Running unopposed, AAVP candidate Ian Bullitt seeks to improve students’ academic experiences

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ASUC Senator Ian Bullitt, described by himself and his peers as both “resilient” and “extra,” is seeking election as the academic affairs vice president.

The AAVP is responsible for administering grants and scholarships and appointing students to the senate and administration committees to represent on behalf of the student body. Bullitt is running unopposed with campus party Student Action.

If elected, Bullitt said he intends to foster more unison between different groups while in the  role of AAVP, noting the separation he has felt on campus before as someone who represents several different identities.

“(UC Berkeley’s) such a hard environment and it’s so huge, it’s not one community but it’s so many,” Bullitt said. “People with intersectionalities like me — people of color, queer —  find ourselves in none of them or (in) few of them.”

Before moving to California to attend UC Berkeley, Bullitt lived in Western Texasand formerly labels himself as a Texan, describing himself as having “Texas pride.” Bullitt expressed how his dad — one of eight children —  taught him how to live, be appreciative, and “not be bougie.” He said he learned from his mother the value of resilience, as she immigrated from the Philippines and “came from nothing.”

Bullitt, who on many days can be found eating lunch with his friends in the Bechtel Engineering Center, is one of the few STEM majors in the ASUC office. Bullitt also identifies as queer and is a person of color, noting that he is often the only Black person in his engineering classes.

In high school, Bullitt served on student council because it was the only place he felt he “fit in.” He said his hometown community was “nonpolitical.”

To his friends, Bullitt is known as a character. Alexandra Daniels, a campus junior and friend of Bullitt’s, described Bullitt as a “go-getter” who is passionate about what he does. She also noted that he takes criticism well and would be “awesome for our school.”

Daniels, a fellow engineering student, said she was able to connect with Bullitt about the difficulties of being in the engineering field.

Bullitt’s campaign platforms take into consideration both cultural and academic rigor on campus. He said he believes UC Berkeley is a “really intense environment” for students in rigorous majors. If elected, Bullitt’s goal is to leverage his experience as a senator and diminish stress on campus to help future students cope with mental health.

ASUC Senator Miranda Hernandez said she believes that Bullitt’s non-traditional resume makes him a qualified candidate for AAVP, adding that STEM majors are historically underrepresented in the ASUC.

“He understands the academic rigor of UC Berkeley,” Hernandez said. “He gets the academic ability it takes to thrive here. He doesn’t sugar coat anything. He wants to make it less difficult for real students.”

She described one night when she was frustrated about a variety of things and asked Bullitt to go get boba with her. They went went to a boba shop and stayed up until 1 a.m. chatting about the ASUC elections, why Bullitt wants to run and what they’ve recently seen on campus.

“He’s such a good listener,” Hernandez said. “You can trust him with anything.”

Because he is running unopposed, Bullitt said he has spent time he would otherwise use for campaigning to learn the intricacies of the AAVP position in advance.

“The fact that I’m running unopposed shows productive bipartisanship,” Bullitt said. “I’ve talked to senators of all parties already about details of the future. I get the respect of everyone and use my campaign to better others’ mental health — those running opposed —  because it is a very stressful time.”

The ASUC elections will take place on April 10, 11 and 12.

Contact Ella Jensen at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ellajensen_dc.