CalSERVE announces 15 ASUC Senate candidates

Cory Maryott/CalSERVE/Courtesy

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On Monday, CalSERVE — known as a historically progressive campus political party — announced a 15-person slate of candidates for the upcoming ASUC elections.

CalSERVE is running two more candidates than it did in last year’s elections. The party currently holds eight of the ASUC’s 20 senate seats, including one member who ran jointly with CalSERVE and the Cooperative Movement Party. According to party chair Spencer Pritchard, the organization works with its candidates to develop platforms based on their unique goals that are in line with CalSERVE’s ideals.

This year’s CalSERVE senate candidates are Wes Adrianson, Arya Aliabadi, Violeta Alvarez, Haruko Ayabe, Ji-hern Baek, Alana Banks, Reia Cho, Aanchal Chugh, Kyle Evanko, Wayland Fong, Benedict Llave, Diana Nguyen, Kathy Tran, Boomer Vicente and Gaby Wantah.

Several candidates are running on platforms of improving the campus climate and mental health resources, while others are focusing on environmental initiatives or improving access to services for specific communities across campus.

“The ASUC is a platform for major social change on and off campus,” Pritchard said. He added that CalSERVE emphasizes the importance of “advocating for students who are marginalized or not necessarily represented.”

While some candidates have positional experience within the ASUC, others — such as Ji-hern Baek — have background in other leadership roles on campus. Baek said his lack of prior involvement in ASUC politics “brings a new perspective.”

Baek is a junior cognitive science and computer science double major. His platforms’ overarching theme — that it is OK to ask for help — is tied together by his ideas for promoting sexual and mental health awareness.

“I understand that there are a lot of things we go through sometimes — it helps to have someone be there and encourage you that it’s OK to reach out for help,” Baek said.

Aanchal Chugh, a sophomore political science and gender and women’s studies double major, is running on platforms that include improving funding for the gender and women’s studies department and advocating solutions to the grievances of both residents and resident assistants within student housing.

Sophomore Boomer Vicente, a political economy major and public policy minor, said he hopes to institute mandatory workshops for students, staff and faculty to improve the campus climate through collaboration with programs such as CalSO and the LEAD Center.

“These trainings are meant to raise cultural awareness and promote conversations on power and privilege in society,” he said.

Vicente also said that if elected, he would work on developing a co-op for the Latino/Latina community on campus, based on the model set by the Afro House cooperative.

Kathy Tran said she wants to change campus climate by forming a committee to re-envision the climate survey. A sophomore political science and Asian American studies double major, she hopes to promote collaboration among cultural communities and strengthen the campus’s mentorship programs.

As a UC Berkeley Haas School of Business student, sophomore Kyle Evanko said he aims to establish an advisory body to connect and unite the campus’s business associations. In addition, he wants to enrich study spaces and work with the Student Learning Center to provide short-term rentals of readers and books.

CalSERVE’s executive candidates were announced last week and are running on platforms such as improving financial aid and strengthening students’ relationships with their academic advisers.

Student Action announced its executive vice president and 14 senate candidates March 1, and SQUELCH! announced its three senate candidates Feb. 16. MEMSSA-backed sophomore Sumayyah Din also announced her candidacy as an independent senator Sunday.

The 2015-16 ASUC elections will take place April 7, 8 and 9.

Disclosure: CalSERVE senate candidate Arya Aliabadi is a former photo editor at The Daily Californian. 

Angel Grace Jennings covers student government. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @angeljenningss.