Student Action announced March 8 that current ASUC Senators Haazim Amirali and Melvin Tangonan are running for next academic year’s ASUC president and executive vice president, respectively.
Amirali and Tangonan have been part of Student Action — the party that historically represents the Greek community, Jewish students and engineering students — for more than a year. They described Student Action as a party that is working to represent all students and make a tangible change.
Amirali, the presidential candidate, first became involved with the ASUC during his freshman year, beginning as a legislative director under former ASUC senator Adnan Hemani. Amirali currently serves as the senator representing prelaw and residential life communities.
Tangonan, the candidate for executive vice president, began as an intern in the office of former ASUC senator Rizza Estacio and now represents the Pilipinx community as a senator.
“I have had the privilege of watching them grow over the past year and a half,” said Stephanie Luna-Lopez, chair of Student Action, in an email. “They are both truly special individuals who genuinely care about the work they do and the students they serve. I have no doubt that they will be great leaders and executives.”
Amirali is running on four main platforms: increasing diversity and inclusion; improving wellness, including basic needs and housing; maintaining campus safety and climate and prioritizing student experiences, including those of transfers. As a residential assistant, Amirali said he is informed about student experiences.
Some of the biggest issues that Tangonan focuses on in his platforms include making ASUC resources more accessible for Registered Student Organizations, or RSOs, increasing reforms to “Sprouling” efforts and improving career center resources.
Tangonan explained that the current room reservation system is inconsistent and not “RSO-friendly,” as sometimes requests are not approved until the night before or even the day of an event. Managing student activity spaces is one of the responsibilities that falls to the executive vice president.
“Starting off as an intern and now being a senator, I just really saw how beneficial the ASUC is but also how we need a lot of improvements,” Tangonan said.
Both candidates also acknowledged that Student Action has a negative history but said improvements have been made.
“(Student Action) was established in 1995 and since then its member demographics have diversified and the values have evolved to better represent that change,” Luna-Lopez said in the email. “Like any group, we are not perfect and we continue to learn and grow every year which I am very proud of.”
Some changes that Amirali noted included that Student Action’s interview process for candidates has “rigorously changed” and that the party came out with a set of progressive values that it is focusing on.
Both candidates also emphasized that they want to provide a better space for marginalized communities to have a voice.
Amirali has ideas on how to include students in the conversation within the ASUC and with administration, including having representatives from different communities in his standing meetings and providing the space for student committees to help steer new campus funds.
“I want to use the presidency to give (student organizers) an opportunity to one, have the support of the ASUC, but also two, interface with the most important people on this campus and be able to solve the biggest problems,” Amirali said. “For me, the ASUC presidency represents a chance not only to work for students, but also to work with students, and I think that is the most important part about it.”