Benyamin Yusof for ASUC Senate

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Platforms:

1. Creating Institutional Housing Insecurity Relief

The current housing crisis in Berkeley has made it difficult for students on campus to find affordable housing near campus especially for low-income, 1st generation, and undocumented students. As a 1st generation, undocumented student myself, I have experienced first-hand the struggles of the increasingly competitive housing market and the challenge of paying rent month to month.
To address this issue as an ASUC senator, I will….
Work with the ASUC Student Housing Commission to develop solutions with existing on-campus and off-campus resources to institutionalize and guarantee temporary housing for all students on campus. While our Financial Aid office currently offers emergency loans to students in need, it can be difficult for evicted students, especially those with no community support networks, to find and locate temporary housing while also balancing school work and personal health.
Furthermore, by working with the Centers for Educational Equity and Excellence, such as the Undocumented Student Program and the Education Opportunity Program , I will further identify the housing needs of students on campus and advocate for additional long-term sustainable housing projects around campus for low-income and non-traditional students.

2. Fostering Intersectional Cross-Community Collaboration

UC Berkeley succeeds as a campus due to the diverse array of identities, backgrounds, and experiences shared by our students. While cultural organizations and identity-based communities on campus allow for students to establish and ground themselves at Cal, there is a need for spaces and opportunities for collaboration between these communities. Through my involvement in REACH! as a co-coordinator and director, I have spent my past three years working closely with communities outside of my own community fostering much-needed dialogues between individuals of overlapping identities. Utilizing my organizing experience, I will create efforts to connect the various cultural organizations on campus through projects in collaboration with the Multicultural Community Center and the Asian Pacific American Student Development Center (APASD). Additionally, I will initiate institutionalized community caucuses as an intersectional organizing spaces for on-campus student organizations. Furthermore, the allocation and inaccessibility of student spaces such as the bridges space in the Eshleman basement has segmented and disconnected student organizations from each other. I also plan to foster student solidarity through actualizing collaborative events and programming in our new student union.

3. Prioritizing Resources for Student-Led Overnight Host Programs and Yield Events

When I was first admitted to UC Berkeley, my family could not afford the time and money to visit this campus on our own. However, thanks to a program called Senior Weekend, I was able to visit Cal and witness firsthand the wealth of communities, opportunities, and resources provided by at this institution of higher learning and ultimately decide to attend Cal. In 2009, the Division of Equity and Inclusion at UC Berkeley committed to an 11 year Strategic Plan for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity which aimed to eliminate “intergroup disparities in enrollment” of undergraduate students at UC Berkeley. As an ASUC Senator, I plan to hold our university accountable to diversity on campus by working with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to guarantee “holistic review” in the admissions process and guarantee their transparency with partnered student programs on campus. Furthermore, based on my own experiences as a participant in a student-initiated host program and as a coordinator of REACH! Senior Weekend*, I plan to collaborate with recruitment and retention efforts on campus, such as bridges Multicultural Resource Center, to address the needs of student-initiated host programs and yield events on campus.

Qualifications:
Social Vice President, Clark Kerr Hall Association* (Fall 2013)
Intern, REACH! Asian Pacific Islander Recruitment and Retention Center* (2013-2014)
Retention Co-coordinator, REACH! Asian Pacific Islander Recruitment and Retention Center* (2014-2015)
Mentor, Let’s Rise Mentorship* (Spring 2015)
Workshop Facilitator, Students of Color Conference* (Fall 2015)
Director of Internal Affairs, REACH! Asian Pacific Islander Recruitment and Retention Center* (2015-present)

Endorsements:
Kathy Tran, ASUC Senator*
Carolyn Nguyen, REACH! Asian Pacific Islander Recruitment & Retention Executive Director*
Janice Le, REACH! Asian Pacific Islander Recruitment & Retention Center Director of Recruitment*
Ulises Serrano, bridges Executive Director*
Linh Linh Trinh, Southeast Asian Student Coalition at Berkeley (SASC) Operations Director*
Vi Nguyen, Southeast Asian Student Coalition at Berkeley (SASC) Operations Director*
Philip Nguyen, Southeast Asian Student Coalition at Berkeley (SASC) Summer Institute Co-director*
Annie Xiong, Hmong Student Association at Berkeley (HSAB) Operations*
Sarah Seng, Berkeley Cambodian Student Association (BCSA) President*
Melody Chao, Iu Mien Student Association (IMSU) Vice President*
Katherine Wang, hardboiled Co-Managing Editor*
Lauren Kuan, Let’s Rise Mentorship Co-coordinator*
Madeleine Villanueva, Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education (RISE) Public Relations Director*

*Titles for identification purposes only.