Candidates running for representative positions in LSA Student Government gathered Monday night for a candidates’ forum to pitch their platforms in preparation for the elections on Nov. 26 and 27. Prospective members discussed topics such as dining hall options, accessibility, diversity and student health.
LSA SG President Nathan Wilson, an LSA senior, said the forum gave candidates the opportunity to develop a platform early on in the election process that would guide their work should they be elected. Wilson noted how urging prospective members to set goals for the coming semester exposes them to the ideas and objectives of their fellow members, allowing for increased collaboration.
“(The candidates’ forum) really encourages the people running to think about what they’re going to be doing for the next year,” Wilson said. “If they end up winning, then they have this platform that they can look back on and really use that as a litmus test for what they should be doing and what they promised that they would do.”
During the forum, each of the 25 candidates spent three minutes presenting their plan for the coming semester before opening up to the audience for questions. LSA SG Appointed Representative Kaitlyn Colyer, an LSA freshman, said she hoped to tackle issues regarding financial aid and scholarships after receiving misinformation about the Go Blue Guarantee during her senior year of high school. Instituted in January 2018, the Go Blue Guarantee covers the full cost of tuition for Michigan residents with family incomes under $65,000 a year.
“This year my theme is equity –– making sure all students have access to the resources on this campus,” Colyer said. “I was told by an admissions counselor that I would be guaranteed the Go Blue Guarantee and so I accepted my admissions offer as soon as I got the offer. Unfortunately, I am currently over $28,000 in debt. However, I know 30 students who are in the same boat and we are willing to make a change.”
Wilson said making the financial aid office more transparent, an issue touched upon by various candidates, is a major project LSA SG hopes to address because it would help alleviate the financial strain placed upon many students at the University.
“It’s part of the job of student government to hold the University accountable and make sure that those things actually happen,” Wilson said. “Having people that are aware of those issues heavily involved in student government, that’s really heartening for me.”
Candidates also frequently mentioned the difficult transition from high school to college in terms of academic rigor. LSA SG Elected Representative Jordan Schuler, an LSA sophomore, proposed opening a “general learning center” that would provide basic information to students about test-taking strategies and anxiety management. Schuler, who served as the vice chair of the Academic Affairs Committee for the past year, said the center would help bridge the gap between high school and University coursework.
“This is definitely a long-term project and something that might not be done by the time that I graduate, but I know that it could benefit so many students,” Schuler said. “I think that it’s really important to put in all the effort I can that while I’m here.”