Op-Ed: Introducing Your Michigan

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 - 11:37pm

The University of Michigan is a community full of diverse ideas — of brilliant, compassionate and kind students. Most importantly, the University would not be the place it is without you. Student input and advocacy make this place the amazing university it is. Without your voice and work, this campus wouldn’t be the special place that it is for our generation of students and for the next generation of Wolverines.

That’s why we write today to announce our candidacy and express how excited we are to hear your voice, your ideas and your beliefs. As a new party, Your Michigan wants to create an atmosphere in Central Student Government where all students’ narratives and ideas are not only heard, but supported as well. We understand the limits of Central Student Government, but believe in the limitless nature of student activism here at the University. Join us as we work toward tangible change — as we shape effective and innovative policies that better every student’s experience.

Your Michigan’s executive team, Thomas Hislop and Cam Dotson, have the leadership skills, experience and love for the maize and blue that CSG needs today. We are committed to changing the culture of student representation that currently exists, and ensuring that all experiences on this campus are appreciated, heard and considered. Our experience has taught us how to govern effectively, but it has also shown us that change is needed.

Join us as we revitalize the Maize Rage and move the upper bowl student section to the center of the court so that students are more connected and united during basketball games. We are working with the Athletic Department to create a revamped Maize Rage that is both financially feasible and brings students closer together. We are not blindly promising more lower bowl seats, but rather thinking creatively as to what seating arrangements allow for the best student experience possible. As the University prepares to welcome our new athletic director, Warde Manuel, it is imperative that our campus leaders ensure student input is considered and that the student experience at athletic events continues to improve.

Join us as we engage in meaningful discourse about sexual misconduct on campus. We want to advocate for more peer educators in extracurricular clubs, athletic teams and Greek organizations. We want to expand the Panhellenic Association’s very successful Peer Educator Program so that more groups have a resource that can educate them on this important issue and help in their times of need. This will create a bridge between student groups and the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, so that students who want to learn more or need support have an easy path to SAPAC’s incredible resources.

Join us as we foster dialogue between CSG representatives and students through town-hall forums with student-dictated agendas. In the past, students have voiced their concerns that CSG is not transparent enough. We want students to feel that we are a resource for them and truly represent them. Your Michigan will empower students by creating town-hall forums that, on occasion, replace the formal CSG meetings. These forums will promote a productive dialogue between elected officials and students who want their voices to be heard but who are turned away by the formal format of the weekly CSG meetings.

Join us as we create a more diverse university of tomorrow by supporting student organizations that do amazing work in nearby urban communities. President Schlissel recently commented on increasing the amount of minority representation on campus, and Your Michigan is dedicated to assisting in that process. As the administration works to increase minority enrollment, Your Michigan wants to assist and support the organizations doing great work in surrounding communities by subsidizing these programs’ traveling expenses, and show these students that the University is an attainable destination for any motivated student.

Join us as we establish a new, centralized mentorship program for incoming international students to ease their transition into this rigorous, new environment. Our program, “Welcome hoMe,” will ease international students’ transition to this major American public university. The program is rooted in the concerns of international students who often arrive and feel isolated or disjointed from the rest of the student body. It is incredibly important that we provide these fellow Wolverines support just as we do for other students through programs such as Leaders and Best. Our centralized program would provide a group of trained, dedicated mentors to any international student as soon as they arrive on campus.

Join us. It’s your time, your voice and your Michigan. These are just a few of our ideas, as we continue to advocate for a safer, innovative and empowering campus. Our platform is far from finalized; we want to make sure that you have a chance to deliver feedback, to give your thoughts and to make an impact. Feel free to reach out to us through social media, and make sure to come join Your Michigan this Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Ross School of Business room R1240. Your voice matters, and we want to make sure it is heard on this campus.

Cam Dotson is an LSA junior and Thomas Hislop is a Public Policy junior.