CalSERVE nominates Justin Kong as executive VP for 2014-15 ASUC elections

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

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CalSERVE announced UC Berkeley junior Justin Kong as its nominee for executive vice president in this year’s ASUC elections Monday night.

Kong, a CalSERVE senator, will be running on CalSERVE’s executive slate with Caitlin Quinn and Jeanette Corona, candidates for external affairs vice president and academic affairs vice president, respectively. CalSERVE, a progressive campus political party that represents historically underrepresented groups, will announce its nominee for president at a later time.

Executive Vice President Nolan Pack’s triumph in last year’s ASUC elections served as a comeback for CalSERVE, which prior to Pack’s election had not had a candidate win the EVP office since 2008. The EVP’s responsibilities including serving as chair of the ASUC Senate, carrying out various duties assigned to him or her by the senate and managing space allocation for student groups.

As EVP, Pack has made significant structural changes to the ASUC, such as podcasting senate meetings and streamlining the ASUC’s financial allocation process, although some have criticized Pack for not being politically neutral enough in the position. If elected, Kong said, he will expand on Pack’s efforts to increase the transparency of the ASUC.

“I definitely want to continue with what Nolan has been doing, which has been a lot of critical things that have pushed the ASUC forward,” Kong said. “I want to continue and expand on that.”

Kong, who has worked in the ASUC since he was a freshman and previously served in the offices of two Student Action EVPs, said his vision for EVP stems from the experiences he has had working in the different offices. Recently, Kong co-authored a bill that seeks to create a long-term student vision for psychological and physical wellness.

He is running on a three-part platform that includes ensuring the new Lower Sproul Plaza maximizes returns on students’ investment, utilizing new technology to increase the transparency of the ASUC and streamlining the space-reservation systems on campus.

A current ASUC representative of an event management systems task force, Kong hopes to provide student organization spaces through the creation of a joint event management systems software that would streamline the student space-reservation process.

Additionally, Kong said he will ensure the new Lower Sproul reaches its potential to be the center of student life by creating a donor network to engage past generations of ASUC alumni who have worked on the Lower Sproul Redevelopment Project.

“Lower Sproul is going to open in 2015, so this next EVP term is the one that leads up to that final opening right before the fall of 2015,” Kong said. “The new Eshleman (Hall) is going to be the center of student life as soon as it opens.”

Kong said his heavy involvement in student groups such as the Suitcase Clinic — a student-run clinic that focuses on providing medical help to Berkeley’s homeless population — makes him ideal for the position.

The Defend Affirmative Action Party announced its candidate for ASUC president, senior David Douglass, on Feb. 13, and SQUELCH! announced its senate slate the following Monday. Student Action, historically CalSERVE’s primary rival student political party, currently holds one executive position and has yet to announce an executive slate.

The 2014-15 ASUC general election will take place April 8, 9 and 10.

Jane Nho is the lead student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @JaneNho.