Tritons United and FRESH START Kick Off ASUCSD Elections Season

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Photo courtesy of The Triton.

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31 candidates will compete for 16 positions during the 2019-20 Associated Students at UCSD (ASUCSD) elections. Campaigning officially began at 8:30 p.m. after a mandatory candidates’ meeting in the Price Center Forum.

Candidates typically organize into political parties called slates that are created and dissolved each election cycle. Unlike last year’s election, which featured a single slate, three slates registered this year. However, only two have candidates running for office.

Students Determined (SD) filed for the fourth year, under Kimberly Nguyen, but the slate has no candidates. SD last ran candidates in the 2017 election headed by Lesly Figueroa, who served as 2017-18 AS President.

Tritons United is running candidates for the first time since 2016, led by current Transfer Senator Joey Giltner. Giltner ran for AS President on the Tritons United slate in 2015, but withdrew from running. In 2016, Giltner’s name was listed as a candidate for AS President on Tritons United campaign materials, though he was not registered as a candidate.

Tritons United is running Giltner for President, Elvin Karamfil Topalov for Vice President of Campus Affairs, Business Council of UC San Diego President Tiger Huang for Vice President of External Affairs, and 13 candidates for 13 Senate seats.

“When I was here three years ago, I never believed that whole UC socially dead thing,” Giltner said. “I was that annoying person that was involved in everything. I had so much fun and I found my communities, I lived on campus, but then when I came back like three years later, last quarter, I had never been so depressed in my life. I realized that it takes the individual to go out there to find their communities.”

In regards to his platform, Giltner plans to promote accessibility to basic needs resources and transparency between student government and the student population.

“I’m completely rewriting the standing rules, no pushing agendas and initiatives…we need to question the status quo,” Giltner said. “I’m an older student but I’ve worked in corporate America the last three years, and for me, I really want students to feel like they can get the jobs that they deserve. Like providing access to study spaces, providing access to job opportunities and career development when they leave this campus.”

FRESH START is a new slate led by current Muir College Senator Eleanor Grudin, running Grudin for president, Marshall College Senator Melina Reynoso for Vice President of Campus Affairs, Associate Vice President of Food and Housing Resources Crystal Sandoval for Vice President of External Affairs, and 12 candidates out of 13 Senate seats.

“I’m a huge proponent of outreach and being accessible to the students at UCSD,” Grudin said about the role of AS. “It’s really getting AS out to the community so that we can serve our constituents as their representatives. We can’t serve them very well if they don’t even know who we are.”

Grudin further elaborated how she plans to expand her platform for long-term sustainability within AS.

“We’re also working on accountability within AS because, even though this year has been a good year for AS, it hasn’t been the most effective in terms of how our [Senators’] projects are going. There’s just not that sense of accountability…because students don’t know what we’re supposed to be doing.”

Reynoso reinforced this point, emphasizing her goal of encouraging students to use their voices, instead of members of AS speaking for communities they aren’t a part of.

“We have a lot of workgroups and committees that our representatives are expected to sit on; our senators are not all necessarily direct members of the groups they are representing,” Reynoso said. “They can advocate for students, they’re great at advocating for students, however, they’re not members of those communities. The best way to better the lives of our students is to empower students to use their voices and provide them with the proper avenues to create change.”

General elections will occur from April 8 to April 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Polls close on Friday, April 12 at 4:00 p.m. Results will be announced on April 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the Price Center Plaza.

The list of candidates running for elections can be accessed here:

Joey Paul Giltner – Tritons United
Eleanor Grudin – FRESH START

Vice President Campus Affairs:
Melina Reynoso – FRESH START
Elvin Karamfil Topalov – Tritons United

Vice President External Affairs:
Tiger Huang – Tritons United
Crystal Sandoval – FRESH START

Campus-wide Senator (5 Positions):
David Hickman – FRESH START
Karsyn Nicole Steward – Tritons United
Nancy Zhang – Tritons United
Kaitlyn Willoughby – FRESH START
Danielle Denee Viviani – Tritons United
Mina Shareghi – Tritons United
Gage Bazinet – Tritons United
Kimberly Giangtran – FRESH START

Transfer Senator:
Erika Marie Kelly – Tritons United
Yusuf Hamid Altimimi – FRESH START

Off-Campus Senator (2 Positions):
Deema Alsaied – Tritons United
Cy’Ral Davis – FRESH START
Ale Felix – Tritons United
Ethan Christensen – FRESH START

Arts and Humanities Senator:
Harry Huang – FRESH START
Adarsh Parthasarathy – Tritons United

Biological Sciences Senator:
Amor Goetz – Tritons United
Preethi Veeragandham – FRESH START

Engineering Senator:
Garrett Jackson Taylor – Tritons United
Efran Elias Martinez – FRESH START

Physical Sciences Senator:
Shirley Zhang – FRESH START
Walker “Thomas” Nabors – Tritons United

Social Sciences Senator:
Annika Manlutac – FRESH START
Prim “Ananya” Sirisuwannatash – Tritons United

Ethan Coston is the Assistant News Editor of The Triton. Staff Writer Vrinda Chauhan and News Editor Ella Chen contributed to the reporting of this article.

This article was updated on March 8 at 9:28 a.m. to better reflect Giltner’s previous campaign history.

This article was updated again at 11:45 a.m. Reynoso was previously quoted stating, “We have a transfer student work group. Our AS President sits on that, we have a lot of other representatives from council and from Senate who sit on that; they’re all not necessarily transfer students.” This statement is inaccurate. Reynoso has provided an updated statement above.