To some, making the decision to run for a Central Student Government office without any prior experience within University of Michigan student governments and without a campaign plan may seem like a pretty big leap. But for Engineering sophomores Alec Beljanski and Nathan Minsk, this sort of feat is something they look forward to.
Beljanski, running for CSG president, and Minsk, running for vice president, comprise Better Than The Rest Party, a party looking to provide students with an outsider perspective to CSG. Hoping to serve students as representatives who understand the distance some may feel from student government, they look to create a distinct platform between those who are heavily involved with CSG and those who are not.
“I think that CSG does a lot of things, but those who are not involved in CSG are not so much interested,” Minsk said. “Very few things come across when they think of CSG. They probably think of the airBus, and then they probably also think of these diversity events and mental health events, those two specifically because we get a lot of emails about them.”
Knowing they serve as a party with independence in its own sense, their decision to run comes with the hope to represent students who also feel this separation from CSG, but as a result, the two expect to end up gaining more experience with CSG in the process.
“We wanted to see this experience, we wanted to especially since we have no experience,” Minsk said. “I feel like we’re kind of contrary to a lot of the culture of the CSG elections.”
When it comes to campaigning, the two will solely rely on the name of the party itself.
Specifically, their hope is when students scroll through CSG’s website and browse through the names of running parties, the name Better Than The Rest will stand apart from its opposing groups and will garner interest from potential voters.
In a discussion of these opposing groups, they stated they feel the eMerge and Movement parties bring essentially the same things to the table. On the contrary, they said Better Than The Rest looks to differentiate itself from these parties, though Beljanki and Minsk do agree with the policies put forward by other parties. If elected into office, they stated they would take similar approaches for their administration.
“(We want) to provide an alternative to what we view as essentially two of the same parties in that we agree with both of the parties,” Beljanski said.
Better Than The Rest also hopes to connect with the student body by establishing commissions and working with these commissions to continue to improve on issues many at the University face. Highlighting current policies, the two hope to continue to promote events and discussions on the awareness of diversity and mental health.
Their specific plans for implementing and furthering such policies are yet to be finalized.
LSA sophomore Niccolo Beltramo wrote in an email he feels the work ethics of the two are positive indications of their abilities to hold office and represent the student body.
“I have known Alec and Nathan since coming to this university, and I know them to be hardworking and dedicated members of the university community,” he wrote. “These two care greatly about the university, its students, and its community. I am certain that, were they to fill these roles, they would do what they could to better the conditions of students here.”