CalSERVE announced one of its largest ASUC Senate slates in recent history, with 16 candidates vying for 20 senate seats.
The party has traditionally represented underrepresented groups, including the Chicano and LGBTQ communities.
Recently, the party has begun to represent other groups, such as transfer and re-entry students and student parents. The party is also looking to emphasize environmental and women’s issues.
“The progressive movement at Cal is much broader than what CalSERVE traditionally represents — we’d like to represent more of that movement,” said CalSERVE Elections Coordinator Anais LaVoie. “We are the only progressive movement on this campus.”
According to CalSERVE chair and Party Signatory Salih Muhammed, the party is running more senators to represent an even wider selection of communities.
“This election is not a matter of votes … it’s a choice for a new and fresh and alternative vision that includes participatory democracy where every student is represented,” Muhammed said.
This year’s candidates are Beatriz Barron, Brett Bruhanski, Briana Mullen, Caitlin Quinn, Destiny Iwuoma, Doug Taylor, Jenny Lu, Justin Kong, Laura Li, Monica Ruiz, Sean Tan, Sevly Snguon, Stefan Elgstrand, Taylor Fugere, Wendy Pacheco and Vy Hoang.
LaVoie said the nominees were chosen to represent CalSERVE because they share the party’s broader values of creating a diverse campus, promoting a tuition-free university and providing more resources for victims of hate crimes and sexual assault.
“We only pick candidates that all of our communities say ‘yes, they can run,’” LaVoie said. “(But) we don’t all have to agree on every issue. There is diversity.”
Bruhanski said he chose to run for senate with CalSERVE because of its history of supporting less visible communities, particularly transfer students.
“As a transfer student from Long Beach City College, coming to Cal was a very marginalizing experience,” Bruhanski said in an email. “Our school could do so much more to bolster the needs of its transfer, re-entry, student parent, and student veteran populations.”
The party’s candidates’ platforms range from increasing mental health awareness to initiating a bicycle-lending program.
One of Bruhanski’s biggest platforms is raising awareness of student-worker rights by launching a “know your rights” campaign.
“Having students that do not know when they are entitled to a break, how long that break is allowed to be, or how to file a grievance is a serious ethical problem that needs to be addressed,” Bruhanski said.
In addition to having a wide variety of platforms, the party’s candidates represent a large sample of the student body, with nominees ranging in age from 19 to 32.
“I am a unique Senate candidate, as I believe that I am the only student that identifies as a Re-Entry Transfer, in their 30’s, married, and a commuter,” Taylor, one of CalSERVE’s nominees, said in an email. “Each of these attributes makes me a rare candidate; in combination, it makes me something of a unicorn.”
CalSERVE ran 11 senate candidates last election season and secured six seats. The party has not held a senate majority since the late 1980s.
“Its important to remember that CalSERVE doesn’t see elections as a primary goal,” LaVoie said. “First and foremost, we want to make sure that our values are represented.”
ASUC elections will be held in early April.
Ally Rondoni is the lead student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected].