Editor’s note: This is one installment in a three-part series on this year’s candidates for ASUC president. Read about the other candidates here and here.
UC Berkeley junior and current ASUC Senator Ronit Sholkoff is running for ASUC president with the goal of creating a smooth transition back to campus and improving student access to resources.
Her platforms are moving back to campus with intention as the COVID-19 pandemic ends; expanding diversity, equity and inclusion; creating campus resiliency before future crises; and strengthening wellness resources for students in areas such as mental health and sexual violence and sexual harassment. Sholkoff is the Student Action party’s sole presidential candidate.
Sholkoff, who has formerly worked at The Daily Californian, has been involved in the ASUC for several years, serving as a campaign manager and chief of staff for former ASUC senator Shelby Weiss. She currently serves as a senator advocating for the Jewish community, health and wellness on campus, accessibility and Greek life community development, according to the ASUC’s website.
Campus sophomores Emma Tavangari and Deven Radfar, Sholkoff’s campaign managers, said in an email that they designed her campaign to work in a digital format. To try and engage students online, the two used Q&A sessions and spread infographics about Sholkoff’s goals.
Sholkoff said she feels her prior experience in the ASUC and relationships with people on campus will allow her to accomplish her platform goals.
“What I bring (to the role) is, everything that I plan to do and want to do in my platform, is rooted in some conversation or some kind of experience I had on campus,” Sholkoff said. “I’m able to carry those relationships in and sort of hit the ground running week one.”
Currently, Sholkoff said she has been endorsed by several members of her senate class, including ASUC Senators Rex Zhang, Samuel Peng, Ellis Spickermann, Maddy Chen, Michael Savides and Sheena Dichoso Echano. Sholkoff added that despite these specific endorsements, she is running to represent all students on campus.
Sholkoff said students should support her because she tries to lead with empathy and intention.
“I understand in order to be an effective leader, you have to believe in the people you represent,” Sholkoff previously told the Daily Cal. “I enjoy hearing from students, and I enjoy hearing what is going on in people’s lives, and I think I am able to take those experiences and try and make life better for them.”
If elected, Sholkoff said she would “immediately” look into increasing accommodations for international students and students in the Disabled Students’ Program, or DSP.
She noted that students in DSP have lobbied the Academic Senate to allow virtual classes and accommodations, but were told such changes would be too difficult. In light of the past year, however, Sholkoff believes that virtual accommodations are possible.
In addition to seeking these accommodations for DSP students, Sholkoff said she wants to ensure professors are “cognizant” of international students’ difficulties regarding returning to campus for in-person instruction.
Additionally, Sholkoff plans to start standing meetings with University Health Services to discuss campus transitioning back to in-person functions and with senators to discuss their community concerns.
The ASUC, Sholkoff previously told the Daily Cal, gives certain students access to administrators, and she wants to make the student body aware of this access so they can navigate UC Berkeley’s “giant bureaucracy.”
As for impending election results, Sholkoff said she will not try to predict results, but she is proud of her team and its work.
“I just know I have a campaign team that is really, really dedicated to doing what we’re here for,” Sholkoff said. “I can’t predict the future, and I don’t try to, but I am very, very proud of my campaign team, whatever happens.”
Voting for the ASUC elections will be open from April 5 to April 7.