Minh Hua and Jacob Wong
Campus Beat Reporter and National Beat Reporter
With the Associated Students (A.S.) Spring 2019 General Elections voting now open, here’s what the executive office candidates told The Bottom Line in regards to why you should vote for them. Gauchos can vote on GOLD starting on Monday, April 22 at 8:00 a.m. until Thursday, April 25 at 4:00 p.m.
PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ALISON SIR
Campus United’s Alison Sir, a third year political science major and member of UCSB’s Technology Management Program (TMP), is running to become the first Asian-American female elected A.S. President at UCSB.
The daughter of first-generation Korean immigrants, Sir has emphasized her passion for voicing the needs of underrepresented communities as a central focus in her campaign.
“A.S. has a duty to amplify the voices of others and do outreach to the community in order to educate students about the amazing resources it provides,” said Sir in an online statement to The Bottom Line.
Sir’s election platforms address a number of prevalent issues in the UCSB community. If elected, Sir promises I.V. vending machines to tackle food insecurity and a free subscription to the mental health app Headspace Student for every Gaucho.
Sir has also pledged to implement a Blue Light system in Isla Vista and to work to reduce housing costs and student textbook fees by supplementing them with digital readers.
Sir brings an expansive resume along with her on the campaign trail. She currently holds positions as a UC Global food initiative intern and the Vice President of Finance on UCSB Panhellenic. She also served as an off-campus senator for A.S. her sophomore year.
“My experience inside and outside of A.S. has taught me the skills necessary to elevate voices on an administration level and keep student leaders accountable,” stated Sir.
Sir has also demonstrated an entrepreneurial ability that could carry over to her position as president. As part of TMP, Sir launched an online platform called Cadette, which aims to connect female college undergrads with established women in a variety of professional fields. “I have a fresh perspective on AS that will help me implement tangible solutions to pressing issues,” she stated.
Summary sentence:”Campus United’s Alison Sir, running to become UCSB’s first Asian American female A.S. president, aims to tackle food insecurity and mental health.”
PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ZION SOLOMON
A second year history of public policy major and religious studies minor, Zion Solomon is the Isla Vista Party (IVP) candidate running for A.S. President on platforms of academic excellence, career development, financial aid advisory, queer/trans fund, and A.S. LIVE.
“I’m running for President because I think I’m the most qualified person in the association for this position,” said Solomon, “People should vote for me because not only am I ready for this position, I know what this position entails. I already know that I will be going to University Office of the President and meeting Janet Napolitano and I already know what issues I want to press.”
Currently serving as both On-Campus Senator and Chair of A.S. Finance & Business, Solomon states that “sometimes the university administration is out-of-touch on student needs, so the movement starts from Associated Students. A.S. is where students can take on their own leadership and say this is what we need for our own community.”
In response to the question “If you could only accomplish one thing in your position, what would it be?” Solomon offered, “I would focus on branching to other university departments and connecting them to A.S. so that A.S. isn’t just this isolated organization. You can go to A.S. to hear about all the resources that serve students, not just those that come from A.S.”
In terms of connecting A.S. to other departments, Solomon wants to have the financial aid advisory service reach out to career services to establish peer mentors in their office.
According to Solomon, one of their proudest projects was the “The King’s A+ For Excellence Awards,” a $500 award each to five student leaders who each exhibit “outstanding contributions to A.S or the student body as well as academic excellence.
“[With the project], I was able to recognize someone who put their all into the association, LaDonte King, but also promote academic excellence, and that’s what I’m also trying to do through my platform. LaDonte always reminded us that we’re here as students first and that’s what I want to remind students.”
EVPSA CANDIDATE: ALEXANDRA LEAL SILVA
According to Alexandra Leal Silva, a third year history of public policy major and IVP candidate for External Vice President of Statewide Affairs (EVPSA), serving the students is the name of the game.
“My attitude towards everything throughout my college career is ‘how can I serve somebody else.’ I’ve really taken the last three years to cultivate my leadership skills and work ethic to make sure that if I wanted to run, I would be fully equipped to do that.”
Silva has been involved with the EVPSA office since her freshman year, serving as a fellow in the office during her first year, as a Community Organizing Director during her second year, and is currently the Legislative Director.
Silva states that she is particularly proud of her office’s lobbying trips to Sacramento and DC, pushing for legislation such as reproductive justice and deferred maintenance. Additionally, last year, Silva collaborated with A.S. Human Rights board and another organization to organize a memorial for the Isla Vista tragedy.
“I really used this time to understand what it takes to be an EVPSA and to understand what it takes to serve the students to my fullest capacity,” said Silva. Last summer, Silva served as a Director of Accountability when the office was lacking an EVPSA due to the disqualification of EVPSA-elect Mayela Morales.
Silva explained that if she could only accomplish one thing in her position, she would tackle tuition and financial aid.
“I usually think about how the original California master plan for higher education had the UC system as this public and free institution where any student who wanted to come could get an education,” said Silva.
“As time went on, the state has proven that they value things other than students. I think that’s ridiculous because students are the future of this state and country — they’re going to be what drives the economy and if we are not investing in them, how can we ask them to invest in us,” added Silva, “so I think we need to get back to those roots of what it looks like to have a free institution.”
In terms of financial aid, Silva said, “It’s because of financial aid that I’m able to be here. It’s a privilege that our students should access. We want them to be worrying about their tests, not fitting another job shift. That shouldn’t be a concern that students have but it’s a reality that students go through everyday. We want to make sure that every student is taken care of so that they can focus on being great students, mentors, and leaders.”
EVPLA CANDIDATE: CHRISTIAN ORNELAS
For Christian Ornelas, a third year environmental studies major and IVP candidate for the position of External Vice President of Local Affairs (EVPLA), the focus of next year’s office is “continuity.”
“I had conversation with Jeike [the current EVPLA] on the work she’s doing and where she’s going to leave off on certain things so I can continue the work. Jeike has done great work bettering community relations with police and that’s something that’s just going to have to keep going. Realistically, I will be introducing new projects but also finishing things that are really important,” said Ornelas, referencing the fact that the frequent A.S. elections cycle makes it hard for elected officials to finish the work they started.
Serving as a current Off-Campus Senator and Vice Chair to A.S. Finance & Business, Ornelas believes he has what it takes to be a great EVPLA. According to Ornelas, his experience with the institution allows him to know a lot about where students’ tuitions are going, how to access funds, who to talk to and which different offices to work and collaborate with.
“I think the proudest moment for me in senate was when I was able to create a new entity — the Environmental Justice Alliance. That came with a lot of progress, but the most important part for me was that it came from a community,” said Ornelas.
Additionally, one project that Ornelas started in senate and hopes to continue as EVPLA is A.S. Senate Committee on Mold. “I’m part of this environment leadership incubator that the Environmental Science department hosts. This class is helping me set up a strategic plan for an issue that I want to solve and I’ve chosen the mold issue [in Isla Vista homes]. Next year, not only will I have a plan, they’re also going to connect me with different mentors and community members to be able to support me and bring this plan to fruition.”