LSA student government representative candidates’ forum focuses on mental health and transportation

Sunday, November 17, 2019 - 3:04pm

LSA sophomore Andrew Goldman discusses his platform at the LSA Student Government Candidates' Forum at the Michigan League Friday evening

LSA sophomore Andrew Goldman discusses his platform at the LSA Student Government Candidates' Forum at the Michigan League Friday evening Buy this photo
Emma Mati/Daily

On Friday morning, LSA freshman Adam Grimes visited the University of Michigan Counseling and Psychological Services website to make an appointment with a campus counselor. His wait time was 13 days. On that same day, LSA sophomore Andrew Goldman received a wait time of 23 days.

“That means that if right now you felt as though you needed to talk to someone here at this university regarding a mental health issue or some other issue you have — you want to go to talk to someone you can trust to give you good advice — you have to wait all the way until mid-December, right around finals,” Goldman said. “That’s absolutely unacceptable for any student to have to wait that long.”

Mental health and student input were major agendas on policy platforms at the LSA Student Government representative candidates’ forum on Friday. According to LSA senior Lorraine Furtado, LSA SG elections director, the 13 candidates are currently uncontested. Students ranging from freshmen to seniors presented project ideas and policy initiatives to enact for the rest of the school year. 

Common concerns among the candidates were transportation, mental health and sustainability. LSA sophomore Sarah Salino emphasized the impact frequency of transportation has on students living in distant dorms from central campus. Specifically, Salino called for increased bus times outside of class hours. 

“Many LSA students are assigned housing on North Campus or Oxford dorms,” Salino said. “While these are multiple dormitories that have a lot of great freshmen with a lot of ambitions, the dorms that are far away from the LSA buildings can create a barrier to getting involved in different opportunities on campus.” 

Similarly, LSA senior Anna Colvin expressed challenges in communicating with free campus transportation services such as SafeRide. Colvin advocated for increased funding for these services in order to overcome an apparent shortage on weekends. 

Colvin wants to fund more drivers in the SafeRide program in order to make this option more widely available. 

“I’ve been in contact with SafeRide in the past,” Colvin said. “They have been hesitant to reach out and meet us, but I will continue making an effort to reach out to them.”

Environment and sustainability ran alongside highly supported campaign platforms. LSA junior Timothy Dalrymple focused his platform on the University’s carbon neutrality goals

In February, University President Mark Schlissel announced the U-M President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality to help the University achieve a low-carbon future. Dalrymple said that student involvement in planning carbon reduction at the University has been low. 

“I was one of thousands of students on campus that was thrilled to hear this commission was going to be established to take on the challenges of the University of Michigan going carbon neutral,” Dalrymple said. “However, up until this point, it seems as though students haven’t been able to get the input that they were promised when this commission was established.”

On a smaller scale, Salino introduced an initiative to create new seminar classes on the environment and sustainability to increase relevant knowledge among students. By extending the availability of seminar classes in general, Salino said this expansion would not only allow for a smaller classroom setting, but also allow upperclassmen to explore different subjects. 

“I think based on student feedback, I would like to start working on seminars because students expressed they’d like to get more small classes, even though they don’t want to wait until they’re seniors to do so in their 400 level classes,” Salino said. 

LSA students will vote for candidates through a ranking system based on preferences from Nov. 20-21. Furtado was surprised to see many returning members campaign at the forum.

“We have a lot of returning members, people who are coming back and want to get more involved in it,” Furtado said. “There’s a lot of re-electing and increasing of roles.”

 

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