Campus senior Risa Fulkerson is running as an independent candidate for the ASUC Senate and transfer representative position in the upcoming election.
Fulkerson’s motivation to run arose from personal experiences with the alleged lack of representation and support for transfer students at UC Berkeley. The growth of her father’s alcoholism put great stress on Fulkerson during her first year on campus.
While dealing with these issues, Fulkerson said she did not have the capacity to think about school. After reaching out to various administrative bodies, she felt a lack of accountability or willingness to help.
“The system in place at Cal is not beneficial for students with complex lives and situations, and it needs to be,” Fulkerson said. “Through the people that I know and have seen, I’m hopeful that we can change this system and I will continue to fight and uplift individuals.”
Fulkerson’s campaign aims to put more supportive systems in place for transfer students. Fulkerson added that she hopes to establish a voting seat in the ASUC for transfer students. While there is a transfer representative role, which Fulkerson is running for, she believes this needs to become a voting role.
She also intends to create an ASUC transfer commission made up of students from diverse backgrounds to ensure transfer students’ needs are represented.
“I seek to represent those who are currently not represented at Cal,” Fulkerson said. “I will be sure to listen to them and advocate for them in the ASUC.”
Fulkerson placed emphasis on expanding the Disabled Students’ Program, or DSP, and its TRiO program on campus, which serves students with disabilities, including those from low-income backgrounds.
Her goal is to have DSP accommodate a wider scope of students, including those with families affected by mental health or those who have traumatic experiences and other unforeseen medical and health challenges. She hopes this will enable students to have a safer place of support where they are accommodated.
Her campaign also seeks to improve the Tang Center’s counseling services, such as aiding students in personal crises in a more timely manner, rather than the current standard of three to four weeks. She also pledged to diversify the counseling staff at the Tang Center and to work with the administration to champion students who compromise their mental health for academic success.
“I think that Risa would make a good senator because she has no ulterior motives,” said Fulkerson’s campaign adviser, campus junior Samantha Zenteno, in an email. “She is empathetic and a strong leader, and I fully believe in her ability to listen to and advocate on behalf of the student body. As a history major, she also has a unique insight of the nuanced relationship between politics and people, and will offer a much needed balance in the ASUC.”