When you’re a part of the Michigan community, you’re part of a team. Like any team, we care for and listen to our peers’ thoughts and concerns. We inspire and motivate those around us, and they reciprocate this encouragement. We always have each other’s backs. But most of all, we always collectively strive to find new and innovative ways to improve our campus.

Central Student Government was created to serve as the platform for students to voice concerns, complaints and ideas about how to better the Michigan experience. However, year after year, communities on campus feel that their voices are not being heard, and most have turned to other means to develop their ideas. The Team was created to change this. CSG should embrace every voice and perspective on campus and provide the resources they need to turn their ideas into realities.

The Team draws its strength from our diverse group of student leaders who each represent different communities and are passionate about particular campus issues. Our main objective is to give all of these communities and individuals a chance to discuss these issues with one another and to unify these viewpoints into a single vision for our campus community.

The Team is running LSA junior Will Royster for President and LSA sophomore Matt Fidel for Vice President of the University’s Central Student Government. Will and Matt exemplify what it means to be a student leader on this campus and share our emphasis on inclusivity and collaboration. They are both leaders that don’t pretend to have all of the answers. Rather, they know their strengths as leaders and leverage those to work on the issues they are individually passionate about. When they do deal with issues on campus that they have less experience with, they seek the guidance and advice of other equally enthusiastic student leaders who have fervently advocated for those issues throughout their college careers. They actively listen to these individuals and will use CSG’s broad resources and connections to empower them to bring their visions to fruition. Will and Matt assist in uplifting student voices, recognizing that in their place of power they can be the agents to facilitate communication and change between the students and administrators.

The Team will prioritize our campus, our community, our commitment in order to make it your CSG.

Our Campus: There are many different tangible issues CSG can work on to improve the day-to-day experience for students on this campus. Athletics and its traditions unify the student body, and we are dedicated to working with the new Athletic Director to expand the Maize Rage and to further promote non-revenue generating sports. As part of a team, we must support all of our student-athletes. Moreover, many students who are not part of a specific sub-school do not have access to many career services. At a University with one of the world’s largest alumni networks, we want to work with the Career Center to create an all-inclusive alumni mentorship program. This program will match students with alumni based on their interest area, major and gender. They can assist in navigating campus life as well as the post-graduation job market and beyond.

Our Community: CSG has the potential to drive meaningful social change on campus. Will is currently working with the Black Student Union to start a new initiative called the Michigan Institute for the Improvement of African American Representation. MIIAAR is working to bring 30 to 40 ninth and tenth grade African American students to Michigan and assist in the program, increasing and understanding more about minority enrollment. The Team will expand this program to more high-school students from underrepresented communities and help facilitate their transition to Michigan. In addition, The Team will immediately ally with other organizations to tackle sexual assault on our campus. Currently, faculty members at the University do not have to participate in any formal sexual assault prevention training. We want to work with the administration to ensure that every faculty member at the University is receiving comprehensive sexual assault prevention training as well as empower ongoing initiatives to prevent sexual assault.

Our Commitment: The Team is dedicated to ensuring every student voice is heard. In order to achieve this objective, we will start a new CSG text-message hotline. If you have any complaints or just want to voice your opinion, you will be able to text a number and receive a response directly from Will, Matt or a member of the CSG staff addressing your concerns. Furthermore, we will revamp the current UPetition system, allowing for further explanation and comments for students to express the reasons for signing the petition. In addition, after a certain number of signatures, we will mandate that Will and Matt provide a response to the petition. An evolving dialogue will help us adjust our priorities based on the campus climate.

Each of these separate pillars contributes to our singular vision for CSG: making your CSG an effective, collaborative and inclusive organization. Our name speaks to the idea that CSG works best when we are supporting and empowering one another. If you want to get involved with The Team in any capacity please check out our mass meeting on Feb. 23 at 9 p.m. in the Weill Hall Room 1110. Our application can be found here. Check us out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JoinTheTeamMichigan or on Twitter @vote_TheTeam.

Laurel Ruza is a Public Policy senior and Vice Speaker of the CSG Assembly. Bardia Vaseghi is an LSA senior and an LSA representative for CSG. Ruza and Vaseghi are co-chairs of The Team.

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