A.S. Elections: Karen Liang

Her idols are Coco Chanel and Marie Antoinette, the former for inventing the modern woman, the latter “for the clothes, not the politics.” The daughter of a foreign ambassador, her biggest fight has been learning to avoid discouraging remarks about her chosen field of fashion marketing. Liang is the presidential hopeful without the long-term political aspirations — and, for her, this has made all the difference.

“People think the entire realm of fashion is a joke,” she said. “But there’s so much beauty in it and it’s a way to bring people together. We all need to wear clothes, so why can’t we integrate that with science and math and creativity as a starting point to help the world too?”

Take Coco Chanel. Chanel, Liang said, created the image of the powerful modern woman, “and she didn’t need to go through politics to do that. She channeled her creativity to inspire a generation of women who came after her.”

Liang has demonstrated this same capacity for outreach and unlikely avenues of influence in every area of her life, from her stints living in Taiwan, Georgia and northern California, to her communications major, to her three years of spirit-focused service in student government. Her history of extracurricular involvement and focus on campus life stretches as far back as an elementary school position as a noon sports announcer.

“I realized very early on that student government was something I was comfortable with, that I love to outreach and connect,” she said. “I grew up near politics and I don’t like it, and so I have no plans for law school or a political career, but I just like to talk to people, and I want to help them.”

At UCSD, Liang began as a member of ERC student council then moved up to ERC Senator and, this year, serves as Campus-wide Senator, Senate Chair and sits on the TritonLink Committee. Though her career has followed a predictable trajectory on the path to the presidential position, Liang said that she never intended to vie for the top spot and was only persuaded by running mate and VP Finance candidate Pauline Nuth.

Bold is, in many ways, the successor of current President Alyssa Wing’s Board the Wing slate, which Liang ran on last year. Bold’s focus on Greek and athletic life, spirit and finding points of similarity among the students mirrors Liang’s emphasis on individual outreach, A.S. visibility and personal interaction with constituents.

“We have legs, so why can’t we go down to the students?” she said. “Why do we need to wait for them to come to us?”

She wants to preside over a council that will go to orgs. Attend sports games. Find common ground and avoid the divisive issues. Most importantly, she wants to follow up with constituents in real time, instead of responding with the dreaded “I’ll forward this to someone who can help you” email.

“My one drive to do all of this is to know that I’m doing what one student, or two, or 500 has always wanted to see here,” she said. “I want to create that kind of excitement. That’s what really makes me happy in A.S. — it’s the excitement or happiness you can bring to one person.”