Photo Credits: ASUCD Fall 2020 Candidates
Fifteen students are running for six senatorial positions and one candidate is running for External Affairs Vice President
Jack Anthenelli (Thrive), a second-year undeclared major, said he is running for ASUCD to get more involved on campus and because he was encouraged to make an impact. His platforms include mental and physical well-being on campus, increasing campus-wide testing as much as is within his influence and making sure students are connected. Anthenelli plans on achieving these platforms by creating an environment or hosting events at which people can make connections while remaining healthy and safe—webinars, group meetings on Zoom or in-person socially distanced events—and advertising clubs to groups of students so they can make connections with communities. He said his platforms are intentionally broad because they reflect that he wants to make change and foster connections with people, particularly given the current circumstances of COVID-19.
Eden Bouskila (Thrive), a second-year economics major, said he is running for ASUCD to remind students that Aggies are all connected and there needs to be understanding, tolerance and acceptance for all. Bouskila is running on the platforms of emphasizing the importance of having kosher and halal foods on campus, strengthening ties between ASUCD and Greek life and standing up for marginalized communities on campus. In order to accomplish these platforms, Bouskila plans on holding consistent meetings with units he was interested in adopting, such as The Pantry and CoHo, to ensure enough kosher and halal options are offered to students on campus. He also said he would meet with commissions like the Gender and Sexuality Commission (GASC) to discuss improving sexual assault awareness in the Greek life community and the Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission (ECAC) to discuss current issues the student population may be facing.
Hugo Chavez (Thrive), a fourth-year political science and history double major, said he is running for ASUCD Senate because of the current situation with the pandemic and because he wants to support students in any way he can. His platforms include COVID-19 relief, mental health and helping solve the housing crisis so students have access to affordable housing. He intends on accomplishing these platforms by working with ASUCD and the university to either reduce tuition for low-income and middle-class students or give direct payments to students by reallocating services, connecting students with employment opportunities and holding the university responsible. Chavez said he believes that students deserve all the help they need and hopes to represent the Hispanic and Dreamer communities, both of which he is a part. His prior experience in ASUCD includes volunteering for former ASUCD President Michael Gofman’s Administration in 2018.
Logan Legg (BASED), a third-year international relations major, said he is running for ASUCD because he feels being in an elected position lends itself to the most accountability and representation for the student body. Leggs, a transfer student, served in collegiate student government before coming to UC Davis, and was involved with the Student Senate for California Community Colleges (SSCCC), which oversees all 115 community colleges within the state. He is currently on the Environmental Policy and Planning Commission and started on the committee shortly after being accepted to UC Davis in Spring Quarter 2020. His platforms are housing, sexual assault awareness, institutional reform and sustainability.
Ryan Manriquez (BASED), a third-year political science major, said he is running for ASUCD to make a difference and bring equal representation to the table. Manriquez hopes to represent the disabled community, as a disabled student himself, as well as the transfer community, being a recent transfer student. His platforms include fighting for the inclusion of those with disabilities, getting students involved in ASUCD and bringing awareness of mental health to college students. He believes his personal experience as a disabled student is fundamental, since he knows firsthand the obstacles students with disabilities face and was recently able to give his perspective in a meeting regarding the planning of surveys received by students registered with the Student Disability Center, the Executive Chief of Staff and Disabled Rights Advocacy Team. Manriquez said he will accomplish his platforms by working with the Executive Office and Disability Rights and Advocacy team to establish projects and bringing back the Disability Rights and Advocacy Committee (DRAC); reaching out and bringing people in to be involved in ASUCD; and drafting legislation in regards to mental health as well as working with the Mental Health Initiative (MHI) to establish emergency mental health counselors that can help students during a crisis.
Kristin Mifsud (Thrive), a second-year political science major, said she is running for Senate because she believes she has the experience necessary to be a senator. Mifsud was previously on former Senator Camille Randolph’s legislative staff, has been involved with the Thrive slate since Spring Quarter 2020 and has been to almost every Senate meeting since Winter Quarter 2020. Her platforms include increasing neurodiversity awareness on campus, rebuilding and working with DRAC and increasing connectivity among students. Mifsud plans to implement these platforms by ensuring that there are Zoom accommodations, working with the academic affairs commission, implementing neurodiversity seminars and working with the Entertainment Council to create a virtual concert to increase morale and spirit on campus.
Michael Navarro (Independent), a first-year political science-public service major, said he is running for Senate because he feels like first-year representation needs to be better addressed on campus, particularly in the light of the pandemic. Navarro has already joined the Internal Affairs Commission (IAC) and has been working with the IAC since July. His platforms include better COVID-19 awareness for the student body, advocating for safe same-sex practices that Navarro said are often overlooked and advocating for Dreamers and low-income students. He plans on accomplishing these platforms by having students who are on the university’s COVID-19 task force for student representation, listening to first-years’ voices, highlighting safe same-sex practices that many students may not be aware of and supporting Dreamers and low-income students with transitions to online learning. Navarro also plans on working with The Pantry and becoming involved with the GASC, DREAM Committee and MHI.
Valeria Rodríguez (Thrive), a third-year physics and chemistry double major, said she is running for ASUCD to represent the transfer community as a transfer student herself and anyone and everyone who feels like they are not being heard. Rodríguez said that as a Latinx student and woman, she personally understands what it’s like to feel unheard and does not want that to be the case at UC Davis. Her platforms are improved transportation, expanding student involvement and increasing outreach events—particularly with the AB540 Center and the DREAM committee—and promoting The Pantry as a resource while ensuring it has options for all students regardless of their dietary restrictions. Additionally, Rodríguez hopes to change the way a UC Davis-implemented program called Swipe Out Hunger works—a program she said also operates at other UC schools and allows students to donate unused meal swipes to students in need. Rodríguez plans on accomplishing these platforms by making sure students are aware of different programs and support services, working on how to evolve social events so that they are safe and still occur, advocating for a type of grant committee for The Pantry so it has the resources to apply for grants and change the Swipe Out Hunger program so that students can donate their Aggie Cash to others in need more than twice a year.
Kabir Sahni (BASED), a third-year international relations and communication double major, said he is running for ASUCD because he understands what kind of change and advocacy is needed, given the fact that he has been involved at almost every level of ASUCD. His platforms include utilizing cultural groups to help uplift marginalized communities on campus, making all of ASUCD for every Aggie by making sure people know about the scope, structure and benefits of units that tend to go underutilized, representing and advocating for international students and creating more channels for remote mental health resources. Sahni plans on achieving these platforms by being involved with the GASC and Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Committee (ECAC)—of which he is already involved in—making sure positions for units and on committees and commissions are filled, creating a social outreach program solely for international students and increasing ASUCD budget allocations to support mental health initiatives. Sahni’s position as a student leader for Global Affairs’ ambassador program led him to want to tie that into a student-run committee in order to create support and advocacy for international students.
Devin Santiago-Vergara (BASED), a third-year political science and psychology double major, said he is running for ASUCD because he wants to change the mindset, attitudes and behaviors held at the Senate table as a result of seeing how senators behaved in past meetings, especially during emotional moments for members of the community. In ASUCD, Santiago-Vergara previously served in senate staff under Senator Tenzin Youedon in Spring Quarter 2020 and has been involved with ECAC since the beginning of Fall Quarter 2020. He also has been a part of the Filipinx cultural organization Mga Kapatid, which he said fostered his passion and leadership skills while also giving him the support and resources he needed to navigate college. His platforms include ASUCD transparency and making ASUCD more accessible to the student body, as well as supporting marginalized communities. He plans on implementing his platforms by encouraging students to become involved in units, commissions and other opportunities they may not be aware of as well as making sure ethnic and cultural organizations feel supported and their communities feel represented, which is something Santiago-Vergara is very passionate about as a member of the Filipinx-American community.
Maahum Shahab (BASED), a second-year international relations major, said she is running for Senate to bring both voice and more perspectives from her community to the table, as well as the passion she holds for her community and communities similar to her. She currently serves as local director of legislative affairs for the External Affairs Office, a Muslim Student Association board member and the Middle Eastern/North African/South Asian Coordinator for the Cross Cultural Center. Shahab is also a liaison for the Aggie Shelter Initiative, which she said is modeled after the UCLA shelter and is intended to build some emergency housing for students. Her platforms include protecting student activism, housing advocacy, supporting registered student organizations, creating and revamping resources for sexual assault and harrasment survivors and being a listening ear and voice for all underrepresented student communities. Shahab plans on carrying out her platforms by working with ECAC and others to potentially create an activism committee as well as outsourcing to nonprofits and civil rights leaders to give workshops so students know their rights. She also is intending on promoting transparency about housing resources and expanding on the housing work already done, re-examining the policies of the club financing council in hopes of creating more compassion towards registered student organizations in terms of financial aid and helping to rebuild the Sexual Assault Advocacy Awareness committee.
Lauren Smith (Thrive), a second-year political science and communications double major, said she is running to be a Senator because she noticed some needs are not currently being met on campus no matter how much students advocate for them. Her platforms include promoting cultural awareness, increasing access to mental health resources and partnering with different businesses in Davis to support the economy and the student body. She plans on accomplishing her platforms by working with Student Judicial Affairs to help them take issues of students being mistreated on campus based on intolerance of their ethnicities or beliefs more seriously, endorsing different counseling opportunities for people who aren’t able to get help through UC Davis’ counseling program and highlighting one Davis business a week and potentially partnering with those businesses to secure funding for UC Davis students. Smith is currently the Chief of Staff for ASUCD Senator Juan Velasco and has spent the last year working with Thrive.
Erika Valle (BASED), a fourth-year political science major, said she is running to become a senator because, as a current interim senator, she realized there is value in student leadership and the change she can make, and she wants to continue being that voice for underrepresented groups on campus. Valle referred to her ability to co-author legislation supporting affirmative action in regards to her ability to make change as a senator. Her platforms are working closely with the External Affairs Vice President (EAVP) and housing and food insecurities, which she said she is working on right now. She is currently the only transfer student serving on the Senate table and said she wants to commit to being a voice for her community as well as those groups who are not represented at the senate table, given the extremely diverse student body at UC Davis. Valle said she will do her best to keep the administration accountable and call them out when they make decisions without consulting the student body, such as the decision to eliminate the PE program at UC Davis effective Winter Quarter 2020.
Maria Martinez (Independent), a third-year political science major, said she is running for re-election to the External Affairs Vice Presidency (EAVP) because she believes her office has been able to accomplish a lot over the last nine months and wants to finish the projects she has started. She believes she is the best person to finish out the year and continue the work her office has already started. Martinez was appointed as Interim Senator during her first quarter at UC Davis and was on the Judicial Council before being elected as the EAVP. Her platforms include continuing the office’s projects and focusing on civic engagement and external advocacy. She plans on implementing these platforms by working with the campus student voter coalition to come up with the “Aggies Vote” media campaign and include a voter guide on the voting website as well as by lobbying the UC Student Association, the California legislature and local representatives.
Written by: Rebecca Bihn-Wallace, Hannah Blome, Lyra Farrell, Sabrina Habchi and Kathleen Quinn