ASUCD President and Vice President share goals, trivia
Third-year international relations and philosophy double major and current ASUCD President Mariah Watson hopes to corroborate student relations with ASUCD by promoting accessibility and making sure ASUCD remains dynamic in correspondence with student needs.
“It’s ASUCD’s 100th birthday, which I think is incredible, and a lot of people don’t know about this,” Watson said. “I’m looking forward to bringing back alumni and asking people what their dreams and hopes are for the next 100 years and getting students excited about it.”
Watson believes she faces two challenges with ASUCD this term — the approximately $12 million budget, and the association’s image.
“One part of it is our budget,” Watson said. “We’ve been operating off a fairly similar budget for the past few years, but the association and needs and wants of students are changing. So it’s [about] adequately funding units students are passionate about, and also making sure ASUCD stays relevant, so that students can answer what it is and get involved.”
Some of Watson’s favorite memories at UC Davis have been through ASUCD.
“There was this meeting — we were very, very [tense], the room [was] very charged and people were yelling,” Watson said. “But a member began yelling that we are family, that whatever we’re doing, we are all a part of this group of ASUCD. It was tearing him apart seeing us all arguing. And we just all started hugging, like this massive group hug. I felt very connected to people that I didn’t think cared about me. It really showed that even when stuff gets hard, we can push away from all the BS and just be together — one community.”
Watson likes to stay organized and will not leave the house without her cell phone and its Google calendar set with all her meeting times and class schedules. Few people realize that when she shuts her office door or finds an empty hallway, Watson is probably dancing her heart out. She also has the unique ability to lick her elbow and her nose.
“I’d say I’m like a lioness,” Watson said. “Male lions just sit there, being lazy and doing nothing, but the lioness is working to making sure the pride is taken care of. She’s fierce, doesn’t take the lazy route and is always involved in doing what’s best for someone else, like how I always want to do what is best for the campus and community.”
Third-year political science and history double major and ASUCD Vice President Gareth Smythe hopes to make ASUCD a more welcoming and inclusive place and introduce new student leaders into the organization during his upcoming term.
“We have a lot of very dedicated student leaders who do great work,” Smythe said. “The organization can’t succeed unless have great people constantly coming in. I’m looking forward to making ASUCD a more friendly place.”
Smythe believes the coming year will be a balancing act for him, especially in achieving his double major while tackling ASUCD challenges as Vice President.
“Managing all of the responsibilities that I have will be a challenge for me personally,” Smythe said. “In regards to ASUCD, the budgetary restrictions are a challenge. We have the lowest amount of money in our reserves that we’ve ever had. Despite cuts by the student government last year, we still have tough decisions to make to increase services students want and still keep the association financially stable.”
One of Smythe’s favorite memories at UC Davis was at the home opener football game of his first year.
“I went with everyone from my dorm floor, and we got free stuff from Aggie Pack, sang the fight song and got to see our team win,” Smythe said. “It made feel like a part of a larger community, and watching our team succeed was a great way to start college.”
Smythe attended a theater arts high school and enjoys reciting Shakespeare purely from memory. Something most people don’t know about Smythe is that he’s directly related to Mark Twain.
Whether at ASUCD or in his daily activities, Smythe hopes to maintain his positivity.
“The one thing I never leave my house without is positivity,” Smythe said. “If you forget your phone, fine, you can text on a computer or stick a calendar in a planner. But I have to make sure I have a positive outlook on the day before I start. That’s how I get through the day, meet all the people I need to meet and get stuff done.”
Graphic by Jennifer Wu.