Christy Olds is the current A.S. Biological Sciences Senator and ran as a part of the Tritons United slate in 2015. This year, Olds is running for re-election as part of the Students Determined slate. Dylan Martin from The Triton sat down with Olds to discuss her experiences on both slates and why she chose to leave Tritons United.
DM: You’re now running for office with Students Determined. Can you elaborate on why you switched slates?
CO: Earlier this year, I was considering running with Tritons United for a second time. I have several programs underway in my current position as Biological Sciences Senator that I felt it necessary to run for re-election to see them through. Although I am very committed to those programs, I eventually came to the conclusion that I would rather not run at all if I had to run in the same toxic environment that I experienced with Tritons United last year.
About a week after telling Tritons United that I would not be running with them this year and thinking I had given up my potential re-election, two members of Students Determined approached me and expressed that they wanted me to be a candidate on their slate. As opposed to feeling recruited for my pool of potential voters and my relationship with certain communities like I felt with Tritons United, the Students Determined members expressed their genuine respect for my leadership ability and the things that I have accomplished on A.S. this year. In spite of our previous slate divisions, Students Determined reached out to the person they thought would best serve the UCSD community, and I think that alone is testament to the fact that the members of Students Determined are focused on what is best for UCSD in the long term, and not just in the two weeks of campaigning.
After some consideration, I realized that running with Students Determined would not only give me the opportunity to complete my current projects, but the determination of the other candidates would reignite my own fire for change and advocacy, and I committed to run with them four days after they approached me.
DM: How did Tritons United appeal to you when you first ran with them?
CO: I first got involved with elections as a freshman by telling one of my Panhellenic Council sisters that I was interested in being a part of A.S. She connected me with Tritons United, and they were eager to add me to their team. I wholeheartedly trusted this sister’s judgement, and I was also completely awed by the size and reach of UCSD student government in comparison to the high school student government I had been a part of. Fueled by my eagerness to get involved, I didn’t fully realize the issues with last year’s Tritons United campaign management until I had already filed with them and had begun the campaign.
DM: Can you tell me about your experience with Tritons United?
CO: Running with Tritons United last year was one of the most intense learning experiences I have ever had – it was a good introduction into student politics at UCSD. I got to know a lot of wonderful people with great ideas, but I also learned that there are people invested in A.S. for the wrong reasons. Running with Tritons United last year made me more wary of people’s intentions, but it also greatly expanded my view and love of the UCSD community.
DM: Can you describe the main points of your platform?
CO: I want to instill confidence in my peers and expand opportunities for them in their prospective fields. For the past six months, I have been collaborating with a fellow senator, Thadeus Odom, to create a lab certification program for biology students. Often times, students find themselves in a vicious cycle of applying to lab internships/jobs and not being hired because they lack experience – but they cannot gain experience until they get hired or until they take upper division lab courses. We have collaborated with several deans and the head of the Division of Biological Sciences Department to push the program to a seminar series, but I fully believe that if elected, I can further the program to an actual certification program with accessible lab time for students by the end of my (potential) next term.
Another project I want to undertake is expanding the accessibility of experiential learning centers for students. Many biology students are either not aware of the resources available to them, but in most cases, the resource is simply not there. There are little to no accessible places for students to engage in hands-on learning. I want to collaborate with several deans and professors (whom I have established good relations with) to help create and expand a Teaching and Learning Commons which would centralize tutoring centers for all majors
DM: Is there anything else you’d like to add about your views or election experiences?
CO: I would like to add one of my personal views about this overall election year. Many people have questioned me as to why I switched slates or what exactly differentiates Students Determined from others, and I think that answer is this: Students Determined stands out for our skill set, expertise, and the foundational relationships that we have at many levels from students to administration. Ideas and passion can only get you so far in reaching your goals, and what will really push those ideas to fruition is experience and familiarity with navigating the established infrastructures.