The 57th General Assembly of the Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, elected Abii-Tah Bih as the undergraduate student body president for the 2020-21 academic year.
Bih will take over for Mario Kakos, winning the election against ASMSU's Vice President for Student Allocations Dylan Catalano with 21 votes in ASMSU’s first contested presidential election since 2016. The election, which began at 7 p.m. on April 15 and lasted until 4 a.m., was conducted over Zoom.
The international relations and comparative cultures and politics junior from Yauande, Cameroon said she dreamt of joining MSU's student government before even knowing where Michigan was on a map.
“Even before I ever stepped foot at MSU, I really knew that I wanted to find purpose in empowering everybody, empowering my peers through ASMSU. And so even before I even Googled where the map of Michigan was, I already Googled what the student government at MSU looks like,” Bih said. “These past few years ... I have pretty much dedicated every ounce of my energy and strength to ensure that life is worth living for every single student on campus.”
Bih most recently served as a representative in the General Assembly, or GA, for the James Madison College. Additionally, Bih has served as chair of the cultural exchange committee and an ASMSU representative in the University Council.
Her candidacy for president was monumental and historical on its own, Bih said, as it’s unheard of for a GA representative to run.
"The fact that it's unprecedented also comes with the fact that it's a historical right,” Bih said. “I really want everybody to be able to partake and share this history that we are creating by running this election, and I really want every single person to understand that the position of president at ASMSU is a position that we can all run for. It's a democratised position, and nobody should ever have to feel intimidated running for that position as long as they know who they want to serve, how they want to serve and who they want to empower through the process.”
Bih said she believes coming from the GA is important, as the GA is what gives ASMSU its power and voice.
As a representative, Bih has introduced and seconded a number of bills she said have showcased her dedication to the student body.
During ASMSU's April 14 presidential debate, Bih highlighted these initiatives as well as some of her points in her "100-Point Plan."
This includes initiatives involving affordability, inclusion, academic life, transparency, the COVID-19 pandemic and more.
“This is really setting a precedent for everyone who looks like me, sounds like me, comes from the position that I come from to actually know that they too can achieve this because you are indispensable,” Bih said.
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