On March 12, REBUILD released the second portion of its senate candidates — Natasha Ham, Tessa Stapp and Alexis Aguilar — for the upcoming ASUC election.
REBUILD is a coalition of independent candidates that will dissolve after the 2020 ASUC elections. Candidates were selectively recruited through an evaluation of their ties to the community, their record of moral values and how they could create positive change while in the ASUC, according to Varsha Sarveshwar, co-founder of the REBUILD coalition, in an email.
“The ASUC isn’t about which party can get more seats,” Ham said. “Our role and the whole point of being a senator is serving our student body; it’s serving our marginalized communities, uplifting those communities in this space.”
After working in various ASUC Senate offices for three years, Ham is running to be the pre-health and Southeast Asian, or SEA, senator.
Ham is running on three platforms, two of which are pre-health and mental and physical health. She added that many students who pursue pre-health are driven, but this motivation fades during their time on campus.
Some of her objectives include sustaining the pre-health resource fair and pre-health Calapalooza and starting a mental health panel series with pre-health professionals.
“We shouldn’t have to give up on our dreams just because Berkeley has really jaded us out,” Ham said.
Ham also wants to create an SEA night market and an SEA Olympics in order to recognize the SEA presence on campus.
Stapp, a campus sophomore and independent student paying her own tuition, is running for senate to enhance academic affordability, food advocacy and housing security for students. If elected, she aims to expand the free AC Transit offered to students to include BART and to make certain educational resources free, including green books and scantrons.
Regarding housing security, she plans to work on a “safe parking initiative” to provide students living in cars with access to safe places to rest while finding long-term emergency housing.
Stapp hopes to bring affordable grocery options closer to campus and increase access to nutritious food.
“I want to put in place measures that would allow students to prioritize their education rather than struggle to make ends meet,” Stapp said.
Aguilar, a campus sophomore who identifies as a member of the Latinx community, wants to create awareness of the struggles faced by the undocumented community while using policy to foster a safe and inclusive environment.
One of Aguilar’s platforms is improving resources for professional development and academic performance for undocumented students, with a goal of preparing options for students in case they lose their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, status.
His second platform is improving mental health resources for undocumented students. Among his multiple plans, Aguilar wants to open legal clinics to provide free legal support to students and their families.
“The fate of over 800,000 humans (with DACA status), lies in the hands and hearts of individuals who will never understand the struggles of living a life in the shadows, which is why I believe it is vital to narrate our stories,” Aguilar said in an email.