Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Get to know the ASMSU presidential candidates

April 12, 2021
<p>Student Services building featuring the Associated Students of Michigan State University logo.</p>

Student Services building featuring the Associated Students of Michigan State University logo.

Photo by Lauren Snyder | The State News

With three weeks of the regular spring semester left, the Associated Students of Michigan State University announced on Monday, April 5, that there would be three candidates running for ASMSU president.

ASMSU’s three presidential candidates are International Student Association Rep. Nikunj Agarwal, Assistant Vice President of Internal Administration Georgia Frost and College of Social Science Rep. Julian Trevino.

Agarwal is an international student from India and currently studying environmental economics and agribusiness management as a junior at MSU.

A significant shift at MSU that led Agarwal to become the international representative for the 57th General Assembly was after the university transitioned to a virtual learning format and international students had little to no guidance, he said.

“That was the point when I realized that we need to empower every Spartan on campus, be respective of the background they come from and perhaps, make sure they can stand up for themselves and get each and every question answered,” Agarwal said. 

This then transformed into Agarwal wanting to run for study body president, saying that it is essential for the organization to have someone from a diverse community because they would understand what it feels like not to be included in society. 

Agarwal emphasized that the General Assembly is his boss; they are the ones that would make him work. 

He has seven main goals of the overall 58 broader goals laid out for the 58th General Assembly. Those seven goals are transparency, academic success, belongingness, bouncing off the pandemic, student life, finance and operation, and sustainability. 

“The most rewarding aspect of this (working with ASMSU) is advocating for your individual, for your peers’ rights, and seeing other people stand up and helping each other building community,” he said. 

The second candidate, Frost, is an international relations and political theory and constitutional democracy junior and has been actively involved in ASMSU since her freshman year. 

Frost was the ASMSU freshman class council president for the 2018-2019 term and then the assistant vice president of internal affairs for the last two years. In addition, she has worked with ASMSU’s advocate efforts outside of the organization, especially with the university student commission, a group that sets policy in the city of East Lansing. 

Frost said she is confident in her qualifications and ability to potentially serve as the next ASMSU student body president because of the involvement that she has had within ASMSU.

According to Frost, she is looking at goals like ASMSU’s advocacy surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, protecting students’ safety on campus, and both environmental and communal sustainability, as they have been some of ASMSU’s better received and most impactful endeavors. 

She is also currently evaluating how she can best support the agency and revitalizing and implementing these ideas into future work. She would also like to see, next year, an improvement between ASMSU and its relationship with the Council of Racial and Ethnic Students and Council of Progressive Students. 

Because Frost can personally reflect on ASMSU’s 55th, 56th and 57th sessions and how policy has been implemented, she said she can help inform the 58th session based on what has gone well for ASMSU in the past and what they need to work on for the future. 

An important message that Frost wants both the General Assembly and students at MSU to know is that she has proven her dedication to the association.

“I’m genuinely passionate about the work that we (ASMSU) have done, and I feel that as president, that passion could be put to good use, especially because that passion in the past has led me to a very thorough understanding of ASMSU's historical precedent and its capacity for the future,” she said. 

The final candidate, Trevino, is a first-generation Mexican American college student who says his background allows him to pertain to two different yet equally amazing societies.  

Trevino studies political science pre-law and is involved in various activities and societies such as MSU James Madison College Latinx Unidos, MSU Culturas de las Razas Unidas, and MSU Honors College Inclusive Excellence Strategic Committee. 

H.O.M.E.S. is the slogan for Trevino’s campaign — heart, outreach, manifestation, evolution and sanctuary.

The goal of H.O.M.E.S. is to make sure that every student has the same equitable opportunities and to ensure that MSU becomes a beacon to everybody to feel safe on campus no matter what, Trevino said. 

Trevino takes pride in the many bills that he has been able to introduce and pass, as well as second many passed bills other ASMSU representatives have introduced. The climate emergency and the student representation on the MSU Investment Advisory Subcommittee bills introduced by Rep. Blake Lajiness, the CROWN Act advocacy introduced by Rep. Devin Woodruff, and a bill that advocated MSU to hire an employee for undocumented students represented by Rep. Jordan Kovach are important passed bills that advocate for positive change.

He said that he has always been interested in public service, which is one of the drives that led him to take an interest in running for ASMSU president. 

Part of what Trevino is passionate about is ensuring that every student at MSU has the opportunity to find their path to success. There is a struggle that comes with being a first-generation student, being from a marginalized community, to be the first of anything, he said. 

“My hope is to rise to the occasion one more time and become the ASMSU president to really keep going on helping the student body to ensure not just my bills, but the bills of every other general assembly representative and the ideas that advocate points that students come up with,” Trevino said. 

Office of the President elections will take place over a three-day voting period. The 58th General Assembly will vote on the next student body president on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. 

Additionally, the new vice president for finance and operations will also be elected on April 13, while the new vice president for academic affairs and vice president for governmental affairs will be elected on April 14. Finally, the new vice president for internal administration and vice president for student allocations will be elected on April 15.

On Monday, April 12 from 6-8 p.m., Undergraduate Election Committee Chair Andrea Bair will host a debate between candidates.

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