Elections begin today for the University of Maryland’s SGA. Do you know who you’re voting for?
The platforms of Forward Maryland and ImpactUMD — the two parties gunning for your vote — have definite similarities. Both advocate for the increased availability of open resource textbooks, for one, and both promise to lobby for student interests in Annapolis and Washington, D.C. The two parties also have plans to expand diversity and inclusion efforts at the university, promote sustainability on campus and support undocumented students.
However, party leaders argue that their plans for improving life at the university diverge in key ways.
Forward Maryland, for instance, insists that its agenda is more comprehensive than that of its rival. The platform detailed on its website spans 14 issues — five more than ImpactUMD’s — and features a report for almost every issue, further breaking down the party’s goals.
Furthermore, Dan Alpert — Forward Maryland’s presidential candidate — described the party’s plan to create an undocumented student liaison and a liaison for first-generation low-income students, as well as its plans to create an intercultural council and a data committee.
“These are all unprecedented actions,” Alpert said. “These aren’t just ideals that we’re saying, ‘Oh, what if we do it?’ We’re saying we have a plan to implement these, and we have a direction.”
On the other hand, ImpactUMD’s presidential candidate — Kelly Sherman — highlighted the party’s advantage of having a chief financial officer candidate who isn’t currently a member of the finance committee. The candidate, Simran Chertara, was previously the treasurer for a club on campus, so she has seen the finance process from the outside and would bring a fresh perspective to the committee, Sherman said.
As current chair of the Student Government Association’s health and wellness committee and a public health science major, Sherman also emphasized ImpactUMD’s focus on mental health. Among other efforts, ImpactUMD plans to urge university administrators to embed specialized mental health professionals in each school and college and refine the Counseling Center’s referral process.
“We are talking about more holistic views of health and really ensuring that students have different abilities based off of their entire well being,” she said.
Still undecided? We’ve got you covered. Check out the quiz below to see which party aligns best with your priorities and preferences.
Senior staff writers Carmen Molina Acosta and Rina Torchinsky and staff writers Clara Niel and Amanda Hernández contributed to this report.