ASUCSD Campaigning Begins

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35 candidates will compete for 16 positions on the 2017-2018 Associated Students governing body. Election campaigning officially began at 9 p.m. on Mar. 9, 2017 after a mandatory candidates’ meeting.

Candidates typically run in groups or parties called “slates.” This year, there are two: Students Determined (SD) and THRIVE. This is the third year that Students Determined has organized as a slate, while THRIVE is a new slate headed by the current chief of staff to AS President Daniel Juarez, Tara Vahdani.

SD is officially running one candidate for Executive Board, Kenny Jones for VP Campus Affairs, a current campus-wide Senator, and twelve candidates for thirteen potential Senator positions. Lesly Figueroa, the current AVP Environmental Justice Affairs, is listed as an independent candidate, but was identified by other SD candidates as their candidate for president. Figueroa describes the SD slate as a legacy of progressive governance on campus.

“Our way of defining leadership is through genuine perspective, looking at progressiveness the way it should be, not the fake idea of progressiveness,” Figueroa said.

THRIVE is running three candidates for Executive Board: AS Chief of Staff and former Marshall Senator Tara Vahdani for AS President, current Student Council of ERC Senator Matthew Arrollado for VP Campus Affairs, Associate Vice President of Local Affairs Adan Chavez for VP External Affairs, and nine candidates for thirteen potential Senator positions.

“As a senator from last year, I felt that despite all the good things we have accomplished, we tend to announce things instead of directly working with students to represent the opinions of the constituents,” Vahdani said.

She also discussed a need to make ASUCSD a more inclusive space and intentionally selected each member of her slate.

“I also want to center around diversity of experiences and voices, such as shifting the environment away from male dominating place. I want students to look at Associated Students as people who work to shift the campus for social change,” Vahdani said.

Polls will open from April 10 to April 14 for students to vote online. Results will be announced on April 14 at 5:30 p.m. at Round Table Pizza.

Full listing of candidates on the Associated Students election site:


Aaron Dalton Burgess – Independent

Lesly Figueroa – Independent

Tara Sadat Vahdani – THRIVE

Dennis Yeh – Independent

Gus Guerrero – Independent


Vice President Campus Affairs:

Kenny Jones – Students Determined

Matthew Alan Arrollado – THRIVE


Vice President External Affairs:

Refilwe Gqajela – Independent

Adan Chavez – THRIVE


Campus-wide Senator (5 Positions):

Mohamed Al Elew – THRIVE

Selena Friedman – Students Determined

Ronald Huang – Students Determined

Itsi T Sanchez Rea – THRIVE

Monica Valdez – THRIVE

Aseel Sherif Ali – Students Determined

Kian Falah – THRIVE

Julia Prinzi – Independent

Miguel Angel Tapia – Students Determined

Sne Lochan – Students Determined


Transfer Senator:

Kristiana M Cuevas – Students Determined


Off-campus Senator (2 Positions):

Marlie Adamson – THRIVE

Mariam Geysimonyan – THRIVE

Leony Cristy Hermosilla Mijares – Students Determined

Kat Avendano – Students Determined


Arts and Humanities Senator:

Amy Clare Henderson – Independent


Biological Sciences Senator:

Anika Balse – THRIVE

Brenda B. Alvarez – Students Determined

Megan Amanda Hirsch – Independent


Engineering Senator:

Hrishikesh Rajan Barokar – THRIVE

Stig Patrick Terrebonne – Independent

Colin Feeney – Students Determined


Physical Sciences Senator:

Nhi Nguyen – THRIVE

Natasha H Morgan-Witts – Students Determined


Social Sciences Senator:

Freddy Arriola – Students Determined

Vaishnavi Paudel – THRIVE


Shine Cho is the news editor of The Triton. She can be reached at Sylvia O contributed reporting to this story.