With University of Michigan Central Student Government elections coming up on March 27 and 28, The Daily sat down with executive candidates of each party to discuss their platforms, ideas and objectives. In this article, we profile presidential candidate Shub Argha, who is running without a party.
Engineering freshman Shub Argha grew up in New York City after moving from Bangladesh in 2005. This experience inspired several of his platform issues. After arriving at the University of Michigan this past fall, Argha noticed problems throughout campus regarding the University’s sustainability levels, student accessibility to CSG and availability of free feminine hygiene products.
The reason Argha said he chose to run for CSG president was due to the financing and resources the branch receives.
“I decided to run for president because … I found that the executive budget was $40,000,” Argha said. “Working with that and seeing how the executive branch (of CSG) will be able to meet with the administration — I’ll be able to meet with the dean of students, and I can work with the students directly and fund many projects that I want to see get done on campus — it was very important to me. Running for president, I can make these changes and work with the administration directly, and I wanted to create that pipeline between students and the administration, that right now almost does not exist.”
One of the main issues covered in Argha’s platform is titled “Ban the Bottle,” in which he proposes banning the sale of plastic water bottles on campus.
“I walked into Java Blue, our campus cafe store, in the morning, and the rack of water bottles was filled in the day, and I came back around 8 p.m., and it was gone,” Argha said. “… At the University we have Planet Blue to help us … but we’re not pushing the student body to take over and actually put into use our sustainability goals.”
Beyond Ban the Bottle, his platform has two other initiatives: “Change the Cycle,” which would make feminine products free to all University students, and “WTH is CSG?”, which would increase student awareness of CSG and the resources it provides.
Argha decided to focus on CSG awareness and approachability in his campaign because he feels not enough students know about what the organization does. If elected, he hopes to encourage more students to interact with CSG.
“Most of the students I spoke to did not know what CSG was,” Argha said. “I think CSG should become more approachable so all students come forward. I think one of the main reasons CSG has failed in its core is they focus too much on the big issues that they’re focusing on, but coming and going out into the community and speaking to organizations, speaking to students and just understanding how events are going around campus, what events people care about, I think those are the first steps they should take.”
Argha has no prior experience with CSG and is running without a party. He has a “team” consisting of a group of close friends supporting his efforts. Argha said his team represents many of the communities present at the University, and he is working with them to advocate for issues important to students and to reach out to student organizations on campus.
“It’s not how big my party is or running with the party that matters, it’s the issues at hand, and how important they are and my team with me now that matters the most,” Argha said. “Because these issues have been and will continue to affect the University of Michigan community, and if the community feels like we want to push for change, and we want CSG to get out there, become more approachable, work with the administration directly, we’ll push for the issues and not for the party … By not having a party, I’m going directly to organizations, I’m going directly to the students, and hearing their voices and listening to what we all want to get done, and that I find is very important.”
Through interaction with students, administration and student organizations on campus, Argha hopes to push for changes and improve the positive impact of CSG.
“I’m just running to change Michigan for these initiatives that I’m very passionate about,” Argha said. “I want to work with everyone, I want to work with the student body and just hear about their passions, hear about these different ideas and these different values. I am a CSG outsider, but I bring new ideas to the table. With these new ideas we can push for change, and work directly with the administration to push for change.”