College junior Nicky Singh was elected as the new Asian Pacific Student Coalition chairman Wednesday. As chairman, Singh plans to promote coalition unity, foster discussion during general body meetings and reach out to freshmen.
The Daily Pennsylvanian: How did you initially get involved with APSC, and why did you decide to run for chairman?
Nicky Singh: I knew my Asian American identity wasn’t that strong when I came to Penn so I knew I wanted to learn a little bit more about it. These programs [Promoting Enriching Experiences and Relationships and Asian Pacific American Leadership Initiative] really helped me learn about my Asian American identity, and because of that my freshman year I ran for vice chair of University Relations for the APSC … I felt really proud of the things I accomplished, but I knew that there was a lot more that I still wanted to accomplish.
DP: What are your goals for the year, and what would you like to see the APSC do differently?
NS: My main goal or my main vision for the APSC is coalition unity … I’d like to do a lot of interboard mixers and interboard dinners so that the boards of the various constituent groups get to know each other … When a huge event happens, the APSC has been really good at rallying constituents together and helping to fight for a cause. In a period where there are no urgent events occurring, it’s important that there is no political stagnancy. You should always be fighting for something … I want to work on getting freshmen more involved … I’d like to see the first meeting of the first-year immersion program to be much more town-hall based, where all the constituent groups present their groups and then talk about how freshmen can get involved.
DP: What do you think are the biggest challenges APSC faces in the coming year, and how do you plan to tackle them?
NS: I think one of the biggest challenges is, as I mentioned, when there’s a time of relative political stagnancy. I think another issue is that some boards feel closer with the APSC than others do … I think the primary way [to change that] is working with the vice chair of Constituent Affairs, making sure he knows all the groups, all the people, all the liaisons and that they all feel comfortable texting him and getting to know him. Another issue is that … a lot of groups feel like they don’t really know what’s going on with the APSC … making sure there’s transparency within our organization so that they always know what’s going on.
DP: What are some concrete changes you’ll make to the general body meetings to promote this transparency and unity?
NS: I talked to a lot of presidents when I was running for APSC, and what they really liked is having small group discussions within these GBMs about political topics or about topics relevant to their groups and the Asian American community at Penn. I’d really like to promote those and make sure they happen at every GBM so that they have an outlet, a forum, to talk about these issues … Another is making sure that constituent events happening in the following weeks are clear … Last year, it wasn’t as clear when events were happening.