There are student government elections happening this week — but has anyone noticed? The relative quiet of the Michigan Student Assembly this year is extremely disconcerting. Under the leadership of MForward, MSA has, well, not gone forward. It is time for change once again, and the Michigan Vision Party has proven itself to be an agent of change on this campus.

Last year by this time, the MVP administration had overseen the beginnings of a new all-campus constitution, a hugely successful Campus Leadership Colloquium featuring prominent Michigan alums and student leaders, a plan for Go Blue Beat OSU Week and a reform to MSA rules so that the body would focus on student issues. For the first time in a long time, students could often read something interesting about MSA in the Daily and saw things happening around campus.

Looking at MFoward’s list of accomplishments, it just doesn’t compare to MVP’s work.

MForward’s viewpoint in the Daily last week featured a few of these “achievements” (Keep electing MForward, 11/08/2010). They have met with the Ann Arbor Police Department to inquire about noise and trash citations. Unfortunately, they failed to produce any tangible results for students. They delayed the Ann Arbor City Council vote on the porch couch ban. Unfortunately, they failed to influence the ultimate outcome of that issue as well. An open housing initiative? That is a good project, we agree. It’s doing a lot of good for both the University’s reputation and its practices. But it is one single project for an assembly that is supposed to be full of change-makers and people who were elected for a specific purpose.

Meanwhile, MVP comes into the fall elections with a renewed focus. Unlike previous parties that have faltered when faced with difficulty or even defeat, MVP has stayed true to its original purpose, which was to raise voter turnout, increase awareness of campus issues, focus on helping students and reform MSA to make it more effective. In every single election since MVP was created, voter turnout has increased. This year, even with a limited presence on MSA, MVP has continued to work hard on campus-wide issues including Saturday night dining (one of MForward’s campaign promises), student group funding, communication, sportsmanship and the human block ‘M’ in Michigan Stadium at football games.

Looking at MSA, students deserve more than what they are getting now. The potential is there, but turning that potential into action has yet to fully occur. Small things are being done here and there, but MSA needs a jolt and a reminder that students aren’t satisfied with a complacent body. That jolt should be the members of MVP who are guaranteed to re-energize MSA.

This viewpoint was written by Tom Stuckey on behalf of the Michigan Vision Party.

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