Name two goals that you will have accomplished by the end of your Senate term. Please be specific with your policy recommendations.
By the end of my Senate term, I will have worked on creating ASSU-sponsored forums for all students to openly discuss and learn about issues surrounding intolerance, race, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual orientation, etc., in order to promote a more tolerant and knowledgeable campus environment. I also wish to encourage a more actively sustainable campus environment, in which student groups are held accountable by the Senate to sponsor sustainable events and employ sustainable practices within each of their individual outlets.
Which two current ASSU initiatives or programs would you push to eliminate? Why?
It is because of strained financial abilities that we must carefully balance the pros and cons of preserving certain programs. The ASSU Airport Shuttle Service, although commendable, has continuously resulted in losses in the past, and only made a marginal profit this year. A reliable alternative, Super Shuttle, necessitates much less hassle. While I believe that the Wellness Room is an amazing resource and should not be outright eliminated, many sponsored events and services should be cut back and replaced with more awareness campaigns and outreach to students to inspire more knowledge about serious wellness issues.
In what ways would you seek to work on the following policy areas within the Senate?
Free speech is a basic right for students that should only be inhibited when it is in violation of certain Stanford policies, including the Non-discrimination policy and the Acts of Intolerance, so that groups or individuals do not experience prejudice or harm from the exploit of free speech. Free speech should be more accessible to students, however. Activism should be encouraged, and spur-of-the-moment peaceful protests should be permissible in White Plaza and on other campus locations. More direct communication between the student body and the Senate should occur so that students can voice their concerns and ideas.
The pervasiveness of health and wellness issues, especially mental health issues, is a severe problem on our campus. I believe that there are many misconceptions about how to recognize, confront, and help treat mental illnesses—primarily depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. The Senate should sponsor more forums and discussions to inform students about how to handle mental health problems and avoid the stigma surrounding them, and to explain what services are available for students dealing with these issues. A more direct communication should be established between the Senate and the Wellness Room to ensure this advocacy.
The most important goals of appropriations should be efficiency and communication. This year’s Appropriations Committee has done an excellent job in reforming the system so that student groups have quarterly meetings with the committee to request funding for events. Communication between the committee and student group financial officers should be increased even more next year through regularly scheduled meetings, the best way to ensure that the ASSU is economical with funding and that student groups are not wasteful with funds.
The Peer Mentor (PM) System is one that should be re-established in some form, so that incoming freshmen and other undergraduate students have advising and aid from a student’s perspective along with that of Academic and Pre-Major Advisors. Alternatively, both RAs and RFs should receive more training in knowledge of a broad range of Stanford majors and programs, in order to be more valuable academic aids for students within their dorms.
Diversity is certainly prevalent on campus, yet it still often unappreciated. I hope that during my term as Senator that I can help inspire more students to feel confident in attending community center meetings and involve themselves in issues pertaining to community centers that they feel passionate about or feel that need to be addressed. For this reason, I wish to raise awareness about the different cultural centers on campus and the events and initiatives they put on. A greater push should be made on campus to get students involved in communities that they do not normally associate themselves with.