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We, Hershey Avula and Mondaire Jones, are immensely excited by the possibility of serving as your ASSU President and Vice President. We take the important responsibilities of advocating on behalf of students to Stanford’s Administration; hosting quality programming throughout the year that reaches out to and positively impacts the entire student body; and strengthening all branches of the ASSU through our proven management skills very seriously. More seriously, many have said, than others who have never shown a real interest in student advocacy or in certain campus organizations, until it was time to declare their candidacies.
Equally as important as our demonstrated commitment to students is another quality that elevates the Avula/Jones slate above the competition: experience that matters. Our involvement in the ASSU, which began in the very beginning of our respective freshman years, ranges from social sector organizations like Frosh Council to leadership positions in the more advocacy-oriented Undergraduate Senate. No other slate has this advocacy experience.
Our expert knowledge of and experience navigating through the internal workings of the ASSU does not hinder our ability to notice and to rectify the failures of the ASSU. Instead, we have the totally unique advantage of having worked alongside this year’s, and past, ASSU Executives with critical eyes over their failures and successes. The insights we have gained over this period have enabled us to think outside of the box, and to devise a number of original yet achievable proposals that you can read about in our platform. Simultaneously, the excellent working relationships we have established with Administrators over the past few years affords us greater leverage in advocating the interests of the student body with Administrators. One example of this is when we collaborated with other ASSU officials to pressure Administrators into re-instituting the original plans for Old Union, which included more student space.
Furthermore, our understanding of the issues of graduate students far exceeds that of any other slate running. We understand the intricacies of Graduate Student Healthcare, especially with regard to healthcare for dependants, and are seeking to provide comprehensive vision and dental packages for graduate students. Additionally, we graduate students are much more sensitive to University costs and are working to ensure that the University make any future housing projects, including the Munger Housing Project, affordable for graduate students. Our work with the GSC Diversity Committee and University administrators to establish 5-year diversity action plans for the recruitment and retention of graduates students from underrepresented backgrounds (e.g. women, underrepresented minorities, and LGBTQ applicants), also shows the range of our advocacy efforts for Graduate Students.
Additionally, our experience allows for a smoother transition process in the event of our election. In the past, prolonged transition processes that involve catching one’s self up to speed with ASSU initiatives, operations, structure, and personalities, along with building relationships with key administrators, has detracted from the ability of ASSU Executives to effect meaningful change. With the Grand Opening of Old Union quickly approaching in the fall, along with a number of other pressing issues at hand, students cannot afford to be shortchanged by an ASSU President and Vice President who have little else but lofty, poorly-researched, and unrealistic ambitions.
Finally, we hope that our sustained involvement in various, non-ASSU campus organizations, along with our proven accessibility to students over the years, will convey our unwavering commitment to incorporating student input into important decisions. We are Stanford students first, and are thus very much in tune with the desires and disillusionments of our peers. We merely ask for the opportunity to advocate for and to change those, respectively.
Hershey Avula &