At first glance, a token seems like a valuable thing. A token is a symbol of importance, wealth and worth. A token is not light — it seems to carry some weight. But the truth is that tokens are only symbols of worth; they don’t hold any real value. Too often on this campus, my identities have been tokenized. My brownness and my gender have been used to “diversify” a room of campus leaders. My voice, my experiences and my feelings have been swept aside by people who promised they would listen — those I trusted to validate my narratives. For them, my physical presence was enough to fill the quota for diversity in the room, nothing more.
As this year’s CSG election season approached, I didn’t have any desire to be involved in campaign politics. I was content with the work I am doing with student leaders and administrators from across campus. We have made great strides to promote interfaith collaboration, combat sexual violence and increase campus accessibility this year. But still, I felt uneasy about my decision to stay out of all the electioneering. I knew that I couldn’t stand by and watch another year of typical campaigns. I needed to take part in changing the culture of CSG elections. I wanted to support candidates who honestly live out their values; candidates who serve with humility, strive to develop a deep understanding of the issues that face our campus and are willing to fight for change; candidates who focus on the well-being of the student body. I wanted to support candidates who truly value my voice and the voices of my peers.
Before this school year, I didn’t know Will Royster or Matt Fidel. When I first spoke to them about their candidacy, I questioned their desire to get involved in CSG at the executive level. I wanted to know about their track records on campus — what had they accomplished so far? I asked about their motivations for running — were they in it for the right reasons? After some long conversations, I decided I had to join The Team. There was no longer any doubt in my mind. I am constantly inspired by Will’s humility and desire to improve the campus climate. With Will, it’s never about him; it was always about The Team. Will’s genuine desire to listen to all narratives, as well as his selfless leadership, makes him the ideal candidate for student body president. I am thoroughly impressed with Matt’s work in the social justice realm on campus. His thoughtfulness, open-mindedness and genuine compassion undoubtedly make him the right choice for the next vice president.
The Team’s party leadership and representative slate are some of the most outstanding people I have worked with on campus. As I enter every meeting for The Team, I am embraced with warmth and love. We say “there’s a place for everyone on The Team” and we mean it.
Polls are open at vote.umich.edu Wednesday, March 25, and Thursday, March 26. I hope you’ll choose to join The Team.
Meagan Shokar is an LSA junior.