Newly elected officials share goals for current term, fun facts
Third-year transfer student and neurobiology, physiology, and behavior major Anas Tresh plans to better integrate transfer students and provide more accessible resources for pre-medical students during his senate term.
“I look forward to just making change wherever that may be,” Tresh said. “Additionally, being a voice to my community, being a voice for the people who voted for me. I feel very fortunate in being able to make these changes that will hopefully affect students for years to come in a positive way.”
Tresh is also on the Arab Student Union Board, volunteers at Shifa Clinic and is a member of the Minority Association of Premedical Students. He was encouraged to run by senior officials in these groups who felt that he could best represent their voice on the senate table.
“I’ve only dabbled in senate so far, but without a doubt, the most difficult process is managing everything in a timely manner,” Tresh said. “You don’t really realize the huge time commitment senate is, especially when you have a million other things on your plate. So it’s really just making sure to accomplish what you want to accomplish.”
Tresh said his experience living in Libya during the Libyan Revolution played a key role in shaping who he is today. Specifically, he said the time taught him to value family and basic liberties. Overall, Tresh feels that he is an easy-going person who appreciates the simple things in life. In his spare time, he enjoys breakdancing, eating burritos and spending time with his friends.
“I think I’m like a monkey,” Tresh said. “I feel like they just like to have a good time, hanging out, kicking it with their monkey homies. They’re strong, smart and active, and they know how to just enjoy.”
Miguel Guerrero, a third-year economics and political science double major, wants to facilitate the transition for incoming freshmen and merge all campus resources onto a single, more accessible website.
“This is a new chapter in my life, and something that I never thought I’d do in college, Guerrero said. “I’m just looking forward to putting work into the association and learning more on how I can help represent the students.”
He believes the greatest challenge he will face in senate, along with the other senators, is improving the image of the association.
“Our public image isn’t exactly the best, so I think that’s going to be the biggest challenge going forward in terms of trying to get support from the student body, trying to get people to come out to the events,” Guerrero said.
In addition to senate, Guerrero participates in a fraternity, an a capella group and is a tour guide at UC Davis. Guerrero also records acoustic music for his Youtube channel and said he never leaves the house without his music in hand. He enjoys talking about comic books, movies, TV and video games.
“My spirit animal would be an air bison from Avatar the Last Airbender,” Guerrero said. “They’re mellow, loving and good companions and I would think I’m like that with the people around me.”
First-year biochemistry major Sevan Nahabedian said he would like to focus his upcoming term on adding alcohol education to first-year orientation and increasing student participation in ASUCD elections.
“I’m really excited for spring quarter and next year and thankful for this opportunity,” Nahabedian said. “I’m definitely looking forward to being able to work with ASUCD and other senators and [administration] to get all the projects on their way, and see them manifest into actual change.
According to Nahabedian, ASUCD currently faces two major challenges: student involvement and budgeting.
“One challenge is student engagement with the campus,” Nahabedian said. “That relationship has been damaged over the years to the point that people think ASUCD doesn’t represent the students. And the budget, it’s no secret that the financial state of ASUCD is not what it’s been.”
Although it has been challenging adjusting to college and ASUCD, Nahabedian feels that he has transitioned well over the last two full quarters. So far, his best memories have been meeting everyone at welcome week. He’s recently discovered a love for folk and indie music, and while not fluent, has learned Latin.
Sarah Priano is a second-year community and regional development and women and gender studies double major. For her senate term, Priano’s goals include making tampons and pads more readily accessible and increasing the presence of informational signs about gender neutrality on-campus. She also aims to decrease the university’s dependence on fossil fuel industries.
“I’m looking forward to just learning about the association and hopefully changing its perception for the most of campus,” Priano said. “ I want to advocate the things I believe in. I’m not the typical senator or political type person, so I want to have that new voice represented. I want to start changing how things are spoken about by offering a different perspective.”
Priano considers herself to be different from other senators because she doesn’t have a political background, nor does she plan to go into politics. She said this has been a bit of a challenge for her.
“It’s a constant battle of how I view change and want to make change,” Priano said. “There’s an outside versus internal: how I’m going to justify working inside the system and how I’m going to change the issues.”
Priano is also the vice president of Global Water Brigades, and a member of the California Student Sustainability Coalition and anti-genocide club, STAND. Some of her best experiences at Davis have been working as a co-director of Vagina: Our Stories.
“I did the vagina monologues in high school, and this definitely expanded on that, and added identities that haven’t been given a voice to,” Priano said. “You have these performances, pieces about gender silence and issues, spoken word, poetry and monologues, and it just brings awareness.”
When she has the time, Priano likes to jot down her thoughts and sketch in a journal she always carries with her. An unusual fact about Priano is that she has spots in her eyes, and will trick people into believing she has multiple pupils and a better range of vision. Overall, Priano said she is dedicated to what she believes in and hopes to represent a different voice.
As an ASUCD senator, Gabriel Johnson, a transfer student and economics major from Minnesota, aims to achieve greater academic support and increase campus diversity through admissions. Being a transfer student who is also part of the Afrikan diaspora and queer community, Johnson would like to see greater integration of different communities on-campus.
“As a transfer student, it was hard at first, but now, especially since I have an ASUCD quarter under my belt, I’m excited to actually know the systems and fluidly navigate them,” Johnson said. “I’m looking forward to taking the summer to plan and reach out to new communities.”
According to Johnson, student involvement and teamwork are crucial in ASUCD. He hopes to accomplish his goals by working alongside other students.
“One of the greatest challenges is finding the most effective ways to get the things that I want and the students want done,” Johnson said. “I know I can’t do all this stuff on my own. I really want to drive home the message that these things are important and that I need their help in order to get what they want done. I know there’s some skepticism about elections and the lack of candidates and those things, but let the actions play out versus what-ifs.”
Johnson enjoys reading, beatboxing and playing Super Smash Bros. He learned American Sign Language as his first language because both his parents are deaf. One of his favorite experiences at UC Davis was attending the African Black Culture conference, which allowed him to appreciate the UC system’s diversity. He hopes to continue to push himself and work upwards.
“I’m definitely a phoenix,” Johnson said. “I’ve come along way and I’ve been very very low. And I have come out of the ashes consistently and I keep that in the back of my mind as a personal trait of mine. Things break you down, especially on this campus, especially in the quarter system, but you’ve got to pick yourself back up.”
Third-year political science and philosophy double major Danielle Santiago would like eradicate sexual violence and create more gender-neutral restrooms while serving as an ASUCD senator. She also plans to help in the creation of student employee parking passes, a shorter SafeRide response time and implementation of college or major advisor evaluations.
“A lot of what I’m looking forward to is diving into the association and making sure I’m serving students as much as can, especially accomplishing all the problems I ran with,” Santiago said. “I hope to achieve more communication and transparency with the association.”
Santiago believes the biggest hurdle for her is showing students the value of ASUCD, and how interconnected and essential it is.
“Everything is interrelated in terms of ASUCD and the university as a whole,” Santiago said. “Whether you’re taking the Unitrans or enjoying a cup of coffee at the Coho, everything is interrelated through ASUCD and I hope to better show that to the students.”
Santiago is involved in the Greek community and the Sexual Assault Awareness & Advocacy Committee, while also serving as a university tour guide. Though not through ASUCD, Santiago has been active in pushing what she advocates for.
Although most people know her as the cheery and talkative person involved in multiple committees, but, according to Santiago, she’s actually an introvert. She compares herself to a cat, in that it’s difficult to get into her inner circle, but once someone is, she will open up more. She values keeping time for herself, and enjoys playing the piano and clarinet when she has free time. Santiago also loves spending time with the community.
“Picnic Day is one of my favorites,” Santiago said. “Whether it’s the wiener dog race, the chemistry magic show or getting green bean plants, just seeing the Davis community come together and enjoy the weather is so nice.”
Graphic by Jennifer Wu.
Photos by Jian Gelvezon.