The Student Government will be holding elections this week to elect the president, vice president and senators for the 2019-2020 academic year.
The election pits Presidential candidate Sarah Nassar and the World of Wolverines party against Presidential candidate and current Catarina Gasser and the the Wolverine Coalition party.
The Wolverine Coalition has a wealth of experience on their ticket. Gasser, as well as Vice Presidential candidate Anthony Distel, have both been involved in Student Government for more than three years. Distel currently serves as the head of the Student Organization Advisory Council (SOAC), the student body is charge of allocating money to student organizations.
The World of Wolverines party, by comparison, is much less experienced. Vice Presidential candidate Abraham Ouza says that prior to this year, he had never heard of Student Government.
“I never knew anything about Student Government here at the University of Michigan-Dearborn,” he says in an Instagram post on the World of Wolverine’s page. “That’s because no one told me about them and what they are working on.”
But the party owns their inexperience, claiming that their lack of a Student Government background enables them to tackle the “real” issues.
“Not all of us on our platform and within our party are on Student Government, so we know the issues,” Ouza said at the Presidential Debate last Wednesday. “We can focus more on the real problems.”
Gasser sees experience as the factor that sets the Wolverine Coalition apart from the World of Wolverines.
“With lots of experience we’re able to just go in there and get the job done immediately,” Gasser said at the debate. “We don’t have time for training or anything like that, we’ll be able to go in and start right away.”
Not all of that experience is good for the Wolverine Coalition. WC Vice Presidential candidate Anthony Distel came under scrutiny in his capacity as head of the SOAC last week, when the student-led body ran out of its $90,000 budget. The unanticipated loss of SOAC funding resulted in a lot of anger and confusion amongst student org leaders as they scrambled to find other sources of funding for their events. However, in an email sent out in the afternoon on Monday, Distel announced that he had secured another $12,000 for the SOAC, but still urged organizations to be “responsible with their budgets.”
Both parties are promising to tackle a variety of issues, from providing more health resources to increased involvement on the Fairlane Campus. The World of Wolverine’s platform however, contains much more expensive changes, such as semi-autonomous shuttles, free clinical and health care services, hot beverage vending machines, and a plethora of quality of life changes such as increased desk space, more lounge spaces and hammocks.
The Wolverine Coalition is promising more moderate changes, by improving existing services and offering additional resources such as a virtual tour of campus for international students and an “Adulting” class, which focuses on skill such as sewing, cooking and budgeting.
The email containing the link to the ballot will be sent out On March 27th. Students who wish to vote have until the end of the day on the 28th to submit their ballot.