SUA elections will take place from May 15 to May 22, and currently enrolled UCSC students will be able to access ballots virtually through the campus elections website here.
The current SUA positions up for vote are President, Vice President for Internal Affairs (VPIA), Vice President for External Affairs (VPEA), Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA), Vice President for Student Life (VPSL), and Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion (VPDI).
City on a Hill Press (CHP) asked SUA candidates questions you want to know the answers to: why they chose to run, what their priorities are, how they plan to enact change, and what they would adjust about how the current SUA operates.
CHP has fact-checked each statement and noted factual inaccuracies.
SUA Vice President for Internal Affairs (VPIA)
The Vice President for Internal Affairs oversees all internal workings of the SUA. As chair of the Student Committee on Committees (SCOC), they ensure there is a student voice in various campus committees that work on education policy, financial aid and grants, the university budget, and more. Any campus issues brought forth by the SCOC, engaging education (e2), or the Campus Sustainability Council go through the VPIA.
The candidates running are Audrey Avelino, Favian Miramontes Villalpando, and Aadity Sharma.
Audrey Avelino is a member of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán (MEChA) and Chicanx and Latine Educandose (ChALE), and was inspired to branch out to support the needs of her and others’ communities. She plans to rebuild the trust between the student body and the SUA and demand that administration hold themselves accountable for the housing crisis.
“Regardless of this election, I’m not going to stop working to make change. I need this position more to broadcast the change that I’d like to see, not only for my own community and my own people, but for the [student body] community as a whole,” Avelino said.
Favian Miramontes Villalpando
Favian Miramontes Villalpando was involved with student government in high school. As a first-year, he aims to improve transparency for students regarding housing and financial aid. Miramontes Villalpando plans to create connections with students through making his office hours accessible.
“Something that’s really important to me [is] making sure students are able to get the right information they need from the offices, because I know they’re working hard, it’s just that a lot of times, it’s really hard to communicate what they’re working on to the students,” Miramontes Villalpando said. “So students feel like they’re kind of just being pushed to the side.”
According to Aadity Sharma’s candidate statement, they “believe in compassion, transparency, and most importantly, engagement as a leader.” City on a Hill Press reached out to Sharma but received no response.
SUA Vice President for External Affairs (VPEA)
The Vice President for External Affairs is the SUA representative to the UC Student Association and the U.S. Student Association. They advocate for undergraduate students outside of the campus sphere at the local, state, and national levels.
The candidates running are Alisa Johnson-Vela and Andres Martinez-Sabino.
Alisa Johnson-Vela currently works in the External Affairs Office as both the Lobby Corps Director and Organizing Director, previously serving as the State Legislative Advocate. She stresses that she will not decide any priorities without student involvement. Johnson-Vela plans to create change by building personal relationships with the student body to convey their needs to legislators.
“When we’re collectively a student body, whether it’s a UC Santa Cruz student body, a local youth student body, or the UC system student body, when those pressures are applied, legislators do respond,” Johnson-Vela said.
Andres Martinez-Sabino works as an intern in the SUA office. He wants to ensure that the VPEA office is diverse and representative of the entire student body, so they accurately represent the Santa Cruz community when lobbying. Martinez-Sabino plans to collaborate with the other Vice Presidents to have their efforts reach more communities.
“My goal is to be able to create [an] office and space where every student has the opportunity to advocate and work with other UCs with government officials, and be able to really represent the true entire body of the Santa Cruz community,” Martinez-Sabino said.
Martinez-Sabino was formerly employed at City on a Hill Press as a fact-checker from December 2022 to March 2023. He left his position before announcing his campaign for SUA.
More City on a Hill Press coverage, as well as voter resources and information, on this year’s campus elections can be found here.