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Davis

Davis, California

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Senators discuss their year in office

As new ASUCD Senators are elected in, the senators from last winter are terming out.

Although senators feel that they’ve accomplished most of their platform goals, ASUCD Vice President Previn Witana pointed out that recent general platforms, such as advocacy, are difficult to track.

“Senators these days are promising more and more but can accomplish less and less,” Witana said.

Apart from platform goals, Witana added that on average, one senator has been absent each meeting. Though health always comes first, Witana said senators have been missing meetings due to midterms and review sessions.

Ozzy Arce

Arce’s goal for his senate term was to provide measurable proof of improvements. His three platform issues were improving infrastructure on campus, including the Olson puddle, increase campus usage of Campus Copies and introduce creative ways of increasing revenue.

The university took up Arce’s suggestions for fixing the Olson puddle. Arce also worked to buy new copy machines for Campus Copies to increase their business.

The platform issue Arce was most passionate about was his idea to sell beer at the Aggie stadium as a way of increasing revenue to the athletic department and the university as a whole. However, Arce changed his mind after cuts were made to the athletic department.

“Some departments were cut more than others,” Arce said. “[I’d be] adding more to the problem than the solution and that was definitely not the direction I wanted to go in.”

Arce said that though he hadn’t always recorded his office hours, they happen all the time.

“I made myself available to the students as much as possible.”

Osahon Ekhator

Ekhator’s goals were to better represent underrepresented students and offer workshops for first-years to help them acclimate to the campus.

“I supported all the different ethnic grads, all the different culture days and I wrote the bill for Black Family Day,” Ekhator said. “Underrepresented groups still don’t really get the support they need, so that was my focus.”

Ekhator found first-year student workshops already existed in a limited fashion.

“That was already accomplished through no effort of my own, but it’s still good to see,” Ekhator said.

Given his constraints as a student, Ekhator said he felt that he completed the job the best of his abilities.

“At the end of the day, I can say with full certainty that everyone involved with the association has the best interests of students at heart – which is all you can ask for from your student government.”

Selisa Romero

Romero’s four platform issues were to convert readers into online PDFs, increase the amount of printing pages available, make more information available about transfer student housing and work to retain as many minority students as possible.

Romero worked with a lot of social science department professors to get them to switch from readers to PDFs. She created a pamphlet for transfer students to help them learn about housing opportunities other than the dorms. Romero’s platform goal of increasing printing pages didn’t materialize because the funding required for the project was out of her hands.

“I know the community I was voted in for was minority students,” she said. “I felt like I did listen and took into account every student and didn’t simply vote for my community.”

Romero is working on a pamphlet to send to parents, informing them of resources available to students on campus.

Alison Tanner

Tanner’s original platform issues were to advocate against the budget cuts, increase budgets for media, create a committee for design and art students and help underrepresented students and women on campus.

In order to accomplish those goals, Tanner started a Public Arts Committee that is working to increase public art on campus. In an effort to help women on campus, she helped organize a women’s leadership conference and is collaborating with several campus organizations to help get out a resource guide for undergraduate students that get pregnant.

“I didn’t have much of a really solid idea of what platform issues should be,” Tanner said. “Since coming into office I’ve gained full knowledge of my ability and what I could accomplish.”

Aside from the senate meeting two weeks ago when Tanner was in a hospital, she hasn’t missed a single meeting.

“I’m really proud of that. I’ve been good about following the rules of reporting in, but don’t hold me to it. I do know that anyone will tell you that I work a lot.”

Adam Thongsavat

Thongsavat ran on establishing a Renter’s Rights Committee, increasing business partnerships with downtown Davis and expanding Picnic Day. Thongsavat said he accomplished all of these goals without costing the senate any money.

Thongsavat is proud of the fact that his platforms have gone into more external issues than any other senator. He’s also proud of his attendance and office hour records.

“It’s a bare minimum: go to meetings and go to office hours,” he said. “You have to do much more than that to be a good senator. The best work I got done was outside meetings and office hours.”

Thongsavat hoped to represent not only those who supported him but every student on campus, regardless of if they get involved with ASUCD.

“I really wish I accomplished my platforms earlier so I could have worked on more,” he said.

Liz Walz

Walz’ platform issues were to bring free online textbooks to campus, publish course evaluations online and reduce UC Davis’ carbon footprint.

“I successfully lobbied a lot of professors and met with them about getting a Chemwiki type resource in other departments,” said Walz. “Whole departments are interested in creating online textbooks.”

Though Walz was successful with this issue, she expressed disappointment at not having completed her other platform goals. She passed all information she had on putting teacher evaluations online to ASUCD Senator Matt Provencher, who ran on that platform in the fall.

“I will be willing to meet with everyone to get stuff done,” said Walz. “That’s the area I’ve been strongest in – making myself available for students and everyone that has ever called or e-mailed me and pointing them in the right direction.”

Walz hopes to continue working on her platform goal to have free online textbooks.

“Being a senator gave me connections, skills and knowledge of ASUCD that will now allow me to really accomplish what I want to see done, and I don’t need a senator title to do that.”

AKSHAYA RAMANUJAM can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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