Despite being outsiders to Central Student Government, LSA juniors Evan Rosen and Dan Sweeney are ready to make waves on the University of Michigan campus as elected leaders. Rosen and Sweeney are running for president and vice president, respectively, with Movement Party.
Rosen said he decided to run in order to create a more united campus.
“We’re very excited about trying to effect positive change on this campus,” Rosen said. “We have a very detailed and diverse platform that we’re excited to talk about and a lot of people behind us who are trying to make it happen.”
The two head Movement, one of the four parties running in this year’s race. Movement’s campaign is based on increasing student involvement in CSG, and ensuring the student body has the opportunity to unite to create a lasting impact.
When asked where the inspiration for the name came from, Rosen said there was a lot of symbolism behind it, drawing parallels to the force of a wave.
“We see Movement as another kind of term for change,” Rosen said. “We keep moving, keep changing — Michigan is an elite public university, does a lot of great things, but we feel like we can get even better, so we want to keep moving forward, and that’s where the movement comes from. Our logo is the wave emoji, and we’re big on that because we see the student body as coming together and forming instead of being individual water droplets — coming together to be a wave, an ocean.”
Business junior Ethan Lutz, campaign manager of Movement, reiterated that Movement’s focus is the student body, and the group was looking for ways to make CSG more accessible to the average University student.
“We’ve talked about how the school may be a little divided, and we want to bring the school together,” Lutz said. “One way we want to do that is through giving the students more of a voice; we want to have more transparent processes within the student government, more open forums, sending out more surveys to gauge student opinion.”
While most parties running for CSG have historically had members with robust student government experience at the University, Movement is unique in that most of its executive board members have not served in CSG. Rosen and Sweeney believe they will be able to relate to the student body and bring new ideas and initiatives to the table.
“We are very clearly outsiders,” Rosen said. “We’re not part of CSG, most of the people involved in our campaign are not with CSG and I think that results in a lot of new ideas and a lot of change … I think we bring new fresh ideas, and we’re going to reach more people by making it a more fun, creative campaign.”
Sweeney pointed out that their lack of CSG experience may be an advantage for the candidates, and that it’s important to their campaign that they address students who have felt estranged from student government, and reach out to students who may not be as politically active and engaged as others.
“One of the most exciting things each year, for me at least, is the CSG elections,” Sweeney said. “But what I sort of realize now is that each year it’s sort of the same process … the people that I know that are involved are the same people that have been involved every year. One thing that … is important and integral to our campaign, is focusing on how we can get other people involved who aren’t political activists or really up to date on the initiatives that are being passed — how can we make Central Student Government something the average Wolverine is going to be interested in, and feel like applies to them?”
The Movement candidates highlighted that party platforms have not really changed over the past three years; things that were an issue when Rosen and Sweeney were freshmen are still problems the University faces. Many resolutions focus on increasing Counseling and Psychological Services resources and expanding its reach, but Rosen and Sweeney are determined to address the source of the problem instead — an attitude reflected in the rest of their campaign.
Sweeney acknowledged that, while CAPS does have limited resources, as he has experienced first-hand, he thinks CSG should focus more on helping students cope with the transitions they face when they come to college and reducing stress by making campus resources more accessible.
“Especially with mental health, that’s something I’ve noticed in the last two debates — both parties discussed expanding CAPS,” Sweeney said. “But since my freshman year, in every debate and every platform, there’s always talk about doing all these expanding procedures … Primarily, the question that we are interested in is: Why is there a three-week wait? Why are so many Wolverines seeking help for their mental health?”
When asked about their plans to increase diversity, Sweeney and Rosen took the same approach — they felt it was important to increase minority enrollment and focus on ways to create a connection between the University and surrounding areas, like Detroit and Flint.
“We don’t have initiatives for CSG specifically, but we have a lot of initiatives to increase (diversity) on campus, and I think that will result naturally in an influx of people from different backgrounds,” Rosen said. “I think it’s a reflection of the bigger problems on campus; that’s reflected in CSG as well. A lot of people on this campus are white, are male, and I think that’s something that we need to improve overall and increase diversity on campus. Moreso in CSG, I think it’s important to have representatives from all over campus.”
One of their biggest initiatives to increase diversity is Divide and Prosper, which involves students in education-related fields being required to teach youth in areas like Detroit, to gain teaching experience and show younger students that the University cares about them.
Another initiative Movement has been working on is called Send the Elevator, which connects current students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds with younger students to help them navigate college and application processes. The name references the responsibility people have to “send the elevator back down” once they reach a certain level of success to help people who are in a similar position to where they came from.
They have other similar proposals that focus on helping students feel like they belong on campus. Their Four-Year Campaign will help students navigate their college career from start to finish, and they’re currently planning an initiative which would make the Race and Ethnicity requirement mandatory during freshman year, so students can begin having conversations about these topics early on.
Lutz reiterated that above all, Movement is there to listen to student concerns and aims to work in conjunction with the student body.
“We’re going to start advertising nightly office hours at our house for the rest of the campaign season,” Lutz said. “We’re trying to make it clear that we want to welcome in anyone that wants to share their own thoughts. We have a very fleshed-out platform, but we’d be more than willing to adapt it if we hear more student concerns. We’re definitely trying to make it more of a people’s platform than just our own ideas.”