LSA Student Government presidential candidate Steven Benson and vice presidential candidate Carly Goldberg say they are running to head up LSA-SG to make the body representing students in the largest academic school on campus more active.
Benson is a junior from West Bloomfield, Mich., and Goldberg is a sophomore from Northville, Mich. As part of their campaign promises, the two uncontested candidates plan to utilize LSA-SG’s budget, work with representatives to follow through on passed resolutions and increase contact with their constituents.
LSA-SG differs from the Michigan Student Assembly in that it focuses on academic issues and student life within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. Each year, LSA receives a budget of $13,000 to $16,000 to allocate to student groups for funding, according to Benson and Goldberg.
The current LSA-SG executive board is lobbying for a 50-cent increase in the money each LSA student pays to LSA-SG as part of their tuition, which according to Benson and Goldberg would provide LSA-SG with about $7,000 more to disperse to student groups. LSA students currently pay a $1.50 fee to LSA-SG each semester.
Benson, the current treasurer of LSA-SG, said LSA-SG’s small budget forces the student government to be efficient in spending money, but that representatives could improve their budget allocation.
“We just need to be a little bit more resourceful on how we give out money and what we do on government,” Benson said.
Benson added that student government could do more to help students trust their representatives more.
“We throw these buzzwords out in student government, like transparency, accountability and constituency,” Benson said. “But let’s be real, I don’t think we really do that to the best of our ability.”
But Benson said there are “easy” ways for LSA-SG to improve on these issues, and he plans to implement those solutions.
“If we have a better internal government — if we improve our internal matters — we can have a better external government as well,” he said.
Benson said one area he hopes to work on is keeping support for resolutions alive once they have been proposed or passed at meetings, noting that once a resolution passes, representatives often “hit a brick wall.”
“We show our support, and then they fizzle out a little bit,” he said.
To combat this and increase accountability, Benson said he and Goldberg plan to meet with the representatives who draft resolutions after the resolutions are passed so they can formulate concrete timelines to carry out propositions.
“If you have someone to be there to give you some sort of support and tell you what to do and help you out, then there’s a higher chance that there will be consistency and everything is going to carry over,” Benson said.
Goldberg, the current chair of the LSA-SG appointments committee, said the quality of LSA-SG’s projects should emphasized over quantity.
“We do have a good amount of projects, but oftentimes it’s the same people taking then on,” Goldberg said. “We think it would be more effective to spread out the leadership and take advantage of everyone who is there.”
But Benson said the team’s main goal is to make University students more involved in student government, adding that detached LSA-SG representatives are part of the reason why students are apathetic towards student government.
“We are a perfect match to bring government to the next level,” Benson said. “(LSA-SG) doesn’t reach out to (our constituents) well enough.”
In order to reach their constituents, Benson said he and Goldberg will rely on the University’s Direct Constituency e-mails, which are mass e-mails sent to students.
LSA-SG is awarded six DC e-mails per year, but according to Goldberg, the current LSA-SG board only uses a few of them.