Student Action announces 4 candidates for ASUC Senate

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Student Action announced four senate candidates Tuesday night for the 2019 ASUC elections, kicking off the first of a three-day announcement period for the party’s senate slate.

The party, which has historically represented the Greek, engineering and Jewish communities, named Joseph Besgen, Ali Jafri, Haazim Amirali and Sitara Bellam as four candidates running in the April election. The announcement comes two days after Student Action released its executive slate for the 2019 election.

Bellam, a campus junior and cognitive science major, said if elected, she would like to expand health resources and improve financial services for student groups. She added that as someone currently involved in three South Asian campus organizations, she would provide the South Asian community with representation, oversight and assistance.

“I’ve worked in Student Action offices since my freshman year,” Bellam said. “The work I’ve seen done has been incredible, and I’ve been blown away by it.”

Besgen, a campus junior studying electrical engineering and computer sciences, is running on a similar platform as Bellam to aid student organizations. As a freshman, Besgen joined the then-newly established Invention Corps of Berkeley. Seeing what it takes to start a new organization, he said, made him want to give back to other campus clubs.

He added that, if elected, he aims to facilitate more funding and resources for campus technology and engineering organizations, create a platform to aid club-to-club communication and improve campus club culture. As a senator, he would also work to represent computer science and data science students.

Jafri, a campus sophomore and molecular and cell biology major, is focusing his platform on the student academic experience. His project, Beehive, provides a platform that connects students to research opportunities even after the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program application has closed. If elected, Jafri said, he would be able to “change the research culture on campus.”

He also aims to implement “more visible” engineering career events and one-on-one science tutoring at the Student Learning Center and create a grant to help students in the graduate school application process.

Amirali, a campus sophomore studying political science and history, said he aims to expand resources for students looking at postgraduate law education. If elected, Amirali said he would direct resources to prelaw students and address basic needs in freshman residence halls.

He added that with his experience in the ASUC and as a residential adviser, he understands the bureaucracy of the ASUC and would work to increase its accessibility and accountability.

“It’s already been an exhilarating process,” Amirali said. “For me, I’ve been dreaming of this moment for a while. … I’m just very excited to put myself out there and put my ideas out there.”

Voting for the ASUC elections will be held April 8, 9 and 10.

Contact Rachel Barber at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @rachelbarber_.