Students at the University have come here from across the country — and the world — to excel in every realm of study from science and engineering to athletics and student activism. University students choose this school because they know they will be challenged. They know they will be pushed to perform their best. Given the atmosphere of excellence on this campus, students deserve a student government that will advocate for them in a way that lives up to the high standards that the University embodies.

Currently, the Michigan Student Assembly falls far short of this standard.

We know that MSA is capable of returning to a point at which it can advocate on behalf of students and effectively push student issues forward. In fact, MSA has a rich history of advocating for students and their issues. MSA has been credited with instituting fall break, pushing academic minors and establishing an affordable system to bus students to the airport for holidays.

Students on this campus are advocates for a wide variety of issues and perspectives. They deserve a student government that serves as an accessible, engaged resource for them. That is why we are running for MSA president and vice president: to bring our student government back to innovative ideas and active engagement on campus.

We started MForward because we know that MSA has the potential to fight for students, and we want you to help us make MSA relevant to the student body again. We are looking to immediately address issues like Saturday night dining, gender-neutral housing, MIP Medical Amnesty and rising tuition costs. These issues, along with the dozens of ideas we have collected during our 37 student organization listening tour stops, drive us to fight for a better student assembly.

We will work tirelessly to advocate for you in front of the administration, city council and state legislature. Concerts and events, while exciting in the short run, won’t lower tuition costs or increase the diversity of our campus. We are convinced that students will not see results at the University unless they finally have student leaders on MSA who are willing to stand up for their issues and bring their ideas to the table.

We also understand that MSA can’t achieve these goals without a connected and aware student body. As a student government, we must encourage a stronger sense of community on campus. MForward’s candidates are active members of diverse student organizations and campus communities. They are passionate about the organizations they are a part of, and they are committed to bringing that passion to MSA. The Michigan Student Assembly must facilitate communication and build a strong network of student leaders who will be able to accomplish goals on behalf of students. For too long, MSA has been disconnected from the students who make up this university. MForward is committed to making MSA a body that is accountable to the students that it represents, and it has already begun to do so.

Ideas, action and community: this is what we have built our campaign on. Over the past three weeks, the candidates and individuals in MForward have built relationships with student organizations and diverse communities across campus. We have spoken to students in the Diag, in classes, in the Union and even on the sidewalk outside Stockwell Hall to hear the issues that you all want to see your student government tackle. We have heard your frustrations with the student organization funding process, your concerns with rising tuition costs and your worries about the decline in minority enrollment. We have heard these issues and with the vital relationships we are building, we are ready and excited to take action if elected.

Not only will we continue to talk to students up to the election date, but we also will ensure that students are being heard throughout the year. These relationships are only the beginning and we look forward to maintaining and building these bonds in the future.

This week, MForward will continue to be out on the Diag, in classrooms and residence halls and in meetings with student organizations. If you haven’t spoken to one of us about what we are hoping to do for the assembly, don’t hesitate to approach anyone in an MForward T-shirt or check out our website (mforward.org) to get started. We are here to talk, we are happy to listen and we’re ready to move MSA forward.

Chris Armstrong and Jason Raymond are MForward presidential and vice presidential candidates.

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