Abhishek Mahanti, an Engineering junior from Okemos, Mich., is the Michigan Vision Party’s presidential candidate. Mahanti joined the Michigan Student Assembly last year as an Engineering representative and currently serves as its Communications Chair.
If elected, Mahanti said his main goal is to increase the transparency and visibility of MSA. He said he wants to ensure that the assembly has a positive impact on as many students as possible “whether that’s with student organization funding, whether that’s with the freshman who comes in with no idea what to do and finds resources on our website, or if somebody goes to a concert that we put on or an event that we put on and is positively affected.”
Mahanti also emphasized that he thinks it’s important for MSA to focus only on University-centric goals like helping students get jobs and obtain financial aid.
He said he would work toward this goal by implementing a weeklong event before the career fair in which students can find help with résumés, take part in mock interviews and attend career workshops.
The Michigan Vision Party is different from other parties because of its emphasis on finding the best candidates possible rather than simply trying to fill the slate, Mahanti said. He said the party only chose 11 candidates out of the 35 they interviewed, leaving some representative positions open.
“These were the 11 that were most qualified and most passionate for student government,” he said. “And we didn’t want to have anybody else that we thought might flake out or would not be effective.”
Mahanti said MVP is also trying to involve more perspectives from students not involved in MSA in its approach to student government. MVP has been approaching students directly to ask them what their vision for MSA is, he said.
“We’ve gotten a lot of information about where people stand on the issues, and we’ve kind of cultivated our platform around those issues,” Mahanti said. “And we think that we can really deliver on them later on.”
In addition to being an MSA representative, Mahanti has taken part in Dance Marathon, MPowered, Michigan Pops and was a site leader for an Alternative Spring Break trip.