Op-Ed: A letter from MVision

Monday, March 5, 2018 - 5:38pm

To Our Fellow Wolverines,

As new Central Student Government parties form and elections fast approach, we wanted to take a minute, amid of our marathon meetings and late-night platform talks, to discuss what matters most: the students that make up the University of Michigan’s campus. It’s with a dedication to creating a better and more unified campus that we announce our candidacy as Student Body President and Vice President with the newly formed MVision party.

Having collectively spent time working with and on Central Student Government (CSG), LSA Student Government (LSA SG), Center for Campus Involvement (CCI), Wolverine Support Network (WSN), LSA Honor Council, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC), Panhellenic Association and Interfraternity Council (IFC) we have no shortage of acronyms, nor time spent listening to, debating with and working for the greater student body. We understand the huge potential and astounding responsibilities of the offices we hope to hold. We also know the shortcomings of CSG and the pitfalls of overpromising that have been made clear over our semesters on campus. The changes we wish to bring about are manifold, but our vision is clear: to create a CSG that serves the entire student body. Ultimately, we want a CSG that empowers students to be seen, to be heard and to be supported.  

The eMerge party ran with the desire to build a more accessible, inclusive student government, and we are proud to have been a part of that campaign. CSG President Anushka Sarkar and CSG Vice President Nadine Jawad have done a phenomenal job providing our campus with hope and a sense of belonging for communities that CSG had previously alienated. We hope to continue their impactful work by expanding CSG’s outreach to communities who still feel isolated on campus.

We will not be distracted from CSG’s mission to serve students. It is imperative that CSG becomes a group dedicated to providing resources for the student organizations that create the richness of our campus. Let’s allow those organizations to shine in their own right, indebted only to the students and causes that they serve. We created a team with the intention of building a platform based on direct experience and expanding CSG’s outreach. The range of CSG experience that our team brings has allowed our platform to reflect the varying communities and concerns from across our campus.

We have experienced, firsthand, policies that need to be improved to allow for a campus where each student is valued. The MVision Michigan team is comprised of students who understand what it means to be openly gay in Greek life, to be a woman on a college campus today, to struggle with mental illness, to survive sexual assault, to balance work-study positions or to feel unsafe because of their identities. However, we understand that our experiences do not speak for the 46,000 voices that make up the University. We hope to increase the representation of all marginalized and invisible identities within classrooms and campus resources. We hope to replace “freshmen” with “first-years,” and other, more inclusive, terminology. We plan to embed a SAPAC ex-officio in CSG to connect the University with the needs of survivors on campus.

No student should feel alone as they struggle with mental health, which is why we need to reach the golden ratio of CAPS counselors to students. No student who is a survivor of sexual assault should be unsure of their options, which is why we need to expand the SAPAC empowerment fund. No student on campus should feel isolated or disenfranchised, which is why we need to proactively address the campus climate. That is where our CSG philosophy stems from. Our experiences have shaped our determination, and our willingness to go the extra mile.

We are honored to work with brilliant individuals from across the communities that represent the breadth of experience here on the University campus. MVision is actively creating a community that promotes equity and acceptance and works at a grassroots level to pursue inclusivity.

If you have policy ideas that you believe will elevate students on this campus, please visit the MVision website. We see you and want you to feel heard.

Let’s MVision together,

Daniel and Izzy

Daniel Greene is a Public Policy junior and Izzy Baer is an LSA sophomore.