Not every action you take needs to move mountains. Obviously, the big battles we come across at UC Berkeley and beyond are important to fight. Budget cuts should cease, tuition hikes should stop in their tracks and the administration should always be accountable to students. However, it has been apparent from my time at Cal and in the ASUC that people with clear and focused goals — even those related to free soda at Chipotle — have made the most change.
The UC Berkeley campus has witnessed an absolute tragedy this last week. The roots of our student government, our institutional traditions and even American history have been thrown to the wolves. Earlier Wednesday, I spoke with a freshman on the condition of anonymity due to his fear of repercussions. The student, almost in tears, lamented the fact that he was “really saddened that the ASUC did not take up the opportunity to represent me and effect true change.”
What has caused all of this campuswide sadness?
ASUC Senator Mihir Deo nobly attempted to pass a piece of legislation entitled “A Bill in Support of Free Soda from Chipotle.” This bill uses the power of the ASUC Senate as a representative body of more than 30,000 students to urge Chipotle to give back the deal that once gave free soda (and healthier options) to Cal students. Graduating seniors reminisce in those glory days when this dream was a reality, and they can only hope that deal will one day return.
Sadly, Deo met the hand of silencing resistance at the external affairs committee meeting this past week. The committee rejected the Chipotle bill in defense of the ASUC’s honor by purporting that the passage of the bill would make the ASUC look like a joke. Ironically, it is that committee that resembles the ultimate joke by rejecting the bill.
Our student body of more than 30,000 makes up the vast majority of customers who enter the beloved Chipotle on Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue. Something tells me that Chipotle would listen far more to our representative body than the regents would to that same political body. Why not support the wallets of students on the ground, and urge that business to bring back its magnanimous deal? Not only would Chipotle, at the very least, make an official response to this bill, but other businesses would also respond by giving students more deals to compete over who is most student-friendly.
Something that appears as a joke at face value can ultimately have a serious and widespread effect. You can often have the best shot at moving those mountains by working for the little things — not that free soda at Chipotle is a little feat.
Hey, you future ASUC of 2025 — never be scared to take yourselves lightly every once in a while — it can be what finally makes the student body take you seriously.
Noah Ickowitz is the SQUELCH! party chair and a former Daily Cal columnist.