UC Berkeley junior transfer Aileen Sanchez is running for ASUC transfer representative with the Elevate Cal coalition.
Sanchez is running on what she calls the BEARS platform, which stands for basic needs, equity, accessibility, retention and secured housing. Sanchez said each platform aims to help transfer and minority students.
“No one knows better than someone who has been oppressed throughout their life how to serve students that are minorities,” Sanchez said.
Having been raised and educated in the transborder communities of Mexico and California, Sanchez crossed the border wall and walked the desert every day from ages 6 to 20. Sanchez said she felt she always had a “sense of activism” in her from the violence and displays of power she witnessed and lived through at the border.
At Imperial Valley College, where Sanchez attended prior, Sanchez said she was involved in a multitude of political efforts to support minority groups including as an American Civil Liberties Union Know Your Rights ambassador or as president of the Active Minds Club, a chapter of the nation’s biggest nonprofit organization that addresses student mental health.
Despite having served as the student government vice president at Imperial Valley College, this is Sanchez’s first involvement with the ASUC. She explained that it is difficult to get involved in the ASUC as a working student, only having the time for her campaign because she left her tutoring job at her old community college.
“Many of the students are so interesting and committed to doing their extracurriculars but we cannot,” Sanchez said. “There’s a strain: Do we survive or do we do more as a student?”
This struggle between survival and more student experience is a struggle she shares with many of her fellow students, Sanchez said. As a result, her first major platform aims to tackle students’ basic needs by providing access to food, housing, library hour extensions for work-study and student parents and period equity.
Sanchez also wants to create a transfer alumni base to help alleviate the competition between transfers and traditional students for academic and job opportunities. She also wants to address the lack of accessibility for mental health resources by working closely with Counseling and Psychological Services and University Health Services professionals by offering anti-bias and anti-racism training.
Aside from that, Sanchez hopes to “bridge the gap” between campus and the 116 community colleges in California. Lastly, by working with the Berkeley Student Cooperative and the Chancellor’s Office, she intends to secure housing for transfers, the majority of whom do not receive housing, according to Sanchez.
“Coming from nothing and going to Berkeley really shows our resiliency,” Sanchez said. “It’s not fair at all that we’re still being pushed aside.”