Makda Biniam is a currently running for Minnesota Student Association Vice President with Nick Alm. She’s a Finance major from Rogers, Minnesota, and she’s only a sophomore. She and Nick came to talk to Her Campus Minnesota face-to-face last Sunday night at our meeting and shared their platform with us. Their message was genuine, and their style was raw. If there was one thing they hoped we took away from their little spiel, it was to get out and vote, which really resonated with me. When I found out Makda was only a sophomore running for MSA VP, I was in shock. How could someone my age be so driven to make positive change on our campus? I needed to know more, so I interviewed Makda to learn more about her and I’m here to share it with you.
Q: What, or who, got you involved in student government?
A: Matter of fact it was Nick! He posted a link (to the MSA Internship application) on the freshmen Facebook page right before orientation, and I decided to apply. I was heavily involved within my high school’s student government and decided this would be a great way to stay involved and make some friends. Plus, the President at the time went to my high school, and I knew if she was involved it must be pretty legit. Looking back , it was the best decision I’ve ever made. MSA has and continues to introduce me to not only great opportunities but so many driven and diverse individuals who push me to be a better version of myself.
Q: When did you decide to run for VP with Nick?
A: So Nick actually asked me during finals week last semester! He came to my apartment where I was studying for my stats final and asked me to run on a ticket with him. In that conversation he asked me to reflect on what he was asking and get back to him after finals – you know, after I was refueled on sleep and thinking clearly. Once finals concluded, I had time to appreciate two things – my experiences with Nick leading me and also my experiences of working alongside him. I’ve had the opportunity to be led by Nick when he served as my intern director. Within this role, he made myself and the rest of the interns feel inspired, empowered and motivated on a daily basis, but I’ve also been able to be work alongside him on various other projects. I have and I will continue to rely on him to assist in pushing for progress on this campus. Nick and I work really well together, and we have the same genuine intentions on improving the institution that we all love and care about. So, I called him back the following Tuesday and told him I wanted to run with him. Haven’t looked back since.
Q: What challenges did you see yourself facing during the campaign, and how did you prepare/overcome them?
A: Coming into campaigning, I knew that it was going to take a lot of time, so I wanted to make sure that it was something I truly believed in, and it was! Hearing student concerns and knowing I had the chance to assist them reaffirmed that I was doing this for the right reasons and kept me going.
Q: What is your favorite part of your platform?
A: That’s such a hard question. There are so many projects/initiatives that I’m personally excited about, so it’s impossible to choose. However, I think my favorite part of our platform is the fact that it was created by the students. It was written by individuals like you and me and vetted by the necessary stakeholders to ensure feasibility.
Q: What is your dream job/future aspirations?
A: I want to be a lawyer someday, but I’m currently going back and forth between what type of law. So, let me get back to you on that! If all else fails, I would love to be Beyoncé when I grow up.
Q: Who is/are your role model(s) and why?
A: My parents. They emigrated to this country to ensure that their children would grow up to have more opportunities than they ever got the chance to receive. I’ve never had anyone invest so much into me, so unapologetically. They push me to work harder, they push me to be more compassionate, they push me to the best version of myself each and every day and for that I’m very blessed.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
A: (This may start off a little dark so hold on with me) “Hell is the place where you meet the person that you could’ve been.” This line has pushed me to face my fears and give my all because I don’t want to live a life where failure restricts me from reaching my potential.
Q: Do you have any words of advice for our readers and fellow Gophers?
A: You are all special, you are all valued and you all have the ability to make an impact.
Just for fun
A: Caramel Macchiato with Soy Milk (light ice because Starbucks cheats you otherwise).
Favorite song right now?
A: Love Incredible by Cashmere Cat (feat. Camila Cabello).
Q: One thing you can’t live without?
A: Definitely my phone.
Q: Fun fact?
A: I’ve been to 4 continents #cultured.
Q: Celebrity dream date?
A: Kit Harington because I’m a big Game of Thrones fan. Ideally, we would go stargazing and eat some Chick-fil-a, but I’m not too picky ;)
Q: One thing you love about yourself?
A: My laugh. It’s sooooo obnoxious, but it’s the sound of me in my happiest state.
Q: One thing you’re grateful for?
A: I’m going to be cliche here and say the people in my life. These people have kept me in check, pushed me to demand more out of myself and others. I’m surrounded by some of the most amazing people.
Amazing women and leaders like Makda not only have the ability to make change, but also to inspire. Remember that you have a voice and influence, too. Be sure to vote by 8:00pm tonight, Gophers! Make your voice heard.