Ambitious freshman Pranay Chaurasia is running for ASUC president with a campaign inspired by a “based” ideology, focused on creating a more unified campus.
His party is the newly formed BASED. party. Deriving his philosophy from the positivity and unity that Lil B, or “The BasedGod,” preaches, Chaurasia hopes that his platforms will spread positivity and encourage unity within the campus.
Chaurasia’s platform includes a campus mentoring system between lower- and upperclassmen, a pedagogy program for professors to improve teaching, triannual banquets for major departments, expansion of Berkeley Connect, more affordable housing and a winter formal.
While Chaurasia acknowledged that freshman students typically do not run for executive positions in the ASUC, he is not discouraged. His deep interests in metaphysics and epistemology were what originally gave him the confidence to reject what he believed to be social norms.
“You treat your life a little differently once you start meta-analyzing yourself — it’s like, why not? Why not do certain things just because there’s a social stigma?” Chaurasia said. “If I have the opportunity to actually directly change something, I would be a fool not to take it.”
Chaurasia also acknowledged that many students have considered Chaurasia’s campaign satirical, which he asserts is not the case. Nevertheless, he does not mind if some people consider him satirical.“Satire is supposed to speak on the state of the system that it’s in. A joke is funny when it sort of comments on inherent biases of a system,” said Chaurasia’s campaign manager, freshman Daniel Ahrens. “We are confusing people and (are) making them think.”
A presidential candidate from outside the two major student political parties — Student Action and CalSERVE — hasn’t been elected in more than 15 years.
According to Chaurasia, he formed the BASED. party as a commentary on the ASUC’s primarily two-party system. He said he does not want a campus that reflects the divided U.S. government.
“The only reason people think this campaign is satirical is because it is entirely based on the needs of the students,” Ahrens said.
One of Chaurasia’s main platforms is improving the quality of education on campus. He said that the campus incentivizes professors in research to the point that they are distracted from teaching and that “students are neglected in the realm of learning.”
“I don’t think research and teaching are mutually exclusive,” he said. He aims to award professors chosen by students in order to incentivize excellent teaching in a positive way.
Through a pedagogy program, Chaurasia hopes to provide a positive support system for professors to improve their teaching abilities.
Chaurasia said large lectures on campus make it difficult to communicate with a professor and can affect quality of learning. A triannual banquet would allow professors and students in a major department to converse outside of the lecture hall environment.
“When you walk into a lecture hall, you’re a viewer, the professor is the actor, you treat them like they aren’t even human,” Chaurasia said. “This entire experience that we have in a lecture hall is ineffective for professors and inefficient for students.”
Chaurasia has discussed educational reforms with campus math lecturer Alexander Coward, who has acted as an adviser. Although Coward does not endorse any one candidate in the elections, he does “support efforts to increase quality education.”
Chaurasia also hopes to address instituting an annual campuswide winter formal, similar to BearFeed.org presidential candidate Pierre Bourbonnais’s platform from the 2014 ASUC elections.
Bourbonnais does not officially endorse Chaurasia, but he said in an email that he supports “any endeavor that seeks to further engage the student body … (such as) the creation of a winter formal.”
Chaurasia recognizes that there are those who would doubt the financial feasibility of a winter formal, however. He suggests that ASUC SUPERB’s $138,000 budget be channeled into making “an amazing one-time event rather than many, many small ones that don’t pique the interest of all student.”
“Ten years from now, when you’re talking to your kids about your school, you’re not gonna tell them about the fringe policy issues the ASUC did,” Chaurasia said. “You’re gonna talk about this dope winter formal dance that you went to every year.”
Although Chaurasia currently does not have any official endorsements, he officially endorses himself.
If Chaurasia were to win the election, he said, he would “go into the Lead Center or the ASUC offices and play some ‘Wonton Soup’ by Lil B and just cook and swag out for a couple of minutes, and just launch off positivity in this campus.”
Although Chaurasia is not campaigning on Sproul in the traditional way, he said he would be doing “something very unorthodox very shortly.”
Contact Elaina Provencio at [email protected].