3L Michigan Law student Shanawar Lone recognized by Michigan State University for community service

Shanawar Lone, ’22, was recognized with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Endowed Scholarship for the 2021-22 academic year on January 17, during Michigan State University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Conversation.

According to the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives, this award recognizes MSU students who have demonstrated qualities like those of Dr. King of stewardship, a commitment to social justice, equity, and community service by actively engaging in building inclusive communities in ways that fight injustice and promote equality for all on every possible level while also maintaining an above average grade point average.

Lone was also separately honored by the university with a Spartan Volunteer Service Award for completing over 700 hours of community service work. He received $250 to donate to a nonprofit of his choice and he selected MSU College of Law’s Diversity and Equity Services Office, in recognition of the office’s efforts to support students amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In January, MSU nominated him for additional consideration for the Capital Area United Way Volunteer Award.

“These awards are about inspiring other people. It’s so important that my peers recognize that yes, we’re all busy, but we can all make the time,” Lone explained. “You can do more.”

A longtime, passionate public servant, Lone’s experience in community service dates back to his childhood and teenage years. His parents are from Kenya and Pakistan, and they passed along the values of hard work and generosity.

He studied international relations during his undergraduate program at Oakland University, before turning to law school to further pursue his passion for supporting communities in need. He emphasized how this ambition has motivated him as a student and encouraged him to remain focused.

“People forget why they came to law school in the first place, and fortunately I didn’t forget that. My whole reason for coming to law school was so I can help people,” Lone explained. “I’ve been doing community organizing throughout my life and I wanted to help through the legal system and the courts, and eventually go into public office.”

“I remember my first week of law school I was very stressed because I was one of few first-generation students, and one of the few of color.” He added: “It can become very overwhelming.”

With big goals for himself, Lone has leaned on the support of professors and staff at the College of Law, including Professors Brian Kalt and Kevin Gentry.

He has been deeply involved in the MSU campus and broader community since his first year as a student – working with Veterans of America, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and civil rights firms, in addition to founding the MSU Law Democrats student organization. His recognition with these university awards is a direct testament to his dedication and efforts.

“I’m trying to open doors for other people that come after me,” he said. “I want to make sure there are other first-generation students, people of color, people who have disabilities, and a variety of other factors, who don’t have to go through the things that I had to go through.”

Lone is interested in working in the sports and entertainment industry, focusing on public interest and civil rights issues. “I want to stay true to who I am and do as much as I can – in the best way that I can – to help others, and in a different sort of way that catches people’s attention.”