This year, the Central Student Government (CSG) will be holding their elections for their Assembly and University of Michigan Police Department (UMPD) Oversight Committee on March 30 and March 31. There are currently 43 candidates running. As the elections are approaching, the Michigan Daily reached out to the candidates to learn more about their platforms. 21 responded, answering questions from what inspired them to join CSG to how this election differed from past ones.
Here are candidates’ responses:
LSA sophomore Jarek Schmanski is running for LSA Representative. Schmanski said he is interested in improving CSG’s reputation.
“I think the perception of the student government is one of the most important avenues that can be improved,” Schmanski said. “In this time of transition, it’s really important that students really take a step forward, and they’re able to effectively advocate for student interests here on campus.”
Ross graduate student Andrew Horne is running for Business Representative. Horne said his previous experiences with CSG inspired him to run once again.
“Students should vote for me because I’m awesome,” Horne said. “That’s about it. Yeah, that means students should vote for me because I have experience, I’ve been around, I know this system and I’m super cool about it.”
Horne previously ran as presidential candidate for the Students for Puppies party in 2012.
Business junior Sophie Peretz is running for Business Representative. Peretz said one of her primary goals is limiting financial barriers which prevent students from being successful and sustainable on campus.
“I’m really hoping to limit financial obstacles so every student can reach academic success to make Michigan a more sustainable place,” Peretz said. “I believe that the CSG sustainability guides have been very helpful as a student trying to have a healthy life while living alone in college.”
Kinesiology junior Ember Larson is running for Kinesiology Representative. Larson said she’s interested in running for student government because she wants to advocate for student organizations and community engagement with student government.
“My campaign is about voicing and serving the greater community,” Larson said. “(There’s) a lot of incentive to have more opportunities to connect students to the central government and really teach students how (CSG is) a resource.”
LSA freshman Benjamin Thomas is running for LSA Representative. Thomas said he was inspired to run for student government this year after learning there was not a dance minor offered through LSA and wants to expand on what LSA can offer to students. Thomas said, if elected, he would prioritize honesty and transparency when making legislative decisions.
“My ethics can be broken down, quite simply, into honesty, integrity, and realistic results,” Thomas said. “As part of student government, of course, I would be realistic about the goals that we want to achieve. So I will always stick to trying to drive for whatever I think is the best possible realistic outcome that we can achieve as a student government.”
Social Work graduate student Matt Dargay is running for Social Work Representative. Dargay said he wants to run for CSG to encourage the University of Michigan to expand its accessibility initiatives.
“I am really passionate about making the University of Michigan an affordable and accessible experience for students of all economic backgrounds, and I know that some strides have been made in recent years,” Dargay said. “I was in undergrad when the Go Blue Guarantee was put into effect, so I know that’s had something of a salutary effect on increasing low-income students’ ability to attend U-M, but there’s still some pretty significant gaps that need to be covered.”
Social Work graduate student Sean Rositano is running for Social Work Representative. Rositano said he wants to join CSG to promote a more positive environment at the School of Social Work and throughout the University as a whole.
“(The School of Social Work) is (the) number one social work school (in the United States), but I realized what that means is (the) faculty’s (are) number one, not necessarily the student life or student curriculum,” Rositano said. “So I thought, ‘what better way to try to make the world suck less for social workers than joining the CSG?’”
Taubman graduate student Shravya Goteti is running for Taubman Representative. If elected, she hopes to better support minority groups on campus. She said her experiences with the National Organization for Minority Architects (NOMA) inspired her to help be a voice on campus for students of Color.
“Because my past (work) and my current work (have been more focused) on NOMA, which is the minorities’ architecture organization, I think I’m more inclined to support students of Color and give them equal opportunities,” Goteti said.
LSA freshman Emma Sklar is running for reelection as LSA Representative and said her plans for next year include focusing on equity, sexual assault,accountability and reproductive health rights on campus. Sklar has also been focusing on ensuring transportation is available to Planned Parenthood through Michigan Medicine.
“We have a lot of work to do, and with the help of everybody’s vote, I’m hoping that we can accomplish it together, and it would be an honor to be entrusted by our students once again,” Sklar said. “If reelected, I really do want to stress that I can finally finish up my current efforts with Michigan Medicine Security in order to ensure student rides to and from Planned Parenthood. And while that’s not going to be my only project, it’s something I really do care about so deeply, and I’m hoping I can finish it up. So with your help, and with all of our students’ help, my goals are attainable.”
Engineering freshman Ryan Schmidt is running for Engineering Representative. Schmidt said he is passionate about funding student organizations and plans to include this in his campaign.
“One of the bigger (reasons for running) is funding to student organizations and club sports teams,” Schmidt said. “We generally lack a lot of the funding that the big sports teams and the major project teams get, partially because of our size and (our) lack of (the) tenure that they have, but there’s so many great student organizations, whether it be project teams, LGBTQ organizations (and) club sports that just could do so much better if they received a little bit more funding from the University.”
LSA junior Ethan Neff is running for LSA Representative. Neff said his past experience as a member of LSA Student Government prepared him for a position on CSG.
“I definitely got a good view of what student government is like in general through LSA Student Government –– the good parts of what they can do for good and also the frustrations,” Neff said. “I think that I’m pretty well prepared with how to carry myself in a government format.”
LSA freshman Jacob Amspaugh is running for LSA Representative. Amspaugh said he hopes to help build and strengthen relationships between students and professors.
“I’m definitely passionate about student-teacher relationships because last semester as a freshman I was really nervous to approach my professors,” Amspaugh said. “(And) I’d say that I’m very organized, (and) I’m a freshman, so I’m bringing new blood into the CSG.”
Pharmacy junior Yuan Hang is running for Pharmacy Representative. Hang said she hopes to use her experiences as an international and transfer student to help implement policymaking that serves communities across campus through CSG.
“I would uphold (transparency) because some students are not so familiar with some school affairs, but CSG has more accessibility to that kind of information,” Hang said. “If there’s something that happens (on campus), we (CSG) should have honesty (and) let students know what happened and what we did to handle it.”
Business sophomore Ruben Garcia is running for reelection for Business Representative. Garcia hopes to strengthen and build positive discourse on pressing campus issues.
“CSG is somewhat not always representative of the student body, and that’s purely due to turnout, so I’m always interested in how people can engage,” Garcia said. “My main goal, I’d say, above everything, is … just to have everyone be productive in terms of discourse.”
Engineering sophomore Maria Fields is running for Engineering Representative and said given recent social and political unrest across the world, CSG must take an active role in decision making and representing the student body. She said she wants to implement more events, such as a DEI day for prospective engineering students.
“Saying things like ‘We care about DEI, let’s have a discussion about DEI’ can feel very empty,” Fields said. “We’ve sort of trapped ourselves in this loop of ‘Let’s talk about DEI’ and then no one really does anything, which is particularly why I’ve chosen the things and events that I have to focus on –– I think that they’re (DEI events) very (important) things to implement … If you’re trying to actually see some DEI implementation of the practices and all the different things that we’ve talked about, your vote is in good hands.”
Engineering freshman Matthew Chan is currently on the Assembly representing the College of Engineering and is running for reelection. He said his involvement will enhance CSG’s approach to student feedback and to representing the values of the student body of the College of Engineering.
“What’s been most interesting to me is to see the way in which we receive feedback and the way in which we operate on that,” Chan said. “One component of our meetings is that we allow for any member of the community, whether they be other students or (local residents), to join our meetings and express their concerns. It’s been interesting to observe the extent to which these concerns and opinions that are voiced to us have influenced our decision.”
LSA sophomore Aarushi Ganguly is running for LSA Representative. She hopes to improve on student life initiatives and ensure students are comfortable with their representation.
“I think coming out of COVID, we’re still going to be deeply impacted by (the pandemic),” Ganguly said. “But returning to in-person hybrid classes and (noticing) how student life has started to change more with it, especially with the mental health burden, having people that represent you, and make it easy to represent you and don’t require you to feel awkward is really important. People should vote so that they can feel more comfortable with representation.”
LSA junior James Chaney is running for LSA representative. He said with the University seeking a new president, the student government has the opportunity to pressure the administration further to address student issues such as improving transportation and reducing sexual violence. He hopes to use his position in the Assembly to listen and foster a better relationship between the student body and the administration.
“I’m a no-nonsense type of guy,” Chaney said. “If I’m going in there, I’m going in there to get stuff done … I won’t be there to focus on outside political issues that may or may not affect the student body directly. I would be more focused on direct issues in house.”
Public Health graduate student Sarah Cieslak is running for Public Health Representative. She said voting will help address students’ needs and she looks forward to being a representative for the student body.
“Students should vote for me because I will stand up for them,” Cieslak said. “I will make sure that their voice is heard and that they aren’t left in the dark.”
LSA sophomore Karthik Pasupula is running for reelection as LSA Representative. He talked about the importance of supporting student workers and lecturers and of cooperating with the University administration.
“I think this year has become even more vital than ever before … because this is such a great opportunity for CSG to create a working relationship with the administration and with the new president,” said Pasupula. “I really want to see a relationship where we can communicate what students want, and we can work together to make that happen.”
LSA senior Major Stevens is running for LSA Representative. He said CSG can improve communication with the regents and the student body this year.
“I feel like I can help make the government run and be more effective, as well as get (the word) out on what we’re doing for the students overall, because … over the past year, there’s been a lot of discussion about student government not doing anything or not doing anything noticeable,” Stevens said. “And so I think we need to market ourselves more to the student public, and that’s why I want to help get (the word) out and that’s what kind of led me to this point.”
Of the candidates who agreed to an interview with The Daily, 11 candidates were party-affiliated and 10 candidates were not. Jarek Schmanski, Sophie Peretz, Ember Larson, Benjamin Thomas, Sean Rositano, Ryan Schmidt, Jacob Amspaugh, Aarushi Ganguly, Sarah Cieslak, Karthik Pasupula, and Major Stevens are affiliated with the EnvisionBlue Party. Andrew Horne, Matt Dargay, Ethan Neff, Yuan Hang, Ruben Garcia, James Chaney, Maria Fields, Matthew Chan, Shravya Goteti and Emma Sklar are running independently.