In anticipation of voting in Central Student Government elections, which begins on March 25, The Michigan Daily Editorial Board is proud to endorse the party Mobilize. After interviews with representatives from all three CSG parties and careful review of their platforms, we found Mobilize to be the most promising based on their extensive CSG experience and clear commitment to sustainability, campus affordability and student wellness, especially in the context of the upcoming U.S. presidential debate to be held on campus in Fall 2020.
Mobilize’s presidential candidate Amanda Kaplan, a Public Policy junior, and vice presidential candidate Saveri Nandigama, an LSA junior, have a long list of achievements on CSG and held nearly every leadership position in the organization, apart from the presidency. Kaplan is currently chief of staff in Ben Gerstein’s administration and has previously served as vice-chair of CSG’s Finance Committee, as a member of the Student Organization Funding Committee, and as an LSA representative in the CSG Assembly. Nandigama was previously chief of staff in Daniel Greene’s administration and noted herself as the youngest person to have ever held that position. These credentials give Mobilize’s team clear insider knowledge on how to manage their student government roles and enact change within the community.
The Michigan Daily Editorial Board was drawn to Mobilize because of clear, achievable platform goals. Beyond simple buzzwords like sustainability and affordability, Mobilize is impassioned by issues pertaining to climate change and divestment, student wellness and sexual assault survivor support. In terms of environmental policy, Kaplan and Nandigama’s commitment to increase transparency regarding the President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality and call on the University to commit to carbon neutrality by 2030 aligns with the Editorial Board’s own aspirations for our administration. For election season, their support for the Voter Affairs and Engagement Commission will provide on campus signage for and transportation to student voting locations as well as advocate for the cancellation of classes on election day to allow students to get out to the polls. Finally, regarding the University’s resources, Mobilize supports the One University (1U) campaign that works to grant equitable funding for all three campuses. Moreover, we believe Kaplan and Nandigama’s close partnership and existing friendship is uniquely conducive to achieving this goals.
Mobilize seems to have a firm grasp of CSG’s role on campus, and understands how they can utilize its powers and its relationships with other student organizations to improve life for students at the University of Michigan. First, their aforementioned concern about the impact of the 2020 presidential debate on student life and their plan to work with the Campus Climate Advisory Council to develop a response system for the election season demonstrates their understanding of what CSG could accomplish and how it could constructively improve campus life. This, coupled with their advocacy for M-Card only accessible spaces during the debates, displays how Mobilize plans to put the well-being and safety of University students first during a potentially stressful yet exciting time of student life.
Additionally, Mobilize’s platform was not self-created; instead, it was developed through consultation with student organizations around campus. Because of this, we believe Mobilize’s platform does not simply include positions which the candidates themselves believe are best for Michigan, but rather changes which students and their groups want to see. Because of this, Mobilize is prepared and well-suited to fight for changes that are meaningful and would serve to make campus better for everyone.
The other two parties running in the March 25 elections, Change at Michigan and Represent Michigan, also have thoughtful, comprehensive platforms and impressive experience enacting change on campus, both in and out of CSG. We have no doubt that all of these parties would do an impressive job of representing student voices at the University of Michigan. However, our decision to endorse Mobilize was ultimately decided by the presence of clear, attainable goals within their platform, their extensive experience within CSG that is currently unmatched by other candidates and the close dynamic between the two running mates.
Turnout in previous elections for CSG by students has been relatively low compared to total enrollment. Taking the time to vote on candidates and peers who are trying to implement tangible policy change for students is an important responsibility of our student body. Above all, The Michigan Daily Editorial Board encourages every University student to exercise their voice and participate in the CSG elections this week. Voting is online at vote.umich.edu beginning March 25 at 12:00 a.m. and concluding on March 26 at 11:59 p.m.