2014–15 A.S. COUNCIL ENDORSEMENTS

Photo by Siddharth Atre/Guardian
Photo by Siddharth Atre/Guardian

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A.S COUNCIL ENDORSEMENTS

You’ll be glad to hear that the red and turquoise banners on Library Walk aren’t for naught; starting April 7, students can head to TritonLink to vote on candidates for the A.S. Council elections. Although there are just two slates now, in place of years with the myriad options of years past, picking between candidates (and taking more than their haircut into consideration) can be a daunting task.

Fear not, because we have spent much of the past week interviewing the candidates for the campus-wide senator, vice-president and president positions. There were many intelligent and promising candidates from each slate and many difficult decisions to make, but ultimately these prospective leaders are all up to the job. We based our judgments on the candidates’ knowledge of campus issues, experience and potential to make the UCSD campus a better place.

President Robby Boparai Tritons Forward

With the broad spectrum of issues that next year’s A.S. Council will face, our campus needs a president that can bring UCSD forward. With upcoming uncertainty about the Sun God Festival and campus transportation capabilities, the best candidate is Tritons Forward head Robby Boparai. Boparai, a third year Earl Warren College human biology major, has the plans, the skills and the experience needed to lead UCSD into 2015.

Boparai’s political experience comes from his extensive work in Academic Affairs. He served on A.S. Council this past year as the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and previously served as director of Academic Affairs for Warren College Student Council. As a member of the A.S. Bylaws Committee, Boparai worked to ensure fairness in elections and accountability for council members.

Internal issues marred the first few months of the 2013–2014 council, but Boparai pledges to forego slate politics and will work with all the members of council regardless of current affiliations. His choice of slate members shows his commitment to ensuring that a diverse group of voices are heard on the fourth floor of Price Center.

Boparai has already proven his ability to provide leadership and tangible action on campus and recognizes that there is a void to fill. As a member of the pre-health fraternity Phi Delta Epsilon, Boparai founded the Professional Fraternity Council. Next year, he hopes to help A.S. Council generate internal revenue by opening an A.S.-owned coffee cart and working on plans for an A.S.-owned dining hall to compete with Housing, Dining and Hospitality.

Perhaps most remarkable about Boparai is his pragmatism and drive to follow logic for policy advising. He recognizes the potential roadblocks in working with UC President Janet Napolitano, the Graduate Student Association on campus and the UC Student Association, but he advocates open communication with all three and strives to keep those relationships alive while prioritizing the needs of UCSD undergraduates.

Boparai recognizes the potential for all students to participate in challenging and changing the status quo at UCSD. “You don’t need to be A.S. president to make a difference on this campus,” he told the UCSD Guardian editorial board in his interview on Friday. Student leadership and cooperation will come into play next month when Sun God Festival’s future may be determined by the health and responsibility of students during the Week 7 event. Safety is the number one Sun God concern for Boparai, followed closely by the festival’s continuation into next year and A.S. Council’s ability to keep it fiscally viable for future generations of Tritons.

Strengthening campus spirit through better relations with UCSD Athletics and finding alternative funding sources for a potential move to Division I sports are key to Boparai’s plans for student life. But first, ensuring passage of next month’s transportation referendum is the top priority for Boparai, should he take office in Week 5.

The Guardian recognizes strong leadership potential for Boparai. We truly believe in his priorities and plans and we endorse the Tritons Forward head for A.S. President in the 2014 election.

Vice President of Campus Affairs Jehoan Espinoza Let’s Act

Let’s Act! candidate Jehoan Espinoza has the experience, the ideas and the attitude to be the first ever Vice President Campus Affairs, a position formerly known as Vice President Student Life. Espinoza comes from a diverse background with ties to, and an understanding of, many sectors of student life. His qualifications are also superb, with A.S. Council experience as campus-wide senator this past year. Throughout his three years as a student, he has been involved in MEChA, Multicultural Greek life, Interfraternity Greek life, club athletics and A.S. Council.

To reach out to these and other communities, Espinoza plans on holding bi-monthly forums and improving overall A.S. involvement among average students.

He served as VP external for MEChA and gained experience working with campus administrators as a campus-wide senator. As campus-wide senator, he created the Tritons for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program and hopes to further institutionalize diversity training on campus.

If elected as VP of Campus Affairs, Espinoza primarily hopes to maintain existing student traditions, such as finding a permanent graffiti art space and ensuring that Sun God is continued in the future. In addition, he hopes to make students feel more a part of the campus; one of his ideas is to utilize the often-barren third floor of Geisel as a space for student expression.

Another of his plans is to have a student intern serve as a liaison between A.S. Council and student organizations. He also hopes to implement a method of encouraging and supporting student organizations’ usage of A.S. funds in executing events.

While Espinoza applauds council’s work this past year with the transportation referendum and various senator projects, an area where he thinks A.S. needs improvement is in its communication with college councils. He plans to further involve and collaborate with the college councils next year and to hold council members accountable with A.S. report cards.

Espinoza is equipped with the knowledge and experience for this job while keeping the best interests of students in mind. His concrete ideas and feasible plans are what the student body needs in their first VP of Campus Affairs.

Vice President of Finance and Resources Igor Geyn Tritons Forward

It was heartening for us to talk with Igor Geyn of Tritons Forward, a straight-talking candidate with intelligent goals and a clear understanding of the steps that ASUCSD needs to take to improve and expand, on a budget.

Geyn already has an impressive resume on campus as an Eleanor Roosevelt College representative and Alpha Epsilon Pi philanthropy chair, to name a few. As his double major in economics and political science suggests, Geyn displayed an intimate knowledge of the current, financial issues facing our campus and how he would go about solving them. These ranged from the high-profile problems, such as the transportation crisis, to the slightly less so, such as our membership in the UC Student Association.

One of Geyn’s core initiatives is his plan for cutting financial waste and boosting efficiency at A.S. Council’s administrative level. He wants to increase inter-departmental relations and help cut back on redundant expenditures while simultaneously opening positions for students to get job experience. Also commendable are his plans for making ASUCSD more self-sustainable through expanded revenue-generating services, and his ideas that include providing financial planning assistance to struggling organizations such as the Che Cafe and the General Store.

Geyn also understands the scope of the current disconnect between students and A.S. Council. As one of the executives for SOVAC, the UCSD organization that aims to increase voter participation, he knows that students feel isolated from the election system. In response, he suggested remedies in which student organizations become more involved with the legislative stream, with A.S. Council mobilizing different communication media to interact with the student body and make decision making purely democratic.

From his intelligent commentaries and ambitious plans, we know that Igor Geyn will be a smart, effective VP Finance, so he gets the UCSD Guardian’s endorsement.

Vice President of External Affairs Eden Berdugo Let’s Act!

Let’s Act! candidate Eden Berdugo has all the makings of a great Vice President External Affairs candidate. She has a clear direction for the external office and the experience to make these goals a reality. The Thurgood Marshall College junior has substantial external office experience from working as the Campus Organizing Director and Access to Higher Education intern, and has a strong relationship with the UC Student Association that will help increase communication to better represent UCSD’s top priorities.

Berdugo has proven to be extremely knowledgeable on issues facing UCSD, and brings deep experience as an active member of the current A.S. Council. Berdugo gave us specific examples and plans to expand the reach of the external office as well as thoughtful critiques on how the council should improve in fulfilling its mission. She believes that council members should ask more questions to engage more critically in discussions before passing unanimous resolutions, and that both the college councils and A.S. should consider workshops to increase communication between both parties. Berdugo aims to increase the accessibility of the external office by reaching out to the college councils to collaborate on their goals.

Most importantly, Berdugo is very mindful of what UCSD students value, while having the clear ideas and the activist experience to campaign on their behalf. She is regularly found leading grassroots movements throughout campus. In Fall 2012, Berdugo was instrumental in organizing campus leaders to ensure the passage of Proposition 30. Her experience in campaigning for Fund the UC and IGNITE makes us confident in her ability to fight for what UCSD students want and need.

We found Berdugo to be passionate, approachable and ready to connect with student leaders. We are confident that she’ll do a great job in advocating student needs.

CAMPUS-WIDE SENATOR ENDORSEMENTS

With eight spaces open in every election, the campus-wide senator position is a major route for new leaders to get into A.S. Council. Each candidate is responsible for many aspects of student life ranging from event planning to student outreach. Let’s Act! and Tritons Forward each fielded several compelling candidates with bright ideas for engaging students, livening up the campus and saving money along the way. We’re backing those who we felt had the most innovative plans for improving UCSD and the right experience to represent our student body.

JOEY GILTNER TRITONS FORWARD

Joey Giltner of Tritons Forward, an Earl Warren College junior transfer student, is and has been very involved in student government. He is particularly passionate about student welfare and campus spirit. He currently serves on the Warren College Council, representing Warren transfer students. Giltner wants to initiate projects such as hosting social or athletic events to help transfer students fit into the UCSD community and building more affordable lockers on campus for commuters. Giltner is also a social activist and works closely with the LGBT community to promote gender equality and resources on campus. With his enthusiasm and spirit, Giltner celebrates the idea of student involvement and will work to spread awareness on hot issues such as transportation and student life.

SERAPHIN RAYA LET’S ACT!

Seraphin Raya of Let’s Act! is a strong supporter of better communication between A.S. Council and its constituents, and favors a system with more input from college councils. Moreover, his involvement with ASCE has inspired him to raise awareness of events and activities on campus, particularly through improving the partnership between A.S. Council and its departments. He also advocates the A.S. report card, which increases the accountability of members on A.S. Council and allows students to ensure that progress is being made on their behalf. As a Thurgood Marshall College residential assistant, Raya is very in touch with student needs and hopes to solve problems such as overcrowding in dining halls and transportation issues faced by commuters. His eagerness to reach out to students and make internal improvements to A.S. Council would be valuable to the council’s effectiveness in the coming year.

PARTHU KALVA  TRITONS FORWARD

Driven by an extensive background in campus involvement, Parthu Kalva of Tritons Forward is a model advocate for the slate’s theme of diversity. He calls for a diversification of perspectives within A.S. Council, and strongly advocates for greater student representation and seeks to partner with local departments and expand student involvement to improve A.S. outreach. He is also a leader in diasporic activism with several student cultural organizations, including UCSD Project Rishi and Coalition of South Asian Peoples. Kalva has an innovative, personal project that will reform student organization infrastructure by creating an online framework to connect students with appropriate faculty advisors. Kalva has the vision and enthusiasm to bring tangible solutions to the table and address UCSD’s issues.

SIERRA DONALDSON   LET’S ACT!

Let’s Act!’s Sierra Donaldson, an environmental studies and ecology major, has experience as an A.S. senator and, because she has seen firsthand the flaws in Council’s operations, has insight on how to fix them. The sophomore Revelle College student served as a physical sciences senator this year — a position she believes is “ineffective” and should look very different in the future. Donaldson has a proven record of supporting campus-wide lobbying initiatives, women’s rights and environmental sustainability. A campus cyclist herself, she is a first-person advocate for more bike locks, riding paths and campus safety. The UCSD Guardian endorses Donaldson for her self-described “passionate” approach to addressing important campus issues.

BRANDON KIM  TRITONS FORWARD

Tritons Forward’s Brandon Kim believes in the strength of a unified campus — one in which slate politics don’t impede decision-making and collaboration wins out over drawn-out stalemate. According to Kim, building a more cohesive relationship between A.S. and the student body it represents will help foster a more unified university. To that end, he plans to employ social media, which he considers to be underutilized by student government, citing Twitter, Instagram and Triton TV as valuable but largely untapped resources. With the use of social media to inform students on issues like transportation or to increase transparency, he hopes to better connect the council to its constituents. As a club volleyball athlete and member of the Undergraduate Accounting Society, Kim hopes to bring fresh eyes and a fresh image to A.S. Council.

SIMRAN ANAND LET’S ACT!

As a current campus-wide senator, Let’s Act!’s Simran Anand is knowledgeable about the issues that UCSD faces and knows where more progress can be made. Her previous experience in this position will prepare her and help her improve for a second term in the fourth floor office.

Although she did not complete a senator project this year, she sat on many committees and has ambitious plans for a senator project next year. Additionally, she is a strong proponent of A.S. report cards to hold future senators and Associate Vice Presidents accountable for making progress and accomplishing their goals.

She wants to work with CAPS on mental health issues as well as hold worker-appreciation events in response to the recent strikes. Additionally, she stressed that members of A.S. Council should maintain good relationships with each other by attending retreats and lunch dates, and that the council as a whole maintains good relationships with college councils. This approach to solving partisanship and gridlock will ultimately help A.S. Council make more progress this year.

DOMINICK SUVONNASUPA  TRITONS FORWARD

Dominick Suvonnasupa of Tritons Forward is a financially experienced candidate with ambitious visions to involve the transfer community, support student organizations and expand professional opportunities for UCSD students. He is also a member of the All Campus Transfer Association. Suvonnasupa hopes to expand students’ professional opportunities by using A.S. resources to establish a profitable relationship with career services and alumni networks. He advocates funding student organizations and mobilizing A.S. outreach in order to market underrepresented organizations and their respective events. With his fresh ideas and enthusiasm to improve campus climate, Suvonnasupa is a prime candidate for campus-wide senator.

AISHA ALI  LET’S ACT!

Economics major Aisha Ali of Let’s Act! wants to bring a louder voice to transfer students. A senior transfer herself, Ali is the current media officer for the Sixer Tritons and Recreation for Transfers and is big on advertising as a tool to increase engagement. She hopes that by giving much-deserved attention to the countless organizations and campuswide events that exist at UCSD, students will have the resources they need to preserve their culture, especially considering the recent danger to UCSD traditions like Sun God and Graffiti Hall. Also a member of the Student Affirmative Action Committee, Ali wants to break through the A.S. bubble to create greater accessibility for transfers and international students in order to ensure that the student voice is heard.

 

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