As the March Central Student Government elections approach, parties are beginning to form for the upcoming election.
Your Michigan, one of two new parties to announce thus far along with newMICH, announced its candidacy for the upcoming Central Student Government elections Tuesday night. For the past two years, executive positions have been held by the Make Michigan party, which featured safety initiatives and pushes to increase diversity and inclusivity on campus in their past campaigns.
On Your Michigan’s executive ticket is Public Policy junior Thomas Hislop, running for CSG President along with LSA junior Cam Dotson for Vice President.
Hislop and Dotson said their candidacy is centered on their desire to make CSG more approachable and transparent for students.
“It’s about setting the tone,” Dotson said. “We want to give people a different taste of CSG and to understand that we are here for them. This is Your Michigan and we are here to help you express your opinions and views — you should feel protected and we want to empower you to say how you feel and what you want.”
LSA sophomore Patrick Mullan-Koufopoulos is also running with Your Michigan, and is doing community outreach for the party. LSA senior Alyssa Gorenberg is acting as the party’s director of representatives.
“Everyday I walk around this campus and think how can we make this better for the student body,” Hislop said. “What I realized was, the 10 of us, of course, can see a lot of things that could improve, but there are 42,000 other students on this campus and they see a lot of different things every single day, and we’d love those students to reach out to us and have their voice be a part of our platform.”
While their platform is still emerging — candidates said they will release a fuller list of goals and ideas in the next two weeks — Your Michigan said they’re planning on stressing the far-reaching backgrounds their candidates have through varying leadership positions on campus. Their core members have acted on four different student governments on campus, including LSA, CSG, Ford School of Public Policy and Rackham Graduate School.
They said they think their range will help to bring better communications and interactions with other student governments once elected.
“We’ve been actively participating in different student governments” Mullan-Koufopoulos said. “Which really makes it a much more cohesive campus and plays into the idea of Your Michigan being your community and your school.”
Another strength the group is citing in their campaign is their as of yet incomplete platform.
“To have a concrete and final platform at this point would be unfair,” Dotson said. “We’d really be overlooking all the other voices and opinions that we can still hear if we keep our ear to the ground.”
Your Michigan members said they’re seeking to engage with clubs on campus while campaigning, with the aim of establishing connections and communications with campus organizations that carry over into their term if elected.
“We want to leave behind a legacy where the executives are really listening to the students,” Hislop said. “You have to reach out to groups that only have 20-25 students because they matter, and there’s an echo effect there. We also want to connect with student organizations on campus and ask them what they need, and what CSG can do for them. We want to make them feel like we are going to be their advocates in the long run and not just for the month of campaigning. We want to establish a sense of trust moving forward.”
As part of their goals for the year, candidates said they also plan to reconstruct CSG meetings to ensure students’ voices are heard and the meetings are as open and approachable to the public as possible. This approach, they said, helps further the party’s values of being inclusive and promoting equity.
“Something we’ve talked about a lot is that Your Michigan is not just the 40 representatives,” Mullan-Koufopoulos said. “It’s so much more than that. We want any student who wants to come to CSG to come — you can go, you’re welcome, you’re more than invited. We want people who might feel they might be ‘othered’ to believe that they can make a difference on campus…This party was created for us.”
CSG elections for the next year will be held on March 23 and 24.