I hear it time and time again: “It’s just student government — you don’t do anything and you can’t change state or federal policy. It’s not that big of a deal.” Often, when I talk about the Central Student Government with my friends, peers and colleagues, this is the sentiment I encounter. I can fully understand this perspective and where it comes from, given the years of unpleasant, contentious elections, paired with the lack of visibility of CSG in general. However, I have a slightly different perspective — a rather hopeful one.

I believe in student government. I believe in its potential to better the quality of daily student life and to improve campus. I believe in its ability to work constructively and respectfully with the administration to make this institution of higher education uphold the ideals that brought us here in the first place. I believe in the capability of all student leaders to positively challenge ourselves and our administration to Make Michigan the school we all hoped it would be when we were visiting campus, taking tours and filling out applications. We had a beautiful image in our heads for what we would find when we got to Ann Arbor and for many of us, our first days on campus were so unlike what we had imagined.

My vision for the Central Student Government is to make substantial, tangible change to make all students happier and more productive; to engage the student body outside of campaign season to actually involve all student voices; to change the culture on this campus to make it more inclusive and cohesive. I want to continue the great work that current CSG President Michael Proppe and Vice President Bobby Dishell have started.

Being involved in student government is a responsibility — those elected should be held accountable for listening to student voices, maintaining strong relationships with administration and taking action on the issues that students face on this campus. As Speaker of the Assembly, I have had the opportunity to work very closely with some of the most passionate and dedicated student leaders at Michigan and I admire the work they have done. I want it to continue.

That’s why I am involved with Make Michigan. I’m here to make this a better campus than it was when my sister came here, than when my brother attended the University, than it has been throughout my time in Ann Arbor. When my little brother hopefully attends the University in a few years, I want him to have an even better experience than his older siblings did. I want this campus to be safer, healthier, more diverse, more innovative and more student-focused for all future Wolverines.

At the end of the day, I’m not expecting anyone to remember my name or my face or what I specifically did on campus. And that’s the way it should be. I want students to have more faith and confidence in their government to effectively represent their interests and Make Michigan great. I want students to only remember that student government collaboratively created services, programs and events that helped alleviate their daily stresses, improved their quality of life and helped to Make Michigan the school they had always dreamed it would be. And I want to help.

Vote Make Michigan on March 26 and 27.

Meagan Shokar is an LSA sophomore.

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