Student Action announces 14 candidates for ASUC Senate

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Editor’s note: A version of this article erroneously appeared in print Monday when it was supposed to appear Tuesday. Student Action released its 2017 senatorial slate Monday night.

Student Action, a campus political party centered on student representation, announced Monday its 14 senatorial candidates for the ASUC elections in April.

This year’s Student Action senatorial candidates are Adnan Hemani, Alexandra Origenese, Alexander Wilfert, Connor Hughes, Divya Vijay, Hung Huynh, Jenica Bautista, Jessica Flores, Josh Wilson, Katya Yamamoto, Lubna Sebastian, Lynn Shiung, Maddie Miller and Megha Torpunuri. They not only are intent on serving the student body, but also aim to bring visibility to their respective campus communities. All the candidates expressed an interest in bipartisan and nonpartisan cooperation, as well as a commitment to understand other students’ voices.

“Everyone is bringing different experiences, different communities to the slate,” Vijay said. “But we have that common thread of being involved, being passionate and just wanting to represent the students in the best way possible.”

Origenes, a campus junior, said she hopes to serve the Greek and pre-health communities in addition to the larger campus populace. She has held numerous leadership positions within the Greek community, including vice president of communications for the Panhellenic Council.

Additionally, Origenes has an extensive public health background, serving as a community health advocate for [email protected] and working on a UC Office of the President-sponsored project that would provide prevention techniques for campus sexual assault.

Origenes is running a platform based on streamlining the LEAD Center’s Registered Student Organization advising, improving Greek life risk management policy and education, and establishing official campus standards of health, as well as providing health literacy clinics.

“We’ve done our work, we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Origenes said. “There’s an element of fire … we’re so ready to tackle this — whatever is coming our way — and I couldn’t be prouder to be with Student Action.”

As a computer science major, Hemani, a campus sophomore, said he wanted to represent majors related to technology and people who are concerned about campus technology. Although Hemani had experience working with the ASUC Senate when he served in Senator Ian Bullitt’s office, he said he felt he did not achieve his goals of bringing more visibility to EECS and CS issues, and he considers himself an outsider in the senatorial race.

Hemani is interested in increasing the amount of academic resources available to tech engineers through actions such as reallocating the Temporary Academic Support budget. Hemani also seeks to fix the systemic flaws in CalCentral and create more spaces for students on campus by launching an Evans Late Night Program — expanding on the Wheeler Late Night Program — and a centralized database for room reservations.

“Tech (has) not (been) traditionally represented in the ASUC in quite some time. We’ve seen senators in the past who have been CS or EECS majors, yet they … haven’t been able to represent the tech community on campus as well as they should,” Hemani said. “I’m here to change that.”

Vijay, also a sophomore, has been in the ASUC Legislative Affairs Department of the External Affairs Vice President’s Office since the beginning of her freshman year advocating for student rights on the local, state and federal level through specific bills and campuswide campaigns. She is also the Cal Berkeley Democrats communications director and a member of Asha for Education, a campus organization that brings financial support and educational opportunities to programs in India.

Like Hemani, Vijay aims to tackle issues associated with classroom reservations. Vijay said she hopes to create a centralized database and a prioritized classroom booking system in addition to creating an in-person classroom booking consultant position. As a Cal Berkeley Democrat, Vijay said she hopes to create a single political council that represents each major political club on campus to foster nonpartisan communication. Similarly, she hopes to create a network for South Asian organizations to provide cultural and financial resources.

“I think when you’re running for senate, it’s great to have ASUC experience because you have that institutional knowledge … but you also have to bring the experiences you have from your communities on campus into the ASUC,” Vijay said.

Huynh, a campus freshman, worked with CalSERVE Senator Benyamin bin Mohd Yusof in August and serves as the communications director for the Events and Projects Department of the ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President’s Office. He also works with REACH, a recruitment and retention center for the Asian American Pacific Islander community.

As a low-income student, Huynh said he wants to generalize the Cal 1 Card by transforming meal points to “university points” that can be used for all needs associated with the campus and incorporating additional services such as the Tang Center to CalCentral for increased accessibility. His campaign is prioritizing building a club organization database with names of campus leaders and their contact details, as well as mandating a price limit on course readers in consideration of students of different socioeconomic backgrounds.

“With passion and grit and a strong narrative, it doesn’t take a … certain number of (experiences) to qualify as an ASUC senator,” Huynh said.

Student Action released its executive slate last Tuesday. The 2017-18 ASUC elections are scheduled to take place from April 10 to 12.

Fionce Siow covers student life. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @fioncesiow.