Fourteen of the candidates for LSA Student Government’s elected representative positions presented their platforms, which included expanding physical and mental health awareness on campus, increasing campus safety, and expanding dining hall hours, Monday night in a candidate forum.
This year, there are 22 candidates running to be elected for 10 open representative seats. Elections will be held online Wednesday and Thursday. All students in LSA are eligible to vote.
Numerous candidates proposed measures that would increase the awareness of mental health resources on campus, including LSA freshman Gabriella Ammond, who said she would work with organizations like the Counseling and Psychological Services to push for mental health awareness. Ammond said she hopes her efforts will help end the stigma associated with mental illness.
Ammond also said she’d make sure World Mental Health Day, which occurred in early October this year, would be present every year on campus.
“I volunteered at Mental Health Day through student government and I was really inspired by all the student organizations and all the people that were really motivated to end the stigma associated with mental illness,” Ammond said. “I would make sure that happens next year and throughout the next three years.”
LSA freshman Shreyas Gujja proposed a theme for each month that focuses on a different type of mental health issue.
“We would dedicate that month to fundraising and raising awareness for this mental health issue, which would definitely help to spread the issue and to help the cause of fighting against these mental health issues,” Gujja said.
LSA senior Hayder Jaber also emphasized working with fellow representatives to organize events that would include information about mental health and identifying mental health issues in one’s own life.
Candidates also spoke about the state of student physical health and potential ways to improve it.
LSA junior Kristen Ball proposed creating programs that would improve student physical wellness and nutrition, saying this should be a priority for LSA-SG.
“We would add stress-relieving programs and increase awareness for nutrition and helping students eat healthy,” Ball said. “We would also try to make physical fitness a primary regime for students and try to minimize germ-spread.”
LSA freshman Nick Martire also proposed expanding resources on combating and responding to instances of campus sexual assault. The University is currently under investigation by the Department of Education for how it handles sexual assault cases, and has updated its policy on sexual misconduct several times in the past few years.
“I think that we should use more resources to increase student awareness of sexual assault and help survivors and victims of it,” he said.
Ammond proposed a revision of the current Relationship Remix, a program for incoming freshmen that discusses sex and relationships, so that it works for students who have busy schedules, as well as adding portions that involve sexual assault prevention and recovery.
Candidates also proposed expanding the current dining hall hours on campus. LSA freshman Brooke Lennox, noting that eating healthy full meals was imperative to cognitive processing, proposed expanding the dining hall hours so that students with full schedules can eat later.
LSA freshman Kevin Bhattacharyya also addressed student hunger late at night, especially during exam periods. He proposed increasing the hours in the dining halls to match those of college rivals such as Ohio State University and Michigan State University, which both have dining halls open until midnight.
“As U of M, one of the best institutions in the country, we should be able to offer things that are better than those rivals,” he said.