Update: This article has been updated to include quotes from Shub Argha, the losing candidate.
An initial voting count by CSG election director Victoria Allen, a Law student, indicates will serve as the 2019-20 University of Michigan Central Student Government president and vice president.
Gerstein and Blanchard, running on the Engage Michigan ticket, earned 2,226 votes, beating Engineering freshman Shub Argha by 1,294 votes. Dylan Haugh-Ewald, a candidate confused by his placement on the ballot, earned 166 votes. Finally, Reggie Bee the corgi — who sparked controversy last year by starting a CSG campaign — came in fourth place.
By The Daily’s count, the Engage Michigan Party elected 31 students to CSG representative positions.
In an Engage Michigan Party profile published by The Daily, Gerstein and Blanchard said their overarching goal is to increase the impact and reach CSG has on campus by providing more resources for students. To do this, they hope to create a comprehensive resource guide and institute Diag Days, monthly resource fairs on North and Central campuses.
Engage also hopes to outline a five-year sustainability plan, and to work with the administration to extend Thanksgiving Break by including the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
Following the release of the unofficial results to the CSG candidates, current representatives and The Daily at 12:51 a.m., Gerstein and Blanchard told The Daily in an email statement how thankful they are for their campaign team and the passion of the student body.
“This elections season has been nothing short of electric – we thank the student body for their enthusiasm for our party, our ideas, and most importantly our candidates,” they wrote. “Tonight serves as a win not only for the executive ticket, but for our representatives, street team, and our entire core who all invested their time and energy into the campaign. Managing a full party and running a campaign is no easy task, and without the work of our team, it never could have happened.”
Argha ran independently under a three-pronged platform. He hoped to implement initiatives including “Ban the Bottle” to eliminate all plastic water bottle sales on campus, “Change the Cycle” to provide free feminine hygiene products in campus restrooms and “WTH is CSG?” to help increase awareness of CSG through hosting social events. His platform also included plans to tackle diversity, mental health, affordability and sustainability.
Argha sent a statement to The Daily following the election in which he wrote running for CSG President was one of the most difficult yet adventurous things he’s done.
“I ran for President because I saw many issues facing our campus; especially concerning sustainability, diversity and equality,” Argha wrote. “There are issues I am deeply passionate about and I look forward to finding other avenues to solving them.”
In his statement, Argha thanked his friends and family for supporting him throughout the campaign.
“I would like to thank my best friends for standing by my side through long nights of meetings, chalking and designing,” he wrote. “I know CSG is in good hands and I wish (Ben and Isabelle) the best of luck during their term.”
Students selected representatives for their respective colleges: 14 for LSA, six for Engineering, seven for Rackham, four for Business and one for each of the remaining 13 colleges.
Also on the ballot was an amendment to add a CSG commission to select justices of the judiciary committee. The amendment passed with 1,759 votes in favor.
At the end of their statement, Gerstein and Blanchard emphasized their commitment to the student body.
“We will work tirelessly on behalf of the students of this university, to make this university work for you, and to make each and every student feel that this is their home,” they wrote. “We can’t say that this will be an easy journey, or that we’ll never misstep, but at the end of the day, we will never stop working for you.”