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College sophomore Efe Johnson, the new United Minorities Council president, speaks about her plans for the group over the coming year, including more community service in the Philadelphia area.

The end of last semester left the United Minorities Council - the umbrella organization for dozens of Penn's minority groups - without a leader.

On Wednesday night, however, after a two-hour election, the group finally found the person it was looking for: College sophomore Efe Johnson.

Johnson, who will serve as chairwoman of the UMC through Dec. 2007, sat down with The Daily Pennsylvanian during her first day on the job to discuss her new role as the leader of Penn's minority community, as well as why humanitarian groups matter and how to improve relations with the West Philadelphia community.

Daily Pennsylvanian: Why didn't UMC elect a chairman at the end of last semester?

Efe Johnson: Two people ran last semester, and [the board members] did not think they were well-equipped enough to be [chairmen].

DP: How did that affect UMC?

EJ: There haven't been any problems.

DP: Why didn't you run for the position last semester?

EJ: For personal reasons. I needed to go home and talk to my family and figure out the direction I need to be taking academically.

DP: How does it feel to be chairwoman?

EJ: I have big shoes to fill, but I am excited about all of the challenges and tasks I have to face.

DP: What do you hope to accomplish?

EJ: I would like to have more collaboration with humanitarian groups on campus - like PennAIDS and Amnesty International - and I would like to further politicize UMC.

DP: In terms of politicizing UMC, what do you have in mind?

EJ: UMC is a political organization. My personal agenda is to reach out to as many communities as possible at Penn. We are trying to build a community out of pre-formed communities - our whole goal is multiculturalism at its best. We need to work with humanitarian groups; . they are our constituents as well.

My personal goal is to be working with Philadelphia a lot more. I would like to really address our relationship with Philadelphia and what Penn [students] are doing to break out of the Penn bubble.

DP: How does UMC interact with Philadelphia?

EJ: We do community service. And the main thing I am passionate about right now is AIDS awareness. Our zip code has the largest number of AIDS cases in Philadelphia, [and] that . really bothers me.

DP: Any particular constituencies on campus that you want to focus more attention on?

EJ: Well, the main issue with admissions is the low Native American population that we have at Penn. That is a big focus that I have for this year.

DP: What will you do when the position is over?

EJ: Sleep.

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