Despite the windy weather conditions, unwavering support groups for the political parties [OUR]Voice, [YOU]CR and PAC: Pride, Action, Change were in attendance as director debates occurred last Wednesday.
Candidates running for the positions of personnel director, marketing and promotions director and outreach director discussed changes they would make within their respective positions, the relationship between ASUCR and the student body and the overall Riverside community if elected.
The debates started between [YOU]CR’s Chris Castorena and [OUR]Voice’s Emily Yang for the position of personnel director; PAC did not select a candidate for the position. When moderator and Highlander Editor-in-Chief Colin Markovich asked how the candidates intended to bridge the gap between ASUCR and the student body, Castorena emphasized that transparency is key. “The personnel director is really a position a lot of people don’t know,” said Castorena. “I want to make sure that everyone knows what my position is and what I do.”
In regards to changes within the ASUCR committees, Castorena stated, “I look to have one first-year (student) in each committee in order to develop the leaders of tomorrow.”
Yang further emphasized promoting student involvement, specifically advocating for students to join one of 89 committees available within ASUCR. Yang also promoted having elected representatives table on Wednesdays as a way of giving students a chance to voice their opinions.
Both Castorena and Yang emphasized sexual assault prevention and campus and community safety as committees that needed more support.
The candidates for marketing and promotions director were next to debate. All parties were represented with Hector Huerta for PAC, Katherine Cheng with [OUR]Voice and Amy Chen with [YOU]CR running for the position.
The candidates were asked how they would effectively communicate and promote the activities of ASUCR to students. Cheng referred to her involvement in ASPB, which she says has given her insight about how to market campus entertainment and events, citing Block Party and Spring Splash as examples. “I want to implement that strategy we use in ASPB into ASUCR,” Cheng continued.
As a member of the marketing committee, Chen emphasized the continuing progress that the committee has already made through social media as part of her platform. “We should outreach to other clubs and organizations and give them the marketing resources they might not have … because their events are just as important as the events that (ASUCR) promotes,” advocated Chen.
Huerta felt using online analytics could further improve the marketing director position. He suggested using data to determine which social media sites were most popular with students as a way of finding the best spots to advertise on-campus and online. Through this strategy, Huerta hopes to increase overall student awareness of events which, in turn, would increase student attendance.
Last up were the candidates running for the outreach director position: [OUR]Voice’s Kevin Chau, Beatriz Bermudez for PAC and [YOU]CR’s Sunyana Shoor.
Markovich proceeded to ask candidates which campus groups they felt ASUCR needed to outreach more to. Being a commuter herself, Bermudez emphasized the importance of making nontraditional students aware of all the resources, organizations and opportunities available to them at UCR. “If we want students to come to UCR and have UCR as their first option, we need to show them that we want them here,” she said.
Chau spoke on increasing overall pride at UCR with the first step being improving the campus experience of commuters. Speaking regarding the commuter and transfer lounge being built near the HUB, Chau said that a place for commuters to rest in between classes was not enough. “We have clubs and organizations where we meet up every single week … and I want that for commuters because that gives them a place (to be actively involved), a home away from home. That’s what organizations and clubs try to do within UCR.”
Shoor agreed that outreaching to nontraditional students was important as well, recommending that ASUCR hold more events for commuters and transfers. “The events will emphasize what resources and organizations are available to them and get them more involved, which will further the overall student involvement at UCR,” she said.
Debates will continue on Wednesday, April 15 from 1 to 2 p.m. in the HUB plaza with candidates running for positions in the executive cabinet.
Disclosure: Amy Chen works for the Highlander as a production assistant.