Six candidates running for six open senate positions
The six candidates running for senatorial positions in the Fall Election have been announced. There are six open senate positions, which means this election is uncontested. Voting will start at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14 and end at 8 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 17.
Second-year economics major Andreas Godderis is one of the four independent candidates. Godderis has had no previous involvement with ASUCD; he said “that’s part of the reason why” he’s decided to run for senate.
“Last year, I didn’t feel like there [were] a whole lot of opportunities to interact with ASUCD unless you explicitly searched them out,” Godderis said. “I think every student should have an easy road to go down if they want to get involved with campus and the way it’s run. I want my function […] in ASUCD [to be] more of a voice for students rather than someone who interprets the bylaws.”
One of the main components of Godderis’ platform is increasing voter turnout. Godderis said that “even the amount of candidates” running this year is “problematic” and “disappointing.” According to Godderis, fostering more connections between students and senators will result in greater turnout.
As a former competitive cyclist, Godderis said he would be interested in adopting the Bike Barn if he were elected. He has plans to increase floor space by utilizing the building’s upper level for storage.
Godderis, who works at the South CoHo, said he would also be interested in finding ways to improve retention rates at the CoHo and South CoHo.
“When you work for ASUCD — for the CoHo, for the South CoHo — your contract states that you have a minimum work requirement of 15 hours per week,” Godderis said. “I think for a lot of students, myself included, that’s too much. [That requirement] creates this culture where you have a lot of employees who start and quit halfway through the quarter. [I want to] decrease work hours to whatever the sweet spot is — I initially had in mind 7 to 10 hours.”
Godderis hopes to complete more than one term on senate, as he has a few “fairly ambitious” goals.
Gaven Kaur, a second-year psychology and communications double major, is also running as an independent candidate.
“I decided to run for senate because I really want to be an active voice on campus and make sure that I can make positive changes through my platforms, which I’m super, super passionate about,” Kaur said. “I’m really looking forward to campaigning and […] getting myself out there and more involved with the campus.”
Kaur has previous involvement with ASUCD: she formerly served as a staff member for Senator Simran Grewal. In regards to her platform, Kaur is most interested in promoting mental health resources on campus.
“I […] want to collaborate with the Student Health and Wellness Center,” Kaur said. “My freshman year, I got to know a lot of students who suffer from mental health issues. A lot of the kids would tell me all the time […] ‘If someone had reached out to me, maybe it would be different.’ I feel like through this platform […] I could help promote it. I’d definitely want to table [and] hold discussions. It goes hand-in-hand with my second platform [issue].”
The other component of Kaur’s platform is increasing resources for freshmen to encourage their involvement in activities around campus.
Kaur is the only woman running in this election.
“I think it’s definitely surprising because we do have a very large female population,” Kaur said. “I am super involved with women[‘s] organizations on campus: I do HerCampus [and] Davis Women in Business, so I’m definitely all for women empowerment. I definitely want to be that role model for women.”
Second-year Danny Halawi is currently an applied mathematics major, though he plans to switch to computer science. He is running on the UC Davis Unite slate.
“I’m partnering with [the slate] because they have a lot of experience,” Halawi said. “A lot of their platforms and their ideas and policies I agree with, so it happened to just be a good mix.”
Halawi said he wants to bring his perspective as a STEM major to the Senate.
“There’s a big lack of STEM representation,” Halawi said. “Because there’s not a lot of [senators] majoring in [those fields], they’re not able to make decisions related to those fields and topics because no one has the expertise. In order to help my community and help the students on campus majoring in STEM, I need to run and represent them.”
A member of UC Davis Greek life, Halawi said he wants to “be the bridge between ASUCD and Greek Life.”
“Greek does a lot of great things for the campus with their philanthropy, their charity and bringing people together,” Halawi said. “I want to make sure they have representation on ASUCD as well. The two entities have very [similar] values — they both want to help their communities, essentially. They have these same values; however, they work separately, which doesn’t make sense to me.”
Halawi has had no previous experience with ASUCD. He said he would like to encourage student involvement with ASUCD.
“A lot of students don’t know about ASUCD, and one of the reasons why I want to become senator is to make us more well known,” Halawi said. “One thing I could immediately fix, or at least take a step towards fixing, is making sure that students know [ASUCD] exists and that they can help out through various efforts. I think that’s really important to do right away. If people don’t know about us, then they’re not going to come to us for help.”
Jesse Kullar is also running as a candidate on the UC Davis Unite slate alongside Halawi. Kullar is a second-year chemical engineering major who was born in Toronto, Canada and raised in San Jose.
“Last year I did attend a senate meeting, and they were actually talking about lobbying the [engineering] department to normalize fifth- and sixth-year programs for STEM and engineering backgrounds, and that didn’t really sit right with me,” Kullar said. “Everyone except for one person there was a political science major at that time, and I felt that if they are going to be speaking on behalf of STEM and engineering, they should have someone at the table who is already in that background so they can voice the opinions and concerns of their classmates.”
This experience inspired Kullar to run for senate and make one of his platforms better STEM representation in ASUCD. From his experience playing pickup and intramural soccer on campus, Kullar has also prioritized bettering athletic facilities on his platform.
“I want to focus more on student athletics because what I’ve noticed from talking to a lot of students who play at our facilities, like the soccer fields, tennis courts and basketball courts is that a lot of our facilities are not at the standard that they should be for a college campus,” Kullar said. “The lighting does not even work at night for their tennis courts so [students] can’t even play past sundown, and the basketball courts overall are pretty run-down.”
Kullar is interested in adopting the Unitrans unit of ASUCD in order to increase frequent stopping in areas such as East Davis, where buses only stop every 30 minutes. Overall, Kullar feels strongly about bettering student involvement on campus, especially when it comes to voter turnout.
“When students are involved in the campus, when they enjoy the company of the campus, you have such more positive experiences,” Kullar said. “If we can find a way to get people more involved and love the community that they go to, I think overall that would make Davis an even better campus than it already is.”
Bryan Perez is a second-year political science and managerial economics double major running as an independent candidate.
During his freshman year, Perez worked as a tour guide and realized that there are a lot of resources on campus students don’t know about. This was one of the reasons he decided to run for senate.
“I came from a small city, and it was really overwhelming to come to a university with a bunch of different communities. I want to break that and help other people represent other communities whose voices are not heard yet,” Perez said. “I want to add a structure by the MU that has flyers for what is going on posted on there because I know some people don’t have Facebook or social media [and] I want to make sure that they are all involved because the MU is a pivotal place of our campus.”
Perez is interested in adding more lighting around campus in order to ensure safety as well as making the first floor of Shields Library open 24 hours to make studying more accessible. Overall, he is very passionate about making student resources widely known.
“People find out late in the end [about] resources they could have utilized, but they were not notified early and didn’t know where to look in the first place,” Perez said. “I am a tour guide, and I know all this information, but there are still more resources that I don’t know about. This is not a major change, but it’s something that can actually impact our students because it’s a way for students to be notified, and hopefully I can make that happen.”
Perez is excited for the senate campaign and the opportunity to make a difference.
“I’m a first-generation [college student] for my family. I’m setting an example for my family and other people as well from back home because no one from that area has considered going to NorCal,” Perez said. “I found this university has a great environment to grow, and I feel like it can be better for our students so they won’t be scared to go out and explore for themselves and express themselves.”
Jake Sedgley is a third-year economics and environmental policy analysis and planning double major. Sedgley, a Davis local, is running as an independent candidate to improve the transfer student experience on campus.
“Coming to a big campus like this is a really big deal for a lot of transfer students. I personally worked my butt off to get here, and I came here and it just didn’t feel like it was supposed to, quite honestly,” Sedgley said. “Being a sophomore transfer gives me a unique opportunity to actually represent transfer students.”
Sedgley is also interested in improving ASUCD outreach to students.
“Generally, the candidates don’t represent the student body, like there’s only one woman running,” Sedgley said. “Voter participation is a big problem. When you only have 10 percent at most of the students voting, there’s no way that’s going to represent the student interests. It’s almost impossible.”
Sedgley has been following ASUCD almost his entire life through the local news and has attended about four or five senate meetings since he decided to run for senate. He is also interested in adopting Unitrans or the Aggie Reuse Store because of his interest in environmental policy.
Sedgley’s priority is to address the lack of student participation in ASUCD.
“Voter participation is just something that needs to be fixed as soon as possible,” Sedgley said. “There are other UC campuses that have like 30 or 40 percent voter participation. Things like social media outreach and just generally talking to transfer and freshman students at orientation, I’m trying to get them more interested in what ASUCD does and more awareness of how big they actually are on campus.”
Written by: Gillian Allen & Hannah Holzer — email@example.com