Humans of the U: Ermiya Fanaeian

“I’m originally from Iran, a country where LGBT people are facing severe persecution. They don’t have legal protections and they can’t obtain educational degrees, so to be at the U is incredibly liberating. And it’s a great opportunity to represent the student body as an ASUU elected assembly representative. I represent the undergraduate constituency through listening to students’ concerns, working on campus reform and enacting legislation.

From a young age, I’ve been involved in politics. I worked on numerous campaigns, including  Congressman Ben McAdams 2018 congressional campaign.

I’m a political organizer by nature and before I graduated from high school, I co-founded a non-profit organization called March for Our Lives Utah—working with young people across the country focusing on gun violence prevention.

I’ve had amazing opportunities with legislators inviting me to talk about bills and what I find to be effective or not effective in the legislation they’re introducing. That’s a great shift. They’re starting to listen to the young people because we are mobilized more than ever and know what’s happening in our communities and we do have a voice. I want to help cultivate our city and cultivate our political landscape here and at the university.

I feel this communal energy on campus. People want to be involved in something bigger and it brings us together. We’re not a campus that’s divided. we recognize the similarities that we have, and regardless of our differences, there are so many things that unite us. We have so much more in common than we often think.”

—Ermiya Fanaeian, a freshman at the U, studying business