From the Desk of Andy Buselt

     

    “Building Bridges, Connecting Communities.” This is the core value that the Keep It Real slate aspired toward in the recent Associated Student elections.

    Our campaign practiced this value not only by bringing together candidates from diverse backgrounds, but also by receiving overwhelming support from so many different campus communities, including the Student Affirmative Action Committee, the Food Co-op and Original Student Center, members from the Greek and athletic community and countless student organizations. Now that we have been elected, it is my hope that our new A.S. Council will reaffirm this commitment while in office.

    In the coming year, our university is facing a number of pressing challenges, from the UC Student Health Insurance Plan debt exceeding $50 million, to the costs associated with the failure of the recent University Centers Referendum, a well intentioned smoking ban with serious repercussions for our student-run businesses and of course, the ongoing dilemma with Transportation and Parking Services operating on an unsustainable deficit. Moving forward, it is vital that we as students, the experts of our educational experience, take full advantage of and expand upon our representation in decision-making processes so that we can reach solutions that are equitable and just.

    As for myself, I committed to being an agent for positive social change long before I was elected as a Muir College Senator last year — from negotiating the phasing out of disposable plastic water bottles and installing hydration stations across campus while working with the Student Sustainability Collective, to interning at the LGBT Resource Center on campus. I intend to build upon these efforts toward social justice as A.S. President by prioritizing the rights of students and workers, while also pursuing a proactive policy agenda. 

    During the first A.S. Council meeting of the new term, I hope to charge two committees with beginning to work to carry out some of my larger campaign promises. The first is making our campus more bike-friendly. With six different colleges vastly spread out, overcrowded walkways between classes and a number of bikes locked against trees due to a lack of parking racks, it’s evident that new infrastructure to support bikes is needed. Luckily, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel to find these solutions. The 2012 UCSD Bike & Pedestrian Plan lays out proposals for more bike paths, lanes and development that will make UCSD more navigable, while also working to connect UCSD to the broader La Jolla community. This special committee will give a thorough analysis of the study, offer recommendations for which portions of the plan are most feasible and affordable and work to secure funding to implement these plans so that UCSD will be a more sustainable, safe and active campus. 

    The second committee I plan on initiating on day one will look at expanding academic opportunities pertaining to retention and student empowerment. Personally, I have garnered so much insight with the critical lens I’ve gained from our ethnic studies department. There have been efforts for many years to establish more programs that explore identity, community and culture. Currently, a number of students are interested in establishing minors in areas such as Asian American studies and Islamic studies. I intend on having this committee’s membership include both A.S. Council members as well as representatives from the student organizations with vested interests in creating these programs so that we can build upon all the work that has already been done and partner with the Academic Senate to make these potential opportunities a reality.

    I’m confident that the incoming council will be remembered for being productive, respectful and engaging. The 2013–2014 council’s potential lies in the fact that its members will each bring unique perspectives, experiences and identities to the fourth floor, but its successes will not be confined there. I hope to lead and foster a council whose members will draw from the communities they are rooted in to produce collaborative projects that build upon what we already love about our campus, while engaging with the student body to address the challenges we will face with a grassroots and democratic approach on a campus, local, statewide and national level. 

    Thank you for allowing me the privilege of serving as your Student Body President for the upcoming academic year. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together.

    Humbly Yours,

    Andy Buselt
    A.S. President-elect

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