Comprising the entirety of the current Michigan Student Assembly executive board, Students First, now in their second year as a party, plan to continue projects started this semester. Candidates running in next week’s elections are pushing projects including airBus and delaying spring break for one week. The Housing Law Reform project, improving Recreational Sports facilities and a student outreach program to improve communication are new issues on the platform.
AirBus, a cheap bus service to Metro Detroit Airport, has been a priority for Students First. Although seats have recently sold out for Thanksgiving Break, airBus is still in its beginning stages, MSA president and Students First member Sarah Boot said. Plans to eventually provide a free bus service are in progress. If elected, Students First candidates will be working on this, Boot added.
Working with administration and Ann Arbor public schools to schedule spring break a week later has been in the process this semester.
“Our Spring Break is too early. Anywhere you’d go would still be mildly cold,” said Elliot Wells-Reid, an Engineering candidate for MSA. Although a week might not mean warmer temperatures, Spring Break would be the same week as many other universities.
To advocate changes into Ann Arbor city law to benefit students living off campus, the Housing Law Reform Project will lobby against current leasing and security deposit policies, Student General Counsel Joe Bernstein said.
Forming a nearly full slate, this year’s candidates make up a diverse group to better represent all students on campus, Boot said. Candidates were selected after two rounds of interviews.
Freshman Yasmin Naghash is running with the party for a position in LSA Student Government.
“When I went to the first Students First meeting, I loved the atmosphere. We were all giving each other hugs,” Naghash said. “And everyone has experience with student government. We know how to get things done.”
Students First prides itself on projects like the Newspaper Readership Program, promoting an online textbook exchange and pushing for a bus service to run to “The Rock” at the corner of Hill Street and Washtenaw Avenue to benefit students living farther from campus.
Berstein said hanging posters and chalking sidewalks is not the most effective way to reach the student body, but they must do it to keep up with the other parties. “It’s about talking to students and getting new ideas from students that make a difference.”
Students First stresses that students learn more about their platform through their website, www.votefirst.com “Posters with our faces on it do not show how much we promise to do, ” Naghash said. “That’s just a necessary part.”