2B Wednesday, April17, 2013 // The Statement
Wednesday. April 17, 2013 // The Statement
letter from the editor by haley goldberg
There are about 40,000 undergraduate and
graduate students enrolled atfthe University this
semester, according to the University's Office
of the Registrar. That's 40,000 students with
leadership roles, academic excellence, athletic
achievements and more. When our staff sat down
last month to pick 11 students to highlight as the
"Students of the Year" - it wasn't easy. So we
sent out a survey to hear from you. We wanted
to know: Who are the people you see excelling in
student groups and on the stage? On the first day
of a new semester - when you play the awkward
dance of learning about each other - who are the
people that take you aback with their work on this
campus and in the greater world?
Even with the power of Google forms on our side,
we couldn't reach all students for nominations.
But the managing editors for each section of
the paper sat down to discuss the more than 50
nominations we did receive. In these eight pages,
you can read the stories of the 11 nominees we
felt embodied a "Student of the Year." They're
students working to aid communities near and far,
advocating for justice on campus, representing the
University proudly on the field, on the court and
overall making this campus a better place. These
11 individuals are making a difference, but that's
not to say you aren't too. Use these stories as
inspiration and decide what positive mark you will
make at our University.
Astudent's first year
at the University
can be overwhelm-
ing, but as a pas-
student, artist and advocate for
social justice, freshman Brian
Garcia is already beginning to
make a difference.
Garcia is a School of Art &
Design and School of Music, The-
atre & Dance student majoring
in Interarts Performance, with a
focus on LGBT studies, women's
studies and feminist theory.
Garcia said his involvement
in several campus organizations
- including Assisting Latinos to
Maximize Achievement, Coali-
tion for Queer People of Color, the
.Educational Theater Company and
Detroit Connections - contrib-
ute to his drive to improve life and
opportunities for people struggling
to take pride in their identities.
The Interarts Performance
major, introduced in fall 2009, is a
competitive major that allows stu-
dents to create their own unique
brand of art. It's the brainchild
of Music, Theatre & Dance Asso-
ciate Prof. Holly Hughes, whose
campy murder-mystery produc-
tion, "The Well of Horniness,"
will feature Brian as Vicki - a
character who escapes from an
evil lesbian sorority by hooking-
up with a man - when it opens in
New York City later this year.
At the Interarts Showcase last
fall 2012, Garcia created an audio-
visual-live-performance on race
and ethnicity. During his spare
time, Garcia paints with oil pas-
tels, sketches, draws and paints
and does "pretty much anything
With Detroit Connections - a
volunteer program through the
School of Art & Design - Garcia
traveled to the city every Friday
to teach students in a Detroit
classroom. And working with
the Coalition for Queer People
of Color, he emceed a catwalk
extravaganza last week for the
two-day Color of Change summit.
"My main goal is to educate,"
Garcia said. "I want to use art as
a motivational tool for education."
Throughout Garcia's freshman
year, he was mentored as part of
ALMA, and hopes to give back
by becoming a mentor himself
this summer - which he said will
allow him to provide students the
resources they need to find orga-
nizations that support LGBT stu-
dents on campus.
"Working in social work and
social justice, there's a point you
hit where you start to think of
teaching people about oppression,
teaching about all the concepts
(and) at a point you start to forget
that time when you were that per-
son," Garcia said. "For example,
I used to be the person who said
'That's so gay,' and I forget that at
one point I didn't know."
Garcia said whatever direction
he takes for a career, it's going to
involve incorporating and repre-
senting people in the Latino and
queer communities, identities
that he said bring unique chal-
"For a Latino that's in a con-
servative community, it can be
completely overwhelming to have
not only the misrepresentation of
yourself in queer culture - where
it's mostly white, gay males that
are represented - but you also
have the misrepresentation in
your own culture, the machismo
and the patriarchy that stills go
on," Garcia said.
Garcia said he's always think-
ing about social issues, especially
ones that may at times be over-
"Well how does this affect the
bigger picture? How am I indi-
rectly, without thinking about it,
affecting the person living out
in the middle of nowhere?" Gar-
cia said. "I think with the 'equal
signs for example,' I think a lot
of people don't realize that the
Human Rights Campaign is large-
ly a white and affluent male com-
munity - that in itself becomes
problematic because people who
are Latino, African-American, if
they don't see themselves in this
group, it becomes problematic." -
D enard Robinson was on list because, well, meeting the President psychology course. He also has multiple
the phone. He was on his of the United States gets precedence. daily workouts and frequent trips to visit
way to a workout with the Anyway, he's already done both of those. NFL teams before the Draft. But May 4,
Washington Redskins. Overcoming his aversion to public speak- in the Big House no less, he'll graduate
The LSA senior wanted ing is not on the list either. He gave the with a degree in sociology.
to talk about a graduation bucket
"I don't really have a bucket
list," Robinson said. "What do
you thinklIshould put on m I ~ 'e my kdsy* g tt g*
bucket list? What's something Ig
should put on there?"
Well, let's see. How about scor-
ing a touchdown in front of the , ng
largest crowd in the country? No,
he did that already. It was on his
first play, his first game in fact,t
during his freshman year.
Robinson fumbled the ball on
that play, but he picked it up and
started running and hasn't really
stopped. He ran into the starting posi- keynote speech at the Big Ten Media Then there's the daily maze of navi-
tion, ran past Notre Dame, twice, and Days last summer. gating life as Denard Robinson. He's no
into Michigan lore. Soon Robinson will reach another longer the leader of the football team, but
How about winning the program's first milestone. He will become the first mem- he hasn't noticed a difference. There are
night game, in one its most memorable ber of his family to graduate from college. still so many autograph and photograph
games ever? Cross that off his list too. It wasn't easy, especially this semester. requests that Robinson loses track of the
Then there are the personal goals. Robinson is taking five classes, includ- count.
Meeting LeBron James didn't make the ing an advanced physics course and a "Yeah it does get hard," Robinson said
of the unrelenting attention. But he said
he tries to, "make somebody else's day
every day. I love doing that."
"I don't know how he does it," said
his friend and forrher Michigan hockey
defenseman Lee Moffie.
Moffie would know - he and
Robinson went to Atlanta
together to see theMichigan
basketball team play in the
So there's another thing
that can't go on the bucket
list. The star quarterback
has been to as many Michi-
gan sports events as most
fans. He dances, cheers and
is irrationally loyal just like
any other Wolverine.
"If you're my kids, you
gotta go to Michigan or I'm
not going to pay for it."
So, there hasn't been much progress
onsbuilding that bucket list. Well, why
doesn't he just visit the art museum?
They've got Picassos.
"No," Robinson said. "I have been to
the art museum."
Of course he has.