What’s your vision?

It’s a simple question, really. Think back, whether it be a few months or a few years, to the moment you first became a student at the University of Michigan. What were your expectations, not only of college in general but of the University of Michigan? What did you hope this school would offer you, and what did you hope you could offer this school?

We are a campus of activists when we choose to be. From Dance Marathon to Detroit Partnership to Circle K and beyond, students are involved in many service organizations committed to making our university community and society a better place. Yet year after year, the Michigan Student Assembly, the very organization that is supposed to serve our needs and interests, falls short. But rather than acquiesce to this embedded notion of failure, we firmly believe that MSA has the ability to represent our school’s best.

If you are reading this, you likely have noticed the recent number of students on this page railing against what they see as an ineffective governing body. Chances are that many of you gave up on student government long ago, convinced of its uselessness. Instead, you chose to devote your time to an organization with more tangible, effective results.

Today, we ask you to re-enter the fold. We ask you not to consider what student government has been, but what it could be. Today, we ask you to help us create a new vision for MSA, with a new set of transparent, tangible goals to help make up for all the discontentment. Today, we ask you to help create a Michigan vision.

The Michigan Vision Party does not exist to serve as a sounding board for a small group of students, but rather, as a medium for the entire student body. We have already set up an e-mail address, whatsyourvision@umich.edu. Send us a note. Tell us what you think. Give us your vision.

A lot of you are probably asking yourselves, “How is this party going to be any different?” Promises have been made and broken in the past, and concerns that this cycle won’t end are legitimate. But our vision is different for one main reason: It belongs to all of us. We will not be fighting our own battles, but rather the battles of the student body.

This is not to say MSA has not made significant strides over the years. What we aim to do, however, is to close the gap that exists between the assembly and the student body. Our vision is for an assembly that goes out of its way to inform and engage the student body rather than sitting back and waiting for the student body to come to it.

We will talk to the students about real, substantive ideas. There will be no flyers with clever monikers and empty promises. We will give students actual information about the issues they care about and what we will do to solve them.

What is being done to increase campus lighting? How can we improve busing? How can we combat rising tuition? Is it possible to shift spring break to be more aligned with other colleges? As a means to facilitate this ongoing conversation, we will have a forum on our website, michiganvisionparty.com. We hope all of you will become a part of this free and honest exchange of ideas, discussing how we can improve our campus.

We will be held accountable. Every member of our party will have one specific, substantive idea that will become that person’s platform. If an issue is not being dealt with properly, you will know where to turn. We will act as your place to turn in times of trouble, not an exclusive body disconnected from your true concerns.

We will be your voice. If others do not heed our concerns, we will band together to make a difference.

Our mass meeting is today at 8:00 p.m. in Room 3411 of Mason Hall. We hope you will come and join us, to get involved and to learn about how, together, we can create a better, more interactive and more transparent student government. Our party is about vision. Your vision. Our vision. The Michigan vision.

So take a look into the future of student government. Let us know what you see.

This viewpoint was written by the Michigan Vision Party.

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