UC Berkeley junior Gabriel Alfaro announces candidacy for ASUC Senate

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Campus junior and transfer student Gabriel Alfaro hopes to be a pillar for positive change on campus as an independent ASUC Senate candidate.

Alfaro’s platforms include student life and housing reform, financial equity and the promotion of mental health programs.

“I decided to run for a Senate position in the ASUC because over the past few months, I have absolutely fallen in love with my new home at UC Berkeley,” Alfaro said in an email. “However, when I got here, I realized that many things that seemed like common sense were not being implemented.”

Above all his other platforms, Alfaro said his biggest goal if elected to the ASUC Senate would be to create a more equitable environment where everyone who comes to UC Berkeley can succeed and thrive.

Alfaro noted that during his short time on campus, he has noticed what he considers to be an alleged lack of services surrounding mental health issues and high “out-of-pocket” costs for students who live in the dorms.

Additionally, Alfaro worked collaboratively on issues such as these during his time as a student trustee at his community college, in which he was able to create student organization spaces for students to thrive.

Alfaro served as the executive vice president for the Student Senate for California Community Colleges — the statewide student government for community colleges — in which he helped lobby for a bill that gave his organization more than $2 million in funding to advocate for students.

Under his student life and housing reform platform, Alfaro said he hopes to work with campus administration to have more transparency, especially in the wake of the COVID-19, or the coronavirus, pandemic. He also hopes to advocate for more on-campus transfer student housing and mitigate the cost of resources such as microwaves, refrigerators and laundry services within student residence halls in order to lower the overall cost of living.

With experience in the field of financial equity, Alfaro hopes to establish an Inter-Student Organizational Council that would include all student organizations on campus in order to give everyone a fair voice within the ASUC. Under this platform, he also hopes to change the “funding formula structure” for student organizations as well as ensure that the basic needs of student parents, commuters and Pell Grant recipients are protected.

“During this campaign cycle I have felt two things, frustration and hope,” Alfaro said in the email. “I have been so frustrated by the initial failings of the school to help students thrive during these hard times, but I am hopeful that together we can turn this situation around and come out stronger because of it.”

Audry Jeong is a student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @audryjng_dc.