The University of Michigan’s Sonny Khan Is Winning Awards for His Service Work

After being recognized by his hometown and the state of Michigan for his service work, the freshman has only raised the bar for himself since coming to college.

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After being recognized by his hometown and the state of Michigan for his service work, the freshman has only raised the bar for himself since coming to college.

The University of Michigan's Sonny Khan Is Winning Awards for His Service Work

The Servant’s Heart of Sikander “Sonny” Khan

After being recognized by his hometown and the state of Michigan for his service work, the freshman has only raised the bar for himself since coming to college.

By Lindsey Davis, Iowa State University


Formerly a volunteer at his local hospital, high school and nursing home, Sonny Khan found himself unable to continue his service work when he arrived at the University of Michigan as a freshman.

To stay involved, he began working with the Syrian Orphanage Sponsorship Association (SOSA) to advocate for a more inclusive refugee policy. Khan serves on the school’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Student Advisory Board, as well as spearheads an initiative to put local students from lower socioeconomic status on equal footing when applying to college.

Khan was recently named Michigan’s 2016 Youth Volunteer of the Year, elected as his hometown’s 2016 Youth Citizen of the Year, awarded a Gates Millennium Scholarship and honored as a Horatio Alger National Scholar.

“For me, high school was really easy and in college, there are so many exams that you have to worry about every month and lots of homework.”

“It was a tough decision. I was torn between medicine and business, but I feel like I’m better at business, and I think it would be really cool to have my own company and employees.”

“Challenging would be the best word to describe it. Transitioning from high school to college in terms of academics was a new type of situation.”

“One of my goals is to graduate in four years and accomplish as much as I can, so when I got to college, I bit off way more than I could chew, but I don’t regret it.”

“I was in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Student Advisory Board— it’s a mouth-full— and President Obama was coming to Ann Arbor, so they gave us tickets to sit in the VIP section. The next day, I was able to shake his hand because I sat in the front row, so that was really cool.”

“I’ve had three tweets go viral, just like complete jokes. One of them was a satire based on a conspiracy theory where Finding Dory proved that they found the NBA is rigged.”

“At the end of my sophomore year, I got a letter for the National Honors Society application. When I was filling it out, I felt like I wasn’t doing much, so I was trying to figure out what avenue would be best to put my time toward; I came up with volunteering. I initially planned to do 20 hours over the summer, but ended up doing 100, and then that just exponentially increased.”

“I kind of did an analysis on myself, like why I enjoy volunteering, and I think if you’re blessed with time and energy to make a positive change, you might as well go about it in some kind of way.”

“I’m not much of an athletic person, so I hang out with friends playing video games and listening to music, or watching Seth Myers on YouTube.”

“My long-term goal is just to be successful, and my short-term goal is to make as much as I can out of my four years at Michigan, make a lot of friends and connections.”

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