This year, in lieu of candidate interviews, The UCSD Guardian editorial board elected to conduct voluntary candidate statements. The statements are responses to a general prompt drafted by the editorial board that is meant to garner thoughtful responses that will be useful for Tritons when they vote today, Friday, April 9. The statements are in random order and no candidates have been endorsed by the editorial board this year. Nine candidates responded to The UCSD Guardian’s call for candidate statements. They are listed in alphabetical order below and have not been edited beyond minor grammatical corrections.
David Michael Hernandez – Slate: REVIVE – Position: Off-Campus Senator
As an Off-Campus Senator I hope to prioritize three main concerns: the transparency of cases/trends with COVID-19, the depleting well-being of students and addressing the lack of campus involvement with the off-campus population. As we return to campus in Fall 2021, many students–myself included–are hesitant to make a complete switch to in-person learning at full capacity. To ease the anxiety behind the switch, I want to make sure that every student has the ability to open their phone and see how many active cases of COVID-19 there are amongst on-campus living individuals along with the UCSD population at-large. With the rigor of courses and involvement with extracurriculars, the depletion of students well-being has always been alarming but now more than ever due to the isolation that the pandemic has put us through. Although preventative measures have been taken (Health Fee Referendum and Headspaces partnership), there is no focus on the secondary or tertiary levels that will address the ongoing perpetuation of a mental health crisis among UCSD Students. Lastly, I want to confront the lack of inclusion that off-campus students face and feel compared to their time spent on campus.
First and foremost, I want to collaborate with the Return to Learn program to find a way where we can provide weekly updates on the cases present on campus and throughout the UCSD community in the form of a newsletter or a notification on the UCSD app. If more students will be on campus, more students will have to have the UCSD app to do daily screenings (if that continues to be a part of the transition plan) and thus will have access to testing on campus. So being able to get a notification via the app, will make this more accessible to students’ fingertips. My advocacy efforts will take full effect when addressing the depletion of mental and physical well-being for our UCSD community. I realize that CAPS is always the first point of contact that is given for Tritons, but the infamous complaints from students makes this resource ineffective and unreliable. I hope to collaborate with my fellow VP of Campus Affairs, Isaac Lara, along with the AVP of Health and Wellness to collaborate with CAPS to provide a better understanding of the cracks in their work. Lastly, when it comes to unifying the Off-Campus community I hope to build a professional bridge between students and professionals to begin involvement in their respective careers. I hope to make transportation more accessible when it comes to prospective on campus events for off-campus students to attend without having to worry about parking fees.
I like to believe that all of my involvement and hard work has been an accumulation of preparation for me to take on the position as Off-Campus Senator. I will continue to finish out the commitments I currently have that have allowed me to launch myself into this next phase in my academic career as a Senator such as continue programming for Muir Student Affairs with Welcome Week for Fall 2021 along with the advocacy work I’ve been doing in Muir College Council. As I tie the loose ends of my current commitments, I strive to begin my constituent outreach via email and social media to hear the most pressing issues that students–along with College Commuter Councils– are facing and how I can best tackle these concerns coming into the next academic year. I hope to be in contact with the current AS Off-Campus Senators to get a fresh perspective on the difficulties and successes of their term. I currently have been in contact with a few on campus students who plan on moving off-campus this next academic year. I have been able to hear their struggle with finding affordable housing in near UC San Diego since they are worried about proximity as the Chancellor has announced the plan to return to on-campus learning Fall 2021. These are a few ways that I have begun my efforts to make the transition as an Off-Campus Senator.
Looking at the successes and engagement Senator Estus and Senator Kulkarni have established during their term is very commendable. They have embodied aspects of Off-Campus concerns such as basic needs and transportation. I hope to carry on the work ethic and outreach efforts that both senators have managed along with their consistency to update their Weekly Reports for the general public to view.
I believe one of the biggest roles of student involvement when it comes to this position is over course getting students to come out to utilize the resources put forth for them but feedback is the most essential. One of my biggest values–both personally and professionally–is growth and believe its the best measure of success when it comes to this position but beyond as well. Feedback will be crucial in the time spent in the position as it will be the best guidance on where I can grow as a Senator along with how to better market, program and represent my constituents. I hope to receive feedback in a variety of ways: post-event evaluations, email correspondence and hosting quarterly town hall meetings where students can vocalize their concerns and requests face to face.
As I’ve mentioned before, I believe in the power of feedback and will keep this at the forefront with everything I do–especially when it comes to soliciting input from students and their needs. When it comes to soliciting student input regarding AS, I plan on engaging with students via Office Hours for a more intimate and personable conversation about the faults within AS. Students can expect the transparent and representative collaboration when it comes to addressing institutional and perpetuating issues that students face along with upholding integrity and respect.
Isabella Johnson (She/Her) – Slate: Independent – Position: Campus Wide Senator
Especially with Zoom U, it has been really challenging to create a sense of community at UCSD. I believe that developing a community starts with helping the community.
As a volunteer of the Triton Food Pantry, I not only have understood the value of this resource and many others across campus for vulnerable student populations, but I also realize the importance of student volunteers in keeping these efforts afloat. Especially during this pandemic where isolation has been a centered theme, it is more important than ever to create an environment where students are supporting students.
That also means improving school spirit. We must work together to celebrate our community. This could include creating marketing campaigns for sports and entertainment events, advocating for in-person events next year, highlighting students’ success stories across all parts of campus, or executing projects which support the unmet needs of students, we have the ability to build each other up and support one another.
When we develop community, student leaders like myself can be more in-touch with what students need. We can advocate for new and improved resources for students to thrive and succeed, whether in relation to mental health, academics, arts and entertainment, and more. Running for an AS position isn’t about the title or the resume addition, it is about helping the students around us to make our campus a positive environment for EVERYONE.
Developing a community also means helping students find their community. UCSD has a wide range of student organizations and resource centers for students, but not enough students know about it. Rather than creating a culture where students are expected to find these resources on their own, I want to help bridge this gap and bring these resources to YOU. Whether by broadcasting information about student organizations or by hosting events featuring resource centers and orgs, I hope to make your ability to find a community more accessible.
I think one of the biggest problems with student government right now is that not many people understand how it works- it has many offices, many events and resources, but they go underutilized because of this information gap.
Not only do I hope to collaborate with other student leaders to advocate and help meet the needs of students, but I also hope to make AS more accessible
A lot of students running for office have been in student government before- I think my fresh perspective is needed to truly bridge this gap between AS and the general student body
For example, the AS Office of Student Advocacy is a group of students that assists students who were accused of academic integrity violations. Especially with Zoom U, this resource is greatly needed, but not many people know about this amazing resource and the students behind it! Bridging the information gap is crucial to empower students!
The UCSD administration makes a lot of decisions that impact students, such as funding our resource centers, creating academic policies, and kickstarting projects that meet student needs. Fulfilling the unmet needs of students means working with these powerful figures to communicate what students need and why they are important to us. I hope to not only channel your input, but to bring administrators to you.
Shane Jost – Slate: REVIVE – Position: Transfer Senator
As Transfer Senator my primary focus would be on the barriers that disproportionately affect transfer students at UC San Diego such as restrictive quarter maximums, rebuilding the community following the COVID-19 pandemic, and increasing transfer student participation and representation in AS.
As a population, transfer students are uniquely impacted by quarter maximums established by both Financial Aid and the Academic Senate, which can affect the financial assistance a transfer student receives and add additional administrative steps transfer students must complete if they surpass 2 years as a student on campus. Due to the variable courses transfer students have taken in prior collegiate endeavors and the variable likelihood prior courses are accepted by the university many transfer students find it challenging to complete their programs within the two years targeted by the maximums, even if their program is not recognized as a program which requires an additional year. This can lead transfers to take on additional courses (as 59% in 2020 did) that can lower their academic performance and participation in the UC San Diego Community, and cause a significant amount of stress from attempting to complete the programs they are admitted to within the time frame allotted. It puts many transfers into difficult financial situations, and even affects their ability to declare major and minor courses.
This stress regarding the completion of their program and the maximums they may face has been confounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has significantly affected the transfer community and the events it regularly held. A sense of community can be incredibly important to transfer students, many of which come from unique backgrounds not reflected by the larger student body. This community is an important tool for transfer students to be able to reduce their stress from the academic workload and encounter students with similar backgrounds to themselves, and is an important part of being a transfer student at UC San Diego.
Transfers are one of the largest demographic groups within the AS Student body (they were 34.5% of admitted students in 2019-2020), but are significantly underrepresented on campus (71% of transfer students in 2020 had never been an officer in a student organization and 53% were not involved in student organizations at all). This lack of representation is an issue which I specifically want to address while working to revive the transfer community following the COVID-19 pandemic, so that transfer students not only have the opportunity but capability to fully participate in the UC San Diego community.
In regards to the quarter maximum issues transfer students face, I intend to work with my fellow members of Associated Students to lobby the Academic Senate and Financial aid to not base their assessment of Satisfactory Academic Progress on targeting four and two years to graduation for students, and to remove the existing quarter maximums students face. Statistically transfer students have both historically and very recently taken longer than two years to complete their program; our standards for whether or not a student is satisfactorily meeting their academic progress should not penalize students for taking the statistically average time for completing their programs. I intend to utilize the position of Transfer senator to spread awareness of this issue across campus and build support for the removal of the current quarter maximums within the student body.
In regards to the revival of the transfer community I plan to increase the publicity and number of transfer-oriented events in the coming year, both via hosting them myself and via partnerships with existing transfer student organizations and the Triton Transfer Hub. These events would be both social and informational in nature, to help ensure that transfer students feel that they have both the community and resources they need to succeed at UC San Diego.
In regards to the representation of Transfer students on campus I will continue the work I have already begun this year to engage existing transfer organizations and student leaders in greater communications with AS. I will further use the network I have begun establishing this year to help promote open positions in leadership roles on campus to the transfer community, and to encourage communication and knowledge among the general transfer student population with their student representatives. Finally I plan to make regular visits to student organization councils (such as the Triton A Capella Community, the four Greek Councils, and the Triton Transfer Coalition amongst others) to determine how to increase transfer student participation in student organizations, and how student organizations can better reach the transfer student population.
I will prepare to take on this position by continuing the work I have begun this past year in the Transfer community, and by increasing my communication with the current transfer representatives in AS to build on their initiatives and projects from this current year.
During this past year I have served as the Sixth College Student Council Transfer Senator. For my SCSC Transfer Senator initiative I founded (and currently facilitate) the Triton Transfer Coalition, a campus-wide coalition of transfer student organizations, transfer representatives in student governments, and the Triton Transfer Hub. This coalition serves to increase communication between transfer student leaders, and create a space in which transfers can collaborate on programs, initiatives, and advocacy in the efforts of providing students with resources that will enhance their transfer experience. Through my work with this Coalition I intend to gather more information on the issues and concerns Transfer students have with recovering from the COVID pandemic, and brainstorm ideas for how to collaboratively address those concerns with other transfer student leaders.
Additionally I will increase my communications with the current AS Transfer Senators (who are also a part of the Transfer Coalition) to discuss how I can build upon the initiatives they have been working on in the past year, and further engage the transfer community in student government.
Over the past year my predecessors have engaged the transfer community through events – efforts which I intend to build upon in the coming year. In particular my predecessor has held informational events in collaboration with other transfer student leaders on campus entitled “Transfer Chats”, which I would seek to continue and potentially increase to introduce transfer students to the resources available to them when the campus re-opens. I can improve on this by utilizing the coalition network built in this year to increase the promotion and partnerships of this event, while pairing the topics offered to the information gathered about transfer needs and the advocacy I have prior discussed relating to transfer issues. I can also utilize the skills in prior student leadership positions to further boost the promotion of these events on social media sites, as well as in direct communication with transfer students as is highlighted later on.
As a demographic senator representing one of the largest demographic groups on campus student involvement is critical to this position, and is a part of the position I wish to increase. I plan on encouraging student involvement in the role of transfer senator through outreach to student orgs, continuing my work with the Triton Transfer Coalition, and building upon the direct communication my predecessors have done with the transfer student body.
As discussed earlier, I intend to solicit student input through the existing organizations and initiatives that serve transfer students, to take full advantage of the existing networks transfer students have at UC San Diego. Additionally I plan to communicate frequently with the Triton Transfer Hub and Triton Transfer Coalition to gather data, information, and ideas relating to transfer issues and their solutions. I will also actively use existing datasets about the transfer student population at UC San Diego to observe historical trends of systematic issues that have disproportionately affected transfer students, and seek to create partnerships with the aforementioned transfer-centered organizations to gather more information and data about issues that are facing the transfer students on campus. Finally I will communicate frequently with my peers on the various college councils to gather information on the transfer population, and build collaborative efforts to better serve the transfer community.
Tommy Jung – Slate: REVIVE – Position: Campus-Wide Senator
During my term as a Campus-Wide Senator, I saw potential in AS. I saw our student government and the student body work together to provide academic accommodations for struggling students. I saw our campus community band together to stand against anti-semitism, organizing public input drives and sponsoring resolutions to lobby OPHD to adopt newer definitions of discrimination. However, as much as I have seen potential, I have also seen failures.
AS fails to advocate for student needs not because there is a shortage of passionate and good intentioned representatives; not because we don’t have access to administration; but because we are disconnected from the general student population. AS has traditionally been passive in its outreach, relying on our existing social media platforms to spread awareness of campaigns
and events. We have been slow in responding to student concerns. Yet with new challenges approaching next year, AS and the student body need to stand together if we want to ensure that our needs are properly met.
As a Campus-Wide Senator, I will dedicate my term to rethinking how we communicate with the student body. I believe that the student voice needs to have a larger impact on how AS operates and that AS needs to be easily understandable to the average student. I will work to make AS representatives more accessible and our work more transparent so that we can rebuild a more active relationship with students. I wish to serve as a liaison between the student body and AS; not overstepping the work that is already being done by specialized AVPs and appointed committee representatives.
● Publishing (and Mandating) Committee Appointments, Senator Projects, and AS Office Functions to the Public
A significant factor to what makes AS a ‘maze’ is the lack of transparency/information about what AS actually is or does. There is no place where a student can learn about the dozen AVP offices in AS; nor is there a place where students can learn who represents them on Student Fee committees, Return to Learn committees, and more.
If I am elected senator, I will make committee appointments, senator projects, and AS office functions public. There already is a framework for reporting Senator Projects (that I have worked on in the past year) that we could modify for committee representatives and offices. I will work closely with ITS (specifically, our designated Application Programmer) and AS Graphic Studio so that information is not only available to the public, but easily accessible.
This will not only be a technical effort; it will also be a legislative effort. As a voting member of the Senate, I will work on legislation that would mandate AVPs and Senators to update their
projects in a timely basis. This would be codified under each representative’s duties in the standing rules, ensuring that transparency becomes a cornerstone of student representation.
● Quarterly Surveys and Casework to Better Understand Student Needs
AS is no stranger to disseminating surveys. We have sent out student surveys on numerous topics ranging from student mental health to selecting the new design of an on-campus fire station. While surveys help us achieve specific goals, they are rarely distributed as an avenue for direct student input regarding AS priorities.
If I am elected as a campus-wide senator, I will work closely with the Data Officer from the Vice President Campus Affairs’ (VPCA) office on quarterly surveys for gathering direct student input. We would cross reference the results of this survey with the University of California Undergraduate Experiences Survey (UCUES) to better understand what students need from their representatives and adjust our priorities accordingly. These results would be the foundation for building the ‘advocacy agenda’ mentioned in Candidate Lara and Agni’s interview/platform.
These surveys would also be an opportunity for students to directly submit casework to their student leaders (ex: reporting a faulty streetlamp on a frequently visited street or a strange interaction with academic integrity violations), allowing AS to provide more targeted and timely support for individual student. There is precedent for AS casework; however, there have previously not been opportunities for students to submit requests. By providing a consistent channel of communication, my hope is that we can help individual students who might not have access to administrative spaces get what they need. Once we establish the quarterly survey, I hope to expand casework submission as a larger project; establishing a permanent form on the website or actively reaching out to student orgs to gather their feedback.
I would spend the remainder of the academic year (Spring 2021) to model the survey and allocate funding for incentives so we could gather student feedback starting the first few weeks of Fall quarter. I will also help analyze the results of the survey, identifying key themes and delegating casework to appropriate student leaders.
● Overhauling the AS Website
The AS website is poorly designed and maintained. Members who were impeached or resigned are still listed on the AS roster; some profiles contain no pictures or any information about members. Tabs are outdated or provide little to no information about what services AS provides (‘Senior Memory Book’). Ironically, our About Us page does not reveal any information about what AS actually is; only providing an outline of vague values that has not been updated in years.
In line with publishing more information about AS, I plan to work with our Application Programmer from ITS to overhaul the AS website. I will update outdated tabs/broken links, rework informational pages, and collaborate with campus partners so students can receive the most up-to-date information about campus affairs with one site.
● Establishing Formal Channels of Communication with Student Media
I plan to collaborate with the VP’s office to establish a formal space for members of the student media to learn about AS goals, structure, and functions. By utilizing existing information for Senator onboarding from the VP’s office, I would work to establish an ‘orientation process’ for AS correspondents/reporters from our student media. Afterwards, we would hold periodic meetings between representatives from the Senate, each Executive Office, and other AVPs that may be requested by student reporters.
By taking a more active role in reaching out to our campus media, I hope to ensure that important information is distributed to the student body more efficiently and accurately.
I have been a student leader on our campus ever since my first year. I served as the First-Year Senator for Sixth College Student Council. I worked for the AS Office of the President as a Title IX Project Coordinator. I have been an orientation leader for the past two years, a tour guide, a student worker/lead for HDH, and a research assistant. These are all connections that I still actively use to gain insight about our campus community. In addition, having been a Campus-Wide Senator for the past academic year, I believe that I am well equipped to represent our student body in the upcoming Fall quarter.
I have the rare opportunity to continue serving in my current position and flesh out projects I started. During my first term as a campus-wide senator, I actively engaged with the different bodies in AS. I’ve built connections with professional staff, executive members, and AVPs. In my next term, I want to bring my institutional knowledge and the connections I have made to hit the ground running as soon as possible. With a specific focus on what I want to accomplish next year, I will be able to spend most of my term actually advocating for student needs.
In terms of improvement; I want to take a more active role in engaging with the student body. This year, the campus-wide cohort was more passive in student outreach, holding office hours instead of visiting student orgs or reaching out to individual students. I wish to focus my outreach efforts toward populations that are not represented by other senators (for example, SIO students, cultural orgs, etc).
Isaac Lara (He|Him|His) – Slate: REVIVE – Position: Vice President Campus Affairs
Health & Well-Being: The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted our students’ health & well-being, with ever increasing numbers of students trying to access limited mental health and additional health resources. Beyond mental health, our campus has a loneliness epidemic, a “grind culture” that normalizes unhealthy behavior, and ultimately lacks a prioritization of our students’ holistic health and well-being. To tackle these issues I intend on doing the following:
Thrive: For the last two years I have served on AS as the Associate Vice President of Health & Well-Being. Within this role I have directed my 16-member staff to coordinate health and well-being projects and initiatives, our largest project being Thrive. Thrive founds itself upon three core values: support, professionalism, and social justice. Within this program our students will go through extensive and thorough training to learn ways they can support their peers’ health & well-being, using an intersectional and holistic approach. This year, my team and I have collaborated with various campus partners to further develop this program. As VPCA, my goal is to successfully launch Thrive by the end of my term.
Expansion of Mental Health Resources: Last year, our campus passed the Mental Health Fee Referendum which has expanded many opportunities for CAPS to further support our student body. Serving as Chair of the Student Mental Health Advisory Committee (SMHAC), which oversees and allocates this fee, I have had the opportunity to serve on multiple hiring boards for CAPS counselors, and allocate funding to expand services to soon be offered at CAPS, including ADHD testing, biofeedback, eating disorder counseling, and other areas that, without funding, would still be lacking. As VPCA I intend on continuing my chairship and further advocating to hire more counselors, particularly from marginalized communities to further destigmatize mental health, and increase the possibility that students of color utilize these resources. Additionally, for students who may not want to use CAPS, I intend on working with the Health & Well-Being Cluster to further develop a grant program to provide students seeking financial support for mental health services, such as long-term counseling, extensive testing, treatment, etc.
Making Sexual Health Accessible: Within my previous term I had intended on collaborating with Health Promotion Services to provide a large scale STD/STI Pop Up Testing clinic conveniently on campus, however COVID-19 impacted this project. With the prospect of returning to campus on the horizon, I hope to pursue this initiative and provide students free STD/STI testing, educate them on the importance of regular testing, and ultimately destigmatize the practice.
Resource Accessibility: In addition to health and well-being resources, the COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on many of the needs and challenges our students face, including but not limited to financial support, lack of belonging, food insecurity, transportation concerns, etc. As VPCA I hope to actively work to connect our students with the resources our campus offers, and utilize AS’ budget to fill in the gaps.
Down the Rabbit Hole: Based on my previous leadership experiences, oftentimes it is not an issue of “we do not have resources” but rather UC San Diego offers just so much that at times it is difficult to easily find those resources. As part of a larger project (i.e. AS Website Overhaul) I hope to collaborate with members of AS to develop a comprehensive and simple campus resource directory, similar to that at UC Davis and UC Berkeley. By providing students this resource, I believe it will ease the first step of accessing resources, which is finding what we need in the first place.
Developing the Student Leader: After previously serving in multiple leadership positions, I’ve realized that many programs have a tendency to treat student leaders as a referral system (unintentionally, most if not all the time). By this I mean students get into the habit of word vomiting or shouting out about resources, without genuinely learning what their peers may need, or without establishing a common understanding of this resource (I particularly see this when students suggest CAPS as a resource). Using AS’ network I hope to develop a training on effective resource sharing to tackle this ni particular. This effort is part of a much larger effort to provide standardized (mandatory for AS Members) professional development training on topics such as cultural humility, implicit bias, effective representation, advocacy methodology, etc. to ensure our student leaders are not left in the dark of how to do their job.
Academic Accommodations: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted most if not all members of our community. It has definitely impacted my own life, and my ability to perform adequately as a student. As VPCA, I intend on working with our association to continue pressuring the Academic Senate to provide accommodations so long as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. This includes, but is no limited to, ensuring that asynchronous options are still offered for our students who may not be able to return in the fall, and the same flexibility we have been currency granted in recognition of the pandemic.
AS Community Engagement: For the past few years, Associated Students has consistently failed to properly engage with our community, and extend its hands to members of our community. Despite many opportunities, and demanding times, to support our student body, AS has fallen short. The role of VP Campus Affairs particularly is responsible for connecting AS with the student body, and is definitely one of my number one priorities. To enhance AS’ community involvement I intend on:
Shifting AS towards Active Community Engagement: In the past few years, we have seen administrations promise “outreach”, “engagement”, “representation”, all of which have become buzz words during election season. As VPCA I hope to transition AS towards an active community engagement approach, in which we do not passively ask our students to engage with us (e.g. surveys, town halls, forums, etc.) but additionally actively work to visit those communities and provide students the opportunity to give us critical, and honest feedback on how to best serve them.
Quarterly Executive Officer Visits: As an entire Executive Board, my fellow Executive Officer candidates and I are committed to visiting the College Councils, SAAC Organizations, and additional organizations at least once a quarter to foster and maintain a relationship with these entities. In doing so we hope to transition AS from resolutions, public statements, and other performative actions, and rather have the ability to reach out to these same communities and offer our support.
Publications & Media Board: Inspired by ASUC of UC Berkeley, I intend on further enhancing AS’ relationship with our students, as well as our transparency, by creating the Publications & Media Board. This board will consist of a Public Relations representative of AS, Student Government representatives for the Triton, Guardian, and additional student journalists and media organizations. By creating this board we hope to be as transparent as possible, and provide accurate and consistent information.
AS Website: THe current state of the AS website is abysmal. It lacks user-friendliness and frankly is not that inherently useful for the average student. In conjunction with fellow members of AS, I hope to overhaul our entire website, prioritizing user friendliness, ease of access to information, the development of the aforementioned resource directory, as well as a campus-wide representative director to educate students on which student leaders serve on which committee, enabling more direct feedback and communication regarding certain issues.
Accountability: Within the last year, I chartered and chaired the Committee on Stipend Transparency, Accountability, and Reform (COSTAR). Within this committee I worked with senators, AVPs, and the current VPCA to investigate avenues of increased accountability for members of AS that receive a stipend. Part of this was enhancing communication among our assembly, the creation of performance standards which will hold stipend members of AS to a higher work ethic, and the continued efforts to ensure these student leaders are properly earning their stipend. As VPCA I hope to consistently work with members of our assembly to ensure everyone is doing their part, and that our students are directly benefiting from their labor.
Enhancing Community Safety: Police brutality, systemic racism, and acts of injustice continue to hurt and endanger our community With little to no action from our University, nor our Association beyond statements of support and additional performative actions. As VPCA I hope to push AS, and lobby our administration, to move away from these empty promises and take an active approach to support and protect our vulnerable communities.
Removing UCPD from ALL Mental Health Responses: The recent murder of a UCLA student experiencing a mental healht crisis was a wake up call that not even our UC students are safe. This year our AVP EDI, Senator Blackshire, VPCA, and additional members of our administration have worked with CAPS to develop PERT, a step towards removing UCPD from responding to mental health crises. While this is a step in the right direction, it is not nearly enough to be the solution. As VPCA I hope to continue this fight alongside my AS colleagues and further push to remove UCPD from any handling of mental health crises, as these are sensitive situations trained mental health professionals should be handling, not law enforcement.
Actions. Not Empty Promises: Public statements of support, condemnation of racism, and any other public acts of grandeur have plagued our emails, feeds, and overall ahs become a sad common response to national and local tragedies. Support and condemnations are an expectation, and should be the baseline, not all that is done. As VPCA, I fully intend on deferring all resolutions and meaningless public statements that come out of AS without any tangible or real actions that will directly support the affected communities. This sentiment, combined with our efforts to foster a closer connection with our community will hopefully result in an ability for AS to offer meaningful support.
COVID-19 Safety: While the return to normalcy and campus is on the horizon, providing a sense of hope, it has also produced a sense of caution and fear. As an entire team, REVIVE intends on actively working to support our community, aggressively object to any rash or overly optimistic decisions as we return to in-person, and ultimately represent our community as we return to the new normal
Due to my role of AVP Health & Well-Being I have had the privilege of working closely with VP Kreitman, who currently serves as our VPCA, and seeing the amazing work she does behind the scenes.
In addition to this relationship, our Executive Officers as a whole team intends on actively working on our goals during the transition phase. What this looks like is the following
Developing Relationships: From the beginning, our Executive Board intends on conducting a larger Advocacy Priorities Survey to assess the needs of our student body, and particularly guide our board as we begin considering the AS Summer Budget, Additionally, we hope to begin our visits to the SAAC Organizations, College Councils, and additional organizations to begin setting the foundation of a great working relationship with our community.
Project Management: Previous AS terms have fallen short in terms of managing projects as a collective and keeping everyone in loop of what is going on. To fix this, I intend on developing and immediately implementing an efficient project management system that not only provides communication for our association, but also enables the student body to have a more thorough understanding of the projects our organization is undertaking.
AS Summer Training: As mentioned earlier, I intend on providing members of our association mandatory training on topics such as implicit bias, communication, advocacy methodology, how to effectively represent, etc. over the summer to ensure that AS hits the ground running in the Fall. As part of transition, I will be actively working with my fellow Executive Officers, as well as campus partners, to develop this training to ensure its effectiveness and impact.
I have big shoes to fill. VP Kreitman has done a phenomenal job, particularly her work geared around connecting students with involvement opportunities in AS, and her advocacy work to ensure student representation on campus-wide committees, particularly for committees related to COVID-19. VP Kreitman has become a great mentor for my role as AVP, and taught me a lot about campus-wide advocacy, and past trends in AS public engagement, as well as a better understanding of AS’ governing documents.
A particular area I believe I can improve on VP Kreitman’s performance are two particular areas: (1) community engagement, and (2) AS leadership development. For the first part, as stated earlier, AS has continued to take on passive outreach methods, such as surveys. VP Kreitman has begun shifting AS to more interactive opportunities, such as Find Your Fit, to introduce students to current members of AS. I hope to further push AS towards an active approach, requiring our members to go to these communities, rather than asking our students to come to us. Additionally, the VPCA also acts as an internal manager in a way, in that they are responsible for fostering community and further developing members of our association. Through projects such as summer trainings, quarterly retreats (with more intentional trainings), bonding and networking opportunities, and additional methods, I hope to further develop AS members in hopes that it translates into more quality projects, initiatives, and advocacy efforts.
The VP Campus Affairs is the Executive Officer responsible for connecting AS with the student body. Previously VPCA’s have utilized Chill & Grill, FInd Your Fit, Triton Dine, Town Halls, Forums, and additional methods to connect with our community. Despite these efforts, AS has continued ot lack effective engagement, as indicated by the lack of Executive Officer candidates, and low voter turnout rates.
Please view above to more thoroughly see I I intend on encouraging student involvement, but overall, it is based on the shift towards an active community engagement approach. Additionally, serving as AVP in particular, I have had the opportunity to get insight in how intentionally developing a staff structure opens opportunities for students on our campus. Most of the time students hear AS and think of the Senate, but the AS Offices and staff positions offer wonderful involvement opportunities. For the Office of Health & Well-Being, I have had the chance to collaborate with our team to develop projects, initiatives, and get students who have an interest in health advocacy involved. I believe this approach enables further student involvement in our association.
Through active community engagement I hope to have more meaningful interactions with our student body. Surveys, although passive, are still a great opportunity to solicit student input, particularly on advocacy priorities and the AS budget. However, additional methods such as org visits, interpersonal relationships, meaningful conversations, and overall recognizing the humanity and lived experiences of members of our community is also how I intend on soliciting student input. While it is helpful to know the needs and opinions of our students, surveys do not provide the same depth and interpersonal nature as these more deeper conversations.
Thomas Le – Slate: REVIVE – Position: Off-Campus Senator
As UC San Diego transitions to a new phase of the Return to Learn Program, there remain uncertainties in the prospect of bringing back our campus up to full capacity by next Fall. In accordance with the ambitious plan put forth by the administration, the questions remain in the many unresolved issues originating prior to the pandemic, such as parking availability and public transportation.
Too many instances, the administration and the Academic Senate struggle to meet the immediate needs of the student population, from the sudden price hike of tuition and housing affordability to the insecurities of basic needs and housing, which further contributes to the ongoing stress and anxiety of our students and the growing disparity in our community.
My Off-campus Senator platform is twofold: Advocating for academic accommodations and improving safe and secure commuting solutions with proper pandemic relief.
For the first item, I will utilize my experience and extensive network with the Academic Affairs office & AS colleagues to lobby the Academic Senate for academic accommodations and proper policy changes. With the continued limitation of in-person events, I will promote digital accessibilities and resources for on and off-campus students and employees to increase digital connection (social media, webpages) to meet the growing demand for online connectivity. I seek to collaborate with CALPIRG and other student organizations to hold the administration and academic senate accountable, and all the while, pushing for further accommodations that could benefit our students such as affordable textbook pricing.
For the second item, I seek to improve safe and secure commuting solutions (parking availability and public transport), while promoting educational opportunities that adhere to the community, local and federal pandemic guidelines. I will allocate the AS funding towards increasing accessibility to COVID-19 resources (PPE, test kits, vaccines). I will work with student leaders and representatives, and closely monitor the pandemic guidelines operation on the federal, state and local level, to ensure the well-being of our students is of utmost importance.
My prior leadership experiences have prepared me well for the demand of Off-campus senator, as this year, I was fortunate to serve as your Advocacy Director of the academic affairs office.
During my tenureship, I was directly involved in the process of lobbying for extension of pass/no pass and withdrawal with a “W” deadline, and gaining valuable perspective from our community. With the responsibility to serve student-at-large, my primary goal to become your Off-Campus Senator is to continue my advocacy efforts for our students, as I will put to use my leadership experience and extensive connections with leaders, student representatives and organizations to complete the necessary tasks.
Having the incredible privilege to work alongside my fellow REVIVE candidates in this election, I hope to continue fostering meaningful connections with my colleagues and other student representatives and continue our collaborative efforts to advocate for our off-campus community.
In a challenging year, both Harper and Chitra have done a tremendous job advocating for off-campus students and supporting the demands from the community. As such, I will maintain my predecessor’s connections with the off-campus and commuter representatives and commuter organizations, as they provide valuable insights into the demand of off-campus students. Nevertheless, the job requirements do fluctuate with plenty of room for improvements. With the focus on outreaching and advocacy efforts, I’m committed to advocate for our off-campus community, especially students who live off-campus and may not feel safe going back on campus. Correspondingly, I will foster collaborative projects between all colleges, as my aim is to improve campus connectivity and enhance student involvement in our plannings and commuting projects.
Enhancing student involvement is essentially the foundation of my platform. From my experience serving as your Advocacy director, what really stands out during the legislative process of pushing the extension of P/np deadline is the student testimonials, as the leaders and faculties in the Academic Senate were able to hear these voices and concerns, and connect with their stories. Such advocacy success is a direct result of the extensive collaborative efforts from the students, representatives and leaders of the community.
Any active enrollment of student government is better-off fostering such an inclusive and collaborative environment, especially for students who live off-campus subjected to vague jurisdiction. As we continue to coordinate with the reopenings of campus and service, I will make sure to integrate student inputs and ideas into my platforms, thereby fostering collaborative spaces between off-campus communities.
As I continue my advocacy effort as one of your off-campus senators, I plan to conduct office hours and proactive outreach to student representatives, commuter organizations, and the student body through genuine and direct communications. I will foster meaningful interactions with the community through social media, as well as other effective modes of communication, digitally or otherwise.
Serving as one of the primary voices for off-campus students, I hope to foster complete transparency and collaboration with the student body, as I welcome productive inputs and improvements remain active line of communication to promote changes With the collective power from our community, we will be able to make fundamental changes and REVIVE our campus!
Sharon Lin – Slate: REVIVE – Position: Campus-Wide Senator
Targeting Issue #1: Scarce Communication with Faculty and Networking Opportunities
I often hear that students are unsure about which field in their majors to go into, or even uncertain about their majors, in my Office of Academic Affairs events’ feedback forms.
To provide you with more opportunities to connect with industry and faculty, I will: • Organize specific recruiting fairs for each major field
• Provide panels and online mixers with companies and faculty members to offer students the chance to explore their potential career paths
• Implement periodic professional workshops, such as how to cold email Targeting Issue #2: Students Feel Disconnected by Covid
• Develop “second-wave orientations” for freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and transfers to safely connect students through in-person, week-long bonding activities • And a program for graduating students to connect with each other before they part ways
I have been refining my programming skills before and since I joined UCSD!
As the current Programming Director for the Office of Academic Affairs, I brought you a professor panel and I am organizing a series of major division student-faculty mixers this quarter. Please come along to converse with your professors to learn about what they do and explore your interests!
I will strongly advertise my events (panels, orientations, and more!) through emails and social media platforms. Please take some time to come as I hold these events for you, and your feedback is the guiding force to my work!
At the end of each panel or mixer I hold, I will send feedback forms to gather students’ thoughts on my events and learn how to make my next event better. Also, feel free to send me an email ([email protected]) or message me on LinkedIn! (I am probably on LinkedIn more than Instagram haha)
Ella McLaren – Slate: REVIVE – Position: Out-of-State Senator
My main focuses as Out-of-State Senator will include promoting equitable academic policies, pursuing
avenues to reduce the financial burden out-of-state students face, and expanding mental health resources
to better meet the needs of out-of-state students.
The need for an equitable return to learn plan is an issue of extreme relevance to out-of-state students
because it will likely not be feasible or worthwhile for some students who are non-California residents to
come back to campus as next school year begins. I will work to resolve this issue by advocating for the maintenance of an asynchronous option for students who need it and further pushing for academic
accommodations regarding P/NP deadlines, dropping without a ‘W,’ asynchronous testing, etc.
Further, the cost of attending college for out-of-state students and non-residents more broadly is
extremely expensive, and on top of that students may face travel expenses related to traveling home for
unexpected emergencies and the like. I will make it my mission to explore further avenues through which out-of-state students can receive funding to combat these extra financial burdens.
Another issue that the out-of-state student population faces here at UC San Diego is the limited clinical
mental health services available to students who reside in states outside of California. I plan to confront
this issue by working with administration to find ways that the university can better support out-of-state
students looking for clinical mental health resources near them.
In order to promote equitable academic policies, I will fiercely lobby the Academic Senate to create
meaningful accommodations so that out-of-state students, whether they can make it to campus or not, are
not left behind with the return to learn process. Collecting student testimonials, working with the AS
executive team and AS Academic Affairs, and mobilizing student voices will all be approaches in my
work to put pressure on the Academic Senate to make the right choice for how to best support out-of-state
students, and all UCSD students, during these times.
Further, to address the financial burden out-of-state students face, I will work with administration to
increase avenues of funding whether those be directly by the university or through connecting out-of-state
students to outside scholarship and grant opportunities. I will work to push for the creation of a section of the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office website specific to ‘Outside Agency Scholarships’ which
out-of-state students are eligible for. I will also work with administration to try and devise methods where
non-resident students facing unexpected travel expenses can be financially supported. During my time in this position, I will work with university programs such as CAPS to find ways that UC San Diego can better support the out-of-state student population in getting access to clinical mental health resources where they live. Supporting and bolstering already existing non-clinical mental health resources offered through the university will also be instrumental in helping to ensure the mental health needs of out-of-state students are met, and this is a step I will take in my term.
I will prepare to take on this position in the coming year by forming lines of contact between myself and
various university services and organizations dedicated to enhancing the out-of-state student experience
right from the get-go. Building these relationships with campus administrators, student leaders, staff
members, etc. will help ensure that the change I aim to bring about in the coming year is able to be
accomplished efficiently. Further, with the vision of what next school year will look like constantly in flux
during these uncertain times, I will prepare to take on this position by reaching out to the out-of-state
student population directly in order to understand what their most pressing needs are as we continue to get
closer to the start of the next academic year. This will allow me to swiftly begin working behind the
scenes to formulate the best strategies to meet out-of-state student’s needs in the coming year.
My predecessor has done very admirable work in the realm of resource security for out-of-state and
international students, partnering with campus organizations such as CalFresh and others in order to
expand the reach of her work. This outreach-based approach to serving not just out-of-state students but
also international students is one I plan to carry through if elected. An area where I would like to improve
on the work done by my predecessor is in the realm of financial burdens facing out of state students. I will
actively work with administration to try and find ways of alleviating the expenses out-of-state students
face regarding emergency travel, tuition, and other expenses that accompany being a non-resident.
Student involvement will play a significant role in accomplishing some of the above goals, but most
specifically those involving the Academic Senate. As this past year has shown us, student testimonials
proved to be instrumental in getting crucial academic accommodations approved. I believe this same
method will prove effective in the coming academic year. To encourage student involvement, one of my
top priorities will be to demystify what Associated Students can do for the student population. As
representatives, our job is to serve the student body by bringing their needs to the attention of
administration and working to address these needs fully. Thus, direct input from students will make me
able to best serve out-of-state students and the greater UC San Diego undergraduate population.
The most direct way that I, and the whole REVIVE team, expect to solicit student input is through direct
visits to campus organizations, and overall improved communications between AS and these groups.
Students are busy, and to be respectful of their time I will work to go directly to them rather than making
them seek me out. This way, I can remain up to date on the issues students are facing and students can
remain aware of what I am doing as a representative to help meet their needs.
Specific to my position as an Out-of-State Senator, I will work to reach out to out-of-state students directly and collaborate with non-resident focused organizations such as B.O.S.S. and other groups who work to promote a better experience for our UC San Diego out-of-state student population.
Ethan Nelson – Slate: Independent – Position: Campus-wide Senator
Issues I’ll Address as Senator:
- Violence and discrimination against BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students.
- Parking permits and how they pertain to students’ usage of them.
- How students’ tuitions are used and what they’re used for.
- Fair rights and wages for HDH student-workers.
How I’ll Address these Issues:
We, as Campus-wide Senators, can address violence and discrimination against BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students by introducing legislation that prohibits such and punishes those who commits these violations. A specific thing I have in mind is that we can introduce stronger legislation to specifically reprimand UCSD students who use hate speech on social media platforms and make sure there are harsher consequences.
Parking permits are often confusing and expensive to UCSD students – especially to students who live on-campus and incoming students who don’t know how parking on-campus works. In order to incentivize the use & sales of parking permits, legislation should be introduced to reduce the price of parking permits and there should be clearer instructions on how they work.
Currently, our tuition-money is used for resources that a majority of us aren’t able to access during a pandemic, including sports games and the RIMAC gym. As a Campus-wide Senator, I can help introduce legislation to help students opt-out of these purchases and find more helpful ways UCSD can monetize our tuition money for.
HDH student-workers are constantly given unfair treatment through their unfair wages and hectic work-schedules while being expected to keep their GPA’s high and taking at least 12 units or more per quarter to graduate on time. It’s reasonable to ensure that HDH receives more inspections and a more suitable budget so that HDH employees can be treated fairly.
I will prepare to take on the position by reading up on the AS constitution, make sure I’m prepared & ready for official duties as Senator, and listen to anyone who can provide advice on how to take on a position of this merit.
By the evident results of the past-Senators’ published projects, I can see that the next generation of Senators will have to work on very few, large projects rather than many small projects – I can take these results and motivate myself to create & legislate more projects. I can improve on their performance by seeing how their projects affected us as students, and see how we can increase or decrease that impact respectively.
Student involvement definitely is encouraged and necessary so I know what my constituents want and how I can accommodate their needs. I plan to encourage student involvement by holding publicized office hours and encouraging students to email or communicate with me as much as they’d like.
As mentioned before, I’ll hold publicized office hours and encourage my constituents to communicate with me as much as possible in order to ensure everyone is happy. I’ll definitely also remain committed to my position in AS and ensure that I’m involved every step of the way.