Incumbent ASUC senator and sophomore majoring in political economy Akash Ponna is running for executive vice president independently on platforms of student wellness, revamping the ASUC, club support and equity and inclusion.
During his time as senator, Ponna has worked on various projects including re-administering the cultural diversity and affairs commission and providing SVSH training to the community, which he would continue as the executive vice president.
“I have a lot of experience in the ASUC, I know how the ASUC operates and I also know how the ASUC connects to student organizations,” Ponna said. “I’ve used all this work to inform my work as a senator. Not only have I done a lot of work at the ASUC, but I’ve also worked in the student body and across communities in the student body.”
If elected, Ponna plans to establish widespread accountability and transparency across the ASUC, working towards accomplishing goals instead of focusing on “party politics.” By running independently, he wishes to be a “supporting arm” to all members of Senate.
He also aims to connect students and student organizations to both the ASUC and administration. The dance community in particular, he noted, struggles to find support on campus.
“Dance groups have been falling apart this past year due to lack of spaces. Dancers have been suffering through injuries due to having to practice outside.” Ponna said. “We have a lot of cultural dance groups where they dance barefoot and you know that’s not something you should be practicing outside, but they’re forced to practice outside and in garages because we don’t have spaces for them.”
Ponna stated that beyond dance groups, it’s important to him that all student organizations have access to “fee-free” spaces where they are able to meet and practice. He hopes to streamline students’ access to these spaces.
His other platforms include expanding the BayPass program to all students and using ASUC funds to give students Uber credit for emergencies, citing campus safety as another issue he wishes to tackle.
Ponna also hopes to give student organizations free access to professional emails and create more internship opportunities for students.
“I’ve worked in organizations that are centered around wellness, professional development and community growth.” Ponna said. “My unique experience within the ASUC and across communities makes me the best candidate as I know how to make changes within the ASUC but I have been working on the ground with student organizations throughout the year and listening to student needs.”