Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC Youth Leadership Summit

Michael Messina is a junior double-majoring in physics and political science. He is a write-in candidate for vice president for multicultural affairs (VPMA).

1. Tell us a bit about yourself — any clubs, hobbies or major plans for the future?

“I am president of the Asian Student Union (ASU), professional chair for the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers and a podcast host for Asian Outlook Media. I love the Asian American community here at Binghamton University, but also love reaching out to other cultural communities and organizations! I hope to continue pursuing social justice through legislation after my time at BU. When I am not working at these goals, I am writing films, training martial arts and listening to hip-hop music.”

2. What is your platform?

“As VPMA, I look to address the grievances that many students of color have had with administration, acting as a liaison willing to advocate and press for the interests of these students. I would also look to reconcile the restrictive nature of the food policy currently harming the abilities of many student organizations to properly share their culture. If we band together, I am certain a consensus can be made to ameliorate these regulations. Too many times I have heard dissatisfied friends speak about mental health resources. We need to create a reliable, long-term resource for students suffering from these health issues. Finally, in solidarity, groups rise. Programming encouraging substantial, long-term bonds across cultural communities would help elevate not only these communities, but this campus as a whole.”

4. Why did you decide to run for an SA E-Board position?

“I have been a member of the multicultural community here at BU since freshman year. As an adoptee, I felt disconnected from my roots, yet found family and purpose in the multicultural community. I am looking to help advance the family that has given me so much. I have a vision for how this community could grow and how to further empower marginalized voices. Rest assured, I will continue to pursue these goals, VPMA or not.”

5. What issues will you prioritize if you are elected?

“There is a disconnect between administration and many students of color on this campus. Many feel they cannot effectively communicate with administration. Meanwhile, ideological differences continue to spark conflict between students. We need a VPMA willing to take a firm stance on dispelling the unreasonable and clarifying the meaning of free speech. Additionally, mental health resources cannot be stressed enough. The availability of sustainable counselors is to be at the forefront of the SA’s agenda.”