This is the line I have been repeating over and over again while campaigning on Sproul Plaza this past week. The Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) is Berkeley’s school-wide student government organization: one of the largest autonomous student bodies in the nation! Every year, elections are held where students have the opportunity to vote for five Executive positions as well as twenty Senate positions. Senators run on campaign platforms that they hope to fulfill throughout their year-long position. UC Berkeley even has political parties for candidates in the election. Each year, the ASUC election is super competitive, and that is why I was out campaigning on Sproul. This past week, many candidates and their campaign teams have been working tirelessly in the hopes of garnering votes in order to be elected to make the changes their constituents want to see!
Throughout high school, I was really involved in student government through holding numerous elected positions on the high school level. I loved representing the student voice on the school level so much, that I became involved in politics on the county, state, and national levels as well. I really wanted to continue my activism and involvement in the student life in college. Coming to UC Berkeley from Maryland, I wanted to get involved in politics here. I truly believe that Cal has it all: whatever you may be interested in, we have it! I am interested in student government, so I was very excited to see that Berkeley had many different ways to get involved.
On Facebook over the summer, I saw people advertising positions to intern in the ASUC Senate. As I was interested in student government, I checked it out and applied to the ASUC Office of Senator Jay Choi. I was selected to be the Legislative Intern in the office! There are many different internship positions available throughout the Senate and Executive positions. In my position, I work directly with Senator Jay and his Chief of Staff on the different platforms the office is working on, such as: Campus Safety and Study Abroad. Being an intern in the ASUC is an easy way for first-year students to get involved in student government here at Berkeley that can lead to elected positions in the future!
Throughout my year in Jay’s Office, I have made a lot of new friends, met a lot of cool people, and learned a lot about the ASUC. Coming to Berkeley, I did not know anybody, so it was nice to come to college already a part of a group on campus. I remember when I was interviewing for the intern position, I called Jay, “Senator Choi,” and then it was really awkward. Everyone in the office has become really close. I have also had the opportunity to meet a ton of students with a similar interest in student government. In addition, every intern is required to take a semester-long course about the ASUC where we learned about the history of the organization and different leadership skills.
Overall, UC Berkeley is a melting pot of so many unique students who have interests in everything imaginable. If there isn’t a group for something you’re interested in, create it!