Current ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President, or AAVP, James Weichert is running for reelection in the upcoming ASUC election, hoping to continue his work on academic student advocacy and equitable academic policies.
Weichert has years of experience in the ASUC, working as chief of staff to former AAVP Nicole Anyanwu before ultimately entering the role of AAVP last year. Weichert said he extends his experience beyond the ASUC as co-chair of the chancellor’s advisory committee on student services and fees. He is also the chair of university affairs and academic affairs officer for the University of California Student Association.
“We did amazing work that was really rooted in solving issues, solving problems and getting things done,” Weichert said.
Weichert highlighted several projects he worked on over the past year, which include the expansion of the College of Letters and Science’s late-drop policy, which started in fall 2021, as well as securing remote participation for DSP students in discussion sections.
Weichert’s reelection campaign will elaborate on his work regarding student fees, as it is a subject that requires a lot of strong leaders to advocate on behalf of students, according to Weichert. Speaking on his own experience, Weichert helped students save $1.1 million dollars on the Microsoft and Adobe License fee this year.
“Continuity is important,” Weichert said. “I’m here to keep building on the work that I have been doing so far.”
Weichert added his advocacy work surrounding student fees will also address the proposed $278 a year instructional resilient and enhancement fee.
Weichert said he wants students to know that his role as AAVP is not influenced by achieving the title — or for his resume — but rather to accomplish change and establish continuity on the work and projects he has been involved in.
A challenge Weichert has seen from other students is that the lack of momentum can prevent change. He added that while he understands the difficulty and exhaustion that can come from the constant work that comes with an ASUC position, he said the opportunity to keep on building on the foundation his office has created is a major motivation for reelection.
“I have the energy and I have the experience to keep doing that,” Weichert said. “I would just be so honored to keep doing work on behalf of students.”
Weichert also said working in the ASUC can be difficult. As the impacts of student advocacy can sometimes leave him drained and questioning whether it is worth it, Weichert said he hopes to spark a conversation on mental health.
Weichert said he believes that student advocates and leaders can initiate this conversation to help remedy the effects of the work they put in every day.
“I see so many opportunities to continue to work on the foundation that we have been building this year,” Weichert said. “I hope other candidates as well take this opportunity … to talk about wellness more broadly from the perspective of what it means to be a student leader and what sustainable student advocacy looks like.”