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Gaurie Gunasekaran

Name: Gaurie Gunasekaran

Pronouns: She/Her

Year: Current Freshman

Major: Biology

Platform Speech (Who are you, why are you running, and why should a person vote for you?): My name is Gaurie Gunasekaran and I am a current freshman at UMich. I am running for an LSA elected representative position as I believe that my many experiences as a freshman at the university will bring a unique perspective into our student government which can be used to further represent my peers. Having served in my high school student government, I know how valuable advocacy is in helping improve and better our community. While I have only been an active member of the UMich community for one year now, I have seen many areas of potential change and growth and will work to open up conversations and create a tighter bond between the student government and student body.

With strong roots from India, I am fluent in English, Spanish, and also Tamil, one of the oldest Indian languages. I was the only female trombonist and first chair trombonist for the majority of my band career in high school. I am also pursuing a career in medicine, a field no one in my direct family or relatives sought before. As you can see, I am definitely not afraid to break stereotypes and defy the norms. As a diverse individual, I will work to represent all my peers and be open to the many perspectives here at UMich. This is why I know I can represent our student body in our student government and fight to bring forth everyone’s voices, and why I believe you should vote for me.


Questions and Answers:

1. Should our student government publish voting/attendance records of its members?

I believe that our student government should publish voting and attendance records in

order to create a transparent relationship with the student body at Michigan.

Transparency is the first step in showing commitment to integrity and a desire to truly

work with and for our students. Publishing records also shows that our student

government is open to conversation and welcomes all, thus bringing an extra level of

closeness with the student body at Michigan. By publishing the voting and attendance

records, students and staff have access to data that can be used to back up the decision for

a representative to be elected to hold a certain position, thus eliminating any gray areas or

reasons for debate. If we are all on the same page, it will make for a more unified student



2. How would you bring new diverse ideas and representation of the student body into student government?

As a freshman going into her sophomore year at UMich, I believe that I will bring diverse

ideas and representations of the student body into student government due to my unique

range of perspectives that can allow me to represent a greater range of people. As a

student who speaks multiple languages and identifies with both my Indian heritage and

American upbringing, I can relate with our many students who would like to represent

their many cultures and values in our student government. As a member of the WISE

living community, I will bring the voices of my fellow women in STEM. As a freshman,

I can voice the ideas and struggles of other freshmen, whether it be dealing with imposter

syndrome, homesickness, or finding a place in such a large university. Next year, I can

stand as a bridge between next year’s freshman and our student government while also

representing the ideas and voices of sophomores.


3. What are some takeaways you have in regards to the COVID-19 outbreak, and our student government’s response to it?


From the recent news regarding the COVID-19 outbreak as well as seeing firsthand its

effect on students and the general community, I have learned about the importance of

outsourcing news to the public in an unbiased yet effective way. The media, I found,

played a significant role in informing the public about this potential threat of the virus

from when it was first exposed in Wuhan, China, to when it peaked in Italy and then to

the United States. From news sources to social media, the internet became a platform for

sharing statistics, advice, and warnings for people on a global scale. However, while the

importance of media was well-noted, the potential for inaccurate and overplayed

information to garner wide-scale panic was also seen. The need for transparency of data

and information with the public is something I have personally realized. The government

and the people must work together to overcome this crisis, and this requires trust from

both sides. I have also realized the importance of spreading positivity and random acts of

kindness to the community. As individuals, we may seem powerless in front of this huge

pandemic. However, we are united under hope and a sheer will to help each other,

whether it be through instagram positivity challenges, or personally helping supply

medicine and food to those who need it. This shows the power of a whole. Lastly, the

student government’s response to the COVID-19 has been exemplary, seeing the amount

of reform the university has been able to achieve on such a short notice. This includes

sending students home, making changes to food and education services (such as online

classrooms and extended remote learning), and making changes to grade systems that

allow for further adaptation to this pandemic, on such short notice. The ability of the

student government to collaborate and work with the many departments on and off

campus show the importance of collaboration, delegation, and communication that will

continue to serve this university through the COVID-19 pandemic and in the future

events to come.


4. What are your thoughts student government’s role in the upcoming 2020 election, particularly in regards to how the Presidential Debate will occur on campus andnavigating the feelings of political tension within the student body?

I believe that the student government’s role in the upcoming Presidential Debate will be

of utmost importance in managing both the political and social atmospheres on campus.

While students are quite educated on the importance of political diversity and the

importance of expressing free speech, excitement and tensions which arise throughout the

debate may lead to the temporary disacknowledgement of such rights and behaviors

expected within the university campus. The student government should ensure that those

who share different political beliefs should not react violently towards one another by

sending out letters through email or the website that highlight these expectations. At the

same time, the student government should ensure that political expression can occur

freely both in and out of classes on the account that they do not curtail another group’s

rights and expressions. During the time or the Presidential Debate, the student

government should organize extra wellness events and community bonding events, such

as movies on the diag. These events will help ensure that the community stays united and

find a common ground through events that are not political in nature. Through these

actions, the student government’s role in the 2020 presidential election and Presidential

Debate may be one that supports political expressions and freedom of speech while

protecting the safety of the student body and upkeeping the peace and social unity within