On March 10, Jack Zwald and Previn Witana will forfeit their keys to the Memorial Union’s third floor and relinquish their terms as ASUCD president and vice president.
“This job was the best thing I’ve done in college,” Zwald said. “We did a lot to bridge the gaps between ASUCD and other sectors of campus.”
The team was able to carry out five out of the seven platforms they promised during election, and the last two are on their way to being accomplished.
“The only thing we have is to re-adjust the water and sprinkling system, and we’re meeting with the vice chancellor to discuss that soon,” Zwald said. “Also our goal to make the minimum units reduced from 13 to 12 is well on its way. The Academic Senate will be voting on that soon.”
Although academic affairs is not within the scope of ASUCD, Zwald and Witana are especially proud of the lobbying work that was done in getting this unit reduction considered by the Academic Senate.
Zwald and Witana, who also happen to be roommates, are quick to note the way they made themselves accessible.
“We were always available to students,” Zwald said. “We have responded promptly to every constituent e-mail. Whenever there was something that came up, whether it was the hate crimes, ICA cuts or fee hikes, I’ve been really accessible to students.”
The team was met with challenges early in their term with the ICA cuts, fee hikes and hate crimes just as they were voted into office.
“Besides the budget, we really couldn’t see any of that stuff coming,” Witana said. “We should have had a little more foresight, but as the next president will soon realize, very frequently there are things that are out of your control.”
With a $10.7 million dollar budget, Zwald and Witana worked tediously to make sure they presented the senate with a surplus budget.
“We found $10,000 in unused telephone equipment, and we just had to go around seeing what else we were wasting money on,” Zwald said. “We stayed [in the office] until 3 a.m. working on the budget, and then got back in at 9 to start the next morning. I think the controller slept in the office.”
Both agree that the students at UC Davis are what made it so easy to work so hard.
“At this university, we have the best people to represent,” Zwald said. “I genuinely enjoy chatting with students, talking about issues, seeing what is on their minds. We have the friendliest, most down to earth students. I’ll definitely miss representing Aggies.”
Both Zwald and Witana will be graduating after winter quarter.
“It’s never too late to get involved with ASUCD,” Witana said. “I started my junior year and I became vice president.”
Zwald and Witana have faith in ASUCD President-elect Adam Thongsavat and Vice President-elect Bree Rombi.
“They definitely have the experience that can make them effective,” Zwald said. “You have to see how it plays out. When we ran for office we really had to articulate our exact plans because the race was so close. Because they ran unopposed, I’m not sure about the exact specifics of their plans.”
While Zwald and Witana represent LEAD, Thongsavat and Rombi ran on the BOLD slate, but one thing remains constant: the concern for students.
“With Jack and Previn, even though I didn’t always agree with them, I always knew they were looking out for the best interests of the students,” Thongsavat said. “Bree and I want to take some of their policies in a different direction, but we will make sure that ASUCD is in good hands.”
Overall Zwald and Witana are content with the work they put in, and are eager to tell anyone that they never missed a session of office hours.
“We were accessible, a mouthpiece to student concerns and we lived up to what we promised,” Zwald said. “Not to toot my own horn, but to toot my own horn, we did a great job.”
ANDY VERDEROSA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.