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Davis, California

Friday, July 12, 2024

2022 ASUCD Fall Elections — Meet the Candidates

This fall, eight candidates are running for Senate, one for External Affairs Vice President, one for International Student Representative and one for Transfer Student Representative


The following candidates are running in ASUCD’s 2022 Fall Elections for elected official positions in student government. Three Senate candidates were not available for an interview.

Elections will take place from Monday, Nov. 7 at 12:01 a.m. to Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 11:59 p.m. Students can vote online at elections.ucdavis.edu.


Gaius Ilupeju (he/him/his), a second-year political science and history double major, said that he is running for Senate because he wants to increase student engagement in ASUCD. His platforms include improving employee retention and Black student involvement in student government, advocating for animal rights in terms of more transparency regarding the California National Primate Research Center and student engagement and participation in voting. Ilupeju said that recent years have had historically low voter turnout for ASUCD elections, which he wants to change, and he also wants to improve marketing in order for more people to know about ASUCD and the services it provides. He spent the past year as an ASUCD senator, and he is currently serving as the Senate President Pro Tempore. Projects he has worked on include making the cow the ASUCD mascot and making plans to expand the services that The Pantry provides. 


Jacob Klein (he/him/his) is a first-year political science major. As the only first-year student running for Senate this fall, Klein said that he believes he is uniquely connected with the first-year class and therefore more in touch with their needs and concerns. Klein has a three-pronged platform: reducing antisemitism on campus, limiting the annual student athletics fee and decreasing the daily parking fee on campus. As a queer and Jewish student, Klein said that he believes it is vital for advocates of the queer and Jewish communities at UC Davis to be involved at the Senate level. Additionally, Klein said that, if elected, he intends to help create a fee waiver for those who cannot pay the daily on-campus parking fee. Although Klein has not previously been involved with ASUCD, he states that his leadership experience in high school has prepared him to enter the position.


Stephen Fujimoto (he/him/his), is a fourth-year cognitive science and statistics major and is currently serving as an interim senator. Fujimoto has been a part of ASUCD since his second year when he served as a member of the temporary data task force under former ASUCD president Kyle Krueger. That task force was then turned into the permanent Research and Data Committee, which Fujimoto was chairperson of before being appointed as an interim senator. Fujimoto said that making sure efforts to eliminate or decrease student fees, such as athletic fees, are present on ballots is a large part of his platform. His platform also includes listening to the voices of student-workers and taking action to support them by advocating for better pay, or by supporting the creation of a student-worker union. Fujimoto cites his passion for fighting for the student body and serving them as his qualifications for continuing to serve as a senator. 


Aarushi Raghunathan (she/her/hers), a second-year political science and managerial economics major and a current interim senator, has served on ASUCD since the summer before her first year at UC Davis as a member of the Judicial Oversight sub-committee, the Regulation and Finance sub-committee, and the Internal Affairs Commission (IAC). She later became the chairperson of the IAC before being appointed interim senator following a resignation in the Senate. Her platforms are ease of access and increased affordability across campus. She said that she seeks to reduce campus housing prices, specifically for The Green at West Village, and to provide free menstrual products more widely across campus. Raghunathan said that another key part of her campaign is seeking to make lecture recordings mandatory. Raghunathan said that her current position as an interim senator, and the experience she has gained from that role, are why she believes she is qualified to continue to serve as an ASUCD senator. 


Erek Leschyn (he/they), a third-year political science major, has a platform that centers on basic needs for students — he said that he wants to increase funding and student awareness for programs like The Pantry, Aggie Reuse and others. Their platform includes advocating for greater academic accommodations, decreasing parking fines and increasing grace periods for fine payments and working to expedite the student-employee onboarding process for ASUCD job positions. As a queer transfer student, he said that he hopes to be a representative for some of the minority communities that he is a part of. Leschyn cited their passion for government and commitment to community as reasons they can succeed in the position, as well as their experience as an IAC commissioner and as treasurer and board member for several nonprofit organizations.


External Affairs Vice President:

Celene Aridin (she/her/hers), a third-year international relations major, has been a part of ASUCD since her first year, serving as the Assistant Chief of Staff in the executive office, the UCweVote Coordinator and the Organizing Director in the External Affairs Vice President’s office. As organizing director, she oversaw the UC Student Association’s (UCSA) campaigns on campus, and as External Affairs Vice President, Aridin said that she hopes to enhance student advocacy in these campaigns. Aridin said that she believes her abilities to communicate and delegate make her qualified for this position, as well as her desire to continuously learn. Her passion is community organizing — she hopes to reach out to hear student concerns and work to find the resources to address them. 


Transfer Student Representative:

Logan Ueno (he/him/his), a fourth-year political science major, said that he aims to promote a welcoming community for the transfer community on campus through both academic and social events. Ueno said he gained a vast array of knowledge and experience from his previous position as the Interim Transfer Student Representative. Last year, he said that he contributed to getting a salary-increase budget approved by the Senate table to increase the overall budget for the Office of the Transfer Student Representative (OTSR). Ueno wants readers to know that even though the OTSR is a newer office, the team is “doing so much for transfer students” and that the office is important for fostering the transfer student community. He also encourages transfer students to involve themselves in future ASUCD elections to increase their representation amongst those in office.


International Student Representative:

Keven Zhou (he/him/his), a third-year managerial economics major and the incumbent for the ISR position, said that last year, the office helped to better integrate international students on campus and advocated for issues in terms of mental health and academic success. Zhou said that he has a passion for advocating for international students because he has lived back and forth between China and the U.S. his whole life, so he has a first-hand understanding of issues faced by international students on campus. He said that during his first year at UC Davis, which took place fully online, he became aware of issues such as international students misunderstanding the idea of plagiarism and being sent to the Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs as a result. After seeing and experiencing the challenges international students can face, he decided to run for the position in order to make a foundational change from the inside. Going forward, Zhou said that he wants more people to become aware of this office and of the resources available to international students on campus and for students to feel that every person on campus is equally represented. 

Written by: Sydney Amestoy, Kaya Do-Khanh, Lev Ferris Goldenberg and Rachel Gauer — campus@theaggie.org