Sloan grad student and politician Leland Cheung

Sloan grad student and politician Leland Cheung

Apparently being a grad student at both MIT and Harvard isn’t time-consuming enough for some people. They just want more.

Sloan graduate student Leland Cheung must be one of those people. He is set to become the first university student, first Asian-American, and the youngest current member of the Cambridge City Council, after winning the Nov. 3 election. In January, Cheung will be sworn in for a two-year term. He says his priorities are job creation, education, affordable housing, university/community relations, and transparent government

While in office Cheung will continue pursuing an MBA at Sloan and a master’s of public administration at Harvard’s Kennedy School in a dual degree program. At Sloan, he is on the entrepreneurship and innovation track focusing on for-profit and not-for-profit entrepreneurship.

“I decided to take this on this role because I saw an opportunity to make a positive difference in the community.  Public service is a priority for me.  If every MIT student who’s currently balancing coursework, hobbies, community involvement, start-ups, friends, and a host of other demands waited until they didn’t have anything else going on to try and make a positive difference in the world, MIT wouldn’t be nearly the dynamic engine of innovation and change that it is today,” says Cheung. “It’ll be a challenge, but I’m hoping to work as a team with the other City Councilors so we don’t have to be all things to all people.  I’m looking forward to supporting their initiatives as they support my initiatives to improve town-gown relations and support small businesses and entrepreneurs.”

The Wicked Local Cambridge Web site endorsed Cheung with these words:

“Cheung’s goal of strengthening ties between town and gown would be an asset to Cambridge. If there’s one problem in this city, it’s the consistent tension between the universities and longtime residents (the arrest of Henry Louis Gates might be emblematic of this problem). The 31-year-old Harvard-MIT joint MBA student would be the youngest councilor and the first Asian-American to serve on the council if elected.”