Wednesday, April 17, 2013 // The Statement m
Elisabeth Hindert, an LSA
senior, swept into the room,
clutching a coffee cup and
armed with an oversized smile.
She had just flown back to Ann
Arbor from New York City after a round of
job interviews instead of traveling to Atlanta
to watch the Wolverines play for their first
National Championship in 20 years.
As Hindert settled into her chair, she said
with a frustrated sigh that
she had to come back to Ann
Arbor because, well, she just
had too many responsihilities.
If anyone can claim too many
responsibilities, it is certainly
Hindert is the head of mar-
keting for the Student-Athlete
Advisory Committee, a group
that works to connect student-
athletes with the community,
and the director of I Will, a
student campaign to educate
students and raise awareness about sexual
assault at the University.
She ran track for the University for two
years hefore a career ending injury led her to
become a coxswain on therowingbteam.
"It was hard but the rowing team kind of
picked me up," she said.
She hecame involved with SAAC early
on in her University career, helping to plan
events and community service activities to
hring student-athletes "out of their huhble."
Hindert also planned workshops with
Greg Harden, director of athletic counsel-
ing, to educate student-athletes on health
and wellness, including education on sexual
She soon realized that she wanted to con-
front the endemic problem of sexual assault
on campus - one in four women on college
campuses are sexually assaulted.
"The numbers are so staggering," she said,
Department to use student-athletes as a
platform on which to launch a campus-wide
effort, the I Will organization, to bring about
a conversation with the University commu-
nity about sexual assault.
This has included rebranding some Uni-
versity athletics gear with a teal block 'M'
- teal is the color representing organiza-
tions against sexual assault - and filming
student-athletes for a PSA that will be shown
ambassador-training program for students
who want to work with the organization.
"We're making a positive campaign to just
educate and make people more aware and let
the conversation happen," she said. "By just
doing that, we are just making'a big differ-
I Will has also been working with Sexual
Assault Prevention & Awareness Center and
the University administration especially
E. Royster Harper, University vice
president of student affairs - to
develop better sexual assault policy.
"They are taking much more seri-
ously," she said. "They have been
amazing and we have haer working
Hindert said sher elieves that
her organization has heen effective
hecause it is a student organization
that is bringing this conversation
"The only way youare going to
infiltrate andconnect is if you are
student working with students," she said.
Hindert paused and laughed after 25 min-
utes of rapidly describing her career at the
University and her work with I Will and
asked if anything she had just said made any
sense. She looked exhausted and amhitious
"(I'm proud of the) fact that it happened,"
she said. "That it actually started and that
next year it is going to he higger and better
now that the foundation is there."
leaning forward in her chair.
She added that she also had disagreed with
the manner in which the University dealt
with sexual assaults.
"(Students) weren't getting much support,
especially from the University," she said. "If
(a student) went and reported it to the Uni-
versity, they would handle in the same way
as if that person who sexually assaulted you
stole your backpack."
Hindert decided to work the Athletics
at Crisler Center, Yost Ice Arena and the Big
The response to the PSA "was unbeliev-
able" Hindert said. "It changed (those sexual
assault statistics) from statistics and num-
bers to people."
She said the organization has been grow-
ing rapidly. They have hosted multiple events
on campus, including an awareness week
this week, where they're going to "paint the
town teal." The group is also developing an
eet Rama Mwenesi, a your work? Whatever we do, we wanted our
senior studying Industrial work to mean something."
Operations engineer- This past summer, Mwenesi learned first-
ing. Mwenesi is the co- hand how E-MAGINE's work has affected
founder of E-MAGINE, African rural populations. Mwenesi traveled
a multidisciplinary organization that works back to the community centers in Kenya -
to provide Internet access to rural,
marginalized populations across
"Our primary goal is education and
entrepreneurship," Mwenesisaid. "To
help teachers help students by provid- te ,
ing them with access to educational
resources through the Internet. All A n w
along I've known that just to be able
to come up with this idea, none of that
would have happened if I didn't have W
the education I had."
Inspired by a Google challenge
as a freshman, Mwenesi delved into L
the task of finding a way to provide
connectivity to off-the-grid popula-
tions around the world. Today, E-MAGINE the country where he grew up - and gath-
has built seven systems, with six deployed in ered testimonials to see how people's lives
four different countries: Kenya, Sierra Leone, had been impacted by the new Internet sys-
Brazil and Zambia. What began as an idea tems. He found citizens gathering informa-
has now become a full-fledged reality. tion on farming techniques, agriculture and
"Everyone has a good idea, but the ques- weather cycles with their new Internet con-
tion is how do you measure the impact of nectivity. Students also used the system to
apply to colleges or apply to government jobs.
"Seeing what we set out to do has accom-
plished more than we imagined, no pun
intended. That was a great feeling for all of us
- seeing that we've done something. We've
impacted people's lives. And while we impact
When asked what he likes to do in his free
time - when he finds free time - he said get-
ting back into piano playing, super bike rac-
ing and flying. In that order.
"Those are all things I would like to do
in my life. But my true passion, my favorite
hobby, is just sitting and think-
ing. Contemplating. That's
what I love to do. Just sit down
and think of ways to optimize
-) Regarding his future plans,
Mwenesi answers with the
same calmness. He talks about
taking time to find where
his talent and passions inter-
sect and what the world truly
needs. And uncertainty of the
future isn't what scares him.
"I'm more afraid of killing
that potential to be who I was
supposed to be."
Mwenesi is humbled by his selection as a
Student of the Year.
"To be recognized, one is appreciative.
But, I hope through this other people can
realize impossible is nothing. With true and
sincere intentions, great things can come
out of it."
their lives, ourlives arebeing impacted too."
In addition to E-MAGINE, Mwenesi has.
taught design engineering through the Uni-
versity's IDEA Institute and is active in the
Muslim Students' Association. He is also
captainofthe University's men's boxing team
and involved with Roteract service club.