Following an uncontested election, LSA juniors Jason Colella and Reid Klootwyk were elected the next president and vice president of LSA student government, respectively.
Eight of the 10 vacant spots for LSA representatives were also filled in uncontested elections. The two remaining positions will be filled by write-in candidates, who had not been announced at press time.
At a candidate forum on Monday in the Michigan Union, the candidates stressed student engagement, as well as the implementation of an international student mentorship program and a project to allow transfer students to defer their enrollment like admitted freshmen currently can.
At the event, Colella and Klootwyk both emphasized the importance of interacting with students.
Klootwyk works as the vice chair for the LSA SG Communications Committee. He has served on LSA SG for one year since transferring from a community college.
Colella, an East Quad resident advisor, also serves as chair for the LSA SG Budget Allocation Committee. He has served on LSA SG for three years.
In an interview, Colella said he and his running mate are hoping to change students’ opinions on the role of LSA SG.
“People are really cynical about student government,” he said. “It’s not because we don’t do anything, which is what a lot of people would say. It’s because people don’t realize all of the things that we have done to help improve the LSA experience. It’s a matter of working to let people know what we’re doing.”
Colella added that involving international students in campus affairs will help increase on-campus diversity.
“International students is a big project we’ve been working on for the past year in student government; we’re creating this big international student mentorship program,” Colella said. “We’ve been meeting with administrators and trying to figure out what our vision is to better the experience of students in LSA.”
Klootwyk said his experience as a non-traditional student has helped him understand the needs of transfer students better.
“Freshman students are allowed to enroll in the University and take a gap year,” Klootwyk said. “Transfer students can’t do that. A gap year is something that enhances their outlook on life and education as well as they come back to campus.”
Colella added that the most important part of their election platform is connecting with LSA students.
“The biggest improvement is to better represent the students,” he said. “To really hear from all 18,000 students as best we can.”
LSA senior Natasha Dabrowski, the current LSA SG president, said she was excited to see what Colella and Klootwyk would do in their positions and added that both are “knowledgeable, qualified and compassionate individuals.”
“Jason has served on too many LSA SG and administrative committees to name, and Reid is a fast learner who already, as a transfer student, has shown his leadership potential within LSA SG,” Dabrowski said. “I have no doubts that this team will continue to grow as leaders within LSA SG and serve as diligent advocates for all LSA students.”
Dabrowski said she has appreciated her experience serving as LSA SG president.
“I have felt a responsibility, having served on LSA SG for four years, to continue my commitment to LSA students and the University and to push myself in everything that I do as president,” she said.
Along with president and vice president, 10 students were elected LSA SG representatives.
LSA sophomore Aishawarya Singh said she decided to run for reelection because she thinks the work of LSA SG will not only better the college experience of current students, but also future ones. Singh said she has worked with the Residence Hall Association to improve toilet paper quality in the dorms. She also said she plans to create projects that would improve student access to Counseling and Psychological Services and the University Health Service.
LSA freshman Anna Giacomini said she chose to run for a position because she noticed her friends complaining about issues with the campus, but they showed little intention of attempting to improve them.
“The points on my platform include putting more lighting near the CCRB as well as the streets by the IM building, bettering SafeRide by advertising through social media and hiring more drivers, and creating an app specifically for University of Michigan students that can contact the police and inform them of the individual’s location on campus,” GIacomini said. “When students feel safe, they are more likely to thrive and accomplish their goals.”
LSA sophomore Charlotte Shreve said the encouragement of fellow student government members influenced her decision to run for LSA representative.
“This year I hope to take on more projects individually, especially some ideas I’ve been thinking up that are in the very early stages,” she said. “In addition, last semester I had the privilege of working with our Diversity Affairs Committee more than I had in previous semesters, and I am really looking forward to continuing my work with them and growing that committee and their outreach.”
LSA freshman Alexandra Contis said she was inspired to run for LSA representative because of her experience living on North Campus.
“I think often times we treat North Campus as another satellite location far away when, in reality, it is one university,” Contis said. “I am also interested in more … lighting, especially on North Campus by Northwood and the NCRB because safety and student well-being is my main concern, and should be the University’s as well.”
The other LSA representatives are LSA freshman John Petrie, LSA junior Zelin Wang, LSA senior Yong-Joon Kim and LSA freshman Briana Karcho.