Friday, August 12, 2022

Letter: Incoming president must foster camaraderie, communication

Members of the ASMSU General Assembly on Feb. 1, 2019.
Members of the ASMSU General Assembly on Feb. 1, 2019. —
Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

By the Associated Students of Michigan State University

ASMSU is the undergraduate student government.

Dear Future President of Michigan State University,

Thank you for accepting this unique opportunity to lead. As president of this institution, there is much to be proud of, from a vibrant campus community to lively sports to broad academic achievements. Michigan State will need engaged leadership capable of elevating our campus as a whole.

The student body of today is very different from the student body of previous generations. Michigan State is diverse. Nearly 50,000 students representing 138 countries, with varied walks of life, call East Lansing home. Understanding the importance of diversity and inclusion while championing these values daily will be critical to our combined success.

We are confident that through thoughtful collaboration any challenge can be overcome. Our campus is transitioning from a turbulent few years and will require bold and empathetic leadership. You will lead in making decisions that have the potential to fundamentally transform our school. While there will be pressures both known and unknown, we encourage you to be transparent and brave in the way you lead. We encourage you to reach out to the student body because, in difficult times, true Spartans stick together. There may be differences in our ideas and approach to combat institutional issues, such as sexual assault, tuition costs and mental health, yet we owe a commitment to never disagree on our core values and our land-grant mission.

Through these past years, we have seen students dedicated to reforming RVSM policies, students starting grassroots organizations to demand that those with power affect change, students getting out to vote for trustees determined to listen to the community, students organizing protests and rallies and students keeping constant pressure and scrutiny on the university to always keep our survivors at the forefront of our minds. Michigan State students are sharp researchers, passionate activists, detail-oriented policymakers, fearless leaders, caring volunteers and loyal, life-long Spartans. There is no limit to what we as MSU students can achieve, no challenge we are hesitant to embrace, no topic too challenging to tackle, no end to our thirst for knowledge. As a student body, we are ready to play a role in the forward movement of the place we so proudly call home.

We value working closely with faculty, graduate students, staff and administrators — embodying the idea of “Spartans helping Spartans.” We hope you acknowledge the importance of considering different voices and viewpoints on issues and we are excited to work with you to continue making MSU the best university in the world.

As you transition into the role, we would like to highlight the importance of meeting regularly with student groups and student leaders, both in formal and informal capacities. We hope you rely on us to provide a clear picture of where the university is and where we aim for it to be. Through our listening sessions, it was clear that students want a president who is present and accessible, who actively seeks to understand the struggles faced by current college students. It is important to note that while you will be leading the Spartan community, you will not be independent of it; we hope you will become an integral community member.

Spartans are strong individually, but extraordinary together. Shared governance has often been defined by three principles: equity, accountability and ownership. By bringing together people of all ages, positions, backgrounds, identities and beliefs we strive to abide by these three qualities. Equity is about giving every Spartan the unique tools they need to succeed. Accountability, as we have learned, means taking responsibility for your actions, and seeking collective solutions. And ownership is about sharing knowledge, understanding and decision-making powers that empower our community as a whole. We hope you take these three principles to heart as you begin your presidential term. Spartans Will.

Go Green.

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