Academic affairs vice presidential candidates focus on improving student experience

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One serious candidate and one satirical candidate, who both aim to improve students’ undergraduate experience and increase support for academic and extracurricular activities on campus, are running for the position of ASUC academic affairs vice president.

This year, the candidates are Melissa Hsu of CalSERVE and Yevgeniya “BobbyRPartyR” Sosnovskaya of the SQUELCH! party. Jay Walker, an independent candidate whose name will still appear on the ballot, will no longer be running for the position.

The AAVP, who supervises ASUC projects and academic operations, appoints student representatives to the Academic Senate’s committees, which in turn consult with the chancellor on executive decisions. The AAVP’s office also offers academic resources and student-run programs to help students improve their experience on campus.

After securing a grant as an ASUC senator for potential rest zones on campus, Hsu intends as AAVP to continue her work and establish five locations to encourage relaxation and enhanced studying, arguing that “wellness is directly associated with academic achievement.”

Hsu also plans to expand laptop- and charger-rental programs, having experienced difficulty with the campus’s computer labs and their policy for lending electronic devices. She also hopes to incentivize teachers to use cheaper course material, such as library catalog material.

In hopes of improving student input on student programs, Hsu plans to host focus groups and town halls for students from various groups to be a part of the development of future campus changes.

“I want to make sure students get involved and lead the conversation, rather than (by) one student committee,” Hsu said.

BobbyRPartyR’s main goal is to make academic culture more accessible to students. As part of his platform, he would institute slumber parties in Dwinelle Hall, which he said would include marshmallow roasting and discussion of academic subjects, “like science and geometry.”

Additionally, BobbyRPartyR would lobby for campus Push Pop dispensers, which would specifically include blue-raspberry Push Pops. As a student representing “all the chillin’ cool kids,” he also hopes to institute mandatory movie nights for educational purposes.

“Who wants to sit through an hour and half of lecture? Not Bobby,” BobbyRPartyR said.

SQUELCH! is running an entirely satirical executive candidate slate in part to underscore issues with ASUC campaigning, such as “backstabbing and mudslinging,” according to Sosnovskaya. She added that a large problem the ASUC faces is that many students do not care about elections and view them as a nuisance, which she said results from a fundamental lack of understanding of the ASUC.

“SQUELCH! joke candidacy (makes) the entire process, which is in many ways long and arduous … a little more enjoyable,” Sosnovskaya said. “Having the ridiculous platforms will get more attention to the election and hopefully redirect their attention to more serious candidates.”

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

Contact Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @ayoonhendricks.