2012-13 A.S. Council Endorsements

Predictably, Garcia is a member of the SAAC and progressive communities. She’s involved with Chicano/a group MEChA (and endured grief over it after being attacked as a racist on her Facebook event pages), attended quarterly Campus Climate Meetings and worked with issues involving the privatization of the UC system.

Her platform is politically focused — she hopes to collaborate with the Student Organized Voter Access Committee to bring a presidential candidate to campus, create an initially unfunded Associate Vice President of Sustainability to focus on issues of environmental and social justice, lobby for more student representation on transportation committees and revise election bylaws to increase the 20-percent voter turnout necessary to pass a student fee referendum. 

In short, Garcia’s politics mirror that of the typical Student Voice candidate, but her background and experience in council set her apart. As the sitting Muir Senator, Garcia has the name recognition and direct council experience that candidates such as TIDE candidate and sitting Marshall College Council chair Meggie Le and Innovate candidate Ali Athar lack. Le is a strong candidate as well: Her platform’s focus on transportation and parking issue are admirable, and her slate strikes a good mix between strong ideology and strong experience. But her focus on integrating with college councils is better utilized in TIDE’s many excellent campuswide senatorial candidates, and largely negligible for the transfer and off-campus communities. 

And while Athar’s entrepreneurial ideas (biofuels, bike-sharing and research) are a breath of fresh air that could have great benefits for UCSD, his highly specialized politics make him a better fit for the AVP of Enterprises position, while his lack of prior experience in council would create a steep learning curve that would hinder the effectiveness of his term. 

Current campuswide senator Karen Liang will undoubtedly, and rightly, garner a large proportion of votes as the face of the student life and spirit-focused “bold.” slate. Her history as ERC Senator and Senate Chair and years on council give her the experience necessary to carry through her visibility- and spirit-focused initiatives with the same effectiveness that current A.S. President Alyssa Wing has shown. But while this board was impressed with her experience — and endorsed several candidates who shared her views and will work for increased visibility, Greek initiatives and better athletic relations — we believe it is more important for the university’s figurehead to be dedicated to political activism.  

After a failed campuswide senatorial bid in 2010, Garcia became the Chief of Staff and right-hand woman for  2010-11 A.S. President Wafa Ben Hassine during a now infamously contentious year. This has heavily influenced her conduct this year,  and emphasis on building rapport and eschewing slate politics. Garcia’s been through the worst, so with a strong, multi-slate council behind her, she’s ready to try to lead us to a more politically active, more effective year.

Vice President of Student Life: Cody Marshall – Independent

It’s immediately noticeable that Cody Marshall is running for Vice President of Student Life as an independent. According to Marshall, his decision to go slate-less lies in the nature of the position — as VP of Student Life he must bridge the slate divides and run a unified council — logic which makes him an appealing candidate, though it also might give him less power when it comes to campaigning. Regardless, Marshall has the clearest vision and most concrete goals when it comes to running the three distinct segments of his office — athletics, diversity and concerts and events.

His stance on diversity is refreshing, with the Sixth College senator advocating for more education and a critical look at the meaning of diversity instead of programs that are simply “watered down multiculturalism” (i.e. foreign film nights and special dining hall menus). 

He’s largely focused on athletics as well; though an initial supporter of the D-I referendum, Marshall was prominent in running informative campaigns for both the pro and con sides. In the wake of the referendum’s failure, Marshall has a clear focus on supporting our current teams by pursuing televising sporting events through a collaboration with Triton Television. 

Marshall won’t mess with any of our current concert traditions, but rather build new traditions that focus on more specific communities across campus, such as transfer students and the student-run spaces of the Old Student Center. 

While the other candidates — Bold’s Clinton Rodriguez and TIDE’s Jeremy Akiyama — have great ideas of their own (Rodriguez has a focus on Greek housing and Akiyama envisions a student life office which intersects with the external office), their lack of specificity when it comes to their goals makes them less feasible. But Marshall, as an extremely visible member of council this year (numerous candidates pointed to his D-I mixer event as a high point), will be able ignore slate politics and build a council we can rally behind. 

Vice President of External Affairs: Olamide Noah – TIDE

After a year marked by intense political activism and social movements, Olamide Noah is the best candidate to continue the momentum that previous VP External Samer Naji has created. While Noah’s background, as current Vice Chair of the Black Student Union and the Students for Affirmative Action Committee, seems very in tune with the ideals of Student Voice, Noah stated that she chose TIDE to step outside of her comfort zone and act as a bridge for different communities.

This stated commitment in connecting groups from the Greek community to SAAC and the athletes will be effective in institutionalizing political engagement as important for every student. Further, Noah recognizes that social activism can take many different roles and is interested in offering various avenues of activism for those who may not be comfortable with walkouts and protests.  Her plans to work closely with the new VP of Student Life to increase awareness through student events like Bear Gardens and Sun God provide a fresh idea  — Noah is fully ready to work with her fellow VPs to create a climate comfortable for people who are just beginning to be involved in activism.

Noah’s two main goals as VP External are to spread awareness about the Fund the UC Campaign, especially in regard to promoting the middle class scholarship. She also hopes to bring greater visibility to the VP External office, rebrand the AVP of Local Affairs position and increase UCSD’s presence in the greater San Diego community. 

Further, Noah’s background as a member of the Campus Climate Committee shows that she c
learly knows how to create bargaining power with administration. She plans to increase accountability by building coalitions, meeting frequently with admin and emphasizing the importance of institutional memory for orgs. 

Noah’s multi-faceted background, willingness to communicate with her divided constituents and solid plans makes her the best candidate to tackle the job of VP External on next year’s A.S. Council. 

Vice President of Finance and Resources: Pauline Nuth – Bold

With three years of council experience, current Associate Vice President of Student Organizations Pauline Nuth has the background to know the weaknesses in the A.S. budget, the fiscal conservatism to ensure that council doesn’t overallocate and the know-how to increase efficiency and transparency. 

The AVP of Student Orgs  position — a key force in working with funding —is a logical stepping stone to the VP of Finance position.  Over the past year, Nuth has worked to publicize the funding sources available to student orgs and manage all financial requests from student orgs on behalf of council. In essence, she has been the main liaison between A.S. Council and student organizations throughout campus. 

As VP of Finance, Nuth intends to  reorganize the A.S. funding guidelines to clearly articulate the financial process to orgs, and create a streamlined online process for funding appeals. Aside from this specialized knowledge, Nuth’s previous work as ERC senator ensures that she understands legislation and the rules of council as well.

When we handed Nuth a copy of last year’s budget and asked her to critique it, she immediately whipped out a pen and started bracketing line items and offices that she felt were due for reevaluation. Her main assessment: more frugality with college programming and more money to the external office and SOVAC in particular. With both the specialized and general knowledge to accomplish her goals, and the institutional knowledge to avoid repeating the mistakes of her predecessors,  Nuth is the best choice for VP of Finance. 

Campuswide Senators 
Come April 13, eight candidates will be elected to A.S. Council to work on senator projects, vote on legislation and generally sacrifice their Wednesday nights for the public good. This year, the Guardian Editorial Board interviewed 16 candidates and listened to ideas about computer apps, sand angels and Hogwarts. From these, we chose the eight who would bring the most to the 2012-13 A.S. Council.

Brad Segal
Currently keeping a seat warm in the A.S. Senate, Bold candidate Brad Segal hopes to continue his position as Campuswide Senator. As a former fraternity president and campus director of the UC Haiti Initiative, Segal has a passion for funding more non-traditional philanthropic events. He sees an opportunity for Greek housing on campus with the new chancellor, a move that many have been interested in and could be a focal goal for Housing, Dining and Hospitality. Segal has leadership credentials coming out of his ears, leading us to suspect that he will be a driving force in the Senate next year.  

Daniel Miyagi
Daniel Miyagi from the Bold slate is keen to put his extensive financial experience toward philanthropy. After working with the Student Fee Advisory Committee, Miyagi understands how money works and is interested in taking A.S. “visibility” campaigns further than Library Walk by communicating directly with student orgs in meetings. As the VP of Finance for IFC, Miyagi has the connections to improve the volunteer fair and get the Greek community involved. His optimism in “giving back” comes with a plan to create a food box where students leave extra food to feed less fortunate students on campus.

Savini Ganhewa
TIDE candidate Savini Ganehwa has a proven history of political engagement. She sits on Sixth College Council, is a core member of the voter registration SOVAC group and involved with MEChA and SAAC, but also focused on sharing her politically active goals with the campus at large. Ganehwa wants to start an inter-college communication program to focus on the intersection between different orgs and reduce the alienation between student groups. She’s invested in the hot-button issues, but more interested in running informative campaigns than blindly championing one side to her constituents. With her political background and focus on outreach, Ganehwa can be truly effective on a campuswide level. 

Arcelia Gutierrez
Arcelia Gutierrez may lack prior council experience, but her involvement in the activist community would bring a welcome outside perspective to next year’s council. The Student Voice candidate has worked with a number of campaigns, including Reclaim UCSD and March 1, to bring quality education to UCSD students. She has actively tried to lobby administrators to hold them accountable to student demands and knows what works and what doesn’t. In addition to continuing the student protest movement, Gutierrez hopes to push for smaller class sizes and more class offerings, two goals that are paramount as budget cuts continue to lower the quality of education for undergraduates at UCSD. 

Matthew Mayeda
A.S. campuswide senators are usually eager to hear the issues on the table, and eager to avoid picking an area of focus for senator projects. TIDE candidate Matthew Mayeda has a platform refreshingly focused on wellness and student health, along with concrete project ideas in a student life sector often overlooked. He wants to work with the Wellness Resource Center and the Zone, lobby for a public health minor and publicize SHIP initiatives for students who aren’t well-versed in the campus bureaucracy of health insurance. Mayeda’s specific goals, combined with experience as a Well-Being Cluster advisory member , ensure that he has a cause from the moment he steps behind the table, and increase his chances for success.

John Weng
Bold’s John Weng wants to make sure students know about what council can do for them. Students may support the idea of A.S. Safe Rides, he says, but often fail to sign up. To solve this, Weng is interested in creating a digitalized kiosk in PC so that students can easily swipe their IDs to sign up. He hopes to continue his oversight of the A.S. newsletter “A.S. of Now,” accompanied with a new online student forum where students can voice their opinions. Weng has worked closely with current President Alyssa Wing as the Chief of Staff — a position that has required him to live blog all the meetings and given him insight about the inner workings of council.

Jackie Clavin 
Current ERC Senator and TIDE candidate Jackie Clavin believes, and rightly so, that council can’t govern efficiently until it fixes itself. She hopes to focus on internal reforms by charging a committee to rework the convoluted and outdated A.S. bylaws so councilmembers truly understand their own governing guidelines. Clavin’s focus on sticking to “precedent” and understanding the niceties of the bylaws will lead to a more informed, productive council. Clavin’s also interested in educating students on the routes to obtain funding —  a worthy goal that will help the student orgs navigate the world of student fees, money and A.S. Council. 

Irene Chang
Repping for the skittish freshmen everywhere, Irene Chang from TIDE slate is all about outreach. In addition to her work as community director of voter registration org SOVAC, Chang is a member of SERC and believes that A.S. Council should have a constant presence at college events. Chang nods to our underexposed humanities majors by looking to increase job fairs for social sciences and wants to unite the campus under Web communities like UCLA’s Bruinwalk, which offers discussion of topics like professors, dorms and book selling. Chang’s objectives are small but feasible, and show her potential as a future leader in council.

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