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An Interview with the President and Vice President of LSA SG
October 2, 2021
Members of the LSA Annual Scholarship had the chance to sit down with President Tyler Watt and Vice President Zackariah Farah as the semester commenced in order to learn more about their backgrounds and visions for the organization going forward.
How did you first get involved with LSA SG?
Tyler: “I joined LSA SG in the fall semester of my freshman year back in 2018, after having been involved in student government throughout high school. I had initially intended on joining CSG actually, but then-CSG Rep Nicholas Fadanelli recommended that I employ my talents in LSA SG. I heeded his advice, and haven't turned back since. I have been an Associate, Appointed, and Elected Representative, served a term as Vice-Chair of the Internal Review Committee, and most recently served as Counsel on the Executive Board before becoming President in March 2021.”
Zackariah: “I first got involved in LSA SG last year at the beginning of the pandemic. I had just come back to the US from my study abroad program in Germany that was cancelled due to COVID-19 and I was looking for ways to get involved again with campus life. I'd had a desire for a while to work towards the goal of leaving the university in a better state than I had found it in. With so many students I saw struggling with the financial burdens created by the pandemic I was very determined to figure out how to support students who were and still are dealing with affordability issues. That's why this scholarship is so vitally important. It will be another way that we in the LSA Student Government can help ensure that there is not a single student at our university who has to drop out because they just can't afford to finish their degree.”
What are your overall goals for this school year?
Tyler: “I'd like to see a return to LSA SG's commitment to student life in the way we do programming and advocacy work from the days before COVID. We should be showing our faces in more spaces around campus, and encourage our constituents to utilize our general meetings as a forum of expressing their concerns and ideas. Likewise, I'd like to see LSA SG send its members out into the community to act as ambassadors of sorts, to let our students know that their government has an interest in serving them and promoting their wellbeing. In addition, I think there is a great opportunity for LSA SG to use its assets to help all students. For this reason I'm especially excited to see the Budget Allocations Committee work to provide support for student orgs as they return to campus and put on events. I am also keen to see the LSA Annual Scholarship take off this year under the leadership of the LAST Force.”
Do you have plans for any large project this year?
Zackariah: “We have many big projects planned this year. We've been working with the city council on a number of projects ranging from protecting tenants rights in Ann Arbor to encouraging students to engage in conservation work on and off campus through our new Campus Conservation Corps. In a couple weeks, we'll be leading a mass cleanup event around central campus to remove litter from the streets and label storm drains to prevent untreated wastewater from being dumped into the storm drain system that leads directly to the Huron River. We've also been working to establish a free rental program for calculators and other academic technology so that every student on campus has access to the necessary tools to succeed in their courses. Another focus will be voter turnout for the 2021 November municipal election. We will be working to provide students with resources about all the ballot proposals they'll see at the polls so that they will be able to make the educated decision that's right for them. We're very excited to be active on campus again and we'll be trying our best to promote COVID safety so that we can hopefully stay in person throughout this entire year.”
How do you suggest we try to help, not only the LSA Freshmen new to campus, but also the many Sophomores who are seeing the campus for the first time adjust to in-person classes?
Tyler: “There are many ways we can support students returning to class. Our Academic Affairs Bloc has partnered with CSG to provide a free calculator and iClicker rental program for all students. We also have an obligation to promote non-academic wellbeing for incoming students too; this can be well done through our student life efforts that seek to promote diversity, environmental wellness, and physical and mental health in the events they put on. LSA SG will always have its doors open to the perspectives of the new-to-campus students as well; we are especially keen to hear their perspectives and see them represented on our committees, within our assembly, and on the external bodies that we appoint members to. As we transition to a more normal era, it's imperative that we support the students who are calling campus home for the first time this fall.”