LSA freshman Nick Swider turned heads when he decided to enter the race for Central Student Government president, a role traditionally held by an upperclassman. This week, he made his bid official and launched a new campus political party, momentUM.
Swider, who is running with LSA junior Jill Clancy, the current CSG chief programming officer, said his party, comprised heavily of freshmen, will continue to function after March, whether or not he and Clancy win their election.
LSA freshman Megan Riethmiller, chair of momentUM, says she got involved because she believes the party has the opportunity to affect life on campus not only this year, but for the next three, unlike other political parties which often fade away after a failed election.
“Being freshmen, we have an ambition for three years of helping out the University instead of just the one or two if you’re a junior or senior,” Riethmiller said.
Although momentUM is not recruiting any candidates for assembly representative, its leaders won’t turn down students who are interested in running.
In developing a platform, Swider said members of momentUM have been directly questioning students on the problems they see at the University, the same strategy that current CSG President Manish Parikh and Vice President Omar Hashwi practiced during their campaign.
“Students are our only boss and they are the ones that hold us accountable,” Swider said. “No matter what we do, I think we need to put personal preferences aside and … do our research, go out to the students, take their input.”
The party’s platform includes improvements the quality of University-provided, late-night transportation, continuing the emphasis on entrepreneurship started by the Parikh administration, adding more bike racks and moped parking throughout campus; and decreasing the cost of laundry in residence halls. Swider added that momentUM is taking a special interest in North Campus and plans to not only hold more events there, but also push for more busing there as well, especially on weekends.
Regardless of the outcome of the March election, Swider said members of momentUM will be involved in student organizations and CSG commissions to see that their platform goals are realized.
While the support of student groups often plays an integral role in winning a student government election, Swider said momentUM will be most vigorously pursuing the freshmen vote, calling first years a “a force to be reckoned with.”
LSA freshman Samantha Audia, momentUM’s campaign director, agreed with Swider.
“The platform of momentUM appeals to all voters in every demographic, but the freshmen vote is something that we’re definitely going to try our hardest to take into account this year,” Audia said. “(Freshmen) will play a vital role in the outcome of this election.”