serve you, then you
know I want us to get to the high-
est level possible."
In addition to his deep con-
nection to the band, Hines Jr. - a
mechanical engineering major -

has taken a rigorous curriculum.
He plans to eventually combine his
technical knowledge with an MBA
in hopes of reaching his dream
career: roller coaster designer.
With his tremendous resolve,
a Hines Jr.-created roller coaster
could soon come to a Disney World
near you.
- KAVISHEKHAR PANDEY

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