LSA freshmen Bilal Irfan and Maria Wajahat are projected to be the next LSA Student Government president and vice president, according to preliminary results obtained by The Michigan Daily Friday morning.
Prior to the election, Irfan served as the vice chair of the LSA SG Diversity Affairs Committee and Wajahat was vice chair of the LSA SG Health Committee. Their platform centered on increasing diversity and representation in student government, advocating for a $15 minimum wage for student workers, improving accountability measures for sexual assault and misconduct and bolstering mental health programs for students.
Irfan and Wajahat ran against three other sets of candidates: LSA sophomores Gabriel Ervin and Noah Gadola, LSA junior Max Stoneman and LSA sophomore Peter Tam, and LSA junior Erica Nelson and LSA sophomore Ron Burgaj. Nelson and Burgaj also ran for president and vice president of CSG. Most of the students running for the executive positions participated in a debate March 25 and a forum introducing the candidates March 24.
In an interview with The Daily, Irfan reflected on his experience on the Diversity Affairs Committee this past semester and said he looks forward to continuing that work in connecting with student organizations as LSA SG president.
“In the past term, I think we’ve definitely done a better job reaching out to different student organizations,” Irfan said. “But I must continue that effort. We’ve established the liaison positions, but I must continue formulating those ties and relationships.”
Irfan also discussed the ways he and Wajahat plan to increase student involvement in LSA SG.
“Many student organizations don’t know that they can apply for funding to LSA SG, they don’t know that LSA SG has committees that are working on, sometimes very similar things to CSG, but different things as well,” Irfan said. “I really hope that our external relations committee starts that process of reaching out to different organizations and establishing meetings with them to really gauge their input, gauge what they want LSA SG to pursue. And I think as a result of that, we might be able to tap on higher voter turnout, as well as more student engagement in government.”
Irfan described the support and camaraderie he felt during the campaign process and while awaiting the results.
“The sense of community I felt throughout this whole process, support that I received from so many different communities (and) organizations on campus — that made me feel like I was a part of a bigger community,” Irfan said.
Below are the preliminary results for the 19 LSA representatives:
- LSA freshman Noor Alchalabi
- LSA sophomore Lydia Kado
- LSA freshman Mario M. Thaqi
- LSA freshman Christian Loredo-Duran
- LSA junior Brandon De Martinez
- LSA sophomore William Addision
- LSA junior Vince Tedrick
- LSA junior Luise Reyes-Gonzalez
- LSA junior Mohammed Rasheed
- LSA junior Joohyun Kim
- LSA sophomore Ava Kelsey
- LSA sophomore Annelise Rice
- LSA freshman Jared (JJ) Niskar
- LSA sophomore Mithun Vidhya-Ponraj
- LSA freshman Nirbhay Chatani
- LSA freshman Nagham Eldroubi
- LSA freshman Adrianna Kallabat
- LSA junior Isabella Preissle
- LSA freshman Caleigh Murray
Irfan and Wajahat agreed that it is important to ensure transparency and efficiency and emphasized the importance of increasing representation in student government. Wajahat said she hopes to make sure every voice is heard and all students are being represented by LSA SG.
“The one main goal that we have is just bringing in more representation within LSA Student Government,” Wajahat said. “Making sure that every voice is heard, making sure that minority voices are heard, especially because we’re both people of Color … just (making) the environment a little bit more open and accepting of different experiences and different voices.”
Daily Staff Reporter Samantha Rich can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Bilal Irfan helped create the LGBTQ+ liaison position in January. Irfan was not involved in the creation of this liaison and was instead referring to the goal of connecting with student organizations through liaison positions.