A New Term

 

Linda Le – VP Student Life-Elect

As my undergraduate experience has taught me, so much of the growth and learning we do as college students happens outside of the classroom. Whether it is leadership or personal development opportunities, student life plays an integral role in how we view our school and who we develop into when we graduate. It is my goal to foster an environment in which students have the opportunities and resources to define what they want out of their undergraduate careers.

First and foremost, in the creation of a campuswide mentorship program, I aspire to make the transition for incoming students a much smoother one by giving them the opportunity to find mentors who will guide them throughout their first years here at UCSD. Another project that I am working on is the creation of a UCSD survival website and pocket guide, which will highlight resources available on our campus, firsthand knowledge about student life and overall must-know information that will help students throughout their undergraduate careers.

I envision the Office of Student Life as the facilitator of campus involvement and campus climate. This year I ran on a platform of “Building Bridges and Connecting Communities,” and I believe that this is what our campus needs in order to move forward. I pledge to work with various communities on campus to increase A.S. Council’s visibility, increase Triton spirit and work on diversity initiatives that will benefit campus climate. In this coming year, expect to see more community building projects coming from council, such as picnics and excursions that will give students an opportunity to not only meet council but to foster a sense of UCSD community. My most important initiative is the creation of a monthly campus strategic planning meeting that will give student leaders on campus an avenue to communicate and collaborate on projects. With this, we will be able to set goals for where we want to take our university in terms of student life.

Another item on my agenda is to work on inter-council relationships. I believe that a council that plays together stays together. I will facilitate productive dialogue among councilmembers and create opportunities for them to create real and lasting relationships that will transgress slate politics. In my time as VP of Student Life, students will see that A.S. Council is filled with engaging and accessible leadership that is by and for the students. My term will be characterized by unprecedented campuswide communication and collaboration as well as a council that will work together toward concrete solutions.

I am excited to see all the great things the 2013–2014 A.S. Council will accomplish, and can’t wait for our terms to begin. Thank you to all who believed in us, especially to all those who voted and made this opportunity possible. As your newly elected VP of Student Life, I will not let you all down.

Sean O’Neal – VP Finance and Resources-Elect

This past year, the Associated Students has been recovering from a massive deficit and budget shortfall. Being a part of the A.S. Finance Office this past year as the chief of staff and the senior internal financial analyst, I’ve worked to identify and isolate the office’s fiscal problems to maintain a more fiscally solvent organization. However, this coming year will be wrought with more problems that could affect the financial structure of the Associated Students.

A combination of the University Centers referendum not passing, a foreseeable increase in UC Student Health Insurance Plan premiums and UCSD’s rising fixed costs will rock the budget. Therefore, it is essential for the stability of the Associated Students to identify programs and resources that students utilize and care about the most and to reengineer our revenue sources to take the financial burden away from the students.

Until then, we as students have to find creative and original ways to make our fees go further. With A.S. finances still not as structurally sound as they need to be, I am looking to new resources to help pick up the slack.

In partnering with the Student Life unit, my biggest goal this year is to provide an accessible way for student organizations to publicize their events so that they can reach a wide variety of students. The initiative I am proposing is a UCSD events smartphone app. This will help take the place of Facebook events and provide a way for students to find events they want to go to and will also increase the visibility of obscure events that suit their needs. With over 500 student organizations at UCSD, an easy way to make these organizations available to previously unreachable students is through modern technology. This app, which will be available online, has the potential to do just that.

However, this is also one of the first years since the global financial crisis in which the Student Affairs department can start to roll out new and innovative programs. I am especially looking forward to the possibility of more concerts and events being hosted at RIMAC Arena and initiatives to bring the San Diego community closer to La Jolla.

With the foundation built the previous year, I want to finish laying down the groundwork so that the Associated Students will not be seen as financially inept. We have the potential in our organization and our student leaders to effect positive social change on our campus and throughout California. I ran on the principles of being “reliable, engaging, and accessible,” and I look forward to continuing to communicate with fellow students about how the Associated Students can best fit their needs. I have the utmost confidence in the upcoming council to make this next year great.

Vanessa Garcia – VP External Affairs-Elect

I am humbled and honored to serve as your A.S. Vice President of External Affairs for the 2013–2014 year. 

When I ran in the 2013 election with Triton’s Choice, I promised to make your Associated Students and university more available, accountable and accessible to the general student body. As I enter into my new role this week, I will consistently remember the ideals that I was elected on and will be focusing my time and energy on accomplishing tasks that fulfill these pillars of my campaign. 

During my term, I will seek to make the Office of External Affairs available to student groups that have been historically disengaged from their work. Student-led campaigns, grassroots movements and administrative negotiations will only be reinforced if students are united on a front of pro-student advocacy. By diversifying the voice of the office and bringing in students from, but not limited to, various student organizations, the Student Affirmative Action Committee, college councils, commuting coalitions, athletes and the Greek community, the Office of External Affairs will be able to advocate for changes that represent a holistic perspective of the campus. I believe that only by having sufficient input from all of these organizations can we effectively push the University of California Student Association’s agenda of ensuring the accessibility, affordability and quality of our education.  

Furthermore, as the most distant UC campus from Sacramento, it is imperative that we also strengthen our coalitions locally with other public universities and community colleges within San Diego County. These collaborations will only amplify the student voice on a local and statewide level. Through the proposal of universitywide activist committees focused on access to higher education, we can emphasize the needs of our students to our local legislators who have the ability to frequent Sacramento. These groups will focus on consistent lobby visits alongside the Triton Lobby Corps starting in fall quarter.

In the coming year, we can expect many large decisions to be made on behalf of students concerning UC Student Health Insurance Plan, UC Online Education and funding to the UC institution. The Associated Students, UCSD administration, the governing regents of the UC system and our legislators must all be held accountable to the decisions they make on behalf of all students.

Not only does the Office of External Affairs need to ensure that these decisions undoubtedly enhance the accessibility of our education to all members of our university, but the information on these changes needs to be readily delivered to students across the campus. I plan to have extensive outreach by the Office of External Affairs and its auxiliary offices (such as the Office of Local Affairs, Student Organized Voter Access Committee and Triton Lobby Corps) during Welcome Week fall quarter and throughout the year as information is disseminated. Students can expect to see the expansion of the office’s website and online media, as well as face-to-face contact and explanation of legislation, health care changes and online education enhancements. 

Thank you for this opportunity to serve and assist the student body in advocating for a quality education here at UCSD.