Melany Amarikwa for academic affairs vice president

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The race for academic affairs vice president, or AAVP, is the closest election this year — Student Action’s Melany Amarikwa and CalSERVE’s candidate Rizza Estacio are two competitive candidates with very different policy backgrounds.

But the AAVP’s most important job is ensuring major projects that directly improve students’ academic experience are completed, and Amarikwa has both the institutional knowledge and the clear (and achievable) plans to earn your vote this year.

Amarikwa’s platforms stem from the gaps she saw in academic services as AAVP chief of staff, emphasizing mental and physical wellness, library improvements and professional development. Her goal to extend the long-term laptop rental program is achievable and desperately needed, and Amarikwa demonstrated solid understanding of how to negotiate with both Tang Center and Academic Senate officials to develop new academic policies.

She also wants to boost funding for the Recreational Sports Facility and her goal, she said in an interview with The Daily Californian editorial board, is to implement “soul cycle” desks at Moffitt Library. While money would likely be better spent elsewhere, this platform is indicative of Amarikwa’s innovative plans to encourage both mental and physical wellness across campus.

While Estacio has bold and notable ideas, such as diversifying tenured faculty on campus and “decolonizing Cal,” she seemed to dismiss some of the important work the AAVP office already does, based on an interview with the Daily Cal editorial board.

To be clear: Both Amarikwa and Estacio are strong candidates for AAVP. But in the end, even if Estacio has a more ambitious vision for the position, Amarikwa has the experience and thoughtfulness needed to enact specific, meaningful impacts to mental health, academic achievement and campus wellness.

Vote Melany Amarikwa for academic affairs vice president.

Editorial board members Sophie Goethals and Ella Jensen recused themselves from the discussion of this endorsement because of their social relationships with Melany Amarikwa.

Editorials represent the majority opinion of the Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.