Correction: A viewpoint (Dream On) in Wednesday’s edition of the Daily misspelled the name of an MSA representative. He is Melton Lee.

 

I’m held accountable every Thursday at the bar. That’s where I face the hardballs: “Why isn’t the entree plus working in Angell Hall!?” “Is Ludacris coming?” “Why isn’t the football team winning? Fix that.”

An inebriated friend of mine almost got a minor-in-posession citation when a hospital staffer told him to leave or expect a ticket. He left, unknowing the staffer had broken federal law. So, I met with the Director of Operations of the hospital, and urged that the staff be retrained to comply with federal privacy laws. And change happened.

The Michigan Student Assembly – your student government – makes change happen at the University, and not just when it meets on Tuesday nights. It happens when teams of students collaborate and work behind the scenes, getting kicked out of the Michigan Union at 2 a.m. Change happened when former Rep. Stuart Wagner presented the Ann Arbor City Council with ear plugs last summer, to remind them that students matter. Change happened when Rep. Melton Lee spent his summer working to bring Ludacris to campus. Change happened when Arielle Linsky sifted through hundreds of applications for MSA and University committees.

MSA is a dynamic group that changes every semester. The body is made up of strong leaders from across campus, each with distinct ideologies, all motivated to make this place better. I drank the Kool-Aid. I enjoy my job, and have seen the body at its best. The most effective members of the assembly are those that take the initiative to make their own vision a reality, work cooperatively and have the patience to keep fighting for what they believe in.

Making change takes time, but when students put in the work, change happens. You have to have the patience to strategize, communicate your ideas through various advisory boards and navigate through internal and external committees. But, when students put in the work, change happens.

Historically, MSA has achieved much for the student body. We successfully lobbied for fall break and significant improvements to the William Monroe Trotter House. We registered more than 10,000 voters in 2004. MSA is now working to change the culture of campus so that housing is safe and affordable, and landlords are responsive to students. Students’ rights matter, and that’s why we’re working on education campaigns to prevent MIPs and noise violations before they are doled out.

There are two types of people that get involved in politics: those driven by ambition and those driven by passion for policy change. MSA is looking for the latter. Tuesday night meetings are for passionate students to present proposals and dreams to the assembly to make this campus better; the meetings are necessary for true collaboration to engage the campus community. If representatives do not hold up their end of the bargain, and do not show up to any meetings, our Rules and Elections committee will be looking for someone else to fill the seat.

Join MSA! Run or apply. Get a few friends, register at www.msa.umich.edu, and the assembly will give you some money for posters. Find a gimmick, pass out flyers on the Diag and have fun doing it. Once on board, work cooperatively, dream big and your vision will become a reality.

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