Meet the candidates running for president and vice president of LSA Student Government

Sunday, March 22, 2020 - 6:06pm

The Michigan Daily sat down with the candidates for LSA Student Government ahead of the start of voting Monday morning.

The Michigan Daily sat down with the candidates for LSA Student Government ahead of the start of voting Monday morning. Buy this photo
Courtesy of Jordan Schuler, Sai Pamidighantam, Selena Bazzi, and Josiah Walker.

April 1 and 2, University of Michigan students will be able to vote for the LSA Student Government president and vice president. The Michigan Daily spoke with the candidates of each ticket to learn more about their past work and their platforms.

Ticket #1: Jordan Schuler (President) and Sai Pamidighantam (Vice President)

Jordan Schuler is a junior majoring in Organizational Studies and Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Schuler has been a part of LSA SG since his freshman year. He said he has used his time on LSA SG to build a community within student government.

Sai Pamidighantam is a junior majoring in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience with minors in applied statistics and Gender and Health. Pamidighantam has been part of the LSA SG for three years. She served as an associate representative and then moved up to be the chair of the Diversity Affairs Committee.

The theme of Schuler and Pamidighantam’s platform is being relationship-driven and inclusivity-focused. They said their goal is to be able to collaborate with a variety of multicultural organizations and politically-focused organizations on campus.

According to Schuler, diversity and inclusivity are at the center of their campaign.

“I think the most important piece of our campaign is that we don't want things like diversity and inclusivity to just be buzzwords, but to be a promise and something that we follow through on,” Schuler said. “Something that we’re committing to doing for the year to come is making people on our campus, regardless of their background or their identities, feel welcome in our government and have a commitment to projects that show that we mean it.”

If they win the election, Schuler and Pamidighantam hope to create a General Learning Center, where students could go to get help with academic skills, such as organization, time management, test-taking and dealing with test anxiety. They hope to promote transparency with students about the costs of courses, and would like to continue working with the Maize & Blue Cupboard. 

As a sophomore, Schuler served as the vice chair of the Academic Affairs Committee. This past year, he served on the executive board as the academic relations officer, which deals with LSA SG projects related to academic policy. Schuler said one of his biggest accomplishments this year was working to extend the Pass/Fail deadline to later in the semester, which he said gives students more time to make decisions.

Padmidighantam said LSA SG has given her the opportunity to spearhead many of her own projects, such as a campus-wide food drive with the Maize & Blue cupboard.

“It felt like we were doing our own part in tackling food insecurity because that's such a big issue on campus,” Padmidighantam said. “Now more than ever, we're seeing how much Maize & Blue cupboard has been helping all students on campus.”

Ticket #2: Selena Bazzi (President) and Josiah Walker (Vice President)

Selena Bazzi is a junior studying biomolecular science with a double minor in Art & Design and Community Action and Social Change. Bazzi has been part of Central Student Government at the University for three years. Josiah Walker is a junior studying political science and has worked with CSG and individual schools' student governments on issues such as voter turnout and sexual misconduct policies.  

Bazzi said her time in CSG working with student groups and administration has helped her gain a lot of knowledge about various groups and institutions within the University. 

“I feel like I’ve gained unique institutional knowledge to understand how the University functions, where it's lacking and where things are going well,” Bazzi said. “And my three years of student government experience have given me insight on how to make the changes that I want on campus.”

Walker chose to take his experience throughout his three years on campus and apply it to the LSA SG.

“I decided to run because I’ve been heavily involved in other organizing spaces on campus,” Walker said. “I think merging student government efforts with efforts made by other organizing spaces on campus will have a much more tangible impact on the causes that both groups care about.”

Bazzi and Walker said their platform focuses on fostering a more affordable university through resources such as free test prep and cheaper textbook costs. Bazzi said their goal is for finances not to be a barrier for students.

“So, in terms of academics, we want to promote a textbook affordability initiative,” Walker said. “We know that a lot of textbooks from some of the upper-level classes or some of the STEM classes and even the language classes can be costly. I want to work with the dean and other university resources to figure out how to make the material more affordable for students.”

This article has been updated to clarify the LSA SG election is April 1 and 2, Pamidighantam is the chair of DAC and to explain the functions of the GLC. Additionally, this article has been updated to clarify Walker has worked with student governments on campus.

Reporter Brayden Hirsch can be reached at braydenh@umich.edu.