As an independent candidate for ASUC Senate, intended political science and economics major and campus freshman Mark Basta focuses on dining initiatives, pre-law support, ASUC and campus transparency and safety.
According to his policy guides, Basta aims to “make a mark” by implementing ‘QASS’ — quality, accessibility, sustainability and security — for healthier and more sustainable dining options.
He also plans to create more pre-law resources by launching the Pre-Law Alumni Advising Network, while ameliorating the issue of campus security through increased lighting in dark areas and campus-supported airport transportation.
As a Copt, Basta immediately noticed a confounding amount of “unused voice,” and said he felt “compelled” to take action upon arrival at UC Berkeley.
“I hosted a lot of interviews around campus. I talked to a lot of people and organizations, and it was present — people were not satisfied; the students were not satisfied,” Basta said, regarding a petition he started asking the school to recognize financial and academic impacts on students post-strike.
Basta wants to capitalize on the perception of the ASUC as a student advocate association, making transparency on both ASUC and campus administration sides one of his top priorities.
Moreover, Basta believes that at least monthly open meetings between the ASUC and registered student organizations, or RSOs, should be enabled, as many registered student organizations are “dissatisfied” with the ASUC’s work, particularly when it comes to organizations’ financial statuses, he noted.
“The problem is they don’t have the appropriate measures to approach the entire body at the same time,” Basta said. “We should have monthly meetings where the RSOs can attend if they want to and have representatives speak their minds.”
Basta said he recognizes the prolonged impact of the academic worker strike and will continue to work on it. He added there should be a more standardized platform for the ASUC to see petitions.
While his petition gained much traction on the ground, he recognized that pushing the subject up to the ASUC for consideration was very difficult.
“Having this established body within the ASUC’s organization is really important to make sure that they’re still connected with a student base,” Basta said.
As the director of dining in ASUC Senator Shrinidhi Gopal’s office, Basta has worked on many cultural events within dining facilities and established the Cal Dining advisory on the Student Health Advisory Committee.
His personal experiences back home in Egypt further serve as a reminder of not wasting opportunity here and is a driving factor of his intent to run.
“I just want to go out and speak whatever I can for the students; if I can do that as a senator, I would love to,” Basta said. “If I’m not a senator, I’m still going to do it; I can’t really keep my mind down.”